Correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan report that since mid July a ban to enter the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has been imposed on Turkmenistan's nationals.
An official from Turkmenistan's State Migration Office said that on 15 July high-ranking officials of the agency had a meeting, in the course of which a temporary travel ban to enter Northern Cyprus was introduced for Turkmenistan's nationals.
The decision is related to the fact that Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have not agreed upon the issue of old and new Turkmen passports. Old Turkmen passports did not have an expiry date but photos taken at the age of 16, 25 and 45 needed to be glued in. New biometric passports were introduced in Turkmenistan in 2008. However, in Northern Cyprus old passports are still considered to be valid.
At the same time, since last year Turkmenistan's nationals entering Cyprus have been requested to present a working visa or a student referral. Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus do not have diplomatic relations.
The next day after the ban was imposed, 12 passengers, who hold residence permits and working visa or a student assignment in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, were prevented from boarding the plane bound to Istanbul in Ashgabat airport. There is no direct flight from Ashgabat to Nicosia (the capital of the republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) and for this reason passengers have to take an indirect flight via Istanbul.
Turkmenistan's nationals residing in Cyprus told Chronicles of Turkmenistan that there are thousands of them and some of them have been staying in the country illegally. Under current conditions returning to the home country for these people means they might lose a job and be included on the black list of those barred from traveling overseas, especially in the meantime when even those who hold new passports and official work and residence permits in the northern part of Cyprus are unable to enter there because of the decision made by the Turkmen authorities.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan