Calls to EU to End South’s Block on Border Crossings

North Cyprus News - Deputy PM Kudret Ozersay
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister – Kudret Özersay

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay has sent a letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres. In the letter, he urged them to take the necessary steps, to persuade the Greek Cypriot side to end the “eccentric and obstructive” practices which it applies to the border crossing points preventing the entry and exit of foreign tourists to and from North Cyprus.

According to a statement from his ministry, Ozersay says in the letter that from 1 July, 2020, the Greek Cypriot side unilaterally amended the Green Line Regulation and violated the right of free movement by preventing entry and exit to the TRNC of Turkish Cypriots, EU citizens and third country nationals through land borders.

North Cyprus News - Metehan Border Crossing - North Side
Metehan Border Checkpoint

Ozersay also wrote that the purpose of these “unacceptable practices” is to hurt the North Cyprus economy and tourism sector, and points out that this will further damage the “fragile relations between the two peoples” and the trust between them.

In an appendix to his letter, Ozersay also attaches a joint declaration on the issue signed by all the political parties represented in the TRNC parliament.

The declaration states that the practice of the Greek Cypriot side to prevent the movement of foreigners between south Cyprus and the TRNC, by unilaterally amending the implementation of the Green Line Regulation, must end. Noting that this practice affects the free movement of people between the island as well as tourism and the economy of the TRNC. The declaration calls on the south Cyprus administration to end this practice and to EU officials “to to immediately take the necessary initiative to return the Greek Cypriot side to the situation that existed before the pandemic on the issue of the rights of passage of individuals through the border crossing points.

Addressing parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said that this behaviour by the Greek Cypriot side, was not right. Tatar also called on the EU to step up its initiatives in relation to the Green Line Regulation.  He said that the Greek Cypriot side is concerned by the development of the TRNC economy, a fact that was repeatedly published in the Greek Cypriot press and before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kıbrıs Gazetesi

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