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Cyprus: Economic Migrants

Volume 689: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of the number of Turkish Cypriots who have been forced from their home as economic migrants since 1974. [HL1581]

We have not made such an assessment. The economic situation of ordinary Turkish Cypriots has improved significantly over the past five years. However, as the World Bank report on north Cyprus recognises, the economy of north Cyprus remains underdeveloped, with only very limited opportunities to trade with the outside world. This lack of legitimate economic outlets encourages an unhealthy focus on uncontrolled construction, much of it on Greek Cypriot property, and closer integration with the Turkish economy. We therefore support the German presidency's efforts with all concerned to enable preferential trade between north Cyprus and the EU. This will facilitate a settlement by promoting convergence of living standards on the island and by bringing the Turkish Cypriots closer to the EU.