Frustrations with austerity measures — seen as being imposed by Ankara — resulted in a mass protest in northern Cyprus on Friday (January 28th). “Ankara, take your hands off us; this motherland is ours, we will run it,” chanted the 10,000 protesters who gathered in central Inonu Square, blowing vuvuzelas, banging drums and shouting slogans against the measures.
“The economy is bad and everyone is getting angry. It’s getting worse and worse,” Tugrul Atakan, 18, told the Canadian press.
According to the protesters, the austerity measures were imposed on Northern Cyprus by the Turkish government in Ankara and have resulted in a higher cost of living and fewer jobs, driving young people off the island.
The measures cut civil servant wages up to 40% in a region of 265,000, where more than 12,000 people work in the public sector. Thousands more receive public sector money through political party affiliations and pensions.
The sale of the state owned electricity and telecommunications providers, as well as Eastern Mediterranean University, are expected to be privatised by mainland Turkish businesses.