The north’s ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz said on Thursday that the north’s population is 400,000, “and we have to accept it”.

He added that “it is time for a permanent population policy and planning,” saying ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel “is working on medium-term planning” to this end.

Oguz’s assertion that “we have to accept” the population size being 400,000 falls into line with the north’s statistics institute’s projection, which estimated that there are 399,727 people living in the north.

However, others, including Turkish Cypriot Mukhtars’ Association chairman Akay Darbaz and ruling coalition party DP ‘MP’ Serhat Akpinar, have suggested that the population may in fact be more than a million.

Akpinar had told the Cyprus Mail the north “must limit and stop” its handing out of ‘citizenships’ to stem its rapid population growth, while Darbaz described the population’s growth as “scary”.

“If we want the Turkish Cypriots to hold on to their future and their own will, we must limit and stop citizens of third world countries from obtaining citizenships, as they do under our current legal framework,” Akpinar told the Cyprus Mail.

“In addition to the cultural erosion we are experiencing, we must prevent ourselves from possibly becoming a minority in our own lands.”