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Politicians say blood donation for T/C girl brings communities closer
2003-03-06 14:37:48

Nicosia, Mar 6 (CNA) ? Politics did not prevent Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots from coming forward in numbers at the Ledra Palace Hotel in the UN-controlled buffer zone to donate blood samples in an effort to find a donor for a bone marrow transplant for a five-year-old Turkish Cypriot girl.

A total of 500 samples were taken on Thursday, the first day of a five-day effort to find a matching donor.

Among those who donated blood samples were the Head of the European Commission delegation to Cyprus, Adrian van der Meer, Turkish Cypriot United Cyprus party General Secretary Izzet Izcan and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's daughters, Ender and Deker.

Jale Sakaoglu, from Turkish occupied Morphou, has suffered from leukemia for the last two years, according to her grandfather, Erdal Ersever, and is currently hospitalised in Constantinople. Although she is receiving treatment, a bone marrow transplant is necessary.|

Thanking all those who are contributing in the bicommunal blood donation, Ersever said it was not a matter of who is Greek or Turkish. "The main thing is to save our children", he said.

Little Jale's grandmother, Sia, thanked Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and hoped a donor will soon be found for the child. She said she comes from Limassol and her family lived in harmony with Greek Cypriots.

A Turkish Cypriot teacher who donated blood said, "we do not need borders, because we have to live together on this island. I am human and I am Cypriot", he said.

Izcan congratulated organisers and called on everyone on both sides "to join in and save this young child".

He reminded that "Cyprus is going through the most difficult and most important time" since 1974. "We have come to a turning point" he said, noting the international community has completed its negotiations and it was "now up to the Cypriots to say what they want".

Izcan said demonstrations would continue, adding, "we will do whatever possible to force the authorities to say 'yes' to a referendum".

Evidently moved, Van der Meer expressed hope that the blood donated will contribute to overcoming this humanitarian problem.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, the EU diplomat said there is "now a very important deadline" in front of us, The Hague meeting of 10 March, adding "as EU, we lend our full support to the UN process".

"We think that both sides have now the best opportunity to overcome the differences and hope that the images the leaders see today on this humanitarian problem, will have a positive influence when they take their final decisions", he said.

He also cited the European Commission's intention to invite potential donors of financial support for Cyprus, once a political settlement is found, to a preparatory meeting on March 21.

The blood samples collected will be sent to the Karaiskakion Foundation, the Cyprus Bone Marrow Registry, for test to see if they are compatible with the blood of the young Turkish Cypriot girl.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.


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