There is no “embargo” against the Turkish Cypriots

The claim by the Turkish side that the Republic of Cyprus has imposed an economic ban, the so-called “embargo”, upon the Turkish Cypriot community living in occupied Cyprus, is imaginary and groundless. The authorities of the Cyprus Republic do not possess the means neither to impose a naval ban nor to force aircrafts, carrying passengers and goods to the occupied areas, to land at Larnaca airport.

If there is an obstruction to the economic transactions with the occupied areas, this is due to the fact that the Turkish Cypriots have unilaterally proclaimed a “state”, which was declared legally invalid by the UN Security Council, through resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984).

The Cyprus Government, in order to ensure the exercise of its sovereignty over the whole of Cyprus, but also to protect the right to property of the legal landowners, did not have another choice but to declare the ports and airports in occupied Cyprus shut.

Cyprus, within the framework of its harmonisation with the acquis communautaire and as a candidate country, is obliged to comply with EU regulations with regard to entering a country and transporting goods to the EU member states. It is also liable before the European Union, other international organisations and international treaties that have been ratified, regarding the trafficking of drugs, weapons of mass destruction and illegal immigrants, the combat of terrorism, etc.

The Cyprus Government had the legal obligation to claim before all countries and international organisations, that it could not be held liable for what was going on at airports and ports not under its control. The only way, therefore, that it could clear itself of responsibility about what went on at those ports and airports, was to declare them shut.

It must be emphasised that the Cyprus Government cannot have these ports opened, and respond to its obligations before the international community and the EU in particular, since these ports are not under its control. The Government does not intend to alter its stance – namely to open the ports – since that would imply the recognition of the pseudostate, something that constitutes an unthinkable act.

Throughout the Republic’s area, the principle of equality applies, and all citizens enjoy equal rights, regardless of national descend, sex or religion. In the same manner, the Turkish Cypriots citizens of the Republic of Cyprus have the right to export goods produced in their own property, given that:

• These goods be accompanied by the necessary certificates showing the origin and sanitary conditions that the EU itself imposes, and which are issued by the legal authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, and

• The exports be performed through the legal ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus. (It must be mentioned that it is the Denktash regime that does not allow these exports, and demands that all goods be exported via Turkey.)

European Courts’ Decisions

It is reminded that there is the decision of the European Court of Justice, which certainly does not constitute an embargo on exports, but demands that all exports originating from Cyprus be accompanied by the necessary plant sanitation certificates that only the legal authorities of the Republic – recognised by the EU – can issue.

There is also the human aspect of the matter, namely, the inalienable right to property and enjoyment of that property. There are international treaties protecting the right to property, and also UN resolutions (37/253, 13.5.1983) as well as decisions of other international organisations that mention the respect of the right to property of the Greek Cypriots who were expelled from their homes and properties by the Turkish occupation army.

For instance, the European Court of Human Rights, in its decree of 18 December 1996, on the appeal of the Greek Cypriot refugee from Kyrenia Mrs Titina Loizidou against Turkey, decided that Turkey violated the property right of Mrs Loizidou by obstructing her from using her property in Kyrenia.

Furthermore, the same Court, in reviewing the Fourth Interstate Appeal of Cyprus against Turkey, decided on 10 May 2001, by sixteen votes to one – that of Turkey -, that Turkey is committing “a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, by virtue of the fact that Greek-Cypriot owners of property in northern Cyprus are being denied access to and control, use and enjoyment of their property as well as any compensation for the interference with their property rights (paragraph 189)”.

First and utmost duty of each lawful state is the protection and respect of human rights of not only its citizens but also of all people living in its area. This is exactly what the Cyprus Government is doing by declaring the occupied ports and airports shut.

In addition, each person whose right to property is being violated has every right to take legal measures to protect that right as well as his or her property. It is for this reason that various professional associations, especially those dealing with tourism, have informed international fora that hotels as well as lodging belonging to Greek Cypriots in the occupied areas are now being managed illegally by Turkish Cypriot tourist businesses. It is not fair that the sole trump card of the lawful owners of land in the occupied areas – namely, that of the enlightenment of the public opinion about the continuous encroachment on their properties – is considered as an economic embargo.

Jean-Christophe Filory: There is no embargo on the northern part of Cyprus

Mr Jean-Christophe Filory, Spokesman for the EU Enlargement Commissioner Mr Gunter Verheugen, emphatically denied that there is an embargo on the occupied areas of Cyprus.

In a statement on 8 May 2003 regarding a report by a British daily according to which the Turkish Foreign Minister Mr Abdullah Gul had asked the EU to lift the so-called “embargo” on the northern part of the island, Mr Filory noted:

“I can formally deny that there is an embargo on the northern part of Cyprus. This is simply not true. There is a ruling of the Court of Justice, dating 1994, about the question whether or not export-certificates issued by the authorities controlling the northern part of Cyprus could be validated and accepted by the EU. The answer in this court-ruling of the Court of Justice was no, since we do not recognise the authorities controlling the northern part of Cyprus. Which doesn’t mean that the products are embargoed. It just means that they can not be exported through the authorisation issued by these authorities. So, I deny strongly the word embargo. These products could be exported to the EU but of course not through this authorisation paperwork by the authorities controlling northern Cyprus.”

Turkey is responsible for the financial misfortunes of Turkish Cypriots

The financial misfortunes in the occupied areas are due to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot economy is totally dependent upon the Turkish economy, with all its repercussions: use of the Turkish currency, high inflation rate, unemployment, low rate of growth.

There is also a terrible mismanagement of finances in the occupied areas by the Denktash regime, as well as a fully blown corruption and incapacity to settle their own finances, following the declaration of the pseudostate.

It is a fact that the illegal regime in the north occupies the most fertile areas of Cyprus, which they failed to sustain and maintain. They also occupy what used to be the most developed tourist region, encompassing a lot of hotels, which they seized. Despite of that, they did not manage to maintain that level of tourist development because they were not in the position to offer the required services.

Source: Press and Information Office