Authorities in the north warned on Thursday they would not sit idly by while the Republic of Cyprus refuses entry to third-country nationals wishing to holiday in the north, after some 30 Israelis were sent back home on arrival at Larnaca airport when it emerged they would cross to the north for New Year.
The Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign ministry’ warned in a written statement that unless the Republic of Cyprus does not end the practice, they would take their own measures.
The announcement follows an incident involving more than 30 Israeli citizens, the ‘ministry’ said, who had arrived at Larnaca airport for the purpose of holidaying in the north for New Year and who were refused entry.
“This unappealing and hostile practice, devoid of any legal basis and which is arbitrary, is not in line with international law or the European principles the Greek Cypriot administration (RoC) defends at every opportunity,” it said.
The Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly called for the termination of the practice, which is another method of economic, cultural and sports isolation imposed on it by the Greek Cypriot side, it added.
This, it said, deepened the crisis of confidence between the two sides.
“The attitude is the result of a mentality that tries to keep us from being in touch with the world at every opportunity. It is unacceptable,” it said.
The announcement said that similar incidents concerned a Russian tourist who wanted to holiday in the north last year but was arrested, detained and deported by Greek Cypriot authorities after her arrival at Larnaca Airport.
Another case, it said, concerned a professor from Cairo University who was not granted entry after arriving at Larnaca airport last year because he was to teach at a university in the north.
The ‘ministry’ also mentioned the incident involving a dance troupe of children from Serbia who were to perform at a festival in the north in April 2017 and were also denied entry at Larnaca.
This “unfortunate event” that happened to Israeli tourists at the beginning of the year is not an isolated practice and is a continuation of a policy that the Greek Cypriot side continues to insist on, the announcement said.
The ‘ministry’ warned that unless the Republic of Cyprus did not end the practice, “we would like to emphasise once again that we will take some steps and that we will no longer be a spectator to this.”
While on one hand there is talk on the need to establish trust between the two sides, on the other hand, there are efforts to prevent the contact of the Turkish Cypriots with the world. This, the announcement said, is not in line “either with fairness or good faith”.
Attorney-general, Costas Clerides, opined in 2017 that the policy followed, on the instructions of the foreign ministry, was deeply flawed legally. He has argued that no legal basis exists for barring entry into the Republic on the grounds that a foreign national plans to stay in a Greek Cypriot property in the north.