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Northern Cyprus – 50 Years of Embargoes

Northern Cyprus

50 Years of Embargoes

By Chris Elliott

Last weekend I had the opportunity of meeting up with Fevzi Fevzi Hussein and Mustafa BozkusGalatyali Hussein, the Chairman of the Embargoed organisation, together with his colleague, Mustafa Bozkus the Treasurer, who were on a visit to North Cyprus to promote their latest initiative to promote the need for change of the Cyprus Embargoes situation.

During their 36 hour visit to North Cyprus they had many meetings including President Dervis Eroglu and many other members of the Cabinet and attended TV and newspaper interviews to explain what Embargoed are trying to do to focus world attention to the ongoing unfair Embargoes which are imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people and you can read more of this below.

50 Years of Embargoes

Embargoed! have launched their newest campaign which seeks to highlight awareness of the fact that an unwanted anniversary has been reached, namely 50 years since the embargoes against Turkish Cypriots first came into place.

A hard-hitting campaign promo-video reinforces the tough message that a lifetime of embargoes has been in place and that this must stop.

The campaign itself, will go into top gear in early May when the House of Lords plays host to a “hard launch” sponsored by Baroness, Meral Hussein-Ece.

The campaign has massive potential and will be tapping into a completely new audience as Embargoed! seeks A presidential meetingto bring in a new angle to their lobbying capabilities. The campaign will invite creative ingenuity asking potential entrants to engage in understanding the Cyprus problem in a balanced and unbiased manner so that the issue of the embargoes comes to the fore. Artistic platforms such as incredibleart.com and studentcompetitions.com will tap into a new audience giving this campaign a truly global feel.

It is anticipated that the schools in North Cyprus will also get involved in this initiative.

The best entries will be show-cased periodically and these will be going forward to a grand finale where the winner of the short-film category will also be shown at the Golden Island International Film Festival in the TRNC. Other categories include written material and Photography. Prize money of up to £1,000 will be available to the winners of each category.

A legacy exhibition consisting of the best material will also be set up and this will be shown in the European Parliament to highlight that the embargoes have now been in place for five decades. Other highlights of the campaign will include an innovative postcard campaign where 5,000 postcards will be available to Turkish Cypriots in the UK to post to their MPs, again raising awareness and seeking their support. A dedicated campaign website has also been set up ( http://www.50yearsof.com ) which will be ready before the hard launch event.

To read more of this event in greater detail please click here.

To read more of Embargoed on Facebook click here and if you would like to become an Embargoed member please click here.

To read more about Embargoed and their other activities on their website please click here

 

 

 

 

 

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5 replies »

  1. On one hand, I would like to thank these people who have for the last 50 years been battling to get this embargoes removed from North Cyprus, but let me put my tuppence worth into where the north is going wrong.

    1) No country is able to remove the embargoes from North Cyprus, while it pretends to be a state which it is not, the biggest fault on this lies with the first president for trying to declare an independent state,knowing that the UN security council would overwhelmingly reject such action, which they did by passing a UN resolution calling on all states not to recognize it.

    2) Since 1995 and later 2005 Turkey actually is the first country that needs to remove the embargoes from the north, never mind about the rest of the world. As we all or should know that since Turkey signed the first customs union with the EU in 1995, Northern Cyprus production fell by over 75% as it become illegal for the products to be shipped via Mersin 10 to Europe.

    3) Since the declaration of TRNC in 1983, The government (Motherland) that we seem to all love so much has not to date passed any laws in the Turkish Parliament in recognition of the TRNC and does not legally even recognize the North as an Independent state, if it had, we would not be paying double tax on the goods shipped from the motherland to us, as it currently stands each product that we buy from the Turkey 100% of that product is tax as, the buyer pays the export tax for Both Turkey and Northern Cyprus, regrettably increasing the value of the product before it even hits the selves. Even though, there has been exchange of Ambassadors between the North and Turkey, to date no Ambassador has actually presented his/her credentials to the respective countries Presidents before, he/she can take up their post as it is a requirement under UN charter diplomatic relations.

    4) Since Cyprus has become part of the EU in 2004, The EU s call on Turkey to open up it’s ports/Airports to Cyprus registered transport system has failed to do so, so even if the Embargoes were to be lifted import and export of the goods would still be transferred via Mersin 10 and there not really reducing the price of any of the goods we would import into Northern Cyprus or export of the TRNC products.

    5) Since the Lisbon Treaty signed in 2007 and came into effect on the 1st Jan 2008, changing the voting system on MEPs, not one British Turkish Cypriot has stood in the UK MEP elections in the UK to fight the embargoes in the EU parliament from inside rather than outside.

