Turkish Cypriots protest abandonment of daylight saving time after fatal crash
Ömer Bilge – NICOSIAA group of around 1,000 people protested in Turkish Cyprus on Dec. 1 over the decision to abandon Daylight Saving Time, blaming the move for a road crash that killed two schoolgirls.
Demonstrators outside the parliament and prime minister’s office on the northern side of the divided capital Nicosia chanted slogans including “It’s impossible to go to school in the dark,” “Don’t turn roads into cemeteries,” and “Government, resign!”
The protest came after a school bus collided with a truck early on Nov. 29, killing the driver and two high school girls.
Trade unions and student organizations called for demonstrations, with several students vowing to keep protesting until the clocks are turned back an hour.
Employees at the traffic control center of Ercan Airport, the state-owned Eastern Mediterranean University, and a state hospital also supported the protest by partially striking on Dec. 1.
In September, Turkey said it would not turn its clocks back from this winter, staying on summer time year-round in a bid to better utilize daylight. Turkish Cyprus decided to follow suit, unlike the Greek Cypriots in the south, leaving the island with two different time zones in the winter months.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı chaired an emergency cabinet meeting on Dec. 1 to discuss measures to prevent such accidents.
As a result of the meeting, vehicles heavier than five tons were forbidden from driving during rush hours in the morning and afternoon. The cabinet also launched a new study with the Education Ministry to define new working hours.