Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci welcomed on Friday, the agreement to end the long-standing halloumi/hellim dispute, reached on Thursday with President Nicos Anastasiades in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
After the Greek Cypriots had applied for halloumi to be designated as a PDO, Turkish Cypriot producers felt excluded from the process and there were fears that the designation would impact on hellim production in the North which constitutes 25% of its exports.
Speaking after his meeting with British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond, in the North, Akinci said the inspections on the production process would be carried out by an independent international body.
Akinci said that in other EU countries such product controls are carried out agriculture ministers, “but in our case because the Greek Cypriot minister of agriculture has no power or influence in the North, the inspections would have to be done by the international audit company Bureau Veritas which will exercise control on both sides”.
“This company will be in direct contact with the Turkish Cypriot producers, prepare reports and send them to the EU,” he said. Turkish Cypriots can then export the hellim to international markets, he added. “Our hellim is of good quality but if after inspections there are deficiencies we should take the necessary steps to protect the quality and pass the controls.”
“However I hope that with a [Cyprus] solution we will be able to remove all these problems,” Akinci added.
The EU Commission announced on Friday that the international certification body Bureau Veritas will inspect production of halloumi/hellim throughout the island and action will also be taken to facilitate Turkish Cypriot producers to export hellim via the South.