Policy towards Turkish Cypriots

Every citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of national or religious background, is eligible to enjoy all rights provided for by the Constitution and international conventions signed by Cyprus.

Following the Turkish invasion of July and August 1974 several thousand Turkish Cypriots remained in the districts of Paphos and Limassol. In November 1974 the Government tied to encourage the Turkish Cypriots to stay in their homes instead of yielding to the pressures of the Turkish side and move to the occupied part of the island. However, during early 1975 the Turkish Cypriots who had remained in the free areas of the Republic were impelled by their leadership to move to the occupied part of Cyprus.

From the outset of bicommunal clashes in 1963 up to 1974 the Turkish Cypriots consumed electricity valued at 3,470,000 CP without paying for its supply. This supply of electricity continued after the invasion of 1974, even though apart from the Turkish Cypriots the consumers now included the Turkish occupation forces. During 1974-1999 a total 151,299,000 CP worth of electricity was supplied to the occupied part of Cyprus.

The Government of the Republic provides a regular supply of water to occupied areas of the districts of Nicosia and Famagusta and to the region of Pyla. Between January 1974 and August 2001 the Government offered to the Turkish Cypriots 79,865,425 cm of water, of total value C14,152,099, for which no payment has been received. The Government likewise undertakes the maintenance and repair works needed for the dams providing water to the occupied areas.

During the period 1975-1994 the Government provided to Turkish Cypriots in the occupied part of Cyprus with most of their need in liquefied petroleum, despite the fact that the price of cylinders were subsidized. A total of 97,264 tons of liquefied petroleum were thus sent, with a total subsidy of 6.26 million.

Correspondence for persons residing in the part of Cyprus occupied by the Turkish army are forwarded to them through the United Nations, as are pensions and benefits for Turkish Cypriot beneficiaries. Parcels are delivered provided the appropriate customs dues are paid.

The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) regards Cyprus as a unified whole and makes no distinction regarding the granting of its services. CYTA is not able to provide its services to the part of Cyprus occupied by the Turkish army. CYTA's network in Nicosia is connected to only 14 telephone lines in the occupied part of Nicosia. Another 4 lines serve the residence and office of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash.

Medical care is provided to Turkish Cypriots in public hospitals free of charge. Between March 1999 and February 2000 162 Turkish Cypriot patients crossed into the areas controlled by the Republic and received treatment in public hospitals and private clinics. During the year 2000, 22 Turkish Cypriots received specialist treatment as in-patents in Government hospitals. In the mixed village of Pyla Turkish Cypriots, like their Greek Cypriots neighbours, receive free medical treatment by the mobile medical unit, which regularly visit their village.

The Institute of Neurology and Genetics has been founded in 1990 for the purpose of providing specialist treatment in hereditary diseases common amongst Cypriots. The Institute has been established on the edge of the Buffer Zone and has during 1994-2000 provided treatment to 685 Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish Cypriots are also eligible for all certificates issued by the Ministry of Interior, provided their applications are supported by the necessary documentation. An increasing demand for passports has been noted recently. A total of 1193 passports were issued to Turkish Cypriots during the year 2001.

Turkish Cypriots who reside in the occupied part of Cyprus and are employed in the areas controlled by the Government are eligible for receiving the same benefits as Greek Cypriots.

The Government also pays pensions and social insurance benefits to Turkish Cypriots residing in the occupied part of Cyprus or abroad. During the year 2000 a total 4,708 awards were made to Turkish Cypriots, totaling C 7,918,000. As regards the Turkish Cypriots who come to reside in the areas controlled by the Republic, their needs in housing and other benefits are being taken care of by The Department of Social Welfare Services. Turkish Cypriots of limited or no means are eligible for Public Relief. During July 2001 a total of 38 Turkish Cypriots were in receipt of such relief.

The properties of the Turkish Cypriot population who were, following the Turkish invasion of 1974, forced to move en masse to the areas now controlled by the Turkish occupation forces are administered by the Minister of Interior in accordance to the Turkish Cypriot properties (Administration and other matters) (Temporary provisions) Law of 1991. The Minister is assisted in this task by a Consultative Committee made up of Government officials and representatives of major organisations and political parties.

The Department of Antiquities maintains a list of all monuments, Christian and Moslem, which are protected by the Law of Antiquities. This list includes 16 mosques, four of which are currently in use. During 1975-2000 the Department has spent 425,743 for the preservation and renovation of mosques in the areas controlled by the Republic.

The right of Turkish Cypriot youth to education has been protected by the Government, which covers all expenses in fees and transportation costs to private schools of the choice of their parents. During the academic year 2000-2001 the Government spent a total 89,677 for 50 Turkish Cypriot youths studying in private schools of elementary, secondary and higher education.

On 21.2.2001 the Council of Ministers decided that the regulation providing for the obligatory teaching of the Greek language to Greek Cypriot students in private schools will also apply to the Turkish Cypriots. Private schools with Turkish Cypriots students up to the age of 15 must offer these students at least 6 hours of instruction in the Turkish language every week and a sum of 6,000 has been set aside by the government for this purpose.

The Turkish Cypriots are also eligible for the assistance of C1,000 provided by the Government to all Cypriot citizens pursuing University education. Since 1997 the Government has granted this sum to all Turkish Cypriot employees of the British Military Bases.

Within the framework of the traditional Fulbright Program between 1962 and 2000 a total of 417 scholarships were awarded to Cyprus, 104 of which to Turkish Cypriots. Similarly, from the 1552 scholarships awarded through the Cyprus America Scholarship Program (CASP), 291 went to Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation maintains eleven hours of broadcasting in the Turkish language for Turkish language listeners on a daily basis. CyBC also has two weekly television programs in Turkish.

The Turkish Cypriots of the mixed village of Pyla, part of which lies in the buffer zone, receive free medical care from the Cyprus Government. During the year 2000 there were 106 admissions involving Turkish Cypriots in Larnaca's public hospitals. Also, medical detachments making their rounds in the district regularly visit Pyla and offer their treatment to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots of the village. During 2000 there were 360 entries concerning treatment of Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots of Pyla obtain, since 1964, water and electricity from Government sources, despite having paid nothing in return. A similar situation prevails in regard to municipal services, which are received by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Though the former pay their dues regularly the Turkish Cypriots pay nothing.

The Government of Cyprus has endeavoured to ensure that the benefits arising from financial assistance, which Cyprus receives from the European Union, will benefit the Turkish Cypriots as well. The First and Second Financial Protocols (1979-1983 and 1984-1988) involving a total of 70 millions ECU was utilised to develop the island's infrastructure in a way beneficial to both communities. These included projects on water and electricity supply, and the project on Nicosia's sewage system, in both sectors of the divided city. The Turkish Cypriot side has refused to co-operate in any way as regards the distribution of funds from the Fourth Financial Protocol.

The Government of Cyprus follows a similar approach regarding funds from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The aid given to Turkish Cypriots must be in accordance with certain principles ie. that it should not be utilised in the reactivation of assets belonging to displaced Greek Cypriots, that the process of fund distribution should not lead to a recognition of the illegal secessionist entity and that the projects undertaken should be approved by the Minister responsible and promote the reunification of the island.

Turkish Cypriot youths took part with Greek Cypriot youths in the European Union's "Program for Youth", 1995-1999. The Government subsidised this program, which has involved exchange of visits between youths from Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Austria.

The Government of Cyprus regularly contributes toward the expenses of UNFICYP, which serves both communities. Provision in the budget for the year 2001 amounted to C10,730,000.

This article comes from Cyprus Embassy

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