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Turkish Cypriots turned back some permanent residents despite correct paperwork

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The Ledra street crossing

Several permanent residents were turned away at the Dherynia crossing point by Turkish Cypriot authorities on Sunday because they could not prove that they had not left the country in the previous 14 days.

According to the Greek Cypriot member of the bicommunal health technical committee Leonidas Fylactou, such evidence was not part of the deal reached between the two sides.

It also appears arbitrary, as other permanent residents reported they had crossed to the north from other crossing points without any issue.

All seven crossing points reopened on June 4 as cars and pedestrians have once again full access to the other side for the first time in over a year.

To cross, people must present a negative rapid or PCR test certificates in print form, not older than seven days.

Results on text messages (SMS) will not be accepted. The test certificates must also be in English, to be understood by the officials of each community.

“My neighbour, a UK citizen permanently residing in Cyprus, headed to the checkpoint in Dherynia on Sunday to cross over to the north with a fistful of documents ready to be inspected by both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot officials at the checkpoint,” permanent resident Clive Gardener told the Cyprus Mail on Monday.

“He had a negative test with him taken no more than seven days prior, in print form. He is also fully vaccinated and had with him the stamped card proving he had indeed received both jabs. On top of that, he renewed his insurance and carried his passport too, just to be sure.”

He was allowed through by Greek Cypriot officials but was denied entry in the north by Turkish Cypriot officers after being requested to show a court affidavit proving he had not left Cyprus in the previous 14 days.

He added that his neighbour was told that the new measure was only added on Sunday morning.

“After being turned away, he returned home and he and I checked whether the added request of a court affidavit was reported anywhere in Cyprus, but we couldn’t find anything. Nobody knows about it.”

A similar incident was also experienced by another permanent resident, who was turned away for the same reason.

“European citizens, residing in Cyprus, with a regular yellow slip, were not allowed to get to the north on Sunday, despite having a rapid test made on same day proving they are negative for coronavirus,” Ovidiu Popescu told the Cyprus Mail.

“At the crossing in Dherynia, Turkish Cypriot officials asked documents from foreigners proving that they didn’t travel in the past 14 days.

“What permanent resident can prove that? There is no way of obtaining such a document at the moment. The north changed the rules just two days after the reopening,” he said.

Fylactou told the Cyprus Mail that the court affidavit is not among the agreed-upon documents necessary to cross to the north.

“When the technical health committee convened to discuss what documents will be necessary to cross over, the paper proving permanent residents did not leave the Republic in the last 14 days was not placed in the requirements,” he said.

“However, it is a prerogative of each community to ask for additional documents should they deem it necessary. That said, what the two permanent residents living in Cyprus were asked at the crossing on Sunday was not part of the agreement.”

The situation at the Ledra street crossing point in Nicosia, however, seemed to go according to plan with permanent residents and citizens crossing over on Sunday according to the original agreement between the two sides.

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