There may be “no Turkish Cypriots left” in some areas of the north: Tufan Erhurman

Leader of the TRNC opposition party Tufan Erhurman said on Monday there may be “no Turkish Cypriots left” in some areas in north Cyprus in five or ten years’ time due to the lack of land quotas or property planning in the north.

Speaking in ‘parliament’,CTP leader Tufan Erhurman explained that the existing quota for new property developments stipulates that 20 per cent of any development must either be bought by Turkish Cypriots or citizens of the Republic of Turkey, but that this means it is perfectly possible for no Cypriots at all to buy any of the property on sale.

“A 100-unit project, even 1,000 units, can all be purchased by people from abroad. There is no quota. The result is certain regions may be completely inhabited by people from abroad,” he said.

He then quipped, “you will not need to open polling stations in some villages after five or ten years. In a village of 5,000 people, there will maybe be 50 voters. Perhaps there will be no Turkish Cypriots left.” In this regard, he said, “we are heading towards the point of no return.

“After a while, some villages will become places people only go on holiday. You will no longer need to canvas voters in Ghaziveran or Esentepe, because there will be no Turkish Cypriots there.”

He went on to highlight potential future problems caused for the north’s education sector by its changing demographics, asking “how many schools will you build and in what language will you provide education in an area consisting of 5,000 people, all from abroad?”

Erhurman’s words ring particularly true in Iskele at present, where last year, local CTP ‘MP’ Biray Hamzaogullari had said that 300 of the 700 children at the village’s Bekirpasha high school “do not speak Turkish as their first language”.

He had added, “in some classes there are 14 children who don’t know Turkish and only nine who do. Among those 14 there are at least three different languages. How can a teacher give a lesson in these circumstances?”

For this reason, Erhurman said on Monday, the north must “implement a population policy and predict its population within the next five years.”

“We are faced with an administration which has completely given up on planning for the future,” he added.

To remedy this, he suggested that the proportion of new-build property allocated to Turkish Cypriots rise to 30 per cent and no longer include citizens of the Republic of Turkey, and that the remaining 70 per cent remain open for people from Turkey and the rest of the world.

In response, ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz said “we also share his concerns about the future of this country.”

He added that his ‘government’ is attempting to satisfy all stakeholders and sides of the conversation and said the matter is still being discussed.

“The issue of land is an issue which concerns the survival of this country, and we are keeping tabs on it,” he added.

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