Tourism operator accuses gov’t of restricting activities because of tensions with Turkey

Company accuses Foreign Ministry of curtailing Cyprus advertisements.

February 8, 2010 03:13
1 minute read.
Tourism operator accuses gov’t of restricting activities because of tensions with Turkey

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A company that offers tourism services to Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus accused the Foreign Ministry on Sunday of severely curtailing its advertisements because of recent strained relations with Ankara.

The Green Solution Company made the charge in a suit against Artara, a company that specializes in industrial fairs to promote economic activities in various sectors. Artara is due to hold a fair on Mediterranean tourism, called I.M.T.M. 2010, on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

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The Green Solution, which runs a ferry service from Haifa to Famagusta in northern Cyprus three times a week, and offers hotel accommodations in Famagusta and Kyrenia, signed up for a 20-square meter booth at the fair, to advertise its services.

On the same day, an employee of Artara informed the Green Solution Company that “in view of the sensitivity of the Cyprus issue in the fair, and in accordance with special directives which we received from the Foreign Ministry,” it would not be allowed to mention the fact that the services provided were for ‘northern Cyprus’” or to provide the names of hotels.

It also demanded to see the advertisements that would be displayed two days before the opening of the fair.

The Green Solution Company alleged that the restrictions were unfair and there was no law that prevented Israelis from visiting the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus.

“Advertisement of ‘a ferry from Israel to Cyprus’ is fragmentary, laconic, unfocused, ineffective and lacking anything unique,” attorney Ro’i Dvir wrote on behalf of the Green Solution Company. “Anyone who reads such an ad has no idea what part of Cyprus and what cities are involved.”

A Foreign Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post that Israel maintained a consistent policy toward northern Cyprus, which was occupied by Turkey in 1974, in accordance with the United Nations and the international community.

Israel did not recognize northern Cyprus as a separate entity, but did not prevent the private sector from maintaining commercial and tourism ties with the inhabitants of that area.

The spokesman added that this longstanding policy had nothing to do with relations between Israel and Turkey.

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