The head of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce (KTTO) Fikri Toros has welcomed an agreement that could pave the way for Turkish Cypriot hellim producers to trade with the European Union.
The “temporary solution” announced by the European Commission, as reported by Cyprus Today last week, will enable the island’s traditional cheese to be registered in both Turkish and Greek as a “protected designation of origin” (PDO) product.
The EC said the deal will see an internationally accredited body called Bureau Veritas appointed to ensure hellim production in North Cyprus met EU standards, with reports sent to the “competent authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and to the Commission”.
Mr Toros, who has lobbied extensively on the matter, said on Thursday: “The KTTO and Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry… welcome the [agreement].
“We are confident the PDO will not only protect the Cypriot cultural product, it will also increase its export value and stop the production of hellim in countries outside of Cyprus.
“This is indeed a common understanding putting forward general parameters but is not the final shape. We are now waiting for the modification to the Green Line Regulation, but we do not know when or what form these modifications will take.”
Responding to disgruntlement from some quarters that the move amounted to a “political concession” to the Greek Cypriot administration, Mr Toros said: “Based on information from the [TRNC] presidency, hellim produced in North Cyprus will be regulated by Bureau Veritas, which will report directly to the European Commission.
“Reports on Greek Cypriot halloumi will go to the competent authority which is the [South Cyprus Ministry of Agriculture.”
By Kerem Hasan for Cyprus Today