    6) In April 2014 as we all know the Greek Cypriot administration has changed the voting system to allow the Turkish Cypriots to take part in the MEP election in May, and yet again the North the screamed foul play, as they want the elections to be held in the north rather then Turkish Cypriots crossing the green line to vote, as the north sees the 2 of the 6 seats allocated to Cyprus as rightful theirs. Well unfortunately for them the 2 seats for Turkish and 4 seats for Greek Cypriots in EU elections is not rightfully Greek or Turkish Cypriots as EU seats is for any EU national living in Cyprus ability to vote and stand as a candidate so there for as the North claims under 1960 agreement article 63 becomes void in the EU MEP elections, but despite the north knowing this not to mention that EU citizens would have this right too, but the Northern parties are to greedy for their own sake and have their own parties interest at heart rather then for all the people living in the North, not to mention that the other reason the north wanted the elections to be held in the north was to show that all TRNC ID cards were eligible to vote which is not the case as only the Turkish Cypriots are EU citizens in the north and not every tom,dick and harry that the Government has issued nationality to over the last 50 years.

    That’s my tuppence.
    Erkin A Salih
    Independent T.Cypriot Candidate for all EU Nationals in Cyprus.

  2. Dear Erkin bey,
    Thank you for taking the time to leave a detailed reply in response to the news that we (Embargoed!) are in the realms of launching our latest campaign, ’50 years of embargoes’. We respect everyone’s view (which were made constructively) and you have made some valid points, but your points stop very short of highlighting the reality on the ground for not just Turkish Cypriots, but everyone living in the North.
    Before I go on, I would like to clarify that our group is apolitical. We enjoy support from many people around the world and what brings us all together is OUR passion to lift the isolation facing Turkish Cypriots. We have people in our group who are pro-reunification of Cyprus, and equally people in our group who will like to see the status quo become permanent. We also have Greek Cypriots who support our work, as we are recognised for our work in that we seek to do it in a professional manner, one which does not seek to promote the rights, or the pain and suffering of one group over another, as to do so would clearly be folly – everyone has suffered when it comes to Cyprus and arguing about who suffered the most or the longest seems a very devalued position to argue from.
    Getting back to the embargoes, we cannot get away from the fact that WE ARE EMBARGOED by the EU. Whilst I understand the points you make in relation to Turkey it is not Turkey who insisted that a 1944 flight convention is somehow held against preventing us from having direct flights, despite the fact that we have the most advanced landing technology at Ercan in the world. The embargoes on our universities under the guise of ERASMUS is appalling and a direct attack on higher education – interestingly as the South rushes to convert its colleges to Universities it is way behind the North in University opportunities with over 60,000 students from over 90 countries currently doing their university studies. So, even in the face of the embargoes we have positive case studies, such as the brilliant Near East University, which ironically more and more Greek Cypriots are coming to use (the hospital facility for treatments). The embargo placed on our sportsmen and women is directly under the control of the Greek Cypriot leadership, as are the other embargoes. These athletes/footballers have been forced to watch on from the international wilderness and we campaigned for them, for example in the Olympics, to participate under the neutral flag so as to not complicate any ongoing talks. We cannot even send a letter or make a phone-call without it being diverted via PO Box in Turkey.
    I was interested to see the events of the other week and the attack on our II President Mehmet Ali Talat in the South. As you know Mr Talat is a friend of Greek Cypriots – most Turkish Cypriots are. The fact that even he was attacked, albeit by a fringe far-right group does not bode well for the future my friend and I make no apologies for digressing as dignity and respect must be at the root of any friendship/partnership and without this it is difficult if not impossible to force the marriage of two parties.
    I am glad to see that you have declared your intention to stand for the European elections. I wish you every luck in your efforts to be elected.

    Best wishes,

    Fevzi Hussein
    Chairperson, Embargoed!

  3. Mr Fevzi Hussein,
    Firstly let me thank you for your reply, and correct some information to the best of my abilities.
    Yes, we are embargoed by the EU, because there is no one to fight our case in the European Parliament for us, in the last 10 years since Cyprus became part of the EU, they have used it better for their advantage then 30 years prior to that in maintaining the embargoes.
    In fact recently an Italian MEP proposed a 5 year direct trade between the EU and Northern Cyprus only to be halted in it’s tracks by the south.
    Surely you can what my argument is based on the fact that at present, We have the option of coming out and voting on the 25th May MEP elections to select at 2-3 MEPs that would work on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots in the EU parliament, but our own Northern Government comes out against the idea of voters crossing the Green line to vote and demands that the elections to be held in the north, using TRNC ID cards for the elections, now surely you know as well as I do, that that is an impossible request that the TRNC is asking the EU to allow.
    1) Every EU national living in Country is eligible to vote and stand as a candidate.
    2) Not every person carrying the TRNC ID card is a EU Nation under Cyprus.
    3) Not every MP serving in the North is a European National to even be a Candidate as MEP as Mr Armagan Cancan wishes for in his 17 March statement in the Kibrisposta.

