Is there any meaning in luxury holiday advertisements popping up while surfing on the internet? Watching Turkish Cypriot channels, thanks to IPTV, it appeared as if someone has decided to stage a black comedy. Advertorials are broadcast regarding convenient as well as luxurious holiday opportunities in North Cyprus, full of casino advertisements. Some go to the extent of buying the flight ticket, transferring and hosting customers to the hotel of the casino, all free of charge. One advertisement was stressing that customers of a certain casino will also have private, fast and preferential treatment on their arrival and departure from the island. While ordinary passengers will line up in front of passport police or the customs control, the special customers of the casino would not need to bother with such formalities.
Now a few of those hotels are hosting Turkish Cypriot students who were flown in on special flights to escape coronavirus-infected European destinations. They will have to spend 14 nights under quarantine at those four-star hotels. Up until Monday, there were several hundred foreign tourists hosted at several hotels, including the prestigious Salamis Bay Conti Hotel. There were very serious complaints that the guests under quarantine were fed only with sandwiches and were totally forgotten there by the Turkish Cypriot government. Now, a temporary tent-kitchen was created in the front yard of the hotel, and people are offered hot food, as well as hygiene conditions, were improved.
It is not of course easy at all to be under quarantine. I have neither any infection, nor any sign that I might be ill, but as I am over 60 and a diabetic man with some respiratory problems, my wife has placed me under house arrest – sorry quarantine – as well. My guardian wife has been serving round the clock, but it is still not at all easy to accept restrictions imposed on your freedom. Alas, scared of death, I succumbed to the pressures, became a fully respectful inmate of my self-prison.
A father, the director of civilian air traffic of North Cyprus, could not accept Turkish officials do the same treatment to his U.K.-educated daughter. On the way to a quarantine place, police stopped the bus, despite the protest of other passengers being taken to quarantine, took the daughter of the director and placed her on a flight to North Cyprus. “She would be placed under quarantine in Cyprus anyhow,” he explained later. Abuse of power and a deliberate premeditated attempt to harm the public. The father engaged in such gross crime must be removed from duty immediately and together with the accomplices – policemen – and her spoiled daughter must be brought before justice.
I remembered an old Turkish joke. One day a bored sultan tells his clown to find such a good joke and make him laugh that the apology must be worse than the joke itself. The clown thinks for days and eventually decides on one. A few days later the sultan was seeing a dignitary at the stairs of his extravagant palace. After the ceremony, as the sultan was climbing back the stairs into the palace, the clown pinches the back of the sultan.
Naturally, the sultan roared, “How dare you!”
With a shy smile on his face the clown replied, “Sorry His Majesty, I thought you were the mother sultan.”
Turkey, unfortunately, suffered its first loss to coronavirus on Tuesday. We would not be at all happy but neither the death toll might stay at that level, not the people infected might stay at 98, as was disclosed by the health minister on Tuesday night.
You may love or hate French President Emmanuel Macron who said the world is in a war with coronavirus, or prefer to be as naïve as Britain’s Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and pretend as if the serious public health problem at hand might be dealt with routine measures. Most of our people will be affected from this virus, global and national economies will be seriously hit and when the war is over, the world will not at all be the same. Sure, like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent collapse of the totalitarian Soviet system and the telecommunications revolution, in one generation we are witnessing yet another landmark transformation of the world.