Cyprus Mail

‘Turkey is under no obligation to respond to us’

Unal Ustel

The north’s ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel said on Monday that Turkey is “under no obligation to respond” to the north’s authorities over the matter of Cypriots being refused entry into Turkey.

Speaking in ‘parliament’, he refuted claims that his ‘government’ had been “insensitive” to the matter but said “it is an internal issue of another country”.

He then produced a letter penned to the Turkish Embassy in Nicosia on the matter, which had been sent last November.

Opposition party CTP ‘MP’ Sami Ozuslu then interjected, asking “and they haven’t responded for four months?” before Ustel said Turkey is “under no obligation to respond.”

‘Transport minister’ Erhan Arikli also spoke in ‘parliament’ on the matter, saying “there are also people who are not allowed into the TRNC. That is the right a state has.”

Ustel’s remarks are the first such statement made on the matter by Turkish Cypriot officials since ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz announced on April 15 that the north had “requested information” on the matter from Turkey.

“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 had said, adding that “justifications” have been requested from Turkey.

Questions had also been asked by opposition leaders, with CTP leader Tufan Erhurman asking in ‘parliament’ on the same day, “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.”

“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,” he added.

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.

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