The last census which covered all the inhabitants of the island of Cyprus was made on 11 December 1960 and the number of the Turkish-Cypriots (T/Cs) was 104,320. Adding on this number, the 475 Moslem gypsies and other Moslems, it reached to 104,942. The total number of Christians was 473,265. (Census of Population and Agriculture 1960, Government Printing Office, Nicosia, 1962)
ESTIMATE IN 1973: 114,960
Because the T/Cs left the structure of the Cypriot state after the beginning of intercommunal clashes at the end of 1963, no census covering the T/Cs could be made. According to the study of the Canadian researcher, Richard A.Patrick, who served as an officer in the UNFICYP, "Political Geography and the Cyprus Conflict 1963-1971", published in 1976, there were a total of 119,147 T/Cs living in the T/C settlements on the island. The population estimates of the G/C administration for the T/C in Cyprus put the number as 114,960.
THEIR POPULATION IN THE SUMMER OF 1974: 115,758
After the division of the island with the war of 1974, the following information was given in a report prepared by Mr.Ahmet Sami, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice of the "Autonomous Turkish-Cypriot Administration", dating 20. October 1974:
“A total of 83,719 T/Cs live on the territory of the "Autonomous Turkish-Cypriot Administration". There were 32,039 T/Cs left in the south. Appr. 10 thousand of them are in the SBA, 4,200 in Limassol and in its villages, 12,000 in Paphos district, 2,630 in the Larnaca district, 3,209 in the villages of Nicosia district. It was stated in the same report that until 19 October 1974, about 12,000 T/Cs moved to the north with their own possibilities.”
According to the information given above, there were 71,719 T/Cs living in the northern part, 44,039 T/Cs in the southern part of the partition-line drawn after the war, making a total T/C population of 115,758.
THOSE BROUGHT FIRST FROM TURKEY
According to a news-item, published in the Zaman newspaper of 9. August 1977, Mr.Hakki Atun, the Minister for Settlement and rehabilitation of the "Federated State of the Turkish Cypriots", declared that 20,934 families, i.e. 83,650 T/Cs were settled in the north in the three years between 1974 and 1977. As the number of the T/Cs coming from the south were 44,039, the remaining 39,611 persons were those settlers brought from Turkey.
As it is well-known, the Turkish settlers were brought from Anatolia for the first time in October 1974 with the pretext that "they would work in the hotels and gardens left by the G/Cs", but later this practice was widened in January 1975 as the families of the martyrs fell in the war of 1974 were also settled in the north, continued with giving houses and plots of land to those who wished to settle in Cyprus.
The Zaman newspaper of 10 June 1976 reported Mr.Denktash, saying the following during an election speech: "Those, who opposed us, were exploiting the plight of the people. It was a matter of out-rooting and settling about 80 thousand people. This magnificent mission was done by human beings, they could make some mistakes." Mr.Denktash was making politics with the number of 80,000 by adding the number of Turkish settlers to the official 44,039 resettled T/Cs.
47,186 MAINLAND TURKISH SETTLERS AT THE END OF 1983
In the draft "Second Five-Year Development Plan", prepared by the State Planning Bureau, published in September 1983, it was stated that 91,225 persons were re-settled between 1974 and 1982 on the territory of the "Federated State of the Turkish Cypriots". As the number of the T/C refugees coming from the south was 44,039, the number of the Turkish citizens, settled in Northern Cyprus can be put as 47,186. It is interesting that there has been no official statement on this matter until now.
WHY THE POPULATION STATISTICS WERE NOT PUBLISHED?
The population of the T/Cs were 104,942 in 1960 and 115,758 in 1974. The number of the T/Cs covered also the mainland Turkish settlers, starting from July 1974. The population reached to 173,224 when a census was made on 26.5.1990 for determining the number of the voters before the general election. The head of the regime in Northern Cyprus, Mr.Rauf Denktash, answered the reporters the reason why the population statistics were not disclosed: "If we disclose them, they will know who came from where!" (Yeni Düzen, 23. July 1993)
EUROPEAN COUNCIL ASKED FOR A CENSUS
The Spanish MP Alfons Cuco, the rapporteur of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography of the European Council prepared a report on the "Structure of the Cypriot Communities" dated 27. April 1992, which was discussed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council. The Assembly adopted a resolution No.1197 on 7 October 1992 which recommended that the Committee of Ministers instruct the European Population Committee to conduct a census of the islands' population, in cooperation with the authorities concerned, in order to replace population estimates with reliable data. The authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and the T/C Administration were requested to keep the arrival of aliens on the island under strict control. Turkey was invited to register in its Cyprus Consulate all Turkish citizens residing and arriving in Cyprus.
