Cypriots who want to visit Turkey will either have to get visas that say their country doesn’t exist or stipulate they live under Turkish rule on the island – or turn back.
Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry is, in effect, telling residents not to visit Turkey because of what it called onerous changes in visa laws.
Ankara bars Cypriot vessels from its waters and airspace, and refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, so Turkey’s new electronic visa system ignores its existence, despite Nicosia’s membership of the European Union, an institution to which Turkey, nevertheless, aims to accede.
The new system obliges Cypriot passport holders to state that they are from the “Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus” as there is no option to select the Republic of Cyprus, according to the Cyprus Mail.
The system could also technically ban Cypriot passport holders from entering Turkey because of a further rule that electronic visas issued will be invalid if the stated country of origin does not match the passport used to travel.
If a Republic of Cyprus passport-holder registers the issuing country as the ‘Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus’, there is a clear inconsistency that, theoretically, bars this minority of EU passport holders from entering the EU candidate country.
Under the new system, tourism or business travelers to Turkey are no longer meant to purchase a visa on arrival at the airport, as Cypriots were able to do in the past. They are now required to fill an application form via Turkey’s new electronic visa application system (www.evisa.gov.tr).
Visitors arriving to Turkey without electronic visas will be able to obtain e-visas at interactive kiosks in Turkish airports.
Turkey’s foreign ministry says the new system, introduced in 2013, allows would-be visitors to obtain e-visas in approximately three minutes online, the Cyprus Mail said. The Turkish ministry states that the goal is to eliminate waiting periods at Turkish airports.
However, the new online system leaves no option for a citizen of the Cyprus Republic to obtain a visa which corresponds with the country that has issued their passport.
Following a report on the issue by Phileleftheros, the Cyprus Foreign Ministry issued a statement noting that on the e-visa website, the list of countries from which citizens may apply for an entry visa does not include the Cyprus Republic.
“The Foreign Ministry encourages passport holders of the Republic of Cyprus not to apply for an entry visa under the above conditions,” said the statement.
Cypriot visa applicants can state they are residents of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” Ankara’s internationally unrecognized puppet pseudo-state, but that would require Greek-Cypriots to stipulate they live under Turkish control. Some do, the ‘enklavosmenos’ or ‘enclaved’ of the Karpasian peninsula, but many Greek nationalists in Cyprus refuse even to cross the so-called ‘Green Line’ that has separated Cyprus’ two communities for 40 years.
The Cyprus ministry’s advice comes as talks to reunify the still-divided island inch forward between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish-Cypriot administration. The Turkish military has that has unlawfully occupied 37 percent of the island since 1974, when Ankara invaded it in response to the Athens military junta’s coup d’état in Nicosia.