The new administration in the north has so far granted around 2,500 ‘citizenships’, reports said on Monday, while a probe was launched after reports of bribery.

During a session in ‘parliament’, Turkish Cypriot ‘interior minister’ Kutlu Evren said that after allegations about the granting of ‘citizenships’ through bribery, a probe had been launched in cooperation with the police.

According to Turkish Cypriot daily Yeniduzen, to a question on how many ‘citizenships’ Evren said around 2,500 since the day he came to office.

He said that 1,810 of them were due to marriage, and 683 were people who completed 11 years in the north. Evren added that another 350 to 400 people who were turning 18 were expected to be gradually granted ‘citizenship’.

The new administration in the north, a coalition between National Unity Party (UBP), the Democratic Party (DP) and the Rebirth Party (YDP), came to power last December.

Evren’s statements follow reports over a recording that was circulating on social media in which a woman, believed to be working in the north’s ‘civil registry office’ is heard telling someone the amount (bribe) they are asking for, 10,000 Turkish lira (€962) was not that much. “You can tell (the client) ₺13,000 (€1,250) and earn ₺3,000 (€288) per passport…,” she is heard saying daily Avrupa reported.

According to the same daily, the woman, who it is believed was a Kyrenia candidate for UBP in the last elections, claimed that, on Turkey’s instructions, it was asked that 50,000 were made ‘citizens’ so that the UBP would win the elections without having to form a coalition.