Kulaksiz 5 meet the TRNC Minister of Tourism and correct Akfinans Bank’s misinformation

Bob French

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Minister Unal Ustel in his role as Minister of Tourism. The Minister had made a special journey to the Simena Club to meet with some of the 120 guests from Liverpool who came to stay there.

Billy Strand and his wife Gill, son-in-law and daughter of Kulaksiz 5 members Margaret and Brian Freeman, had made a request that the Minister meet with them. Other members of Kulaksiz 5 were also at this meeting.

Billy impressed upon the Minister that he and the majority of the group from Liverpool who have been coming regularly to North Cyprus for some years will not be returning if the Government allow his parents-in-law to lose their villa. Brian Freeman spoke at length about the revenue generated from this group by their regular visits. Indeed the group spend in the Simena and the restaurants, bars and gift shops. This is an unusually large group, but as Bob French pointed out, his family usually visit and spend much needed revenue; that is until this year when his future is so insecure his family will not make the trip and spend their hard earned money in a country where their father is being so badly treated. Multiply this by the hundreds of other families who would normally visit their parents who have retired here, but are now thinking twice about it.

I spoke with another member of the group Mike Culkin who confirmed that he too would never return if Margaret and Brian lose their villa. He said that Margaret and Brian have been Ambassadors for North Cyprus; they have guided their friend and relatives around the island and recommended places to visit and to eat. He was adamant that he would never set foot North Cyprus again if two such innocent people were allowed to lose their villa. Mike said that he loved North Cyprus and had been seriously thinking of buying here, but after first-hand knowledge of how Kulaksiz 5 had been treated, he would most definitely not consider buying now.

I spoke with another British tour agent Barry Butler who told me he brought 72 guests to North Cyprus in Sept 2010, 40 guests in May 2011 and was bringing another 40 guests in Sept. 2011. Whilst he said he totally sympathised with Margaret and Brian and all K5, he would still bring guests to North Cyprus but felt that the property situation is damaging tourism here.

Minister Ustel sat with the group and answered questions through an interpreter who is known by the group staying at Simena as Tourguy.

The Minister wanted to know if we had met with the Prime Minister Küçük. He was assured that indeed members of K5 had met with the Prime Minister, and it was made clear to him that Prime Minister Küçük saw our situation as a legal one. I then asked if the Minister was aware of Mr Küçük’s statement in the press that there were 2-3000 victims and the government had no money to help them. Members of the group assured the Minister that we had sought government help but to no avail.

The Minister, through the interpreter told the group that he visited the U.K. regularly and that twenty days ago whilst visiting the Turkish Embassy in London our case was discussed. He had been told that the Bank had made the Embassy in London aware that Kulaksiz 5 could have settled with the Bank a year ago by paying £3,000 each. At this point, I witnessed jaws dropping all around the table. I quickly pointed out that the sum Akfinans were asking for one year ago, almost to the date (23rd. July 2010) was £55,000 each. What chance do we have when even the Turkish Embassy are believing the lies and misinformation put about by this despicable bank. We did point out that back in 2008 a sum of £5000 was bandied about but that this was dependant on the sale of the one remaining villa owned at that time by the landowner and this villa is still unsold. Had there been a deal on the table one year ago, to settle for £3000 each, I have no doubt the deal would have gone through.

With legal bills racking up at an unbelievable rate now, £3000 would have been the lesser of two evils.

Other questions were asked and answered and one of Kulaksiz 5 drew a connecting tree showing the nepotistic relationships that exist with the Kader family and people in power.

The Minister asked for K5 to give another written report on their situation. That must make at least twelve now doing the rounds of government offices. I wonder if any of these reports have made it to the WC office yet?

Billy Strand is a very gifted entertainer/singer and whilst staying at the Simena does regular shows there. There may be a charity night for the Kulaksiz 5 legal fund shortly. Details will follow.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.