The decision by the foreign ministry to impose tariffs on the humanitarian aid sent by South Cyprus to the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the TRNC via the UN Peace Keeping Force (UNFICYP) is “unnecessary and inhumane”, writes ‘Kibris’ columnist Ali Baturay. He argues that you cannot defend your sovereign rights by imposing obstacles to UN aid at customs.
He claims that the TRNC foreign affairs minister likes tension with the Greek Cypriots and recalls the prohibitions imposed on holding religious services in Greek Cypriot churches in the north. Baturay writes also the following regarding aid sent to the Greek Cypriots and Maronites:
“The tension he created on the issue of the religious services and the criticism and condemnation against the Turkish Cypriot side for this reason has not satisfied foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu and now he is preparing to sign another meaningless and unnecessary edict. […] He said that permission for the aid to pass through will not be given as in the past and that the Greek Cypriots will be obliged to pay a tariff for this. Ertugruloglu said that doing this is tantamount to defending the Turkish Cypriot demand for sovereignty and he will even take other measures to this end.
“There cannot be such a foolish, unnecessary and inhumane action. Preparing with such unilateral and hostile statements to prohibit this humane decision mutually agreed by the sides (which the UN officials recall that is the 3rd Vienna Agreement) is a strategic mistake, from every point of view. To respond with such schemes to impose restrictions, and the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots through international decisions, puts us in a more difficult position, believe me.
“You also know very well that regardless of whether the aid comes or not, the international community sees northern Cyprus as a subordinate administration of Turkey and it will continue seeing it this way for as long as there is no solution [to the Cyprus problem]. The best example of this is the fact that Turkey has been tried and punished following the hearings at the ECHR. Whatever you do, you cannot change this reality. As long as there is no solution in this country, northern Cyprus will be considered as Turkey’s subordinate administration. […]”.
*Foreign minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu said the transport of certain goods to the Greek Cypriots and Maronites was not needed because they could obtain everything they needed in the north and because the crossings now meant they were no longer enclaved. The first crossing opened in 2003.
On Sunday, in a written statement, the foreign ministry said the Greek Cypriots and Maronites who had chosen to reside in the north of the Island after 1974, do so without issue today.
Both carry out their religious services and Greek Cypriots are able to receive education at their own schools, it said.
“Just as the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in our country possess the right of free movement within the TRNC, they are also able to cross without any hindrance to the South,” it added.
Their relatives and friends could also cross to see them without hindrance “as often as and whenever they please”.
“Furthermore, they are also able to benefit from all health, municipal, etc., services that are afforded to TRNC citizens”, the statement concluded. (Editor)