§ Viscount Hanworth
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether under the terms of the Geneva Convention British Telecommunications operators are not permitted to connect a caller to Turkish Cyprus.
Lord Young of Graffbam
The Government do not believe that the Geneva Conventions govern the connection of international telephone calls. It is not government policy to hinder communications between persons in the United Kingdom and northern Cyprus in so far as our international obligations permit. However, I am informed that Turkey has installed a telecommunications link from the Turkish mainland to northern Cyprus, which can be accessed by dialling a special code number. This service does not have the agreement of the Cyprus Government. Because the United Kingdom does not recognise the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", if UK public telecommunications operators were to meet requests to connect calls to this special number, they would be in breach of the Telephone Regulations appended to the International Telecommunication Convention 1982 (known as the Nairobi Convention). These require mutual agreement between states on which routes are to be used for international telephony. The Government have accordingly informed British Telecom that its operators should not connect callers to the service accessed by the special Turkish code number.
I understand that it is possible to communicate by telephone with northern Cyprus. Such calls would be routed through Cyprus.