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Media Watch 2003

20 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 20 May 2003 written by a staff reporter.
20,000 Turkish Cypriots apply for passports

BY THE end of last week, around 20,000 Turkish Cypriots had visited District Offices around the island to apply for passports, identity cards and birth certificates, Interior Minister Andreas Christou said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting with the mayors of nine municipalities in the occupied north, Christou confirmed that some Turkish Cypriots also wanted to apply to change their names.

“It is the right of every Turkish Cypriot citizen of the Republic, as it is the right of every Greek Cypriot citizen, to decide to change his surname; and there are thousands of Greek Cypriots who also want to alter their surnames,” he said. “In other words, whatever is allowed to Greek Cypriots is also allowed to Turkish Cypriots.”

He acknowledged that two Turkish Cypriots had complained that the authorities in the south had refused to allow them to apply for a name change, perhaps out of ignorance.

Regarding schools for Turkish Cypriots, the minister said that due to low numbers, it had so far not been possible to open a Turkish Cypriot school in the south. Instead, Christou said, Turkish Cypriots tended to send their children to English-speaking schools, just as the Armenian, Maronite and Catholic communities did.

Christou added that a Turkish Cypriot school in Limassol was, however, being prepared for use."