From Richard Chamberlain……..
Over the past weeks I have sent a number of letters or emails to Prime Minister, Teresa May and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson about the issues affecting Ercan Airport and was pleased to report that a reply was forthcoming but this did not respond to the points I made in my letter so I posted a further letter to them.
In the meanwhile I was pleased to see in social media pages that a letter was being shared (click here to view) from Teresa Villiers the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet in reply to an email she received, where she said she was forwarding the comments received about travel difficulties from North Cyprus to UK Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling and asking him whether there is any prospect of these measures being lifted and, if so, when this might happen.
During the past few days I have received an unsigned letter via email from the Eastern Mediterranean Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (click here to view) in reply to my last letter (shown below) which is blunt and to the point and offers no hope that the Turkish Cypriots will receive “so called” justice unless they agree to remain hostage to un-level and thus endless negotiations, the objective of which has become the patching up of the Turkish Cypriot people to the Greek Cypriot usurped Republic of Cyprus.
This stance by HMG is unbelievable in view of the facts they are wishing to ignore and I have therefore sent a further letter by email as under.
To the Eastern Mediterranean Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Your reference : MOP/112247/2017,
5th October 2017
Dear Sir or Madam,
I thank you for your letter of 29th September 2017 received by email and I am somewhat surprised by the statements made which seem to be in conflict with other facts concerning the Cyprus issue.
“You raised a number of issues about the UK’s relationship with the Turkish Cypriot community, including trade relations after the UK leaves the European Union. We do not intend to give a running commentary about future trade deals as we leave the EU. However we have no current plans to review policy on UK trade with north Cyprus.The Government seeks a just and lasting settlement that protects the interests of both Cypriot communities as the best way to overcome the isolation of those residing in north Cyprus, and indeed the hardship that the situation causes for both communities. As we leave the EU, we will continue to look at ways to support the economic development of north Cyprus, within the constraints of United Nations Security Council resolution 550, which calls upon all member states not to recognise or assist the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’. In the meantime, the UK continues to support the European Commission’s aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, which encourages its economic development to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus.”
You say you are bound by UN Security Council resolution 550, which, you say, constraints your efforts in search of ways to support the economic development of north Cyprus, because it calls upon all member states not to recognise or assist the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.
This contradicts the observations and appeal made by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his report of 28th May 2004 to the Security Council, after the refusal of the UN Comprehensive Settlement Package by the Greek Cypriot side. (Click here to view the full report)
“…What was rejected (by the GCs) was the solution itself rather than a mere blueprint.”
“…If the Greek Cypriots are ready to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal structure based on political equality, this needs to be demonstrated, not just by word, but by action.”
“…After the proclamation of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” in 1983, the Security Council, by resolution 541 (1983), considered the declaration legally invalid, and called on all States not to recognize any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus. By resolution 550 (1984), the Council reiterated this call and called upon all States not to facilitate or in any way assist the secessionist entity.”
“…Recognition or assisting secession are clearly contrary to the resolutions of the Security Council, and would be contrary to the entire goal in view. Nor would such steps respect the will of the Turkish Cypriots, who have voted for reunification. However, this vote has undone whatever rationale might have existed for pressuring and isolating them. The rapid reaction of the European Union to the new situation was a welcome first step. I hope that the European Union will follow up these steps with further ones.
“…In this context and for that purpose and not for the purpose of affording recognition or assisting secession, I would hope they can give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development, deeming such a move as consistent with Security Council resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984).”
Like the 2004 UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan, the Greek Cypriot side has blown up the latest Crans-Montana initiative as well, and as UN Secretary Kofi Annan has stated, over 40 years of obstruction and rejection by the Greek Cypriot side “… has undone whatever rationale might have existed for pressuring and isolating (the Turkish Cypriot community).
“You also asked about the Government’s position on security checks for flights to the UK from Ercan, and the provision of technical assistance to improve security measures at Ercan. The safety and security of the public are our primary concern, and the Government will not hesitate to put in place any measures that we believe are necessary, effective and proportionate. As a result of consultations with the Department for Transport, Pegasus Airlines took the decision to introduce additional security checks on passengers transiting in Turkey on flights from Ercan to Stansted.
The Republic of Cyprus has not designated Ercan as an airport under the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. It is not possible for HMG to do anything which conflicts with the Republic’s decision. To do so would cut across the Republic’s sovereign rights.”
Again you state “. It is not possible for HMG to do anything which conflicts with the Republic’s decision. To do so would cut across the Republic’s sovereign rights.”
