October 1, 2020

The Policy of the Cyprus Government Vis-a-Vis the Turkish Cypriots

As long as the situation of non-solution to the Cyprus problem continues, the main concern of the Government, through the introduction of the measures mentioned below, is to give Turkish Cypriots who live mainly in the occupied areas the opportunity to enjoy, to the extent possible, the rights and benefits that the Republic of Cyprus offers its citizens. All the measures will be implemented within the context of legality, international law and the acquis communautaire.

The legal reasoning underlying these measures is that the Republic of Cyprus can tolerate the results of certain actions of the subordinate local administration of Turkey in the occupied areas – without this negating or affecting the fact that they are produced illegally or by organs or bodies established and operating illegally – in those instances which, if disregarded, would constitute or would have as a consequence the deprivation or violation of fundamental rights of the Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic.

This is based on the position of the European Court of Human Rights, which, invoking the opinion of the International Court in the Hague in the case of Namibia , takes into account, under certain conditions and in specific cases, the consequences of certain arrangements and acts in occupied areas.

That the Cyprus Government has taken this stand denotes its readiness for a conscious and pragmatic approach to certain facts which is based on its free will to take them into account, whereas they could have been ignored. Consequently, the measures cannot be interpreted as entailing a risk of recognizing the secessionist entity or its acknowledgment, or of assisting in any way the secessionist entity in the occupied areas.



The movement of goods will be facilitated in a substantive way. More specifically, the movement of locally produced goods, or other goods for personal use from the occupied to the Government-controlled areas will be facilitated in a practical way. (The movement of goods from the Government-controlled areas to the occupied areas has always been free.)

Arrangements will also be made in accordance with Cypriot legislation in force and the acquis communautaire for the movement of goods produced in the occupied areas to the local and the European Union market and third countries. For the practical implementation of this measure the contribution and agreement of the Commission and non-governmental organizations are expected.



Movement of Turkish Cypriots and other persons lawfully residing in Cyprus from the occupied to the Government-controlled areas will be further facilitated. To this end the Cyprus Government shall exert every possible effort for an understanding to be reached so that additional crossing points are created for controlled crossings to and from the occupied areas. Moreover, arrangements will be made, in accordance with the law, for the circulation of vehicles from the occupied to the Government-controlled areas as from 10 May 2003 , provided that the relevant legislation is enacted.

Furthermore, there will be a gradual relaxation of restrictions in force regarding the movement of tourists from the Government-controlled to the occupied areas, as regards the length of stay.



Practical measures will be taken to facilitate the employment of Turkish Cypriots who live in the occupied areas by employers in the Government-controlled areas with the same terms of employment which apply for the rest of Cypriot employees. Within this context more publicity will be given, among other things, to the existing practice so that Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas are informed that they can apply to the District Labour Offices for finding employment. The submission of applications via e-mail will also be promoted. Emphasis will be given to the employment of technically qualified personnel. Arrangements will be made so that an appropriate coordination role is entrusted to the labour federations, the Pancyprian Trade Union Forum and the Employers’ and Industrialists’ Federations of the two communities.



The assignment of contracting and subcontracting to Turkish Cypriots in the occupied areas will also be promoted, provided that the contractors and subcontractors fulfil the requirements of the relevant legislation.



The Cyprus Government, while insisting that the setting up of higher and tertiary education establishments in the occupied areas is illegal, but also wishing to avoid discrimination against really qualified graduates of these educational establishments, will make arrangements so that qualified Turkish Cypriots are employed in the Government-controlled areas on the basis of their substantive qualifications.



The participation of Turkish Cypriots in research and other programs such as Leonardo, Socrates, 6th Framework Program will be encouraged and facilitated. Scholarships will be given to Turkish Cypriots to attend courses in the recognized institutions of higher and university education in Cyprus .

The teaching of the Turkish language will be gradually introduced at basic level in the Secondary Education and to adults in the Government-controlled areas. To this end an effort will be made to employ Turkish Cypriot teachers.

Practical arrangements will be made for the free teaching of the Greek language by Greek Cypriot teachers to interested Turkish Cypriot pupils/students residing in the occupied areas.



The Cyprus Government will facilitate through the competent sports federations the participation of Turkish Cypriot athletes in international sports events, through the national teams of Cyprus . The forthcoming organization of the Olympic Games in 2004 will be a good opportunity to include Turkish Cypriots in the national team of Cyprus .



The Cyprus Government will not object to the participation of scientists, professionals and artists etc from the occupied areas to events abroad provided that they participate in their personal capacity and not in the name of or with the use of the emblems of the secessionist entity in the occupied areas.

The Government will strengthen in practice bi-communal contacts and the fostering of relations and co-operation between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot non-governmental organizations.



