Take action: Protest against advertisements promoting occupied Cyprus for tourism

Occupied Cyprus offensive London bus advert

Write to the Mayor of London, Transport for London, and the Advertising Standards Authority. 

Turkey’s illegal subordinate regime in the occupied area of Cyprus is currently running a major advertising campaign on London buses and underground stations. We find it highly offensive that the occupied north of Cyprus is being promoted for the enjoyment of British tourists – while the legitimate inhabitants – the refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning by Turkey and its apartheid regime.

The advertisement include outlandish and misleading claims such as “Virtually untouched and unchanged in the last millennium”. Such statements could not be further from the truth. Since 1974, Turkey not only ethnically cleansed the population in the occupied north, it replaced it with Turkish colonists and removed almost all traces of the indigenous history and culture of Greek Cypriots.

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  • Write to the Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Advertising Standards Authority.
  • Register your complaint by post, email, or use the online complaint form links (see below).
  • Use our sample letter which you can download as Word documents (see below).
  • For more impact use some of the facts in the sample letters to write your own. If you or your family are refugees you can include relevant information on why you might find the advertisements offensive and misleading. You could explain how your family’s village or town has been changed.
  • Raise the issue with your Member of Parliament.


RE: Advertising on London buses and London Underground stations

Dear [insert as applicable]

I am writing to you regarding advertisements on London buses and at London Underground stations that promote tourism in the northern area of Cyprus, which is currently under illegal Turkish military occupation.

I find the advertisements offensive and misleading for a number of reasons.

There is no legally valid entity called ‘north Cyprus’ as the advertisements imply. The area promoted is part of the Republic of Cyprus. It was unlawfully invaded and occupied by Turkish troops in 1974. United Nations Security Council resolutions consider so-called ‘north Cyprus’ illegal and call for it not be facilitated or assisted in any way.

Almost the entire indigenous population of two hundred thousand Greek Cypriots (including Armenian and Maronite Cypriots) were ethnically cleansed from their homes and lands in the northern area of Cyprus. The occupied territory was sealed off by Turkey and the refugees and displaced persons are forbidden from returning, purely on the basis of their ethnicity, language and religion.

I find it offensive that while the legitimate inhabitants are denied the right to return, the occupied area of Cyprus is being promoted for the enjoyment of holiday makers on Transport for London and Arriva advertising sites.

I find the content of the advertisements inaccurate and misleading. An advertisement in the campaign states that so-called ‘north Cyprus’ is: “Virtually untouched and unchanged in the last millennium”. This could not be further from the truth. The reality is that the population of Greek Cypriots has been expelled and replaced and their culture and heritage almost completely eradicated. Since 1974, the occupied north has been changed almost beyond recognition.

More than one hundred thousand Turkish nationals have been sent to repopulate the occupied northern area and to usurp the homes and lands of Cypriots. The Turkish nationals, who are strangers to the island, have no legal right to be there. They were sent by Turkey to alter the demographic and cultural composition of the northern area, in violation of the Geneva conventions.

Cypriot villages, towns and regions were renamed with fabricated Turkish names in an effort to extinguish and deny the presence of Greek Cypriots and their history. The Greek Cypriots had, up until 1974 an uninterrupted presence throughout the entire island for thousands of years.

The religious heritage of the occupied area has also been almost completely extinguished. More than 500 religious sites, mainly Greek Orthodox (and Armenian and Jewish) have been ransacked and destroyed. Some were converted into stables and warehouses, others into mosques.

The claim that the northern occupied area of Cyprus has been “Virtually untouched and unchanged in the last millennium” is a blatant fabrication of facts, which members of the public are unlikely to be aware of.

Furthermore, most of the hotels in the occupied north belong to Greek Cypriots who are denied access. Visitors to those hotels will be unknowingly committing trespass.

Through deception and omission, the advertising campaign gives a misleading impression that tourism to the occupied northern area of Cyprus is legitimate, which is not the case.

Thousands of Cypriot refugees who lost their homes, lands and businesses reside in London and like myself and my family, will be deeply offended, feel discriminated against and be distressed by the advertisements.

I look forward to hearing from you on this most upsetting matter.

Yours sincerely/faithfully [delete as applicable]
[Your name]



Transport for London

  • TfL online complaints form (select ‘Tube’ or ‘Bus’ then see the ‘Contact us for more help or to make a complaint’ details)
  • Postal address: TfL Customer Services, 4th Floor, 14 Pier Walk, London SE10 0ES

Mayor of London

Advertising Standards Authority

Member of Parliament