Dom Research Center   News Clippings: Cyprus

New Wave of Gypsies crossing from north
in The Cyprus Mail, March 27, 2001

by Athena Karsera

Interior Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou yesterday said "tragic" economic and social conditions in the occupied north had driven 49 Turkish Cypriot gypsies to cross into the government-held areas in the last 15 days.

"There is no doubt that the arrival of these gypsies is due to the fact that economic and social conditions in the occupied areas are tragic and dramatic. And this is (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's so called paradise," Christodoulou said.

The most recent group was spotted in Peristerona in the early hours yesterday. The 27 gypsies, including 14 children were taken to a hotel in Paphos after police ascertained they were citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and gave them food and water. They told police they were from occupied Morphou and had crossed over at Astromeritis.

Christodoulou said he had given instructions for the district officer, police and welfare office in Paphos to make arrangements for them to have somewhere to stay before permanent residence was found.

Christodoulou noted that some of the Turkish Cypriots who earlier this year claimed they had been mistreated by Cyprus police and returned to the north were among those who had arrived in the last 15 days.

An investigative committee is examining the claims of mistreatment.

"Denktash has, on an international level, alleged that they were mistreated. We believe that, if any mistreatment indeed took place, it was carried out by Denktash's regime," Christodoulou said.

He said another 10 gypsies had arrived on March 7 through the British bases at Dhekelia, followed by another 12 on March 23.

"The first ten have already been settled at various locations in Limassol with the remainder being settled in Paphos."

Christodoulou said that the Republic was obliged by its constitution and the international conventions it had signed to treat Turkish Cypriots as Cypriot citizens.

"This is exactly what we are doing, but the international community also has to realise that conditions in the pseudo-state are hellish and that even these gypsies, who do not demand a lot from life, are not happy and in spite of all dangers dare to cross over into the free areas."

The Minister continued that fears that Denktash was deliberately sending the gypsies into the free areas were being investigated, "but the truth is that it does not serve Denktash well to have it proven that his pseudo-state is a hell and not a paradise in terms of its political, social and financial conditions.

NOTE: This article can be read on the Cyprus Mail web site at

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