Big push for direct trade between North Cyprus and the EU

Embargoed! is working closely with other Turkish Cypriot civil society organisations to help bring about direct trade between North Cyprus and the European Union (EU). The group’s members are calling on all British MEPs to support the Direct Trade Regulation (DTR) that will be debated during a European conference in June, while a joint declaration has also been prepared with other groups demanding “Trade not Aid” from the EU. The campaign for direct trade coincides with a legal bid at the British Court of Appeal for direct flights between the UK and North Cyprus.

A working group has been formed with Embargoed!, the Cyprus Turkish Chambers of Commerce in North Cyprus (KTTO) and in the UK (CTCC) to share intelligence and drive the direct trade campaign forward. It follows the close working relationship between Embargoed! and KTTO’s Brussels office, which is already reaping dividends. Socialist, Liberal and Green MEPs across Europe have all expressed sympathy and support for the DTR, while very few have spoken against it.

Italian Liberal MEP Niccolo Rinaldi will write a report on the issue if the EU chooses to pursue it. The issue will be discussed on 10 June at the EU Parliament’s Conference of Presidents – the leaders of the Parliament’s various political groups. The Greek Cypriot authorities have launched their own bid to prevent the DTR going through, threatening the EU with legal action if it is passed without their consent.

Embargoed!’s Secretary Emel Djevdet said, “The Lisbon Treaty provides Turkish Cypriots with a Get Out of Jail Card. We only need a majority of EU member states to support the Direct Trade Regulation, which has been on the table since 2004. Up till now, all efforts have been vetoed by Greek Cypriots.” She continued, “It’s vital we maintain pressure on our politicians – every British Turkish Cypriot should contact their MEP and ask them to support the DTR. If we can create a big push, and the legal challenge on flights is also successful, 2010 could be a very special year. Turkish Cypriots will no longer be Europe’s excluded citizens, as North Cyprus finally enjoys direct trade with the EU.”

Groups or individuals wanting to get involved in the “Trade Not Aid” campaign should contact Embargoed! by email, [email protected], as soon as possible or visit the website, www.embargoed.org, for more details.

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