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Property nc
September 2005-Issue 05
Local News – Ruling on Northern Cyprus Ad Ban
Embargoed! By Keith Lloyd

Hails Landmark Ruling on North Cyprus Ad Ban as “A Victory For Turkish Cypriot Human Rights”

Human rights group Embargoed! [of Northern Cyprus] welcomed the recent High Court judgement, which saw Transport for London's (TfL) ban on North Cyprus adverts overturned. The group claim that Justice Newman's ruling has far-reaching implications for the ongoing and widespread discrimination committed against Turkish Cypriots and North Cyprus. The Judge made it clear that such discrimination [against Turkish Cypriots and Northern Cyprus] would not be allowed by the Court.

Embargoed! [of Northern Cyprus], which has been at the forefront of the campaign to overturn TfL's ban on the basis that it was a gross violation of Turkish Cypriots' human rights, believes the High Court ruling will set an important benchmark. The group claims that companies, organisations and individuals will now have the opportunity to carry out a whole range of ordinary lawful activities, which are currently denied simply because they relate to North Cyprus.

The group [Embargoed! of Northern Cyprus] has highlighted the following significant ramifications from Justice Newman's judgement:

Public organisations governed by the Greater London Assembly have an obligation to meet Turkish Cypriots' [of Northern Cyprus] ordinary aspirations by promoting equality of opportunity with all other persons irrespective of their race.

The ban was a direct violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, specifically the right to freedom of expression. This could have far reaching implications to render any discrimination that denies Turkish Cypriots [of Northern Cyprus] legitimate opportunities illegal.

lt is illegal, erroneous and irrational to apply a blanket ban on North Cyprus advertising (and other lawful activities) because the country [Northern Cyprus] is not internationally recognised. Justice Newman recognised that whilst not legal, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus does exist.

The Court recognised the UN Secretary General’s exhortation to the international community "to ease the plight in which Turkish Cypriot [of Northern Cyprus] people find themselves through no fault of their own" and the UK Government's approach, which is:

", ..that the UK Government [does not] refrain from dealing with the Turkish Cypriot [of Northern Cyprus] community. On the contrary we believe that helping the Turkish Cypriots [of Northern Cyprus] to come out of isolation, and to raise their standards towards EU norms, will make a future settlement in Cyprus more likely." (Simon Wood, British Foreign Office: letter to TfL on 3 May, 2005) The fact that North Cyprus is a sensitive subject for Greek Cypriots does not justify banning its adverts on the basis that they cause "widespread or serious offence to members of the public or sections of the public".

Embargoed! [of Northern Cyprus] argues that these findings demonstrate not only how biased and flawed the TfL decision to ban North Cyprus adverts on buses and hoardings were, but that it would be unacceptable for any other organisation to use similar arguments to restrict the fundamental human and commercial rights of Turkish Cypriots [of Northern Cyprus]. This belief was echoed by Embargoed! [of Northern Cyprus] member Alan Süleyman, who is the managing director of the Paradise Found Travel Company Limited and one of the plaintiffs to the legal action brought against TfL. Mr. Süleyman said, "As a UK based businessman, I was surprised at the level of apparent political influence clearly behind this advertising ban. I personally felt that our basic human rights were denied us by decisions made by both Transport for London and elected Mayor Ken Livingstone."

He continued, "The ruling by Justice Newman is a milestone in the long term aspirations of all Turkish Cypriots [of North Cyprus], who simply wish to enjoy the same human rights and privileges afforded to everyone else around the world. Every Cypriot, regardless of ethnicity, is entitled to identical rights and opportunities, and this historic judgement should come as a harbinger to those who seek to preclude the legitimate interests of the Turkish Cypriot [of North Cyprus] community, both in Cyprus and the UK."

Embargoed! is an independent, human rights pressure group campaigning to restore the fundamental political, economic and social rights of Turkish Cypriots [of North Cyprus]. The group was launched on 4th March 2005 and aims to play an active role in raising awareness about the isolation of North Cyprus and campaigning for the immediate and unconditional end to all embargoes.

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