17 October, 2006
Head of the International Shipping Chamber (ISC) and the International Shipping Federation (ISF) Spyros Polemis said here Monday that the embargo imposed by
Turkey on ships flying the Cyprus flag is ''illegal and must end.''
Polemis, who is visiting Cyprus at the invitation of the Cyprus Shipping Council, was received by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and also met with Cypriot Communications and Works Minister Haris Thrasou.
Replying to questions regarding the Turkish embargo, after the meeting with Thrasou, Polemis said that the ISC and ISF have made representations on this issue in the past ''because this is a problem which should not exist.''
''This is an illegality which we have fought as much as we can,'' Polemis added.
Replying to the same question, Thrasou said that the Turkish embargo not only affects Cypriot shipping but also Europe's merchant shipping because a large number of ships are registered in the Cypriot registry.
''Therefore, the termination of the embargo, an illegality that Turkey continues to impose, concerns Europe and efforts should be made not only on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus but also by other EU partners to terminate this illegality,'' Thrasou said. Cyprus Shipping Council President Andreas Drousiotis said the Turkish embargo is the main reason that has led to a reduction in the Cyprus ship register. ''No ship owner wants to have restrictions in the movement of his ships,'' he added.
Polemis said that shipping is very important for Cyprus, which along with Greece are very important partners in the European shipping industry, adding that ISF and ICS will continue their cooperation with Cyprus.
''This cooperation is very important as far as Europe shipping is concerned,'' Polemis said.
Turkey, which invaded Cyprus in 1974 and occupies its northern third, restricted in 1987 the entry of ships flying the Cyprus flag to Turkish ports. Furthermore in 1997 Turkey extended these restrictive measures to ships carrying other flags which cruise from ports in the southern government-controlled areas of Cyprus to Turkish ports or to ships that relate to the Republic of Cyprus in matters of ownership or ship management.
Source: Athens News Agency