It is unfortunate that since then no census was conducted in the north of the island under the observation of international organizations and the number of mainland Turkish settlers or the number of those Turkish citizens living illegally could not be determined.
HOW RELIABLE IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL CENSUS?
The results of the first official census, made by the T/C authorities on 15.December 1996 and was evaluated at the State Institute of Statistics in Ankara, were made public first after two years. According to this data, the de facto population was 200,587 and the de jure population was 188,662.
The difference between the two was explained by Mr.Ahmet Bulunç, Adviser of the State Planning Bureau, who made public the results, that 11,925 persons declared on the day of the census that their permanent place of residence were outside the TRNC.
The other demographical structure was given as follows:
Total population................. 200,857 %100
Citizen of the TRNC .......... 164,460 % 82
Born in the TRNC.......... 137,398
Born in Turkey .............. 23,924
Born in a 3rd country..... 3,138
Citizen of Turkey............... 30,702 %15
Student ........................ 8,287
pensioner etc.)............... 8,166
Citizen of a 3rd country..... 5,425 % 3
The number of the Greek-Cypriots living in the north was 384 and the Cypriot-Maronites 173.
As it can be seen from the above numbers, there is no statement about the number of those children born in the TRNC by the Turkish parents. There is no mention of the number of the appr. 35,000 soldiers of the Turkish Army in Cyprus, nor of their dependents. There are about 25 or 30 thousand illegal workers which should make the number of the de facto population much higher.
According to the information given by some authorities, who want to remain undisclosed, appr. 46 thousand people were given citizenship since 1974 and 20-25 thousand of them do not live permanently in the TRNC. (Avrupa, 31.1.1998) Famous politicians and parliamentarians were included among those. (Ortam, 17.19.1996)
Mr.Kenan Akin, who originates from mainland Turkey and was the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of the TRNC, disclosed that there were 60 thousand mainland settlers in the TRNC. (Avrupa, 6.6.1998)
"40% OF THE POPULATION IS FROM THE MAINLAND"
The idea of re-establishing a political party like the "Re-Birth Party" of the mainland Turkish settlers which amalgamated with the Democrat Party in 1992, emerged after the lost of votes on the general elections made on 6. December 1998 and those, who were angry, published an advertisement of protest in the press which said "The 40% of the population (Kibris, 15. December), nearly one third of the wider range of the population were divided cunningly and their just and balanced representation in the parliament was obstructed. (Hürriyet-Kibris, 22.December 1998)
As it can be seen, the number of those, originating from the mainland Turkey, in the population of the TRNC, differs between 60 and 80 thousand and this number reaches over 100 thousand with the illegal workers.
IMMIGRATION STATISTICS OF THE TRNC
Below you will find the list of the passengers arriving at and departing from the TRNC through the air- and sea-ports, according to the years and citizenships. The number of the mainland Turkish settlers in the north is 100,000. As those born in Turkey and their children are later given the citizenship of the TRNC and they are included under the title of "TRNC citizens", it is difficult to know who are really of T/C origin.
Year TRNC Turkey Other Total TRNC Turkey Other Total
1974 5,098 5,573 1,022 11,693 6,093 4,193 804 11,090
1975 13,635 73,831 6,577 94,043 29,842 51,465 5,943 87,250
1976 30,764 83,440 4,552 118,756 31,454 80,347 4,985 116,786
1977 33,570 108,016 5,113 146,699 34,540 97,142 5,377 137,059
1978 35,449 104,738 8,177 148,364 36,410 103,108 7,802 147,320
1979 47,839 95,095 13,286 156,220 46,858 92,956 12,619 152,433
1980 51,204 69,810 14,793 135,807 53,135 68,727 14,082 135,944
1981 52,933 62,812 15,471 131,216 52,371 44,912 15,512 112,795
1982 49,870 62,058 22,811 134,739 51,764 66,172 22,631 140,567
1983 58,908 78,467 20,467 157,842 60,660 76,386 20,300 157,346
1984 57,929 93,913 18,925 170,767 56,763 90,403 19,511 166,677
1985 53,860 103,791 21,284 178,935 54,599 102,754 21,049 178,402
1986 55,076 105,729 25,763 186,568 55,788 105,492 25,603 186,883
1987 59,602 149,394 36,448 245,444 60,954 149,980 36,995 247,929
1988 60,178 173,351 56,050 289,579 62,243 169,501 53,966 285,710
1989 68,583 214,566 59,507 342,656 68,212 209,837 58,562 336,611
1990 74,681 243,269 57,541 375,491 73,771 241,764 57,615 373,150
1991 66,012 179,379 40,858 286,249 66,627 178,770 40,502 285,899