The relatives of Turkish Cypriot missing persons and non-combatants killed during the 1963-67 period and in 1974 will receive the same treatment as the relatives of Greek Cypriot missing persons and dead. The measures will include the provision of benefits, access to information held by Government departments, the strengthening of the investigative effort for the ascertainment of the fate of missing persons, the creation of a bank of genetic material and a bank of ante-mortem data and other necessary information from relatives, and the carrying out of exploratory excavations of burial sites as well as exhumations in cases where relatives show interest and willingness to co-operate.



In parallel, the Cyprus Government proposes the establishment of a bi-communal committee for humanitarian and other related issues with the involvement of UNFICYP. The committee’s mission will be to discuss and resolve humanitarian problems and to facilitate contacts and communication among persons residing on either side of the cease-fire line.



The Cyprus Government will facilitate, with further practical arrangements, the issue to Turkish Cypriots, by the authorities of the Republic, of travel documents, identity cards, birth certificates and other certificates and official documents.

Certificates regarding one’s family or personal status and other relevant documents of Turkish Cypriots who reside or used to reside in the occupied area can be examined on a case-by-case basis and their content be taken into account by appropriate authorities of the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of issuing administrative acts concerning those Turkish Cypriots.



Further practical measures will be taken so that Turkish Cypriot patients who come to the Government-controlled area for examination or treatment will be better served. To this end a hot-line will be established which will operate on a 24-hour basis to deal with emergencies. Facilities will also be provided as well as incentives for developing relations between doctors and medical establishments on both sides of the cease-fire line for the benefit of patients.



The Government adopts the proposal made by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (sub-committee on cultural heritage) for the establishment of an international foundation for the protection of the cultural heritage of Cyprus . The proposal is inspired by the need to protect the cultural heritage of the whole of Cyprus and provides for co-operation with the Turkish Cypriot side. In this context, emphasis will be given to the maintenance of Turkish Cypriot sites (e.g. mosques, cemeteries) in the Government-controlled area and of churches, cemeteries and archaeological and other sites of the island’s cultural heritage in the occupied area.



The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation’s Turkish programmes will be upgraded. There will be, among other things, more programmes with Turkish subtitles and longer Turkish news bulletins. The programmes entitled “Aktualite” and “Prisma” will also be extended in length and a new television programme will be created aimed at Turkish Cypriots which will foster a climate of confidence, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.



In January 2002 the Cyprus Government presented to UNIFICYP a proposal for de-mining all the mine-fields in the buffer zone in accordance with relevant UN resolutions. Despite the negative response of the Turkish side, the Cyprus Government confirms its intention to proceed unilaterally to de-mining the National Guard’s mine-fields in the buffer zone in the near future.



The Government has drawn up a formula for the promotion of co-operation between local authorities on both sides of the cease-fire line as well as the funding of projects on a local level in the occupied area, without affecting its position towards the illegality of the secessionist entity.



Direct telecommunication with the occupied area and Turkey will be established as from 2 May 2003 . As regards mobile telephony, given that roaming agreements are concluded between companies and not states, the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority will be encouraged to conclude roaming agreements with private companies which currently provide services in the occupied area.



The necessary legislation will be promoted so that Turkish Cypriots might participate in local elections in the Government-controlled areas and in the European Parliament elections on the basis of the relevant European Union legislation and the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.



For the coordination of the implementation of the aforementioned measures an Office for Turkish Cypriot Affairs will be established, headed by a Commissioner to be appointed. The Office will have the following competences:

(a) To co-ordinate the efforts of the State for the careful screening of all laws, policies and administrative practices, so that their implementation does not give rise to any kind of discrimination against Turkish Cypriots.

(b) To make recommendations, where necessary, for the introduction of legislative and administrative measures or for the revision of existing ones, so that the rights and legitimate interests of Turkish Cypriots are better protected.

(c) To recommend and monitor the introduction of practical arrangements for providing Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic with services, which take due account of the practical difficulties they face in having access to State services and to benefits accruing from the implementation of State policies.

(d) To receive, without substituting the competent services, requests by Turkish Cypriots and to forward them to the relevant Government departments or other services, submitting at the same time its recommendations.

(e) To provide the Turkish Cypriots with advice and information regarding the rights, obligations and benefits they can enjoy in accordance with existing laws and policies (as regards passports, economic assistance, subsidies, etc.) as well as their rights, obligations and benefits accruing from Cyprus´ accession to the EU.

(f) To translate in Turkish relevant forms, applications and other documents and to set up a website to host these along with other information useful to the Turkish Cypriots.

In this context information centers will operate both in Cyprus and abroad.