By John Aziz Kent…..
When I returned to Northern Cyprus after living in exile in the UK due to attempts on my life by Greek Cypriot extremists, I was very fortunate to have been very successful in business and on my return to my homeland in the 1970s, after many issues, I was able to build the Celebrity Hotel which was the first Turkish Cypriot hotel to be built in Northern Cyprus click here
Following this, I built the Chateau Lambousa Hotel and Aphrodite Villas which created a fantastic centre for bringing tourists to the Lapta area, and then I started to promote North Cyprus tourism both from the UK and Northern Cyprus but the main problem holding back tourism was flight embargoes that the Greek Cypriot administration have convinced the world is necessary as they do not want the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to be successful.
So there we have it, time has moved on and with the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK Brexit the Greek Cypriot administration is slowly squeezing the door shut to prevent people from North Cyprus travelling from Larnaca or Paphos to their chosen destination, but why should they want to go that route?
Before the border between north and south Cyprus was opened because of the embargo, the only way people could reach Northern Cyprus was by a number of scheduled flights going via Turkey and I championed for many years for a low cost shuttle service to be set up between Istanbul and Ercan airports but of course whilst this may reduce airfares it does not reduce the excessive flight times, via Turkey, when compared to flight times into south Cyprus for those wanting to come from the UK.
Now over the past months I have been following the plight of many people who wish to leave or return to the TRNC but are prevented from doing so by COVID-19 controls but some have been able to depart via Turkey and south Cyprus.
What beggars belief is that we have a perfectly good airport in Northern Cyprus that the UK government has pretended they could not see due to ongoing pressure from a Greek Cypriot administration whose only wish is to rule the whole island again. The passage of time is such that the most sensible solution for the TRNC and RoC is to accept each other as equal states and move forward with the cooperation that will maximise tourism and trading terms for both parts of the island.
Life is for living and people’s lives should not be suppressed by political dreams to reverse history which cannot be achieved and now is the time for the UK to act. They once ruled the island and gave it to the Turks and Greeks to rule together but this failed and governing was usurped because of other dreams of Enosis – Union with Greece.
So let’s all give up dreaming and get on with life while we can and the UK should make a start by declaring Force Majeure and start sending direct flights to North Cyprus where there is such tremendous tourist potential and on the back of that success the TRNC will be able to re-write history and guide its people on a path towards financial independence by encouraging foreign investment and partnerships, including the foreigners who have decided they wish to live here, and in turn this benefit can be shared with the south of Cyprus.
We need to let go of the past and start working in cooperation for the future.
With my best wishes for the future.
Honorary President of the North Cyprus Hoteliers Association
John Aziz Kent