The Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad (ATCA) has said that the decision of the UK government that transit passengers, who fly with Pegasus airlines, to London must disembark, go through a security check in Turkey and board the aircraft again, is “unfair and discriminatory”.
The representative of ATCA in the North Cyprus Kerem Hasan, sent a letter regarding the issue to the British Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.
Stating that the new decision by the British government adds to the injustices against the Turkish Cypriots. Hasan explained that until now the passengers on the plane, which was departing from North Cyprus, could remain aboard for the transit flights from Turkey to the UK, but with the new decision, they would have to disembark with their luggage, go through a security check in Turkey and board again.
Hasan, in the letter, also said:
“On 18 May 2004, the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said: ‘I think it is important that we end the isolation of Northern Cyprus. That means lifting the embargoes in respect of trade and air travel’. Furthermore, the then EU Enlargement Commissioner, Gunter Verheugen, expressly stated that direct flights to North Cyprus would commence. On the 26 April, 2004, the European Council of Europe 2576 press release, stated: ‘The Council is determined to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community.(…)’”.
Hasan concluded the letter by adding:
“We feel that as a guarantor, the UK is employing discriminatory measures against the Turkish Cypriots, contravening human rights issues as well as the international efforts to end the isolations on them.
In the hope that the UK Government will take action to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and review this unfortunate request for passengers travelling to North Cyprus via Turkey to disembark, we look forward to hearing from you in due course.”