    “1944 flight convention is somehow held against preventing us from having direct flights, despite the fact that we have the most advanced landing technology at Ercan in the world”

    With due respect, Ercan airport does not the most advanced landing technology in the world, it does not even have (ILS) instrument landing system, let alone the runway being extremely short to cater for Medium range aircraft size, at present the largest aircraft to safely land and take off from Ercan is Airbus AB321 anything larger is impossible, I am not against Ercan being opened up to direct flights, but we all know vast amount of investment would be needed to upgrade the airport to international standards, specially the Terminal building, the runway, 24 hours medical center.Despite the Government selling the airport to the private sector, to date not one screw has been put into place except the fact that all other duty free shop owners have been kicked out to make one area, as he is a shareholder, to date the government has yet to give the land required to start the new terminal building.

    As for sports, as i stated previously, may i remind you that in the last games to be held in Mersin while the Cyprus flag was being paraded in front of the camera and even the national anthem being played for their sportsman, the Turkish government had put a ban on the TRNC athletes from taking part in the games, and yet to date not one Turkish football game between Turkey and the TRNC has ever been played or invited to play even on friendly bases.

    Yes there are positive sides that we have as you stated with over 60,000 international students, as a flavor of culture to the north.

    As for not being able to send a letter or make even an international telephone call not something that really bothers a lot of people as even some some larges have agreements to use one and others telecommunication and postal system, Canada being one of those countries using the USA telephone code.

    As for ElAM attacking the 2nd President Mr Talat, that is a very marginal case and 90% of the Gc actually came out and condemned their action and currently the AG is considering banning them as a political party.
    the bottom line is my friends that our own elected parliamentarians are too lazy, uncaring, looking out for own and party rights rather then working for all the people in the north.

    Thank you for your support in the elections.

  4. Erkin bey your letter is long and detailed. Some of your comments are valid but sadly some are the usual stock phrase comments that are typical of Cypriot politicians.
    Your last statement ”Independent T.Cypriot Candidate for all EU Nationals in Cyprus” is a very ambitious claim. Perhaps you can enlighten readers as to what chance do you reasonably have in winning a seat? Are there any opinion polls that may give us a clue?
    Would it not be better to use your position as a candidate to inform us of your plans and policies so we may be better informed on why people should vote for you?. I believe this is the first principle of any candidate. Being critical of others is the easy job but that’s not why we elect MEPs, MPs or councillors. Perhaps you have already made your plans public in other media outlets. If so, perhaps you can give us links so we may be better informed on your policies. Its hard to support politicians unless we first understand what they really stand for. Would it not be more productive to inform us on your own plans rather then spend so much time criticising others. Either way I wish you luck

  5. Ismail Bey, thank you for your reply, yes to certain point point, you are correct.
    There is a web site that will be online in the next few days in Turkish, firstly for the Turkish Cypriots to understand the complex EU working system.
    Unlike the state parliaments, the EU parliament is not represented by the countries but the people for the people, irrespective of which party one belongs to or as an Independent, so having individual polices and plans is very difficult, as one has to be affiliated with one of the 7 parties within the EU parliament itself to be able to achieve this.
    Voting for an Independent candidate has more advantages for the people then voting for candidates, who has set views from their own parties, one case for example that to date no elected Greek Cypriot MEP has dared to raise the title deed issue in the south, as that goes against their own party policy.

    One thing that you must remember is that all EU nationals living in Cyprus is eligible to vote and become a candidate in these elections under EU law.
    Over the last several month the Turkish Cypriot have come out and criticized that the elections been held in the south and not being allowed to hold it own elections under article 63 of the 1960 which is misleading to the public.
    MEP elections are carried out according to EU law and not Cyprus law, and every EU citizen living in this country is eligible to vote in the Municipality and MEP elections.
    In view of the fact that the TRNC does not allow freedom of movement and freedom of settlement to all EU nationals is one of the reasons that the EU has not allowed the elections to be held in the north, the other being that not all TRNC ID holders are EU citizens and therefor can not use their vote in these elections.

    Only Kibkom online English newspaper has carried an article to date issue 32 which can be read online.
    Unfortunately, I am not sure, if it is because of the Government or the views of the press but to date no newspaper or Tv channel has replied to my request to do an interview.

    As for been elected that is for the people to decide but as stated without Press and TV coverage that is an impossible task.

    I have around 2400-2500 Tc who have said that they will use their vote and around 1000 voters in the south, which is not really enough to get elected on.

    If by change that, I am elected then there are several issues in which, I will bring to the attention of the Parliament via the affiliated party.
    1) Turkish Language to be implemented as an official language of the EU in order for the Tc to have a better understanding of the EU, to date the Government of Cyprus did not make any application to EU as Greek was already an official language of EU due to Greece.
    2) The Greek Cypriot guardianship of the Tc properties and the Greek Cypriot title deeds effecting the EU nationals.
    3) The Gc government failure to recognize the IPC as required by the ECHR judgment.

    As i stated, a web page in Turkish will be online in a few days which, I hope will give better understanding to the Turkish Cypriots into the working of the EU as whole.

    http://www.easalih.eu

    Thanks