Dom Research Center   News Clippings: Cyprus


Deputy warns of 'volatile' situation with gypsies
in Cyprus Mail, June 13, 2002


By George Psyllides

The Situation in Limassol's Turkish Cypriot quarter, which houses a concentration of Gypsies, is volatile and could lead to "mutual annihilation," the Chairman of the House Refugee Committee Aristofanis Georgiou said yesterday.

Speaking after a closed session, which discussed the area's problems, Georgiou said there were daily quarrels and threats between Greek Cypriots and Gypsies, as well as frequent fights among the Roma themselves.

"The situation is explosive and could potentially lead to mutual annihilation and we should avoid this," Georgiou said.

He added that one solution would be transferring the Gypsies to settlements near the residential areas so that "they have the right to move and work but at the same time the potentially bad aspects of their life would not affect the people around them."

Georgiou said two or three locations had already been considered, but refrained from naming any of them.

The committee decided to amend current legislation concerning Turkish Cypriot property to facilitate evacuation and demolition of derelict dwellings and create parks and sports facilities in their place.

Georgiou said the amendments would probably be discussed next Wednesday in order for procedures to get under way to improve the area.

He said eight buildings had already been demolished, with another two awaiting the same fate.

One hundred more dwellings are earmarked for demolition, though their residents have resisted handing them over, Georgiou said.

"Some effort would be done concerning these people, to house them in better conditions and demolish these places too," Georgiou said.

He said the flow of Gypsy arrivals from the north had slowed down, though new arrivals continued to provoke reaction from the Greek Cypriot residents of the area.

Georgiou said everyone's goal was for Greek Cypriots and Gypsies to continue to have contact without the current problems and by avoiding depriving either of any right.

(end)
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