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Cyprus

North seeks clarification on entry denials

Dursun Oguz
Dursun Oguz

Turkish Cypriot authorities have “requested information” from Turkey on the matter of Cypriots being refused entry to Turkey, ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz said on Monday.

Speaking in ‘parliament’, Oguz said, “we have asked if, as has been stated, there is a list, and what are the reasons for people finding themselves on such a list.”

“It is not right for people to not know whether they will be allowed in when they arrive at the gate. The necessary explanation will be made,” he said, adding that “justifications” have been requested from Turkey.

He said, “within the scope of international law, every country has the authority to decide who can enter the country, but the relationship between the Republic of Turkey and the TRNC is different. In this context, the issue was brought up at the highest level and information was requested.”

In this regard, he said he had reached out to Turkey’s foreign ministry and its Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz.

The issue was brought up in ‘parliament’ by opposition party CTP leader Tufan Erhurman, who asked, “who in this country can enter Turkey and who cannot? Why were some people not allowed? No one in the country knows the answers to these questions.”

He added that “a significant proportion of people in this country who feel like they are ‘dissidents’ wonder if they can enter Turkey. They are forced to have second thoughts. There are also people who have not actually been able to enter the country, and who will not be able to.

“I am just asking this; do relations with Turkey match your ‘good relations’ approach, as you call it? I really hope that not even one person in this chamber will label this state of affairs as ‘appropriate.”

Speaking about the Turkish Cypriots who had been put together, he said, “you could allow them to team up all together and we all know that they would not pose a security threat to Turkey on this tiny island. The Turkish authorities may not know this, but we do.”

He also criticised statements from ‘prime minister Unal Ustel from December last year. Ustel had said he would “discuss the issue with Turkey”, and Erhurman replied; “you said you would ask, but no information came. So, what will happen? Will it continue like this? Is this a normal situation in terms of our relationship with Turkey?

The matter of Cypriots being refused entry to Turkey reached the top of the north’s political agenda last week when Evrim Hincal, the financial secretary of opposition party the TDP, was refused entry to the country.

Hincal had travelled to the country alongside Turkish Cypriot Nicosia Mayor Mehmet Harmanci for a joint family holiday, but upon arrival at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, he was told he would not be able to enter the country as his name is on Turkey’s N-82 list.

While being named on the N-82 list does not mean a person is outright banned from Turkey, those on the list must apply in advance to the Turkish embassy in their country for pre-clearance to enter the country, and the list is not publicly available, so those on it generally do not find out until they arrive in Turkey.

Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci made a rare intervention to call for transparency in the matter later last week.

Meanwhile, newspaper Yeni Duzen on Monday listed 15 names of Cypriots who have said they had been informed on previous attempts to visit Turkey that they were either on the N-82 list or on the G-82 list. Being on the G-82 list entails an outright ban from entering Turkey.

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