By Kerem Hasan
Mr Duncan Smith, who spoke of the “huge privilege” of hosting last year’s inaugural Turkish Cypriot Culture Festival in his north-east London constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green, said he would keep up the pressure on senior party colleagues – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling – to end the ban on direct flights.
“In the last 12 months . . . I have tried incredibly hard, [having] spoken to the Foreign Secretary, Transport Secretary and other members of the government,” he told the crowd.
“I have urged them to use their best endeavours to [resolve] what is essentially a remarkable problem: that our British citizens, who also happen to be of Turkish Cypriot origin . . . find it really, really, difficult to go and see [their] families in North Cyprus . . ."
Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) launched the petition in the second annual Turkish Cypriot Cultural Festival, organized by the Council of the Turkish Cypriot Associations of the UK, on Sunday, 17 June 2018.
KTTO Chairman Turgay Deniz and Board Member Serhan Kombos expressed their support for Mr Duncan Smith’s initiative to promote direct flights from the UK to the TRNC.
Speaking at a press conference at the festival, Mr Deniz noted that the UK is one of the guarantor countries of Cyprus, and underlined that the Turkish Cypriots have consistently supported the solution and voted “Yes” for the Annan Plan in 2004.
He added that promises were given to lift the isolations imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people, but the EU has not kept its promises.
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