Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar is “disappointed” at being excluded from the visit to Cyprus of the Earl and the Countess of Wessex, which begins on Monday and said it calls into question Britain’s sincerity when it comes to efforts for a Cyprus solution.
Tatar said the treatment of the Turkish Cypriots as regards the visit of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, is “unequal”.
According to the Turkish Cypriot website Kibris Postasi, the Turkish side expects the UK to treat both sides “equally and impartially”.
The report suggested that Tatar had asked through the British High Commission whether the royal couple could visit the north of the island and meet with him socially.
It also said that Tatar was a graduate of the same university as Prince Edward, Jesus University in Cambridge, that in this context, an informal meeting “would be beneficial”.
However, the report said that the feeling from the British side was that any meeting with the elected ‘president’ of the ‘TRNC’ would be sending a political message, even if it was a social meeting.
The couple is slated to meet some members of the Turkish Cypriot community engaged in peace-building.
The royals will be in Cyprus from Monday until Wednesday.
They will be received by President Nicos Anastasiades and the First Lady, and attend a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Stephen Lillie to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Monday.
They will also visit the buffer zone in recognition of the UK’s contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp).
The countess will meet a diverse range of women and young people from across the island, including the Cypriot members of the Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth network and participants in the UN and British Council ‘Young Leaders in Action’ programme, to hear more about civil society’s contribution to peace and community building in Cyprus.
The Earl will also meet students from across the island who are working towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
They will meet British Armed Forces and their families currently based at the Sovereign Base Areas, and will learn more about their roles and contributions to current operations.