Dom Research Center   News Clippings: Cyprus

Deadlock over plans to move gypsies
in Cyprus Mail, January 9, 2003

AUTHORITIES have reached a dead-end regarding the relocation of 300 or so gypsies currently situated in the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Limassol.

According to yesterday's Simerini, all three communities chosen by the authorities to house the gypsies outside Limassol have rejected the proposal. A senior government official told the paper that residents of the appointed areas had refused to allow the creation of gypsy settlements in their communities, fearing the consequences of sharing the same living quarters.

Gypsies have come over in increasing numbers from the occupied north over the past few years, claiming to be Turkish Cypriots and wishing to settle in the free areas. A number of reports and complaints by residents of the Turkish Cypriot quarter and its surrounding areas have put pressure on the authorities to relocate the gypsies to more rural areas on the island. The paper reported the gypsies themselves did not favour resettlement outside the city, shedding doubt over any willing transfer.

The concerns raised by all sides and problems created from the decision for relocation have brought progress to a standstill, with negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem taking precedence at the moment.

Around 300 gypsies currently live in the Turkish Cypriot quarters in Limassol. The government has decided to rehouse them in three different areas outside the city at a cost of CYP 300,000 the report said. According to the paper, small settlements of eight prefabricated houses will be built for an equal number of families to reside in.

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