The Foreign Ministry says it will not consent to the organisation of any meetings of international bodies in Turkey unless the new electronic visa system which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus as an EU member state is lifted.
The decision is part of the government’s efforts through diplomatic channels to force Turkey to make changes to the country’s entry system which forces Greek Cypriots to list their origin as the ‘Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus’ as there is no option to select the Cyprus Republic.
Up until April 10, Greek Cypriots who visited Istanbul could secure a visa upon arrival at the airport, but the government decided to enforce regulations whereby a visa could only be secured via the new electronic system or Turkish embassies around the world.
In addition, the new system considers electronic visas issued to be invalid if the stated country of origin does not match the passport used to travel. Therefore, Cypriots would theoretically be banned from entering the country as the issuing country of the passports would not match the stated place of origin on the visa.
The decision caused the immediate reaction of the Cypriot authorities and particularly the Foreign Ministry, which effectively called on citizens not to travel to Turkey following the implementation of a new electronic visa system by Ankara.
Foreign Affairs Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that the ministry raised the issue with the European Commission and the United Nations, condemning Turkey’s ‘unacceptable actions’ which force Cypriot passport holders to select a non-existent ‘Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus’ as their place of origin in order to secure entrance into the country.
“We demand the immediate rectification of the list in question,” Kasoulides said.
Meanwhile, the issue has been put up for discussion with the EU’s Directorate-General for Enlargement and the Directorate-General of Internal Affairs, while it is noted that the roadmap to liberalise visas for Turkish citizens includes a condition whereby Turkey must follow a uniform approach for providing visas to all member states of the EU.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry has called on all other ministries and public service departments who are invited to conferences and other events held in Turkey by international organisations to condemn the new policy and request help with securing a visa under the former system.
The government has already informed international organisations that it will not consent to the organisation of future meetings in Turkey unless the unacceptable conditions are lifted and Cypriot citizens planning to visit the country are invited to do the same.