Embargoes on Tourism and the
Economy of Northern Cyprus
By Chris Elliott
Living in Northern Cyprus you get used to the constant irritations that are caused by the Embargoes imposed by the rest of the world on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. From time to time we are reminded of them by the constant lobbying by the Cyprus Republic to try to influence the world and in so doing attempt to take control of the lives of those who they have no interest in or care for and that is the Turkish Cypriots and those other nationals who choose to live with them.
From the very onset anybody choosing to travel to Northern Cyprus will find that due to strictly enforced embargoes the traveller has to accept that they will have to fly to Turkey and then take a connecting flight to Northern Cyprus with the additional costs and inconvenience that this brings.
The alternative is to fly to the Cyprus Republic at often cheaper prices and then travel to the north with a break in their journey to change transport and deal with immigration requirements. Clearly either arrangement is not best suited to attracting tourists to the TRNC which is perhaps its main money earner other than through high level International Education which attracts many students from all over the world..
In the past before the division of the island, exporting fruit and vegetables was a large money earner but now the bulk of the agricultural land is in the north and exports of crops to the world are almost nonexistent due to the embargoes.
Another aspect we live with day by day is that as a non producer, Northern Cyprus has to import essentials and luxury goods it needs but the embargoes are at work again because all imports from countries other than Turkey are taken by container ship to Mersin where the containers are off loaded and then reloaded onto another ship and brought to Famagusta for distribution throughout the island at inflated prices which the people living here have to accept.
So tourism despite the embargoed strangle-hold on flights and with no prospect of direct flights in the future, continues to try to develop with new hotels being built by investors which are now being advertised worldwide, or are they?.
Going back ten years or more the only brochures advertising North Cyprus holidays that you would find in a UK travel agent would have been under the counter. Now of course we have the internet so promoting tourism and holidays should be simple but not so.
In the past few days cyprusscene.com has been advised that pressure has been placed on Booking.com to remove some North Cyprus Hotels from its website until it can be proven that the land on which the business stands is original Turkish Cypriot owned. In some cases the representative of the business may have to go to the Cyprus Republic with their property deeds to have them approved as being Turkish title before it is possible to have their business details put back on the Booking.com website.
So once again the people of Northern Cyprus which has been an independent state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since 1983 are reminded by the world that the Cyprus Republic wants to control their lives. Perhaps the most recent reminder of this is the statement from the President of the Republic of Cyprus who said there will be no settlement of the Cyprus issue unless Morphou (Guzelyurt) is returned. This major town sits inside the heart of the fruit growing region and will benefit, as will the farmland in the central Mesaoria plain from the water soon to start flowing in the months ahead from the water pipeline from Turkey.
So why did the Greek Cypriots reject the Annan plan 2004 which would have seen this land returned to them and why should they now want to make it a precondition for a Cyprus settlement other than to assert their control of both people’s lives and the island as a whole.
It is time for the world to open its eyes and see how one ethnic group on the island is being supported by the world to try and control the other through economic embargoes.
To read more of the demand for the return of Morphou as seen in the Cyprus Mail please click here.