The Cyprus government and the London Cypriot community are protesting a publicity campaign advertising holidays in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus on public transport.
Posters have gone up on dozens of London buses, 22 tube stations (Waterloo Green, White City, Warren Street, Turnpike Lane, Tooting Broadway, St Paul’s, South Kensington, Stockwell, St John’s Wood, Russell Square, Regents Park, Pimlico, Marylebone & Islington, Heathrow Terminal, Hampstead, Goodge Street, Euston, Elephant & Castle, Clapham North, Camden Town, Belsize Park and Balham) and 25 central locations in the British capital. They urge Londoners to “Beat the Blues” by taking a holiday in “North Cyprus”.
The month-long campaign started on January 28 as the pseudo state seeks to generate early bookings from the UK market.
The Cyprus High Commission has written to London mayor Sadiq Khan, the transport committee of the city council and to Transport for London in protest.
Letters of protest have also gone to the mayor from the president of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Christos Karaolis. Transport for London is under the responsibility of the local authority.
Mr Karaolis said that the posters advertise areas which have been under illegal Turkish occupation since 1974 and points out that many London Cypriots own property in the north which they cannot visit.
Last week, Mr Karaolis had written to The Sun newspaper to protest a special offer to readers for an ‘8-day 5-star cultural tour of Cyprus.’
“The advert itself is deeply misleading as the tour and accommodation are both located in the area of Cyprus that has been under illegal Turkish military occupation since 1974,” the letter reads.
“It is highly offensive that you endorse holidays that support hotels of which most belong to refugees whose land or property is being used by settlers to generate large sums of profit annually. Therefore, the advert is misinforming your readers about the reality of the situation in Cyprus and undermines efforts to reunify the island…..”
The letter concludes, “the Republic of Cyprus is the only legitimate and internationally recognised state on the island of Cyprus. United Nations Security Council resolution 541 declared a breakaway state of ‘Northern Cyprus’ to be “legally invalid” and resolution 550 strongly condemned secessionist activities in the occupied area of Cyprus. This is also the policy of the UK Government, which only recognises the Republic of Cyprus.”