Everybody loses because of Turkish refusal to open ports

The ban by Turkey on Cypriot flagged ships using its ports is costing the republic’s economy over 130 million Euros a year. The ships belonging to either carriers flagged in the south or managed by Cyprus based companies are not currently allowed use of Turkish or Turkish Cypriot ports. In an address to an international conference on transport in Larnaca, Erato Kozakou-Markoulli, Communications and Works Minister, reported that the Turkish embargo was affecting some 2,800 ships and was costing the equivalent of 1.3% of the republic’s G.D.P. She also said that the Turkish embargo had many negative financial repercussions for the EU and its member states, noting that 16% of E.U. registered vessels cannot dock at Turkish sea ports.

In respect of air transport, the minister said that Turkey’s illegal restriction of flights over its territory creates problems for Greek Cypriot air carriers; we won’t mention the problems caused to Northern Cyprus Carriers. She stressed that this was unacceptable and that the policy violates the International Air Services Transit Agreement and the Chicago Convention of 1944. So does the disallowing of direct flights to Ercan, but she failed to mention that.

Cyprus is Europe’s largest third-party ship management centre. The big question is what does Turkey get for this intransigence? If they don’t dock they don’t pay port charges. They don’t create jobs and don’t create support industries. So, everybody loses.

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