An incident where a Japanese academic, Dr Tomotako Kitamura was refused entry at Larnaca airport because he was heading to North Cyprus, prompted a reaction from TRNC Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay.
He accused the Greek Cypriot government of insincerity in view of the recently agreed confidence-building measures (CBM) by the two Cypriot community leaders. Such actions only serve to widen the gulf, he said.
Last Wednesday, Professor Kitamura, who had travelled to Cyprus from Dubai to attend a conference at the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), was forbidden entry at Larnaca and was sent back to Dubai after a nine-hour wait at the airport.
According to Professor Kitamura, Larnaca airport immigration officials had initially stamped his passport, but he was then taken in for questioning when they realised he was headed for the north.
He told TAK news agency that he was questioned on the Cyprus problem, to which he replied that his interests lie in physics and not in politics. Professor Kitamura said that subsequently he flew to Ercan Airport in North Cyprus to attend the conference at EMU.
The continued pressure by the Greek Cypriot side on universities in the north has increased animosity, Ozersay said, noting that the Turkish Cypriot side will be raising the issue of continuing obstructions on behalf of the Greek Cypriot government at international organisations, including the UN.
Responding to the statements by Ozersay, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) cited government a source on Tuesday who said that those affected in such cases can lodge a complaint, question the decision of the authorities and ask for further explanations or even resort to justice, noting that they are informed about their rights through a document handed over to them.
This is not the first incident of visitors from third countries who arrived at Larnaca to travel onwards to North Cyprus were refused entry and forced to return home.