Embargoes on Tourism and the Economy of Northern Cyprus

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 Embargoed mapthen 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.

Picture -  Courtesy of Embargoed

Picture – Courtesy of Embargoed

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 has been advised that pressure has been placed on 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 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.

12 replies »

  1. Doesn’t the same apply in the south, that some hotels have been built on land which belongs to Turkish Cypriots. I understand that the main hospital and Larnaka airport are built on Turkish land.

    • The point is Catherine Meddes?

      The point is the Republic of Cyprus does not face Embargoes if it builds hospitals, hotels or airports on Turkish Cypriot land and it will not even consider claims from the owners until there is a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

      The Republic of Cyprus is receiving masses of money to prop up its ailing economy and also support from the world, the EU and UN that will not recognising the Turkish Cypriots or their rights to self determination.

      So who is Embargoed is the question?

  2. It is naïve to believe – as most Turkish Cypriots seem to -that the world is simply going to open its eyes to your problems because you are nice guys. Foreign countries do not appreciate your problems because you do not inform them properly. Both as a government and as a people you totally neglect modern methods of communication and persuasion. Why should the world listen to you?

    • Thank you John for your words of encouragement.

      When individuals and organisations both in and outside Northern Cyprus set aside their own agendas and pull together in the spirit of community sharing to push the TRNC message far and wide, then we will see real success.

      Many pebbles thrown in the pond can make a huge series of waves.

  3. I think the sad truth is that countries will never set aside their own agendas, until and unless they are forcefully presented with a more attractive (to them) alternative.

    • John, no country is prepared to accept the truth of their mistakes in dealing with the Cyprus issue and make amends by telling the truth. It is up to you, we, I and all of the other thousands of amateur or professional commentators and organisations to use the full weight of the media to get to get the Turkish Cypriot case made for the world to see, understand and accept.

      That is the real challenge.

  4. Having read many books on the subject, it is difficult to understand why the rest of the world is so slow in taking on this subject. Enough has been written regarding the ‘problems’ and the Guarantor status relating to America, Turkey, Greece and the UK. I sent a letter to my local MP when I heard that the Cyprus issue was to be discussed in Parliament – Why aren’t people bombarding their MPs and sending letters and visiting them to highlight what is happening. When I first visited Cyprus many years ago I was on holiday in Paphos and visited Nicosia. I saw the border and the armed soldiers on both sides. I visited the room of ‘missing people’ and I was saddened by it and ready all the comments and felt so much sympathy with the Greek people – THAT WAS BEFORE I LEARNT THE TRUTH!!!!!! I visited my Son (Stationed in Cyprus) and heard another side of the story and visited the north. I had a wonderful holiday and met some wonderful people in the North and learnt a lot about the history by reading many of the books available: Death of a friendship, Trapped in the Green Line/Rivers of Blood, The Genocide files etc etc etc and I was amazed at the how the Greek propaganda had achieved its goal of deceiving the world in relation to Cyprus.

  5. Sadly in modern life the truth as it stands is not always apparent. People believe what the PR people (e.g.) spin doctors persuade them to believe. That is why politicians and our so called celebs employ them! The Greeks are brilliant at P R – unfortunately if they want to get their point across the Turkish Cypriots will have to resort to the same methods. The truth is not enough.

    • Thank you for your comment Joan. There are many of us trying hard to change the current situation by publishing our or other peoples thoughts and points of views and then sharings in as many places as we can. Do please share the link to with as mnany of your friends as you can.

  6. Spot on Chris Elliot . Thanks for your objective article . It is well known factor that this is an unfair world for the Cypriot Turkish communıty. Of course the primary mistake was made by the United Nations in 1964 by accepting and recognising the Cypriot Greek regime as the government of Republic of Cyprus with complete disregard of the 1960 constitution. Which was complete disregard of the Cypriot Turkish community and its rights in the government of Republic of Cyprus.Of course what followed and the effective Greek Cypriot propaganda and ineffective Turkish foreign relations over the decades have sadly contributed to the current situation.

    • Thank you for reminding me Sermen of what I had written in August 2014 and has anything changed?

      The Embargoes are still in place and the RoC continues to disrupt settlement talks by moving goalposts because they have all they can reasonably expect and continue to get their international friends to deny the Turkish Cypriots anything.

      So has nothing really changed? Yes Turkey has changed and the Roc, the UN and the EU should have a care before the chance of a settlement is lost forever.