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14 June, 2024
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Financial turmoil hits Turkish Cypriots

New fuel and flour crisis in the occupied territories

Nikos Stelgias

Nikos Stelgias

The historic fall in the value of the Turkish lira against foreign currencies has hit the occupied territories in many dimensions. Because of the economic crisis, enormous problems have accumulated on many fronts.

In recent weeks, Turkish Cypriots have been facing serious problems in accessing basic products. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots are looking to the Republic of Cyprus for a better future.

Some 8,000 Turkish Cypriots are expected to apply for jobs in sectors such as tourism, construction and restaurants...over 400 Turkish Cypriots have already applied for jobs in southern Cyprus.

At the beginning of the week, in the Turkish market, the euro ‘flirted’ with 20 points. Analysts warn that this development will have a big impact on the Turkish Cypriot community. “Imagine what developments we could face at the beginning of the new year, in case that the most pessimistic scenarios for the Turkish economy become a reality” state Kathimerini’s well-informed Turkish Cypriot sources.

Fuel crisis

According to the latest information, the problems in the fuel market of the occupied territories continue despite the recent reassuring statements of the caretaker ‘government’ of the National Unity Party (UBP)–Democratic Party (DP).

By Sunday evening, one of the two large companies offering fuel products to Turkish Cypriot consumers was facing problems in fuel supply. The fuel crisis has been on the Turkish Cypriot newspaper’s front pages in recent weeks because of exchange rate fluctuations and huge losses in the value of the Turkish lira. Fuel suppliers have had serious problems because the occupied territories which use lira are importing goods from Turkey using foreign currency. To address the recent crisis, the ‘government’ accelerated the revision of fuel prices.

During the first phase of the fuel crisis, Turkish Cypriots faced serious problems regarding the supply of electricity as well. Since then, power outages, which have become a chronic problem in the occupied territories, have remained on the agenda.

The Turkish Cypriots are also facing problems regarding the supply of liquid gas bottles. The large supermarkets have ceased their sale, so many Turkish Cypriots turn to the free areas for their supply.

And now the flour crisis

Amid the lira’s free fall, the Turkish Cypriots, just before the new year, must now deal with the consequences of a fresh crisis. The ‘government’ a few days ago allowed the tax-free import of flour and flour products from Turkey. The new decision has been taken in order to increase competition in this sector. The flour market reacted negatively to this decision and resulted in, what the Turkish Cypriot media called, the ‘flour crisis’.

After the new decision of the ‘government’, three large and historic Turkish Cypriot flour companies stopped production in their factories.

A few days ago, as three companies were on the verge of collapsing, a meeting was held between flour producers and ‘government officials’. Following this meeting, the producers continued their activities temporarily. Despite this development, the Turkish Cypriot media warn that the crisis may continue in the coming period.

In search of jobs in the free areas

In the shadow of record losses in the Turkish lira and the great economic crisis, Turkish Cypriots are trying to meet their needs during the winter period in difficult conditions. In the occupied territories, where rents and loans are paid in foreign currencies, many citizens dream of a better future abroad. At the top of the list of these destinations is now the free areas.

According to the latest information published in the Turkish Cypriot press, the Federation of Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions (Türk-Sen) has taken an initiative for Turkish Cypriots who wish to work in the free areas. The Turkish Cypriot union accepts applications for job opportunities in the territories, actively controlled by the republic.

Some 8,000 Turkish Cypriots are expected to apply for jobs in sectors such as tourism, construction and restaurants. The most important requirement for applications is a passport or identity card from the Republic of Cyprus. Following the personal application to ‘Türk-Sen’, people will apply to the free areas and work in various fields of employment.

‘Türk-Sen’ started accepting applications after agreeing with the ‘SEK’ Union. This agreement was big news last week in both the Turkish Cypriot media and the Turkish press.

According to the latest information, over 400 Turkish Cypriots have already applied for job opportunities in southern Cyprus. The number of applications is expected to increase in the coming days. The Turkish Cypriot press has published photographs showing queues outside the headquarters of the Turkish Cypriot union that are accepting the applications.

The ‘raid’ of Greek Cypriots to the occupied territories

While the euro was holding steady on Monday in the 20-point zone against the Turkish lira, there was a significant increase in the number of Greek Cypriots choosing to purchase basic goods from the occupied territories.

In recent weeks, several residents of the free areas have been rushing to the occupied territories to get cheap fuel and necessities. Long queues of Greek Cypriots are forming at the barricades. According to the Turkish Cypriot media, the number of Greek Cypriots going to the occupied territories on weekends has doubled.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  economy

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