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Ozersay: government turning back on CBMs, academic refused entry

The Turkish Cypriot ‘Foreign Ministry’ said on Tuesday that actions by the Greek Cypriot leadership contradict ongoing efforts to build confidence between the two communities after an academic headed to a conference held in a university in the north was refused entry at Larnaca airport.

The refusal of entry to Japanese academic Dr Tomotako Kitamura at Larnaca airport incited Turkish Cypriot ‘Foreign Minister’ Kudret Özersay, to accuse the Greek Cypriot government of insincerity in view of the recently agreed confidence-building measures (CBMs) by the leaders of the two communities, as he said that such actions only serve to widen the gulf.

Professor Kitamura, who had travelled to Cyprus from Dubai to attend a conference at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), was forbidden entry at Larnaca and was sent back to Dubai after a nine-hour wait at the airport.

According to professor Kitamura, Larnaca airport immigration officials had initially stamped his passport, but he was then taken in for questioning when they realised he was headed for the north.

Speaking to the state-run Turkish Cypriot news agency, TAK, he said that he was questioned on the Cyprus problem, to which he replied that his interests lie in physics and not in politics.

The continued pressure by the Greek Cypriot side on universities in the north create increased animosity, Ozersay said, noting that the Turkish Cypriot side will be raising the issue of continuing obstructions on behalf of the Greek Cypriot government at international organisations, including the UN.

Responding to the statements by Ozersay, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) cited government a source on Tuesday who said that those affected in such cases can lodge a complaint, question the decision of the authorities and ask for further explanations or even resort to justice, noting that they are informed about their rights through a document handed over to them.

The source added that there have been similar cases in the past, that were published by the media, adding that “we do not comment on every case separately”.

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