TRNC Speaker of the House Sibel Siber, has sent a letter to the EU Commission on behalf of all political parties represented in the assembly, expressing their concern for the continuation of the “efforts of the Greek Cypriots” to “unilaterally secure benefits” from halloumi-hellim cheese’s registration as a product with protected designation of origin, ‘Kibris Gazetesi’ reports.
Siber wrote that the Greek Cypriot leadership avoids cooperation on the issue of sharing the island’s natural resources and exhibits a negative stance on the issue of registering halloumi in a manner that will be of value to both peoples on the island.
The letter said that the Turkish Cypriots are not represented in the European Parliament despite promises given to them in 2004 and the rejection of the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriot side. It also stated that the developments on the halloumi issue deal a blow to the Turkish Cypriot economy. According to Siber’s letter, these initiatives, which ignore the existence of the Turkish Cypriots on the island, are contrary to a bi-communal, bi-zonal solution based on the political equality of two founding states.
Siber pointed out that the exports of halloumi constitute 24% of the Turkish Cypriot economy and 16.5% of the population in North Cyprus earn their living from the production of halloumi and its subsidiary sectors.
She called on the Commission to conclude the issue of this registration in a manner which will secure benefit to both peoples living on the island according to the decision taken by the EU General Affairs and Foreign Relations’ Council in 2004 providing for the lifting of the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and securing their economic development.
Siber has sent a similar letter to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide asking for his support on this issue.