Özersay calls to the Greek Cypriot leadership: “Do not mingle your politics, at least with regard to Science”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that the Greek Cypriot administration has recently stepped up its obstructive and preventative actions towards academic activities carried out by the TRNC universities.
In a written statement, Özersay said that it was unacceptable that a foreign academic who arrived in Cyprus via Larnaca Airport last week with the aim of attending an academic activity at a TRNC university had been denied entry by Greek Cypriot authorities and sent back to Dubai after they learned that he was planning to cross over to the North to participate in a conference at one of the TRNC universities.
“Those who try to prevent Turkish Cypriots from participating in such activities through outdated approaches have started to do the same regarding academics who want to or are in contact with universities and academics in our country. This does not serve to build confidence between the two communities and will result in a lack of confidence on the island” Özersay said.
Özersay said the approach adopted by the Greek Cypriot leadership regarding the TRNC universities and academics at a time when confidence-building measures were considered to be implemented is an example of insincerity.
Özersay also added that the Greek Cypriot side, on the one hand, acts like they are discussing confidence-building measures with us but on the other hand tries to smear or silence our universities with the aim of causing economic hardships for us. This is not acceptable and does not comply with sincerity. Such approaches only cause enmity between the two peoples on the island. The Greek Cypriot leadership should take measures to stop such practices.
Reminding that similar practices had been carried out not long ago in respect of tourists from Russia and Israel who had plans to spend their holiday in the North, Özersay said ‘now the same attitude is being shown to academics who want to come to our universities and he pointed out that it’s inappropriate in this century to name a university, an academician or an academic activity illegal.
Also touching upon the TRNC Immovable Property Commission (IPC), Özersay said that Greek Cypriot property owners could apply to the commission for compensation if they wished to and this attitude clearly shows that the Turkish Cypriot side does not ignore anyone’s property rights. Özersay underlined that pre-1974 property owners were given the opportunity to be compensated.
In addition Özersay said ‘since we are providing the opportunity for compensation, no one has the right to claim that any activity on that property is illegal’ and reminded that the Immovable Property Commission had been recognized by the European Court of Human Rights as an effective domestic remedy. He said that the Greek Cypriot argument had become null and void with the establishment of the IPC.
In conclusion Özersay pointed out that trying to prevent an academic activity does not comply with goodwill and said ‘we will complain about this mainly to the United Nations and the other related international organizations and we will attract the attention of everyone to this outdated implementation.’