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Media Watch 2003

02 March 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Demetra Molyva
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 2 May 2003
Overnight stay offer ‘a provocation’

RAUF Denktash’s decision to allow Greek Cypriots to stay in the Turkish occupied areas for up to three days is a further restriction of movement and a provocation, the government said this week, appealing to the public to avoid spending the night in the north.

Following Denktash’s announcement that he would allow Greek Cypriots to stay in the North for three days, provided they booked into a hotel in advance, President Tassos Papadopoulos saw the move as a provocation, as most of the hotels in the occupied areas were the property of Greek Cypriots.

“For us, faithful to the safeguarding of the right to communicate, it is impossible to place restrictions but it is up to the conscience of and the judgement of each citizen to realise that this is not a proper action and to act accordingly.”

Asked what the government suggestions were on the issue, Papadopoulos made the position crystal clear.

“We have a free society of citizens, the government can give its guidance, its view, but the decision is up to each citizen,” he said.

Echoing the President on the issue, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides, said Denktash’s announcement was not a goodwill measure of a further easing of movement restrictions.

“On the contrary, it is a provocation to the feelings of the people and an insult to their self-respect, “ said Chrysostomides.

He reiterated Denktash’s firm policy to endeavour to stress his separate entity and pursue only relations which aim at “good neighbourliness” and not a united country.

“The Cyprus government, with its permanent policy and steady demand for full implementation of the human rights of free movement, does not intend to impose any restrictions,” said Chrysostomides.

Shortly after Denktash’s latest announcement on Tuesday, Justice Minister Doros Theodorou said Greek Cypriots should avoid staying in hotels in the occupied areas.

Speaking at the Ledra Palace checkpoint, Theodorou said, that at this stage there should be no staying overnight in the occupied areas, for security and other reasons.

Yesterday, Theodorou, commenting on the intention of some Greek Cypriots to stay overnight, said: “It is unacceptable.”

The Minister characterised those intending to stay over in the occupied areas as “receivers of stolen goods” staying in hotels from which the Denktash regime benefits.

The Cyprus Hotel Association (CHA), meanwhile, hailed the government decision to label the move a provocation."