Turkish and Greek Cypriots resolve to mutually lift visa restrictions on May 15 as goodwill sign as they negotiate island’s future.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades decided to remove visa requirements as a goodwill gesture amid ongoing negotiations over the island’s future.
The two administrations on the divided island met at UN’s office in Greek Cyprus on May 15 to resume peace negotiations over the Cyprus issue.
Visa applications will be lifted effective as of May 16 for people living on the island, said a statement issued Friday by the Interior Ministry of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Peace talks were unilaterally suspended by the Greek Cypriot administration last October after Turkey issued an advisory on behalf of the TRNC for seismic research off the coast of Cyprus.
The president of the Cyprus Turkish Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies, Orhan Tolun, welcomed the news saying it offers great convenience for them.
He told Anadolu Agency that beginning from Saturday, people will not be forced to long waits at border gates.
The news comes hours after the TRNC President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades met Friday to resume peace negotiations over the Cyprus issue. Akinci and Anastasiades met with United Nations Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide at the UN's office in Cyprus.
The island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern one third and a Greek Cypriot administration in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor state in Cyprus.
Border gates between the TRNC and Greek-administered southern Cyprus were opened on April 2003.