The Greek Cypriots and Maronites who have chosen to reside in the North of the Island following the Happy Peace Operation of 1974, have been living their lives within the borders of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) without any issue. Both the Greek Cypriots and Maronites carry out their religious services in the churches where their own religious figures are present. Moreover, Greek Cypriots are able to receive education at their own schools where teachers from the South come to work.

Just as the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in our country possess the right of free movement within the TRNC, they are also able to cross without any hindrance to the South since the borders between the North and South have been opened to free crossings in 2003. Also, their relatives and close friends in the South are able to cross to the North to visit the Greek Cypriots and Maronites as often as and whenever they please.

As indicated above, the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living within the borders of the TRNC are in no way confined to or besieged in the areas where they reside. Furthermore, they are also able to benefit from all health, municipal, etc., services that are afforded to TRNC citizens.

Despite the aforementioned, the changed circumstances since 1974 and the current situation are being ignored, and the Greek Cypriot leadership is making this issue a constant subject of political exploitation. Within the framework of its well-known political rhetoric, the Greek Cypriot leadership is portraying the Greek Cypriots and Maronites to the international community as “enclaved in the occupied territories” and is regularly sending, through the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, various daily consumption supplies to the said people. It has been long determined that the Greek Cypriot and Maronite recipients have in fact been selling these items that they clearly don’t need to the Turkish Cypriots.

Be it to put an end to this issue becoming the subject of political exploitation, or to prevent the illicit sale of these consumption items on the market, our Government has taken the decision to end the current implementation.

As of 1 October 2017, if the Greek Cypriot administration insists on continuing to send the said items to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in our country, the items will be made subject to customs duty procedures in accordance with our relevant legislation and the passage of the items to our country will only be allowed once the necessary taxes and fees have been collected. For humanitarian reasons, medical aid supplies will be exempt from the scope of the new procedure.

For some time now, various meetings have taken place at all levels with the United Nations regarding this matter. The necessary technical information concerning the new implementation will be conveyed to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in the shortest possible time.

We would like to make publically clear that this procedural change, which has been deemed necessary, is in line with the Population Exchange Agreement signed between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in Vienna in 1975.