In view of the ongoing unwillingness by the Greek Cypriot side to make an agreement since the failure of the Annan plan, surely it’s now time for the United Kingdom as a guarantor power and one time ruler of Cyprus, to take the initiative and show the UN, the EU, and the world, great statesmanship by recognising the continued breach of human rights of the Turkish Cypriots and start unravelling the conflicting agreements that will ultimately allow both sides to live either side by side or together.
It’s interesting to note that former Foreign Secretary , Mr Jack Straw has just written a fine analysis of the Cyprus issue and the errors of judgements made in the “Independent” entitled “Only a partitioned island will bring the dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to an end“
My Turkish Cypriot friends and I look forward to receiving a reply from a member of HMG who is willing to lead the way in resolving this ongoing problem as they did in Ireland all those years ago.
This issue raised above is of vital importance to Turkish Cypriots, tourists and expatriates that live in Northern Cyprus and through this letter, I urge all individuals and NGOs to write to the Eastern Mediterranean Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office via email firstname.lastname@example.org and make their feelings known at the lack of support being given by the UK Government to the Turkish Cypriots and their human rights.
P.S. My second letter below is what Eastern Mediterranean Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have replied to on 29th September 2017.
“Dear Prime Minister, Teresa May and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson,
Further to my letter to you both dated 29th July, I am writing to express my thanks for the email reply received on 23rd August from the Central Correspondence Unit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which sadly does not respond to the points I made in my letter to you both.
This email stated:
“We recognise that the status quo in Cyprus causes serious difficulties for Turkish Cypriots and we support measures aimed at reducing their isolation. The UK remains committed to supporting the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and bringing Turkish Cypriots closer to Europe, including through financial aid and trade liberalisation from the EU. We also support the European Commission’s proposal for a direct trade regulation to enhance the Turkish Cypriot community’s access to EU markets. Disagreements over the legal basis mean that has, unfortunately, not yet been agreed.”
What do they mean by “Disagreements over the legal basis“? and “through financial aid and trade liberalisation from the EU“?
We have all witnessed the recent failure of the Crans-Montana talks which followed the pattern of previous UN brokered peace talks. The Greek Cypriots only want a settlement on their terms and will not allow equality for the Turkish Cypriots.
Perhaps for the future the Turkish Cypriots share the same desire of the United Kingdom and that is not to be part of the EU and therefore alternative arrangements should be considered.
I requested answers to the following issue.
- Now the British Government has introduced new restrictions where passengers have to disembark and go through “Security Checks” again.
- This point was in respect of the Department of Transport request to Pegasus Airlines on 24th March to co-operate and change their method of operation as it was claimed that Ercan Airport was not visible therefore security checks made there were not acceptable and security checks would have to be made in Turkey with passengers travelling from Ercan disembarking for that purpose.
Now this is a very strange request as you will find from the copy documents attached.
- Home Office UK Border Agency certificate of approval for 6 months from 11/04/2011 to Pegasus Airlines for “Approved Gate Check Status” for flights from Ercan via Istanbul/Izmir (click here)
- Home Office Certificates to various employees for successfully completing a “Course on Document Fraud Training” on 28th April 2014. (click here)
Could it be that under the watch of UK PM David Cameron and FS William Hague (2010 to 2014) that a decision was made to tighten the existing embargoes arrangements by ceasing to work and help Northern Cyprus at Ercan Airport.
This non visibility issue could be resolved by the two Department of Transport, Deputy Directors Aviation Security Policy, visiting Ercan Airport and making their recommendations for security improvements and I am sure their visit would be appreciated unless this is not permissible for fear of upsetting the Greek Cypriot Administration who wish that Ercan Airport is closed as part of the embargoes package.
Finally I note I have been given an explanation for the reason for no Direct Flights to North Cyprus from The UK which I did not ask for,
“You also mention the lack of direct flights from the UK to the northern part of Cyprus. The UK Court of Appeal has confirmed that direct flights to Ercan airport would, in fact, breach the UK’s obligations under international law, specifically the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation. As a result, no airlines are licensed to operate flights from the UK direct to the north of Cyprus.”
Perhaps this is a very sensitive issue that the UK Government has to be seen to be supporting embargoes and therefore has to make a statement about it wherever it can.
I understand that all Turkish airlines that fly from the UK to Turkey even if the Flight Embargoes are lifted, would not be able to fly direct from the UK to North Cyprus as they are not included in the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation agreement so this is yet another embargo.
Please may I have a more informative reply from the department directed to do so, as the Turkish Cypriots are calling for transparency and truthfulness as their imprisonment to worldwide embargoes of whatever type have been going on for far too long.