Over 200 Turkish Cypriots dead from coronavirus in the UK

At least 191 Turkish Cypriots have died from Covid-19 – over half in the last two months – according to Ambassador Oya Tuncalı, who represents the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) in London.

Within days of making this statement the figure had leapt again claiming the lives of a further 32 British Turkish Cypriot victims, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths in the community to 223.

In an interview with North Cyprus news agency TAK at the start of this week, Ambassador Tuncalı said that 92 Turkish Cypriots had died of coronavirus between March 2020, when the pandemic first hit Britain, and May 2020.

After a significant slowdown in Covid-19 deaths across Britain over the summer, the rate of fatalities started to increase again in November the Ambassador said, with a further 99 Turkish Cypriots killed by the virus in the past two months.

“According to the information given to our Representative Office by both funeral companies and families, we lost 92 people in London since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March through to the month of May,” Ambassador Tuncalı told TAK.

“Recently, during November the pandemic started to accelerate again and unfortunately alongside this, as of yesterday [17 January 2021] the figure [for Turkish Cypriots killed in the UK by the virus] reached 191,” the TRNC diplomat said, before adding, “The numbers change every day.”

TRNC Ambassador Oya Tuncalı

Ambassador Tuncalı wished “patience” to the UK Turkish Cypriot community and a speedy recovery to those who were currently being treated for the virus.

A report in Londra Gazete on 20 January 2021 states that in the past week, the Turkish Cypriot community lost 44 more people to coronavirus, increasing the death toll to 223.

Coronavirus: UK vs TRNC

The high tally of Turkish Cypriots killed by Covid in Britain contrasts sharply with the situation in their ethnic homeland of North Cyprus, where just 12 people have lost their lives to the deadly virus since March.

From the outset of the pandemic, the Turkish Cypriot government implemented a strict set of measures to contain the virus, which initially included closing its airspace to the outside world for several months.

It became the first country in the world to flatten its coronavirus curve and has maintained a firm approach to containment when North Cyprus re-opened its borders to external visitors last summer.

As part of their public health policy, the Turkish Cypriot authorities imposed a travel rule requiring all passengers to present a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours before travelling to the TRNC. The same measure has only just been implemented by Britain last week.

“fewer than 20% of Brits showing coronavirus symptoms stayed at home, as per the rules”

The TRNC also has mandatory quarantine at government-approved centres for all new arrivals and monitors closely those showing symptoms or testing positively for the virus. The UK, on the other hand, allows self-isolation at home for new arrivals and those showing symptoms, which has been routinely broken by many individuals.

Research has found that the UK’s laissez-faire approach to quarantining has meant that fewer than 20% of Brits showing coronavirus symptoms stayed at home, as per the rules.

Scientists at King’s College London surveyed 31,000 people last year and found that only 18% of people who developed symptoms between March and August actually self-isolated to stop the spread of the virus.

Even more worrying, just 11% of those surveyed said they had stayed at home for the required two weeks after being informed they had been in contact with someone testing positive for Covid-19.

Fines of between £1,000 and £10,000 were introduced by the British government in September for those breaching self-isolation rules.

Over 94,000 people have now died from coronavirus in Britain – one of the worst death tolls in the world.


Main image, top, of three Turkish Cypriot victims of Covid-19 (L-R), who passed away in January 2021:

  • Aktan Ali, originally from Baf/Paphos, Cyprus, and subsequently in Doncaster, a 74-year-old husband, father and grandfather.
  • Tarkan Asar, from London, a 37-year-old husband and father.
  • Osman Halil, originally from İskele, Cyprus, and subsequently in London,  a 72-year-old husband, father and grandfather.