Following our article about the flight from London Stansted to Ercan for expats who wanted to return to their homes in Northern Cyprus after around 14 weeks delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, we received this statement from Sonya Karafistan from the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (UK) who was at Stansted to meet and wish this group a safe journey back to their homes in the TRNC.
Sonya Karafistan (Secretary)
CTCA – Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (UK)
“I’ve shared the needlessly protracted journey home for this ex-pat community.
That this community were singled out and not returned to their homes when Turkish Cypriots citizens were is very disappointing.
That the foreign residents had to wait 12 days for residency stamps to be checked, that their first flight date was postponed and when they did arrive back elderly, vulnerable and disabled people were met with the fear of deportation, left waiting for hours and finally housed in accommodation that was not agreed.
TRNC Residents who found themselves in the UK when lockdown came in effect, they were left waiting for 8 weeks for permission to return to their homes.
One pensioner with no friends or family to accommodate her had no choice and had to dip into life savings to cover Flight and Bed and Breakfast accommodation costs which racked up to £3,000 and that’s on top of the £1,500 she had to pay for someone to look after her home and pets.
There are residents who will have to face astronomical parking fees having left cars at public car parks, who were only planning on being away for a few days! Financial cost on top of the emotional trauma of being denied the right to return to their homes. Then there are families facing huge additional bills for the release of their shipped home goods from Famagusta port when they can get back to the TRNC.
Those responsible for these actions wouldn’t stand for their parents being mistreated in this way. Turkish Cypriots would not have it for one minute.
TRNC politicians you have let this community down. They invested their savings in your country, made it their home. The way this community has been treated is disgraceful.”