By Muhammed Ikbal Aslan
LEFKOSA / GAZIMAGUSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) - Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay on Saturday visited the construction site of an emergency hospital in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Oktay visited the hospital that was funded by Turkey. The hospital, whose construction started in August, is expected to get operational in 10 days.
The hospital will have a 100-bed capacity, including 24 for intensive care patients and six operation theaters.
Speaking at the PNR test center inside the hospital, Oktay underlined the keen interest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took for the well-being of the Turkish Cypriots during the times of pandemic.
"Let's hope no one would ever need this hospital. Yet, if and when needed, Turkey is at the service of its brothers and sisters with all the means it possesses. You are never alone," he remarked.
Oktay was accompanied by TRNC's Health Minister Ali Pilli and Finance Minister Olgun Amcaoglu.
The Turkish vice president also visited the Maras region of the TRNC, which was partially opened for public use after 46 years.
He said the TRNC's decision for partially opening the Maras region is fully embraced by Turkey.
Noting that the region is within the sovereign borders of the TRNC, which has the right to utilize it in line with its own interests, Oktay said the TRNC kept it closed for decades to show its good intentions.
"However, loss of economic value in Maras is not just, or in line with international law. The TRNC will now make efforts to utilize the region to create jobs and prosperity for its youth," he said.
Maras had so far been a ghost town where entry was forbidden, except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
On Friday, Oktay attended the oath-taking ceremony of President Ersin Tatar.
* Writing by Ahmet Gencturk