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Critics say issue of population numbers after reunification unclear

19 October 2016

A report by ‘Cyprus Weekly’ says that south Cyprus government is downplaying criticism about how President Anastasiades handled the issue population quotas in the event of a Cyprus settlement. It also questioned the motives behind the leaking of an outdated confidential document on the Cyprus talks.

The leaked document was published in Greek Cypriot daily ‘Simerini’ on Tuesday, prompting the deputy spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos to issue a written statement pointing out that the document had been drafted back in November 2015, since which time, much had changed and previously, there had been no agreements on basic freedoms and citizenship.

A series of intensive negotiations have taken place since that time and many of the positions stated in the document have changed significantly,” said Papadopoulos.

The document, a working draft titled Joint Paper on Citizenship, had references to a 4:1 population ratio, something which was recently referred to by President Nicos Anastasiades when he made comments on how many Turkish-born residents in the north would be eligible for federal citizenship.

The 4:1 ratio refers to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot residents who will become citizens of a federated Cyprus, meaning that for every citizen in the north there will be four in the south. This also applies to both Greek and Turkish nationals, meaning that for every one Turkish national being naturalised in the north, there would be four Greek nationals in the south.

Critics have accused the south’s government of not being clear about the ratio or the number of Turkish nationals who would be eligible to remain in Cyprus after a settlement.

Papadopoulos said that both leaders are now in full agreement on the basic freedoms, which are free movement of goods, freedom of movement of workers, right of establishment and freedom to provide services, and free movement of capital.

The sensitive documents also allegedly made references to an automatic naturalisation process of non-Cypriot mainland Turks, viewed as “settlers” by many Greek Cypriots. Critics have argued that the term settler does not fully encapsulate different categories of people, ranging from Turks arriving on the island after 1974 to people inter-marrying with locals and having children who automatically become Cypriots.

The document also made references to “guaranteed majorities” which is a term often used by President Mustafa Akinci in his argument that the two communities should have a way to maintain numerical majority and rule over their respective constituent states.

Cyprus Weekly

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