NEWS

Suffering child breaks divide

NICOSIA (Reuters) – A suffering child has broken barriers on divided Cyprus, where Greek-Cypriot authorities bent their own rules to save a Turkish life. Seven-month-old Oguzhan Giftgi was back at home with his Turkish-born parents in the north of the Mediterranean island yesterday after 24 days of intensive treatment for acute renal failure in the south, his doctors told Reuters. Turkish Cypriots regularly cross into the Greek-Cypriot area for medical treatment, but Oguzhan’s case was an exception. His parents are Turkish mainlanders, seen by Greek Cypriots as illegal settlers in the Turkish-occupied north. Mainlanders are prohibited from crossing into the south and their status is seen as a key sticking point in reunification talks under way in Nicosia. Bending their rules, Greek Cypriots allowed Oguzhan’s parents into the south every day with a United Nations escort. «It proves there are no barriers when it comes to humanitarian matters. These doctors were very, very true to the Hippocratic Oath,» said Rajarathinam Kannan, head of civil affairs of the UN force that monitors the ceasefire line. [According to Council of Europe estimates, Turkish settlers outnumber Turkish Cypriots in the occupied north of the island. More than 115,000 Turkish nationals are now believed to live in the north. At the same time, the Turkish-Cypriot population has dwindled from 118,000 before the 1974 invasion to less than 87,000.] [Over the past two years, campaigns have been held on both sides of the ceasefire line to find bone marrow donors for children suffering from leukemia.]