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Cabinet to resolve citizenship issue of children of bicommunal couple (updated)

theklia and christos alpha tv
Theklia and Christos (Alpha TV)

Cabinet will decide on Wednesday on the naturalisation of the two children of a bicommunal couple who have so far been refused Cypriot citizenship even after their Turkish Cypriot father received his.

The interior ministry is expected to submit a specific proposal to grant citizenship to the two children to cabinet on Wednesday, Interior Minister Nicos Nouris told reporters on Tuesday.

Without elaborating on the specifics of the proposal, Nouris said “we believe the issue can be resolved”.

The minister explained that the government “must be extremely careful in the way in which citizenship is granted,” in the context of the occupation, as a decision for a specific case might “open a can of worms”.

“For this reason, we handle each of these cases with exceptional procedures and very carefully,” he said.

Speaking on Alpha TV earlier, the Director of the President’s Office, Petros Demetriou explained that such cases are examined on the basis of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002, which states that children whose one or both parents have entered the republic illegally cannot be naturalised.

“A decision was made, and it has been implemented since the 70’s after the war, at the risk that the marriages of Turks and Turkish Cypriots would change if the demographic data for the Republic demanded the Cypriot identity,” he said.

The children, Christos 12 and Theklia-Yasemina, 9, were born in the government-controlled areas to Greek Cypriot, Sotiroula and Turkish Cypriot Osman, born in occupied Famagusta.

The problem stems from the fact that their paternal grandfather is from Turkey and entered the country illegally.

However, the “oxymoron” as Demetriou described it, is that the father received a Cypriot ID in 2015, after the children were born.

“The legislation also explicitly states that if some of the existing criteria are not met, cabinet may decide otherwise,” he said.

Demetriou explained that there are special circumstances with the family’s case, because the father has been naturalised over time, the two children receive Greek education, they are Christian Orthodox, they live in Liopetri, in the government-controlled areas and they have ties with this country the cabinet should have decided to “whether they can be exempted from the rule”.

The government official said there are similar cases that were examined by cabinet and there are difficulties to determine who genuinely has ties with the Republic.

The case received attention after a weekly show by Alpha TV called on President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday to help so that the two children can get Cyprus IDs.

“A well-structured state does not need to see a case brought to the fore by the media to provide a solution,” Demetrious said.

The TV show 24 Hours, which focuses on social issues, on Saturday evening highlighted the problems the family faces as regards the naturalisation of their children and the repercussions of them not having Cypriot IDs.

The children, who have birth certificates but are not covered by Gesy even though both their parents pay contributions, have never travelled outside the country and cannot participate in sports events or do many other things that require the presentation of an ID, the TV channel said in an open letter.

“As a person with sensitivities towards children, we call on you to give an immediate solution concerning Christos and Theklia,” the letter urged Anastasiades.

It added that this was a clear violation of their rights and for that reason, the Children’s Rights Commissioner had also been notified.

 

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