Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay announced on social media that the government is considering applying a customs tariff to humanitarian aid received by the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the TRNC.
Aid including medical supplies has been sent by the Greek Cypriot administration via the UN to the TRNC since 1975. However, after the previous TRNC government raised the issue of imposing a tax on goods supplied to those communities, in October 2017. Following which, the UN has only brought medical supplies, which are not taxable, across the border to the north.
In this context, Özersay announced that he would visit the old Maronite villages and the Dipkarpaz district. Minister Özersay said that when the TRNC authorities came to this decision a month and a half ago, they thought that they would take a reasonable and modern step on this matter, which would also protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.
The foreign minister said, “In the interview I gave to TAK news agency at the beginning of February when I first came to office, the question of whether the customs tariff should be applied to aid for the Greek Cypriots and the Maronites living in the TRNC would continue is as follows: ‘As a government it is reasonable and contemporary in this regard and will raise the TRNC’s reputation, I will set out a policy that will not remove it.’ “We are working on this and we have focused on this for the last one week.”
“Soon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take this step. We will also clarify our work by actually making visits to some old Maronite villages and Dipkarpaz soon”, Özersay concluded.