A coalition of Turkish Cypriot trade unions have stated their intent to take recourse to the supreme court in the Republic to pursue a demand that children of mixed marriages between Turkish Cypriots and Turkish nationals be eligible for Cypriot citizenship.
Sener Elcil, head of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union known as Ktos, was quoted by media in the north as saying they would be taking such a recent case – recently adjudged and denied by a district court in the south – all the way to the supreme court.
And if the supreme court should likewise rule against, they would pursue the matter with the European Court of Human Rights.
A coalition of Turkish Cypriot trade unions began mobilising in 2017, shortly after the collapse of Cyprus peace talks in Switzerland.
Under Republic of Cyprus law any child with at least one parent who has RoC nationality should also get citizenship. A provision was subsequently added to make an exception in cases where any one of the parents entered the island from Turkey.
The trade unions are assisting some 6,000 Turkish Cypriots, most of whom are children of such mixed marriages, in their applications for Cyprus citizenship.
There are an estimated 17,000 mixed marriages between Turkish Cypriots and Turkish nationals.
In remarks, Elcil described these children as “victims of imperialism” and of the intercommunal strife of decades past that culminated in the events of 1974.
He also accused Greek Cypriot “political elites” of instrumentalising the issue of mixed marriages and using it as a bargaining chip.
“To consider someone responsible for political events taking place in Cyprus and the violation of rights caused by the island’s division, serves nothing more but to keep the island divided,” he added.
Turkish Cypriot activists engaged with the matter claim that employees at the ministry of interior often do not give proof of application or a case file number to applicants. People who challenge the issue legally get tangled up in court cases that drag on for years.