The TRNC Assembly has passed a new law that will effectively suspend the granting of further Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ citizenship except for births and marriages, replacing it with permanent residence permits instead.
Under the new law, around 10,000 people, who are already entitled to receive TRNC citizenship, will be receiving permanent residence permits or white ID cards
The law come into effect after being signed off by President Akinci and published in the official gazette.
Up to 40,000 people, mostly mainlanders who hold a valid working permit, will be affected by the permanent residence law.
According to Interior Minister Asim Akansoy, only those who renew their work permits for six consecutive years, will be entitled to get a white card.
Any foreign workers, who acquire work permits after the permanent residence law comes into effect will not be able to renew their permits beyond a certain period and will ultimately have to leave the island.
The issue of citizenship is especially significant as it is linked to citizenship of a potential federal Cyprus.
The new law could seriously deter foreign workers, particularly from Turkey, seeking a life in the TRNC, hoping to eventually become TRNC citizens.
Currently, the number of TRNC citizens, which includes Turkish settlers, is 220,000. Reportedly, this figure is being used as a basis in the current Cyprus negotiations.
Minister Akansoy said that “Efforts for a permanent residence law have been going on for many years now.
We are a small community and, as Turkish Cypriots, we need to protect our demographic structure. On the other hand, there are people, who have been working and living here for a long time and who are entitled to citizenship, according to the current citizenship law.
“This law will disburden these people of the bureaucratic strain and uncertain social status, while at the same time preventing a further increase in the number of TRNC citizens”, he said.