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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Ban on Cyprus posters overruled
Bus with the Cyprus poster
Transport for London had banned the posters in March
A ban on bus adverts for holidays in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus has been overturned by the High Court.

Judge Mr Justice Newman said Transport for London's (TfL) decision was "irrational" and awarded legal costs to the North Cyprus Tourism Centre (NCTC).

TfL banned the posters saying some Greek Cypriots, angry at the 1974 Turkish invasion, found them offensive.

But Mr Justice Newman said it "carried no political message" and ruled the ban was disproportionate.

The poster, carried on London buses in 2004, showed a family on a beach below the Crusader and Venetian fortress at Kyrenia.

It featured the strapline: "Pure Mediterranean...North Cyprus...A sanctuary of unspoilt beauty".

In March TfL turned down a request from NCTC to re-run the advertisement, saying they were likely to cause widespread or serious offence.

But the judge said it was not the content of the poster that caused complaint, but the website it advertised, which described the NCTC as "the UK representative office of the North Cyprus Tourism Ministry".

Internationally, only Turkey recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which funds the tourism centre.

But the judge said : "I cannot accept that a prospective holidaymaker would read the website and understand it to have stated that TRNC has been recognised by Her Majesty's government as a state having power over North Cyprus.

"No offensive product or service was offered by this advertisement, which merely illustrated the cultural and environmental delights of northern Cyprus."


NCTC director Yilmaz Kalfaoglu said he was pleased with the decision.

"We always felt that the refusal by Transport for London was a politically-motivated decision and an infringement on the rights of a UK-registered company to advertise a holiday destination," he said.

A TfL spokesman said it would be "reviewing its decision in accordance with the guidance given by the court as soon as reasonably practicable."

Many Greek Cypriots claim the properties they were driven from after the Turkish invasion are being used as holiday homes.

The northern part of the island has been partitioned since Turkish troops landed there 31 years ago.

About 160,000 Greek Cypriots fled south or were expelled - about 50,000 Turkish Cypriots moved north a year later.

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