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British Turkish Cypriots call for ‘own city’ in the north

The new Ercan (Tymbou) airport terminal (Tak)
The new Ercan (Tymbou) airport terminal (Tak)

There should be a “British city” built in the north, according to the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish chamber of commerce UK chairman Muhammet Yasarata.

Yasarata made the suggestion at a meeting with the north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel, saying the city would be built for members of the British Turkish Cypriot diaspora.

The groundwork for such a move is being laid already, with Yasarata saying “we established a union in the TRNC and started working to create a British Turkish Cypriot diaspora city in an area where there is privately owned land.”

“We know that this British Turkish Cypriot diaspora city will be a very beautiful city … This project will strengthen the bond of Turkish Cypriots living in the UK with the TRNC, make an economic impact, and we will direct certain parts of the revenue to areas we will decide.”

The suggestion was one of three made by Yasarata to Ustel, with another being that Turkish Cypriots living in the UK gain the right to vote in Turkish Cypriot elections.

Currently, only Turkish Cypriots living in the north are enfranchised, but Yasarata said Turkish Cypriot politicians have been promising to extend the franchise to residents of the UK “for years”.

It is believed that such a move could change the political landscape of the north were it to be implemented. At the last election in June, there were around 210,000 registered voters in the north, while Yasarata says there are “nearly 300,000” Turkish Cypriots living in the UK.

Yasarata’s third suggestion to Ustel was the creation of a new airline funded by the north’s ‘government’ with the aim of reducing ticket prices for those wishing to fly between the UK and the north.

“It is the bleeding wound of North Cyprus, we propose to establish a new airline in Cyprus. As you know, the ticket prices of airlines operating flights to the TRNC today are quite high. For this reason, our citizens prefer to use Larnaca airport instead of Ercan. This situation increases our dependency on Larnaca airport and weakens the strategic position of the TRNC,” he said.

He said such an airline could be “supported by the state and the private sector” and that it would allow for “more economical flights” and thus make Ercan (Tymbou) airport more efficient.

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