1992 78,466 210,178 57,440 346,084 80,304 209,045 57,380 346,729
1993 93,669 281,370 77,943 452,982 97,702 281,160 78,876 457,738
1994 109,787 256,549 95,079 461,415 113,012 252,813 94,514 460,339
1995 134,374 298,026 87,733 520,133 136,803 291,058 87,214 515,075
1996 133,072 289,131 75,985 498,188 135,079 286,691 75,337 497,107
1997 138,109 326,364 73,000 537,473 138,884 321,208 71,853 531,945
1,562,868 3,668,850 895,825 6,127,343 1,603,868 3,575,884 889,032 6,068,784
As of the beginning of 1998
Departing TRNC citizens 41,000
Remaining Turkish citizens in the TRNC 92,966
Remaining other citizens in the TRNC 6,793
As seen above, 41 thousand persons left the north of the island in the last 23 years and about 100 thousand persons, 93,000 being citizens of Turkey, remained there. If the number of 11,765 university students (10,349 from Turkey, 1,416 from other countries like Pakistan, Sudan, Jordan, Palestine etc.) are reducted from this (Kibris, 12.11.1998), there were at the end of 1998, a total of 87,994 aliens in the TRNC, 82,617 citizens from mainland Turkey and 5,377 citizens of the third countries.
Covered in the departing 41,000 persons are those Turkish citizens who were given the citizenship of the TRNC and those having higher education in Turkey and other countries during the school-year 1997-98 (Statistical Yearbook 1997 of the State Planning Bureau of the Prime Ministry of the TRNC, p.90) If those who are abroad on a travel for touristic and other purposes are also counted, about 38,000 TRNC citizens have already emmigrated from the island.
THE NUMBER OF THE T/C'S ARE NOT KNOWN
The number of the Cypriot-born TRNC citizens, 137,398, does not indicate the actual number of the original T/C's in the TRNC, because it covers the children of the mainland Turkish settlers.
The G/C newspaper Fileleftheros stated in a news-item titled "Revelation: Turks reached 25% of the population. Colonization speeds up and change its dimension" that although all of them have not been given the citizenship of the TRNC, the number of those mainland Turks reached 120,000. There are clear signs that Ankara speeded up the plots of changing the demographical structure radically, both in quantity and in quality.
Fileleftheros, relying on the information collected and evaluated through various channels, alleged that "the number of the T/C's is not more than 86,800 at the end of 1998. This means that their proportion in the Cypriot population has dropped from 18% to 11%."
The newspaper continued: "The number of the colonists is already over 120,000 and is between 125 and 128 thousand. According to the Report of the Statistics Department, the emmigration wave of the T/C's continue and 54,000 of them have already emmigrated. The number of T/C's is only 88,200 at the end of December 1997. Instead of increase, they decreased in number." (extracted in Halkin Sesi, 1.3.1999)
In the last 25 years since 1974, the T/C's have become more a minority in their own country, as the 37% northern part of the island is being kept under the occupation and the control of the Turkish Armed Forces. The demographical structure there has been changed in an important scale. The approximately 160 thousand G/C's who used to live on this territory before 1974 and who were displaced to the south of the partition line after the Turkish invasion, are not allowed to return. Whereas, the legal status of an occupational force on an occupied territory, its rights and responsibilities were arranged by international conventions and all of these are written one by one in the Regulations of Den Haag about the Ground Wars, dated 18. October 1907 and the 4th Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civil Persons during the Times of War, dated 12. August 1949. These conventions regulate how the occupational forces would behave according to the international law, when an occupation of a territory was made according to the international law.
Since 1974, the mainland Turkish settlers were first tried to be kept secret as "seasonal workers", today they have a say as the future of the T/C's are being determined as the T/C's are made a minority in the total population of the territory, which is kept under the occupation of the Turkish Armed Forces in the north of Cyprus. The settlers have become a social entity which plays an important role in the stalemate of the Cyprus problem.
(Translated into English by the author from his book "Kibris Nereye Gidiyor? (Quo Vadis Cyprus?)", published in Turkish, in Istanbul/Turkey, in June 2002, by the Everest Publishing House, pp.318-327. The article was originally published under the nickname "M.Sonuç" in "Kıbrıs'ta Sosyalist Gerçek" (Socialist Reality in Cyprus) journal, Issue No.42, July 1999)