Visa requirements lifted on Cyprus amid peace talks
NICOSIA - Anadolu Agency
Greek Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, left, Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akıncı, right, and United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide shake hands after their talks at a UN compound inside the the U.N buffer zone at the abandoned Nicosia airport in the Cypriot divided capital Nicosia, Friday, May 15, 2015. AP Photo/Petros KaradjiasThe two administrations on the divided island of Cyprus decided May 15 to remove visa requirements as a goodwill gesture amid ongoing negotiations over the island's future.
Visa applications will be lifted effective as of May 16 for people living on the island, said a statement issued on May 15 by the Interior Ministry of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
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 May 16, people will not be forced to long waits at border gates.
The news comes hours after Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades met May 15 to resume peace negotiations over the Cyprus issue. Akıncı and Anastasiades met with United Nations Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide at the UN's office in Cyprus.
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 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 military intervention of Turkey as a guarantor state in Cyprus.
Border gates between the TRNC and Greek-administered southern Cyprus were opened on April 2003.