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Ombudswoman admits delays in issuing Turkish Cypriots passports

Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou

By Andria Kades

AFTER a number of reports issued by Ombudswoman Eliza Savvidou concerning severe delays Turkish Cypriots face in receiving a Cypriot passport, a meeting has finally been scheduled in January with the Interior ministry’s permanent secretary and the migration department chief to resolve the issue.

According to her latest report on November 25, Savvidou repeatedly sent letters to the ministry stressing children of Turkish Cypriots and their relatives face serious delays in obtaining a Cypriot passport.

She detailed a total of 14 cases that have come to her attention, as well as 18 filed with the law firm of Michaelides & Zavalli by Turkish Cypriots with most facing delays of up to six and seven years.

“I consider it reasonable that affected individuals may have the impression they are unfavourably treated due to their origins,” she said in her report.

Several of the individuals had Jordanian passports or were children of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot parents. For most of the cases, Savvidou noted, “I have not yet received a response from the (migration) department,” or “I was not informed on any developments” despite several requests.

Since 2013, she has repeatedly brought the matter to attention through letters sent to the ministry and a previous report.

Nevertheless, in last month’s report Savvidou sought to stress “the omission / negligence from the civil registry and migration department, as well as the interior ministry to respond and inform me for the majority of these cases, as they are required to do according to the law. This stance complicates my work and the up to date investigation of the complaints the affected citizens have placed before me.”

Her suggestions on resolving the issue by informing applicants in time if there were any problems have essentially been ignored, she outlined.

Savvidou also stressed that the deputy chief of the migration department needed to resolve the problem “and immediately find solutions.”

The interior ministry did not respond to requests for comment. However, it confirmed the meeting will take place in January.

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