The EU has been asked to give its support to Turkish Cypriot hellim cheese producers, President Mustafa Akinci has said.
Addressing a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot producers’ and livestock breeders’ union, Akinci noted that “halloumi will be produced only in Cyprus under the name of hellim and halloumi” and that “this is a very important development”.
He said: “Even though our essential problem, our main issue is the Cyprus problem, we are on the one hand trying to positively conclude the negotiations and on the other life does not stop. It goes on and the problems of our livestock breeders are on the agenda”.
Akinci noted that hellim contributes to 25% of the products exported by the TRNC and “therefore we are referring to an extremely important issue”.
Recalling that the issue of halloumi/hellim has been under discussion for a long time, Akinci argued: “There was a danger of the Greek Cypriot side putting aside the hellim name and registering the product only by the name of halloumi, by using the advantage given by its EU membership. These [issues] were discussed. We had some concerns.”
Pointing out that the cheese will be produced only in Cyprus from now on as a product of Cypriot culture, Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot producers will gain from this development. “We have obtained a big gain for our producers, but the issue does not end here”, he noted that they have to produce halloumi according to specific standards, using certain percentages of sheep’s’ milk.
He added that that they have asked the EU to support the producers, Akinci concluded by saying: “It can give 35 million euro to the Greek Cypriot producers and it wants [us] to be able to arrive at the same percentage in due time. Our producers need the same things of course. There is a need of both aid and time. Therefore, a transition period will be required for this issue”.