There are a million people living in the north, ruling coalition party DP ‘MP’ Serhat Akpinar said on Thursday.

Speaking on Kuzey Kibris TV, he said “we have now reached a population of one million. Not 400,000, not 700,000.”

To kerb the rapid rise in the north’s population, he said, the Turkish Cypriot authorities should slow down the rate at which they are naturalising ‘citizens’.

“Citizenships must be stopped very quickly … The government needs to take such a decision immediately,” he said.

He also called on the ‘government’ to work to determine the exact number of people living in the north, saying “our population needs to be determined to be able to properly manage the processes of all kinds of criminal incidents, to support the police force, and to carry out health reforms.”

Instead of citizenships, he said, better residence permit arrangements should be implemented. “If people have invested or bought a house, arrangements should be made accordingly. They should not have the right to vote and be elected,” he said.

This, on the surface, would not appear to do much to slow the rapid rise in the north’s population, as people handed residence rights but not voting rights would still be living in the north and using the north’s infrastructure.

The Cyprus Mail therefore contacted Serhat Akpinar for clarification.