British citizens with homes in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) but currently stranded in the UK were given a massive boost today.
Speaking live on BRT television, TRNC Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said that foreigners with residency would be able to return on a date “close to 1 June.”
Dr Özersay was speaking to BRT news presenter Pembe Paşaoğluları earlier today about the further easing of lockdown measures, when he made the comments.
While discussing when Turkish Cypriots stranded abroad could return home, Dr Özersay also confirmed that the TRNC government would permit foreigners who had the right to work in the country or who own a property in North Cyprus to return to their homes from early June.
The TRNC Foreign Minister said, “Those who are not citizens, but who have residency here, for example people who have a work permit, [or] they are United Kingdom citizens with a home [in the TRNC], we will be making a decision that allows them to come into the country on a date close to 1 June.”
TRNC Foreign Minister Özersay’s comments on UK expats imminent return start 22.15 minutes into the broadcast
Among the other matters Dr Özersay raised on the hour-long political talk show about the coronavirus crisis was how and when the Green Line checkpoints will reopen. The Foreign Minister said that while TRNC President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis may have “reached a consensus”, the decision to reopen the border crossing rests with the government.
For weeks, individual British expatriates have been contacting members of the TRNC Government and the TRNC Representative Office in London to try and confirm a return date. With no clear timetable for their repatriation, an online support group decided to write to Dr Özersay and the TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar earlier this week.
In letters seen by T-VINE Magazine and signed by 110 British expats, the group outlined the “immense difficulties” they and their partners faced due to the enforced separation from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The British citizens asked the two coalition leaders for their “assistance”, as they “are desperate to return to our TRNC homes as soon as possible.”
The expats appealed to the TRNC government to allow them to be readmitted to North Cyprus on the same date as Turkish Cypriot citizens with permanent residency in the TRNC. A Council of Ministers decision last week granted Turkish Cypriot citizens the right to return to the country from 1 June.
Leman Kutay, the TRNC Prime Minister’s Communications Director, also confirmed to T-VINE today that “work was underway” to get the expats home.