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“Rough Guides” takes the rough road in recommending travel to occupied Cyprus

Tuesday, December 18, 2012  |   |  Tags:

There is no such country as “Northern Cyprus.” There is only Cyprus, an island hideously scarred by a U.N. Buffer Zone that stretches from one end of the island to the next — a daily reminder of Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of that independent country in 1974. It is, according to the United Nations, one of the most highly-militarized areas on the planet. Rough Guides, a popular British travel guide publisher, has placed that highly-militarized, occupied area on its 2013 Travel Hot List:

More and more travellers are discovering Turkish-controlled north Cyprus’s wealth of ancient sites, trekking trails and pristine beaches, now within an easy day-trip from the south. Highlights include Kyrenia harbour, the fairytale Crusader castle of Buffavento and Bellapais village, once home to writer Lawrence Durrell.

If only Cypriot refugees who fled Kyrenia when Turkish tanks and troops flooded that area in 1974 could travel back to their homes with the ease of  British tourist. That Rough Guides would recommend travel to an area of a country under military occupation is beyond bizarre. The guide conveniently neglects to mention Ercan Airport in occupied Cyprus — the only international airport there —  is not recognized by the International Air Travel Association. Moreover, as the British government points out in its Cyprus travel guide, “British and other foreign nationals who have entered Cyprus through the north are considered by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have entered Cyprus through an illegal port of entry.”

Vice-president Joe Biden has rightly called Turkey’s continued occupation of Cyprus “The only truly unresolved and unremitting injustice that exists in that whole area of the world.” By encouraging travel into that occupied area, Rough Guides and its editors do little to help remedy that injustice.

Please take one moment to write to the editors of Rough Guides. Let them know how inappropriate and offensive it is to promote tourism to an area under illegal military occupation.



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