Gangs are being bribed with money in exchange for Cypriot citizenships for children in the north of mixed marriages, primarily between Turkish Cypriots and Turkish nationals, a prominent union figure there charged on Friday.
The accusations, printed on the front page of Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, were made by Sener Elcil, general secretary of Ktos, the Turkish Cypriot teachers union.
He claimed gangs receive money and then manage to grant Cypriot citizenship to children of mixed marriages.
Though he did not specify whether the gang is in the north or government controlled areas, it is presumed the alleged gang is in the south as Elcil claimed the interior ministry is taking measures against this.
The general secretary said he is soon set to meet Greek Cypriot political parties over the matter, which he claims stems from Cyprus’ apparent refusal to grant citizenship to children of only one Turkish Cypriot parent.
He repeated the accusations last month in a meeting with ombudswoman Maria Stylianou Lottides saying this was a violation of the constitution.
Elcil claims there are 17,000 children from mixed marriages between Turkish Cypriots and Turkish people that are trying to obtain Cypriot citizenship “but can’t get very far” and so resort to bribing gangs as they have no other options.
The general secretary said through these gangs, Turkish Cypriots that use foul language about the republic have obtained citizenship while those that seek peace on the island but try using the proper procedure cannot get citizenship.
So far, 300 applications from the latter group have reached Ktos which is trying to help them through an initiative making use of groups from government controlled areas such as the migrant support NGO Kisa, as well as political parties and teachers, Elcil said.
A total of 4,000 applications will be re-evaluated through the initiative, he added
“This is a matter which is getting in the way of the path towards a solution for Cyprus,” he was quoted by the paper as saying.
If any pending cases do not receive the desired result, they will be sent to the European court of human rights while protests are planned outside the presidential palace, interior ministry and parliament, Elcil said.