Continuous discussion on landmines damages north Cyprus' tourism
After Greek Cypriot President Nicos Ansastasiades announced that Greek Cypriot Side was ready to hand over 28 maps for landmines on Beşparmak Mountains discussions on whether there was any mines remained on the mountains have not ceased.
Discussions gained a new dimension as, according to several municipalities and muhtars complained that statements on landmines effected tourism negatively. Following the news that maps had been handed over, several officials from Turkish Armed Forces said that Beşparmak Mountains had been cleared of mines long ago. However, 'this has not changed the initial reactions of tourists' said Kalavaç Muhtar Ömer Meraklı.
Speaking to Firuzan Nalbantoğlu of Kıbrıs Postası, Meraklı complained that the number of hikers who visit Kalavaç has dramatically declined after the landmines became hot topic. According to Meraklı, since the news broke out there have been no tourist groups visiting his village. “Just the other day a climber came to our village and asked us if it was true that there was landmines on the mountains” said Meraklı.
Speaking on the issue the president of Tourist Guides Association Hasan Karlıtaş said that the issue should not be discussed anymore as it affects tourism negatively.
“This is a very sensitive topic. No one want to risk their lives for holiday. Even though there have been statements since regarding landmines, assuring that there are no mines on the mountains, as long as the issue continues to be discussed our tourism will be negatively affected” warned Karlıtaş.