Written evidence submitted by the All-Party
Group for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Notes on the visit of All Party Parliamentary
"Friends of Northern Cyprus" Group to Turkish Northern
Cyprus from the 12 November to 19 November 2004.
The six Delegates, led by Baroness Knight, had
an extremely friendly and instructive week; hospitality was generous
and greatly appreciated. The facts and discussions led to an awareness
that the Northern Cypriots are being increasingly disillusioned
after the great expectations provided by the Annan Plan which
have not materialised; their isolation has, in fact, increased.
There are increased problems with visas for entry to the south
and with work permits. The Greek Cypriots are using their new
position as members of the European Union (EU) to make life even
more difficult for the TRNC. For instance, a group of teachers
arrived in England with full arrangements for teaching posts,
but were required to return as they had not obtained the EU visas
On the other hand there is a lifting of the
ban for UK residents in TRNC to enter the UK Sovereign Base in
Northern Cyprus in contrast to the problems imposed on travellers
and others wanting to work in the UK.
The situation in Northern Cyprus has resulted
in disillusionment which appeared to the Delegates to be producing
a drift away in the support for the Prime Minister (Mr Talat),
who had urged them to say "yes" to the Referendum.
During their visit the six delegates were able
to see divergent areas of Northern Cyprus including Famagusta,
with neighbouring Varosha, the University of the Eastern Mediterranean,
followed by a drive along the Karpaz area (Pan Handle) to the
furthest eastern tip of the island. To the west, a journey to
the crumbling villages in the declining citrus growing area of
Guzelyurt revealed the Turkish dam providing irrigation is being
starved of water by the Greeks on the other side of the border.
The Delegates met H.E. the President of TRNC,
had meetings with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the
Speaker of the Parliament, the Minister of Finance and Tourism,
the British High Commissioner, the Chairman of the Chamber of
Commerce, members of the Chamber of Industry and several Members
of Parliament. The parties for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary
of the Independence of TRNC (15 November) provided opportunities
for discussion with many influential Turkish Cypriots.
In the commercial and industrial spheres problems
have increased. Business men need to purchase visas for themselves
and their families to stay in the UK whereas the Greek Cypriots
are allowed free entry. For example, a fixed year visa for a family
of four costs £360a high price in TRNC economic terms.
At the same time the British Consulate in Cyprus
needs to be congratulated for successfully collaborating with
the organisation which can invest EU funds into Northern Cyprus
without using (as in the past) the Greek Cypriot Office. The EU
has established an office in Salonika for this funding. Unfortunately
the Delegates heard the disquiet of the Minister of Finance and
Tourism as he had been told that a feasibility study for the needs
of TRNC had been commissioned by the EU's office without any reference
to the Government of Northern Cyprus.
It was clear to the Delegates that the isolation
of the Turkish Cypriots is being increased at the discussions
in Brussels, due to a delay of several months to date (November
2004) in providing a work permit for the new nominee from TRNC.
This nominee's placement is welcomed and crucial, especially as
it appears to be a positive "break through" for the
Whilst the EU is anxious to improve relations
between the North and South by increasing trade between both sectors,
the Chamber of Commerce gave several examples of serious non-co-operation,
1. Produce or manufactured goods from the
North weighing more than 2 tons are refused entry to the South.
A further vehicle is required making costs prohibitive.
2. Turkish workers in the South are paid
less than Greeks doing the same jobs.
3. Greek Cypriots are restricted by border
guards from bringing back purchases from the North, even additional
petrol in the family car.
4. Failure to agree on direct flights into
TRNC is having a negative impact on the political view of Turkish
Cypriots disappointed by the failure of the Annan plan, and a
serious impact on tourism and on commerce,
5. Exports of citrus fruits from TRNC are
still banned by Greek Cypriots.
6. Turkish Delight can only be sold in Southern
Cyprus if it is re-named "Cyprus Delight"!
The Delegates warmly welcome the news that representatives
from the USA have recently visited Ercan Airport to establish
its viability to commence flights directly from USA.
The University of the Eastern Mediterranean
is having difficulty in collaborating with overseas universities
and is aware that Greek influence is being used to undermine their
On the other hand, the Rector was glad to tell
us some exchange of academic teaching was taking place with the
University of Southern Cyprus. Professors on both sides were pleased
to co-operate, with some minor restrictions in travel for the
Northern Cypriots who were required to go though Nicosia. The
overall picture at the University was hopeful; the academic staff
and young people want to collaborate. Embargoes on travel and
communication should clearly be lifted in the interests of academic
freedom, an essential in a free world.
In conclusion: The Delegates were aware of the
seeping away of support for Prime Minister Talat, due to severe
disappointment at the collapse of the Annan Plan. A new game-plan
is required to safeguard the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. A
persistent progress through the EU channels and using the Parliamentary
system in the UK should be used to enable public recognition of
these anomalies to be part of the process of rectifying the situation.
The Baroness Knight
Mr Ben Chapman
The Lady Butterworth
20 November 2004