Thursday, January 20, 2011

Turkey declares 2011 the 'Year of Northern Cyprus'


 Turkey has declared 2011 the year of northern Cyprus in a move to promote the Turkish part of the divided island in the Eastern Mediterranean as an attractive tourism spot.

“We will hold promotion activities to make [northern Cyprus] a center of attraction and to increase the number of tourists visiting the country,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay told reporters late Monday in a joint press conference with visiting Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister İrsen Küçük.

Turkey wants to share its experiences in the tourism sector with northern Cyprus so that it can capitalize on its potential in terms of employment, prosperity and development, Günay said.

Tourism revenues in northern Cyprus increased 12 percent in the first 10 months of 2010 while the number of visitors from Turkey to the island rose 15 percent, the minister added.

Saying 2011 will be an important year for northern Cyprus’ tourism sector, Küçük added that joint investments made by Turkish investors and Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs will strengthen both groups against competition.

“We will carry out activities in line with the expectation” of 2011 being a significant year for Turkish Cyprus’ tourism sector, Küçük said.

During its visit to Turkey, the Turkish Cypriot delegation also met Tuesday with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s chief negotiator for European Union membership.

As a guarantor country, Turkey has close relations with northern Cyprus and has worked hard to develop its economy. Turkey is the only country that recognizes the Turkish Cypriot state, which was established in 1983 following Turkey’s intervention on the island after a rebellion by Greek Cypriots who wanted to unify with Greece.

Turkish and Greek Cypriots continue to hold talks to reunify the divided island, but there is little current hope of a breakthrough.

(Hürriyet Daily News)

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