Ozersay: duty on aid sent north was wrong
|Photo from Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen|
By Kyriacos Kiliaris
News Across the Divide
Kudret Ozersay, the head of Turkish Cypriot foreign affairs office, has said that “the previous government’s decision to impose duty on the humanitarian aid the sent to Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the north was wrong and is to be adjusted.
Speaking to Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Yeni Duzen, Ozersay, although did not go into details, said that the 4-party coalition is working towards making the previous administration’s decision more rational and to correspond to the current situation.
Weekly deliveries of basic items to cover household needs sent by the government to around 300 people living in the Karpasia peninsula and the Maronite villages of Kormakitis and Karpashia were interrupted last October after the then Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition announced they would tax the aid. Since then, the UN has only been delivering medical supplies that are exempt from the duty.
The head of the TC foreign affairs office said that one of the reasons the previous coalition had implemented the ‘duty tax’ was that these items found their to the local market, that they were given to some grocery stores, something which is neither correct or legal. He added that measures need to be taken regarding the matter.
He also added that the Greek Cypriot side is wrongly dubbing the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the north as ‘besieged’. He said that while items like baby diapers, some food items and gas tubes were subjected to the duty tax, thus were hampered from reaching their recipients, “these items can be found in the markets in the north”.
Ozersay said that a series of items, especially those indented for older people should not be hampered, and that there will not follow a policy discriminating the recipients.
The deputy head of the ruling coalition, also made comments regarding progress on the matter of the Maronites return to their villages in the north. Ozersay said that officials visited the villages inhabited by the Maronites prior to 1974 assessing the progress made on the ground. He said that they have had consultations with army officials, who, as he claimed, have a positive stance on the matter and have made progress.