President Ersin Tatar held an online meeting with representatives of the British Residents’ Society. At the meeting, he emphasised that after the completion of the Brexit process in the UK on January 1, 2021, there could be a new approach to the relations between the TRNC and the UK on direct trade and travel.
He told the President of the British Residents’ Society Peter Wilkins, Vice President Mike Diplock and Presidency Foreign Press Officer Kerem Haser, that he cares about the British citizens living in the TRNC and noted their love and support for North Cyprus, saying, “I do not see [Brits] as foreigners living in our country apart from the citizens of our country because I know of their deep love and support for the TRNC ”.
President Tatar said that in his recent meeting with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, he had pointed out that over 10,000 British citizens live in North Cyprus, and more than 300,000 Turkish Cypriots live in England, adding that he had explained to Raab the negative effects of the inhuman isolation on the country.
Vaccination For Foreign Residents
Stating that he wanted to exchange views with British citizens living in the TRNC after a sincere and extremely constructive meeting with Raab, President Tatar said that he had requested a share for the Turkish Cypriots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and that he wanted to ensure that foreigners living in the TRNC also benefit from these vaccines. President Tatar stated that Raab had said he would direct the authorities to address this issue.
President Tatar said the following about the vaccine:
“Turkish Cypriots continue their efforts to get more vaccines. To date, Turkey has supplied a total of 40,000 doses of vaccine. This means that 20,000 people benefit from the two doses of the vaccine. The EU has sent us 4,500 doses of vaccine. We actually need at least 500,000 doses”.
Noting that he understands the concerns of British citizens about the uncertainty about the vaccination programme, President Tatar said, “The TRNC could not be provided with sufficient doses of vaccine. This is why the uncertainty. We are doing our best to speed up the process in order to ensure that all citizens can benefit, and we are exploring every way to obtain vaccines for the country.”
Trade and Travel Post-Brexit
Stating that he had also discussed the issue of the completion of Brexit with Raab, President Tatar said, “I expressed my opinion that the United Kingdom, which is not bound by EU rules, can open the way for direct trade and direct flights to the TRNC with a new approach.
The issue of travel from Britain to Ercan Airport without having to change planes should be discussed as a priority, Tatar said. The Turkish Foreign Minister had also requested the provision of travelling to Ercan Airport without landing first in Turkey, he said. President Tatar stated that there are reports showing that Ercan Airport complies with international standards, and that Raab will address this issue.