Mixed marriage is not a crime was the slogan for dozens of demonstrators who protested on Saturday the difficulties faced by children of Turkish Cypriots and Turks living in the north to secure citizenship by the republic.
The group gathered outside Ledra Palace at 9.30am from where they marched to the interior ministry to submit their demands in writing.
Holding banners reading ‘mixed marriage is not a crime’ in Greek, Turkish and English, protestors denounced the violation of the human rights of thousands of “trapped” children of mixed marriages on both sides.
Those children are “deprived of the right to education” and stolen of the opportunity to travel from the same airport as one of their parents, a woman said in her speech at the protest.
“The most basic human rights have been violated,” she noted, explaining that many Turkish Cypriots born in mixed marriages with Turks living in the north are unable to attend international universities.
Since one of their parents are citizens of the Republic, they should be allowed citizenship, the demonstrator added.
Turkish Cypriot teachers’ unions and the staff union of the University of the Eastern Mediterranean issued a joint statement in support of the protest, saying states may not decide who a person marries, neither do people choose their parents.
Speaking about the numbers of affected children, union representative Burak Mavis told Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen that an optimistic estimate, is that 30,000 people are currently prevented from acquiring citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus.
“While these realities exist, the Greek Cypriot leadership sees the citizenship issue as political fodder and a bargaining tool which is not acceptable,” Mavis added.