Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 07:45 GMT

Cyprus: Population of Kurds in Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus; their treatment by the government of Turkey and its agents

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 15 April 2002
Citation / Document Symbol CYP38731.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Cyprus: Population of Kurds in Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus; their treatment by the government of Turkey and its agents, 15 April 2002, CYP38731.E, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Europa World Year Book 2001, using census statistics supplied by the Statistics and Research Department, State Planning Organization of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TNRC], specifies that the population of Northern Cyprus totals 200,587 (2001, 1283). Estimated population figures for a Kurdish minority in Cyprus or for the TNRC were not found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate for this Response.

The TNRC declared its independence in 1983 and adopted a constitution in 1985; however, at this writing the independence of this territory remains recognized only by Turkey (Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2002, 2001; Political Parties of the World 2002). Turkish control of the TRNC was affirmed in the European Court of Human Rights decision of Cyprus v. Turkey where it stated that:

It is obvious from the large number of [Turkish] troops engaged in active duties in northern Cyprus ... that her army exercises effective overall control over that part of the island. Such control, according to the relevant test and in the circumstances of the case, entails her responsibility for the policies and actions of the ‘TRNC' (10 May 2001, para. 76, 20).

For further information concerning the territory of the TRNC and its relationship with the Republic of Turkey, please see CYP24587.E of 12 July 1996.

In terms of the treatment of minorities, Country Reports 2001 stated generally that:

Turkish Cypriot authorities generally respect human rights; however, there were a number of problems. Police continue to abuse suspects and detainees ... authorities also continued to restrict freedom of movement ... [and treatment] of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the territory under [Turkish Cypriot] control ... still falls short of Turkish Cypriot obligations under the Vienna III Agreement of 1975 (4 Mar. 2002).

Citing several British High Commission and Amnesty International reports, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the United Kingdom stated the following in 1999:

Kurds are not discriminated against in the [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC)]. They enjoy the same political and religious rights as all others living in the north, including the practice of free speech. Kurds are not politically active in the "TRNC" and do not distribute literature. However, they would be free to do so if they so chose as it would not be an offence under the "TRNC" criminal code. There have not been any reports of systematic harassment of Kurds by the local police.

There is no reference to the mistreatment of Kurds in northern Cyprus in Amnesty International's Reports in 1994, 1995, 1996 or 1997. There was no entry for Cyprus in the 1998 Amnesty International Report (Mar. 1999, 18).

However, according to the UK-based National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns (NCADC):

After the Turkish army occupied northern Cyprus in 1974 they carried out a forced migration policy. ... Kurdish families were given passports to Northern Cyprus and forced to settle there. In Cyprus, [Kurds are] still treated as third-class citizens (Apr.-June 1998).

No further references to the treatment of Kurdish minorities in Cyprus were found among sources by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Countries of the World and Their Leaders Yearbook 2002. 2001. New York: Thomson Learning.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. 4 March 2002. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 10 Apr. 2002]

Europa World Year Book 2001. 2001. Vol. 1. London: Europa Publications.

European Court of Human Rights. 10 May 2001. "Case of Cyprus v. Turkey: Judgment." [Accessed 10 Apr. 2002]

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) United Kingdom. March 1999. Country Assessment: Cyprus. [Accessed 27 Mar. 2002]

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns. April-June 1998. No. 10. "Sengul Family Must Stay." [Accessed 9 Apr. 2002]

Political Parties of the World. 2002. Fifth ed. Edited by Alan J. Day. London: Longman Group UK.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sites including:

American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN)

Amnesty International

Country Reports 1999-2001

Cyprus Conflict: An Educational Web Site

European Commission Enlargement

European Court of Human Rights

European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation

Human Rights Action

Human Rights Internet

Human Rights Watch

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Institut Kurde de Paris

Kurdistan Observer

National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK)

Pancyprian Association for the Protection of Human Rights

Population Index on the Web

Turkish Daily News

Turkish Press Review

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Home Page

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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