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Turkish Cypriot group fighting for 35,000 Cyprus’ citizenships

File Photo: Photo Illustration Of A Cypriot Passport

The Republic of Cyprus’ (RoC) policy not to grant citizenships to children of mixed marriages in the north affects around 35,000 Turkish Cypriots, reports said on Monday.

Head of Turkish Cypriot Teachers’ Union (Ktos) Sener Elcil, said the union was working to end the practice through a lawsuit filed against the Republic.

Speaking to daily Kibris, Elcil, said the union, that launched a campaign in 2018 to help people with one Turkish Cypriot parent and the other from Turkey or another third country acquire the Republic citizenship, had lost the lawsuit it filed in an RoC court and are now waiting for the appeal court’s decision, not expected at least for another year.

He said around 6,500 people had applied to Ktos for help but the issue concerns around 35,000 people.

Asked whether the case of the two children, aged nine and 12, born to a Greek Cypriot mother and Turkish Cypriot father who were exceptionally granted citizenship by cabinet last week sets a precedent for this group of people, Elcil said it did not.

Elcil said a precedent would only be set for these 35,000 people if the union wins the appeal. If they lose the case in Cyprus, he said they would file to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

He also said that thousands of people are made to suffer due to the decision by Greek Cypriot officials not to grant citizenship to children born to mixed marriages. The Republic, he said, does not recognise marriage certificates issued in the north after 1974.

Citing the union’s efforts, he said the RoC now puts the citizenship rights into different categories whereby children born into mixed marriages abroad are given citizenship but not the ones born in the north or the south.

Ktos has also raised the RoC citizenship issue with the UN Human Rights Commission. Elcil added that the commission has asked the RoC to explain its positions in writing.

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