Letters, New TRNC air passenger embargo “a disrespectful slap in the face”


Dear T-VINE,

Thank you for this excellent reporting (UK slams new embargo on TRNC air passengers, 20 May 2017).

This is indeed a Greek Cypriot inspired, politically motivated and shameful move, coming at a time when Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and his team are doing more than they really should at the Cyprus Talks to reach an agreement with the Greek Cypriots aimed at a power-sharing deal based on the political equality of the two communities.

The British High Commissioner in Cyprus knows this more than any other. Instead of empathising and helping President Akıncı in his sincere efforts to bring co-operation, security and stability to the island and to the region, this is in fact a disrespectful slap in the face by the British government he represents.

If any deficiency has been identified at Ercan Airport, which millions of people from all nationalities (including British) are using, then the High Commissioner in Cyprus should have alerted and, if necessary, offered assistance in dealing with such a critical matter. Such co-operation at the practical level already exists with Turkish Cypriot authorities on criminal and other issues.

Additionally, the discovery of hydrocarbons in the waters surrounding Cyprus make the need for respect and collaboration between the two co-owner communities vital for the peaceful exploitation of this resource in a stable environment. Instead of making this negative move, the UK Government could have helped in levelling the playing field in order to facilitate cooperation and respect.

In his 28th May 2004 report following the referenda on the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan (which 76% of Greek Cypriots rejected and 65% of Turkish Cypriots accepted), UNSG Kofi Annan had said:

“The rejection of such a plan by the Greek Cypriot electorate is a major setback. What was rejected was the solution itself rather than a mere blueprint (para. 83)…If the Greek Cypriots are ready to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal structure based on political equality, this needs to be demonstrated, not just by words, but by action (para. 86)…”

“This (TC) vote has undone whatever rationale might have existed for pressuring and isolating them (para 90)…I would hope they give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development, deeming such a move as consistent with Security Council resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984) (para 93).”

Despite this and an EU Council promise to eliminate unnecessary restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot community, to take a measure that simply increases such restrictions and barriers is a disgrace.

Such developments can only result in furthering the dependency of the Turkish Cypriot community on Turkey and will inevitably lead to further integration between the two.

I was hoping following Brexit it would be easier to negotiate and eliminate the inhuman restrictions imposed on the Turkish Cypriot community.

What a shame.


Ergün Olgun

Former Turkish Cypriot Negotiator.


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