Speaker of the House Sibel Siber visited the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry (KTSO) and discussed with officials of the chamber the issue of Hellim/Halloumi cheese, Bayrak TV reports.
At the meeting, Siber said that the aim of her visit was to listen to the problems experienced by the Chamber of Industry and to exchange views on issues such as the ongoing efforts to register Hellim as a product with protected designation of origin (PDO).
Expressing her desire to see developments in all sectors of the economy, Siber said that economic development naturally raises the quality of life in society.
Drawing attention to the negative effects of the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people as a result of the unsolved Cyprus problem, Siber said that products such as Hellim were common products produced and consumed by both communities.
She said that such issues should not be used by one community against the other for political purposes. “We saw how the issue of hydrocarbons has sparked a crisis. All these issues are related to confidence building measures. If the two communities respect the fact that products like Hellim are common products, then this will have a positive impact on the negotiations to reach a settlement and building confidence between the two peoples”, Siber said.
Chairman of KTSO Ali Cirali, underlined the need to increase production and services in the TRNC so as to enable the country to stand on its own two feet.“Our efforts are in this direction and our expectation from the government and parliament is to create an economy that can stand on its own feet”, Cirali said.
Meanwhile, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports that during his visit to the TRNC, Ekrem Demirtas chairman of Izmir’s Chamber of Commerce (ITO), has said that Halloumi-Hellim cheese should not be produced in Turkey and added that the production of Halloumi in Turkey harms the producers in North Cyprus.
A written statement issued by ITO, said that the Halloumi-Hellim issue was one of the main reasons for Demirtas’ visit to the TRNC on 22nd December.
Demirtas noted that the Halloumi producers in North Cyprus are having a “big struggle” to protect the name and the trade mark of this product. He added: “As Turkey we should also support this struggle. Producing Hellim in Turkey, printing a map of Cyprus on it and selling it causes damage to the Cypriot producers. This is a trick. We must respect the labour of the Turkish Cypriot Hellim producers. We will offer any kind of support to the Cypriot producers, including a legal initiative against this”.
Pointing out that Hellim is the most famous and traditional product of Cyprus, Demirtas noted that more than 60 firms produce the cheese in North Cyprus and that 17 thousand people earn their living from this product, starting from the milk producers along to its marketing outlets.