Expats to be granted citizenship in north Cyprus?

passportThe Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the importance of transparent and open elections. Article 21 states that everyone has the right to take part in the government of their country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. This right to vote is only given to citizens of a country and so the granting of citizenship in the country you live in is essential.

In the EU, all nationals of Member States are citizens of the EU but “it is for each Member State, having due regard to Community law, to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality.” So what does an EU citizen have to do in order to gain the right to vote in another EU state? For example in Spain in order to vote an EU citizen needs to be a resident. In accordance with EU law, you should get your residence card within six months from the day you turn in all your paperwork. [1] This seems to be the standard throughout the EU for citizens seeking residency in other Member States. As far as I understand it a Turkish Cypriot by virtue of living in a member state should have these same rights. Furthermore, after a landmark case in 2004, it was established that Turkish Cypriots living in north Cyprus have the right to vote in the south and could be elected to any position in the government except for President. [2]

So, Turkish Cypriots have the right of citizenship in any EU Member State, and if they permanently live there could gain that citizenship within 6 months and along with it the right to vote, thus having a say in matters which affect them. However, a UK citizen does not have reciprocal rights and for them to gain TRNC citizenship and be able to vote would be near enough impossible.  According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a basic human right would have been denied them. Don’t get excited though, and start applying to the ECHR, along with TRNC citizenship comes the responsibility for National Service. Now, that’s another area of discrimination which the EU probably would not like, apparently only men have to spend two years of their life forced to earning a pittance and potentially risking their life.


[1] Spain Expat website
[2] Aziz v. Cyprus

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