Cyprus opposes Turkish support package for northern enclave
Activists fear the package could make it easier for Turkish citizens with no links to Cyprus to buy island property. It also grants more power to the Turkish religious authorities.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told broadcaster CyBC that he would oppose the move to designate the north’s unrecognised airport as a domestic Turkish route.
The financial agreement and airport designation have been seen as evidence that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to annex northern Cyprus as a Turkish province.
“I will proceed with the complaint again with the United Nations relative to the airport which … in essence is being integrated and considered a Turkish airport,” Anastasiades said. “[The] protocol clearly demonstrates Ankara’s complete control of the Turkish Cypriots.”
Turkey reportedly claimed the airport designation would make flights cheaper.
Turkish Cypriots declared independence in the northern third of the island nearly a decade after the 1974 Turkish invasion but only Ankara recognises the enclave.
United Nations troops still patrol the green line – which apparently got its name because a British officer used a green pencil on a map to mark the extent of the Turkish invasion in 1974.
United Nations-brokered talks have failed with Turkish Cypriots saying they are being denied an equitable share of power and the Greek Cypriot side fearing an insistence for Turkey’s military intervention rights, a permanent mainland troop presence and a veto power over island politics.
The Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and his backers on the Turkish mainland say the only solution available is two independent states, which the Greek Cypriots reject as formalising a permanent partition.
Liberal Turkish Cypriots oppose Turkey’s financial deal, estimated at €240 million in grants and loans this year, about a third of the enclave’s annual revenues.
The activist group United Cyprus Now said the agreement pushes the Turkish Cypriot authorities to curb freedoms of speech, makes it easier for mainland Turks to buy island property and boosts the powers of the religious authorities.
“These measures constitute a direct threat to the will, identity, culture, way of life and heritage of Turkish Cypriots,” United Cyprus Now said.
Kyrenia. Northern Cyprus has several potential tourist attractions. Pixabay