Dom Research Center   News Clippings: Cyprus


Gypsies slowly trickle back north
in The Cyprus Weekly, June 22-28, 2001

 

Almost half of the 155 Turkish Cypriot gypsies, who crossed over the divide in recent months have gone back, proving their sole intention was to reap benefits at taxpayers' expense, the Interior Minister said this week.

"This proves that these people, even if they are citizens of the Cyprus Republic, come here to collect the benefits, spend a little time, save some money and later go back to the occupied areas," said Christodoulos Christodoulou.

Christodoulou said last month that Turkish Cypriot gypsies, who settled in the Paphos district since crossing from the occupied north, had been slowly trickling back.

Gypsies, who have already gone back to the occupied areas had stated bluntly they wanted to go, because their hopes of automatic monthly welfare benefits and free housing had been dashed.

Christodoulou pulled the plug last month on perks such as hotel accommodation and monthly welfare benefits of CYP 150 for each gypsy after a spurt of arrivals in March and April aroused fears that more could follow, putting an unbearable strain on state coffers.

"We will treat them like ordinary citizens, without benefits, without special treatment and without putting them up at luxury hotels," he said.

The gypsies had initially said they came to the free areas for a chance of a better life by escaping the economic drudgery of a bankrupt occupation regime.

Most of them settled in Paphos and were put up in former Turkish Cypriot homes.


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