For some time now, the Greek Cypriot administration has been interrogating, turning away and deporting foreign nationals back to their country who arrive at Larnaca airport with the intention to enter the TRNC by crossing the border checkpoints.

Most recently, we have been informed that more than thirty Israeli tourists who have arrived at Larnaca airport with the intention to cross to the TRNC to spend their New Year holiday have again been denied entry by the Greek Cypriot authorities and subsequently sent back to their country. We observe with deep regret this arbitrary practice of Greek Cypriot side which totally disregards the financial damages and distress that will be suffered by the travellers who wish to spend their holiday in our country.

This inappropriate and hostile practice, which has no legal ground and is totally arbitrary, is inconsistent with both international law, as well as the European values and principles which the Greek Cypriot side seemingly advocate at every opportunity. Despite our multiple calls to end this practice, which is yet another method employed by the Greek Cypriot side to impose the economic, cultural and sportive isolation on our country, the Greek Cypriot leadership insists on employing this practice which is further exacerbating the lack of trust between the two sides.

This practice which has been employed frequently by the Greek Cypriot side has demonstrated, once again, that their existing vision and mentality remain unchanged and that its intolerant and restrictive behaviour towards the Turkish Cypriot persists. This approach is the product of a mentality which intends to curtail at every opportunity our interaction with the world and our ability to take a breath of fresh air in this regard.

As it will be recalled, in 2018 a Russian tourist who wished to visit our country for holiday purposes was arrested, detained and deported by the Greek Cypriot authorities without any justification upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport. Again in 2018, a professor from Cairo University, who was meant to give a lecture at a university in our county was prevented from crossing to North Cyprus, again without any justification, upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport. Moreover, in 2017, children’s performance groups from various countries including Serbia, who were to visit our country in order to attend the 19th celebratory events within the framework of 23 April National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, were prevented from crossing to North Cyprus, after being detained for several hours by the Greek Cypriot police at Larnaca Airport.

It is now understood that this unfortunate incident experienced by Israeli tourists on New Year’s Eve is not an isolated incident, but rather constitutes the persistent perpetuation of a specific Greek Cypriot policy. We would like to emphasize, once again, that if the Greek Cypriot side does not put an end to these practices, we will not stand idly by and will take the necessary steps in this regard. While talking about the need to establish trust between the two sides on the one hand, trying to prevent the contact of the Turkish Cypriot people with the rest of the world on the other hand is compatible neither with good faith nor fairness.