Is the Turkish Cypriot Population Shrinking? An Overview of the Ethno-demography in Cyprus in the Light of Preliminary Results of the Turkish Cypriot 2006 Census - PRIO

Is the Turkish Cypriot Population Shrinking? An Overview of the Ethno-demography in Cyprus in the Light of Preliminary Results of the Turkish Cypriot 2006 Census

PRIO Report

Hatay, Mete (2007) Is the Turkish Cypriot Population Shrinking? An Overview of the Ethno-demography in Cyprus in the Light of Preliminary Results of the Turkish Cypriot 2006 Census, PRIO Cyprus Centre Report, 2. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

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The demography of north Cyprus is one of the most contested issues related to the island’s division. In particular, the number of indigenous Turkish Cypriots and Turkish immigrants living in the north has long been a source of dispute, not only among the island’s diplomats and politicians but also among researchers and activists. Until recently, the political use of demography has hindered comprehensive study of the ethno-demographic make-up of the north, while at the same time making a thorough demographic study all the more imperative. The present report addresses this situation by providing an analysis of the results of the 2006 census of north Cyprus, comparing these figures with the results of the previous census. The report focuses mainly on identifying the percentage of the population of north Cyprus who are of Turkish-mainland origin and also possess Turkish Cypriot citizenship – an important factor given claims that such citizens play a significant role in elections in the north. In addition, the report examines the arrival dates of Turkish nationals in order to analyze patterns of migration. This, in turn, is indicative of the numbers of naturalized Turkish Cypriot citizens who have arrived in Cyprus as part of an official policy.

The report also presents estimates for Turkish Cypriot emigration to third countries, based on immigration and census figures from the two main host countries: the United Kingdom and Australia. Following analysis of these latter figures and the results of the 2006 census, it is argued that claims of massive emigration by Turkish Cypriots to third countries are largely misleading. Contrary to the common assumption that the Turkish Cypriot population has shrunk since 1974, this study suggests that it has in fact grown. Thus, in addition to analyzing the latest census results, the report also represents a step towards improved understanding of how demography has been used in Cyprus as a means of achieving wider political goals at both the local and the international level.

Authors

Mete Hatay

Mete Hatay

Senior Research Consultant