The migration movement of Turkish Cypriots initially took place as the island of Cyprus came out of Ottoman rule with the lease of the island to Britain in 1878 and increasingly continued after the island was annexed to Britain in 1914. From the year 1931 onwards, the efforts of the Greek Cypriots to annex Cyprus to Greece, Hellenize the Island and realise their dream of ENOSIS (Union with Greece) created much discomfort, unrest and uncertainty for Turkish Cypriots in addition to the already limited opportunities and economic conditions prevailing on the Island. These circumstances significantly contributed to the continued migration of Turkish Cypriots to foreign countries throughout history. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, USA and Turkey are amongst the countries that the Turkish Cypriots have mass migrated.
When the Ottoman Empire began to lose power over Cyprus and the island was leased to the Britain in 1878, an intense migration to Turkey took place. Upon the Island’s lease to Britain, the inhabitants of Cyprus were granted British Citizenship. In the following years Turkish Cypriots intensely migrated to Great Britain owing to this citizenship. Moreover, during the First World War, many Turkish Cypriots had joined the British army and fought in various countries for Britain. Consequently after the end of the war, they have settled in the United Kingdom. As a result of the economic instabilities on the Island during the Second World War, migrations occurred once again. It is a known fact that the most intensive migration from Cyprus to the United Kingdom happened after the year 1960 and those migrating moved primarily to the city of London and Manchester. The Turkish Cypriots have also migrated to Australia, during the years of the Second World War, gaining momentum between 1950 and 1960. Clearly, the economic difficulties created by the political unrest on the Island forced the Turkish Cypriots to migrate. The Turkish Cypriots were the only Muslim community which was granted permission to enter Australia according to the White Australia Policy. Turkish Cypriot immigrants in Australia initially worked in factories, agricultural areas or in the construction sector. However, after gaining economic strength, most Turkish Cypriots started to set up their own businesses. It is known that, most of the Turkish Cypriots in Australia have settled intensively in Victoria and to the northwest of Melbourne.
After the Greek Cypriot Administration totally usurped the control of the government of the 1960 Partnership Republic in December 1963, the Turkish Cypriots were not only forced but were also encouraged to migrate through administrative and economic incentives offered by the Greek Cypriots as part of a premeditated migration policy implemented on the Turkish Cypriots. The fact that the Cyprus issue is yet to be resolved with a comprehensive settlement agreement along with the difficulties faced by the Turkish Cypriots due to the economic embargoes applied to our State and the limited resources available to our people from inhabiting on part of a small island, the migration of our young generation and families unfortunately still continues albeit in a much smaller scale.
A significant number of our citizens living abroad have permanent residence states in the countries they have migrated to and have acquired the citizenship of that country. As explained above, through the migration of Turkish Cypriots as of 1878, we now have third or even fourth generation Turkish Cypriots living abroad. Turkish Cypriots have significantly contributed to the economic development of the countries they have migrated to. A significant number of our migrated citizens have become academics, scientists, doctors, engineers, advocates, journalists, businessmen, artists, politicians and sportsmen and have contributed to the political, social, economic and cultural life of the countries they have migrated to.
TRNC Representative Offices as well as our Honorary Representatives, in addition to providing various services to our citizens, also take the initiative to strengthen the bonds of our citizens with their homeland in various ways. Our Ministry provides consular services through our Representative Offices and Honorary Representatives to our citizens residing abroad. Birth, death and marriage certificates, military service, inheritance and certification of documents are amongst the services facilitated. In this connection, the Departments of our Ministry provide cooperation and coordination between our foreign missions and the other ministries, local authorities and institutions and obtain and put through all information and documents requested. Our Ministry also strives to provide the necessary cooperation, coordination and support for the effective working of our Honorary Representatives and Honorary Consuls. Our Ministry also provides through our Representative Offices and Honorary Representatives to Turkish Cypriot citizens and Turkish Cypriot NGO’s abroad information on relevant bureaucratic procedures regarding customs, investment, property purchase, higher education, military service, repatriation and other rules and regulations as required.
Our Ministry aims to meet the requests of our citizens conveyed through our Representative Offices and Honorary Representatives, together with the requests of our citizens residing in countries where we currently do not have representation. We will provide all that we can in order to help strengthen the ties of our citizens and of the Turkish Cypriot NGO’s established abroad, by providing all kinds of support and coordination in order to establish a more efficient lobby to function in their country of residence.
Turkish Cypriots live abroad without breaking their original cultural and linguistic ties and by contributing to the cultural life of the community they currently live abroad in respect of the legal system. In addition to consolidating teachers to the Turkish language schools abroad in numbers possible within our means, for the purpose of keeping native tongue and culture of Turkish Cypriots alive. Our State also contributes as much as possible to festivals and other cultural activities organized abroad by Turkish Cypriot NGO’s, which aim to introduce, promote and experience the Turkish Cypriot culture.