Former PM Sibel Siber asks, ‘Has Prince Charles been sent an invite to visit North Cyprus?’

A former Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) has asked whether government officials have sent an invitation to Prince Charles to come to North Cyprus when he visits the island next month.

Dr. Sibel Siber made the comments on social media, including a photo of her and Prince Charles, whom she met at the centenary commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in 2015.

It follows an announcement by Clarence House on Tuesday that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will pay an official visit to the southern part of the divided island from Wednesday, March 18 to Saturday March 21, as part of a three-state tour, with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Jordan on either side of the visit to Cyprus.

Writing on her Facebook page earlier today, Dr. Siber, who was the TRNC’s first female Prime Minister in 2013, said:

“I had a meeting with the UK’s Prince of Wales Charles on the centenary of the Çanakkale Ground Wars. Following his questions to me about the latest developments in Cyprus, I suggested to Prince Charles he visit Cyprus in order to better understand the realities.

He responded by saying if such an  invitation came, he would be pleased to visit both the North and the South of the Island. Back then this [possible] visit was covered by the press.

“Now there is news that Prince Charles will only visit Southern Cyprus. So my question is, have we extended an invitation [to Prince Charles]? If it’s not been sent, the invitation should be made, referring to and underlining the promise he made direct to me and also featured in the press in 2015 that if he is invited, he will also visit our side.”

Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Cyprus the first by a royal since Queen Elizabeth ll visited in 1993

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the island takes place in the 60th anniversary year of Cyprus’ independence from the UK. It will be the first to Cyprus by a member of the British royal family since Queen Elizabeth ll visited in 1993 for a Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting.

A statement about next month’s royal visit from the British High Commission in Nicosia said:

“The programme will celebrate the historic ties between the United Kingdom and Cyprus and their peoples, shared membership of the Commonwealth, and the forward-looking modern relationship between the countries in areas such as education and science.  This visit will also recognise the UK’s role as the largest troop contributor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.”

British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie said: “I am delighted that Their Royal Highnesses have decided to visit Cyprus and look forward to welcoming them here. This is the most important visit from the UK to Cyprus since HM The Queen in 1993.

“60 years after Cyprus’ independence, it is a testament to the close and enduring bonds of friendship between our two countries and peoples, and to a relationship which goes from strength to strength. The visit will also be an opportunity to highlight the important Commonwealth bond that exists between all Cypriots and the UK, evident in many of our shared values and institutions”.

Turkish Cypriot journalist asks why royal couple won’t be laying a wreath in Girne to British servicemen murdered by EOKA terrorists during the Cyprus Emergency

Responding to the Clarence House announcement on Twitter, Turkish Cypriot journalist Eltan Halil wrote:

“Disappointing to see nothing in the programme about the Royals laying a wreath at the memorial in Girne (Kyrenia) in North #Cyprus in memory of the almost 400 British servicemen killed by EOKA terrorists  in the 1950s. Still forgotten soldiers it seems @gordonrayner. #UKCYties”

Cyprus has been ethnically divided into the Turkish North and Greek South since the 1974 War. The island has been plagued by conflict since December 1963 when Greek Cypriots mounted a bloody coup and seized control of the island, killing dozens of Turkish Cypriots and making refugees of thousands more. They have maintained they are the sole recognised authority ever since, a position vehemently resisted by their former political partners in the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriots.

Main photo, top: former TRNC Prime Minister Dr Sibel Siber (photo © Facebook/Sibel Siber Jan. 2020) and Prince Charles (photo @ Mark Jones, Wikipedia/CC by 2.0, Dec. 2017)