The Foreign Ministry has called on Cypriot citizens not to apply for an entry visa to Turkey as Ankara has basically ‘abolished’ the Republic of Cyprus.
And Nicosia has also launched diplomatic protests.But a former foreign minister yesterday said the government’s protests sound like political whinging and that stronger action is mandatory to counter Turkey’s provocations.
“Diplomatic protests sound like a political whine. The government must, first of all, demand the suspension of Turkey’s negotiations with the EU on the abolition of visas for Turkish nationals,” said George Lillikas who now heads the Citizens Alliance movement.
“And secondly, the government should suspend the granting of visas to Turkish nationals before announcing sanctions against citizens of the Republic of Cyprus who do fill the Turkish document referring to the Republic as ‘Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus’,” he added.
As of Thursday, Turkey replaced “sticker visas” with electronic ones but also scrapped Cyprus from the foreign ministry’s list of recognised countries. For a Cypriot national to get a visa, the application should say that he/she comes from the ‘Greek Cypriot Administration’, according to the ministry’s website.
Nicosia issued a statement saying Cyprus Republic passport holders are required by the electronic system of Turkey to choose as their national state an internationally non-existent entity.
It added: “The Foreign Ministry encourages passport holders of the Cyprus Republic not to apply for an entry visa under the above conditions”.
As for the illegal regime in the Turkish-held north, the Turkish website says: “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus: Ordinary and official passport holders are exempted from visas”.
This new provocation by the Turkish government comes at a time when efforts to reunite the divided island are underway.
It also comes as the international community has welcomed the ‘positive contribution’ of Ankara, now pushing for the opening of new EU accession chapters.
Stalled UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks resumed on February 11 after agreement was reached between the two community leaders on a joint communiqué highlighting key principles of a federated Cyprus.
The thorny issue was the Turkish side’s insistence on recognition of the breakaway regime in contradiction to high-level agreements and UN resolutions providing for a federal, bi-communal, bi-zonal state.
Nonetheless, the two appointed negotiators on the talks are set to enter the phase of substantive negotiations on May 6.