Cyprus Mail

Turkish Cypriots protest to be allowed to cross for work (updated)

Photo: Yeni Duzen

Turkish Cypriots who work in the Republic held a protest in the north on Tuesday demanding to be allowed to return to their jobs.

Reports said dozens of Turkish Cypriots assembled outside the ‘prime minister’s office’ and marched to ‘parliament’ where they held their protest for about two hours until 1pm.

A number of Turkish Cypriots working in the Republic cannot cross over after the closure of crossing points to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We don’t want to lose our jobs,” the protesters shouted.

A statement read at the protest said the workers wanted terms and conditions to be set for their return to work and also wanted to know if the Turkish Cypriot administration had any plans to deal with their problem. The Republic said they can return to their jobs on June 8.

A spokesman said the closure of the crossings by the two sides affected around 2,000 Turkish Cypriots working in the Republic who no longer could make ends meet.

He said for various reasons they have not received the assistance granted by the Republic to people who pay social insurance but it was also practically impossible to apply for assistance in the north due to the criteria that were set.

Turkish Cypriot authorities said there must zero Covid-19 cases in the Republic for 14 days before they agree to reopen the crossings.

The workers accused the authorities in the north of using the pandemic as an excuse to prevent them from crossing over but at the same time it was considering allowing through planes and ships carrying tourists.

Meanwhile on Monday, Turkish Cypriot residents of the mixed village of Pyla protested at the Pergamos crossing over the fact that the authorities in the north wanted to monitor their movements to ensure they do not come into contact with Greek Cypriots.

The Turkish Cypriot residents of Pyla have been allowed to cross to the north for work on condition that they will not have any contacts with Greek Cypriots or travel in the Republic.

To ensure this, Turkish Cypriot authorities planned to keep tabs on them through smart phone application.

Quoting residents, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen said it was an oppressive and racist measure.

The Turkish Cypriot community leader of Pyla said the decision changed after the protests and talks with the authorities in the north.

Before they can cross, Pyla residents will be screened for the coronavirus. Initially, around 60 people who have their own businesses or work for the private sector would be allowed through.

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