Northern Cyprus citizenship
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Republic of Cyprus viewpoint
It has been the policy of the de facto state of Northern Cyprus to encourage non-Greek immigration into the country, as decided upon shortly after the Declaration of Independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to increase their numbers relative to the population of the Greek-Cypriots in the Republic of Cyprus. Most of the immigrants come from the Anatolia region of Turkey, but a few others from the United Kingdom come to live in Northern Cyprus in order to take advantage of property sales. No immigration is permitted, however, that would threaten the demographic status of the ethnic Turkish majority.
The Government of the Republic of Cyprus views the immigration policy of Northern Cyprus as a means to upset the island's demographics, and as a theft of Greek-Cypriot owned property. They, therefore, officially regard any naturalized Northern Cyprus citizens as 'illegal settlers', who would be subject to deportation in the event of Cypriot reunification. It is the policy of the Republic of Cyprus to refuse naturalized Northern Cyprus citizens entry into the Republic of Cyprus through the Green Line checkpoints since they have entered into Cyprus through what is considered as an unlawful port of entry. The refusal of entry to the Republic mainly applies to the Turkish settlers, as Turkish citizens of Turkey are permitted to enter the Republic of Cyprus, only through the lawful ports of entry.
However, naturalized British citizens of Northern Cyprus own British passports anyway, so they are not affected by this policy.
The Republic of Cyprus has declared any Northern Cyprus seaport or airport to be an unlawful port of entry; however, in practice, Ercan Airport is used as the principal civilian airport of Northern Cyprus, and the same applies to the ports of Famagusta and Kyrenia.
Furthermore, the government of the Republic of Cyprus considers the immigration policy of Northern Cyprus to be in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 ("Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War"), which prohibits the transfer by an occupying power of its own civilian population into the territory it is occupying. Also, in Resolutions 33/15 (1978), 24/30 (1979) and 37/253 (1983), the United Nations General Assembly deplored "all unilateral actions that change the demographic structure of Cyprus".
As a Northern Cyprus passport is not recognised by most national governments (much like the republic itself), naturalised citizens have to resort to other nations' passports in order to travel internationally. Australia, Pakistan, France, Tanzania, Turkey, the United States and the United Kingdom accept a Northern Cyprus passport. Many Turkish Cypriots who are born in Cyprus with parents who can trace their Cypriot and legal residence before the partition applied for and received a Cypriot passport from the recognised Republic of Cyprus. Because of the abandonment of the Republic of Cyprus by the Turkish Cypriot community since 1963, none of them choose to stand for election in elections of the Republic of Cyprus. Also, any citizen of Northern Cyprus is entitled to citizenship of Turkey and to receive a Turkish passport.
Recent policy changes
In 2005, after an increase in both crime and unemployment, the previously unrestricted immigration policy for Turkish migrants was tightened. In the wake of this new policy, a number of Turkish migrants have been deported and immigration procedures have changed to allow Northern Cyprus to better screen migrant applicants. Turkey itself regards policy change as a heavy-handed reaction, thus causing the first major area of disagreement between Northern Cyprus and Turkey.
- Politics of Northern Cyprus
- Foreign relations of Northern Cyprus
- Turkish Cypriot diaspora
- Visa requirements for Northern Cypriot citizens