President Ersin Tatar and First Lady Sibel Tatar attend Tourism and Economy Workshop held under the auspices of the Presidency
“We are working to make the best use of all our possibilities in order to bring more comfort and prosperity to our people.”
President Ersin Tatar and First Lady Sibel Tatar participated in the Tourism and Economy Workshop 2022, which was held this morning under the auspices of the Presidency.
The event, which was also attended by Prime Minister Ünal Üstel and other ministers, brought together officials from the TRNC’s tourism sector, the TRNC-based Economic Organisations Platform which contributed to the organisation of the workshop as well as economists and academicians. The event was held at the Acapulco Resort hotel in Çatalköy.
The workshop kicked off with speeches by the Turkish Medical Tourism Association President Dr. Sinan İbiş, Halkbank Chief Executive Officer Osman Arslan, Minister of Economy and Energy Olgun Amcaoğlu, Minister of Finance Alişan Şan and Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Lefkoşa Ali Murat Başçeri.
President Ersin Tatar commenced his address by expressing his condolences and sympathies to the people of Azerbaijan following the martyrdom of 50 Azerbaijani soldiers on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
Stating that tourism is the most important locomotive sector of the country, President Tatar emphasised the importance of holding these type of workshops where all kinds of issues and difficulties faced by different sectors in the TRNC are addressed, thus contributing to “evaluations regarding the future prospects of the country”. He said the workshop was being held as a result of the suggestion of Halkbank TRNC Country Manager Sevda Özen and the meticulous work of First Lady Sibel Tatar. The President added: “I wish to thank both ladies for spearheading the vision and organisation of this workshop, as well as thank officials of Halkbank and the Economic Organisations Platform."
Noting that the Turkish Cypriot People have been putting forth a great struggle for six decades which is still continuing, President Tatar said: “Prior to 1974, the Turkish Cypriots could not take the place they deserved in the tourism sector. Before 1974, Maraş had a significant share in the tourism field, which constituted half of the economy. We all know that the land inside Maraş belongs to the Turkish Cypriot Religious Foundations (Evkaf)".
Pointing out that there were Turkish Cypriots, local and from abroad, interested in investing in the tourism sector prior to 1974, President Tatar said that “despite all the injustice undertaken by the Greek Cypriots and the pain and suffering inflicted. . .the Turkish Cypriots never abandoned the fight to take their place in the tourism sector”. Expressing that a “new era” had been started following the Cyprus Peace Operation by Türkiye which brought peace to the island and freedom for the Turkish Cypriot people, President Tatar said the geographic borders of the TRNC were drawn and that despite all the isolation and obstacles, the Turkish Cypriots connected with and came to the island through the Republic of Türkiye.
“The achievements reached since 1974 in the field of tourism in our country should not be undermined,” the President said. “We were at zero point in the tourism sector as the Turkish Cypriot People. I recall the Turkish Cypriot names such as John Aziz Kent – owner of the Celebrity Group of hotels in Lapta. . . and Ünal Çağıner – the father of Dimağ Çağıner, as prime examples of Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs who participated and succeeded in the tourism sector. Work has been conducted over many years to make use of our full potential in tourism as well as to protect and conserve our environment, culture, our diverse historical heritage sites and of course the natural beauty of the blue seas and greenery of our lovely island."
President Ersin Tatar also referred to the efforts to increase the tourism potential with a balanced development throughout the country, from Gaziveren and Lefke on the west, through to Girne, Gazimağusa, İskele and Karpaz regions.
Emphasising the importance of promoting the country in various international fairs and events, President Tatar said he is happy with the participation of the TRNC in all tourism promotion activities in the Republic of Türkiye, the UK, Europe and beyond.
President Tatar recalled his attendance of the important meeting organised by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Türkiye Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu -- held in Ankara last month where, as special guest, he addressed all the ambassadors of the Republic of Türkiye who are serving all over the globe. President Tatar said: "At this meeting, I emphasised the support given by the Republic of Türkiye, our Motherland, to the TRNC, which is pivotal in every aspect. In the meeting that brought together hundreds of ambassadors serving in different parts of the world of the Republic of Türkiye, I also underlined the tourism potential of the TRNC and referred to the diversity of our country's history and the importance of the Maraş opening.”
Underlining that the Maraş opening made a significant contribution to the economy and tourism, President Tatar said that despite the pandemic, more than 700,000 people have visited Maraş since the day it was opened. “Even in its current state, there is massive tourism interest for Maraş,” the President added, as he emphasised its potential to the TRNC tourism and the economy. “Despite some negative reactions, bold steps were taken to open Maraş. This is the nature of politics. I thank Republic of Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his support on the matter,” the President said.
Drawing attention to the importance of the Project of the Century – where 75 million m3 of fresh water per annum is pumped via an 80km undersea pipeline from Anamur, Türkiye to the dam in Geçitköy, President Tatar stated: “This project, which was inaugurated in 2015, is one giant step for our drought hit country, because everything starts with having adequate supply of fresh water. You cannot talk about expanding our economy or any of the sectors including tourism, without having fresh water. We must contemplate and appreciate the importance of this project.”
“The TRNC is perhaps the most beautiful island in the Mediterranean," the President continued. "The North of the island has passed through years of great struggle. Under the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriot people and with our new policy, we are protecting the inherent sovereign equality right of the Turkish Cypriot People, which is fully supported by the Republic of Türkiye."
President Tatar stated that “we are working to make the best use of all our possibilities in order to bring more comfort, happiness and prosperity to our people”. He said financing is needed for the development of sub-sectors and the cultivation of various produce, adding that Halkbank has loan opportunities for tradesmen and business people who are developing their services.
President Tatar ended his speech by stating: “It is our duty to work on what can be done to increase our potential, how to make best use of it and to strengthen and raise our country to the next level. Our struggle for our national policy will continue.
“All the work we undertake is being carried out in cooperation with Motherland Türkiye in order to maintain our presence in this region which is very important for our children and for future generations.”
The President expressed his gratitude to all attendants and to everybody who contributed to organising the workshop.