Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Letters

To: Evening Standard
13 February 2012
Occupied Cyprus travel feature
I would like to complain about the article I saw in the Evening Standard last week written by Jonathan Gregson. 
  
I was utterly appalled. To urge tourists to visit an illegal militarily occupied area is absolutely ridiculous. Clearly Jonathan has very little knowledge of the island he wrote about, let alone its painful history and the offence his ill-considered words would cause. 
  
The reasons tourists visit the Republic of Cyprus rather than the occupied territory (referred to only by Turkish authorities as 'north Cyprus' or the 'TRNC') are numerous: the Republic of Cyprus is an internationally recognised country, it is a member of the European Union, it is not a police state, there is freedom of movement, goods and people, people are allowed the freedom of expresion and religion, the rule of law applies, it is democratic and affords every person their basic human rights - all things that do not apply to 'north Cyprus'. Still sound like a great holiday destination? 
  
The fact that journalists are made to fear for their lives if they speak out against their tyrannical leaders should mean something to the Evening Standard. A Turkish Cypriot journalist was shot at last year whilst a 21-year-old journalist called Halil Karapasaoglu has still not been released from prison for reporting on the torture he witnessed whilst a conscript in the occupied area.  Perhaps it is not wise to make the place sound so rosy – when the reality is, it is not. Sadly many people are not aware of these issues, so urging tourists to visit 'north Cyprus' instead of the fully free, fully democratic free areas of the Republic of Cyprus is not such a good idea, to the say the least. 
  
I hope you realise the harm that has been done and think twice before publishing another article that is as incredibly ignorant and badly researched as the one I had the misfortune of reading.