Minister of Food, Agriculture and Energy, Onder Sennaroglu has responded to his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Kouyialis’ call for cooperation on the issue of registering halloumi/hellim as a Product of Designated Origin (PDO).
While the Greek Cypriot government continues its efforts to get the cheese registered, Sennaroglu has accused the South of politicising the issue. He said that hellim/halloumi is shared by both cultures and is an economic product of both communities. However, he said that it was unacceptable that only the Greek Cypriot authorities would have control over the production of the cheese and would have the power to inspect Turkish Cypriot production.
He went on to say that this was contrary to the spirit of the February 11, 2014 Joint Declaration.
Registration of the cheese could serve as a confidence building measure and could contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem, but not if it is was used a tool to dominate in a diplomatic war, he argued.
The Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry Ali Cirali, responding to Kouyialis’ call for cooperation said: “He made a call to the Turkish Cypriots for cooperation, but he did not mention on which issue he wants cooperation”. He added that the most important issue on the registration of halloumi as PDO is not the name, whether it is halloumi or hellim, but rather who had the authority to inspect production of the cheese.