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N. Cyprus Economy Suffering
World Economy

N. Cyprus Economy Suffering

Recognized only by Ankara, the tiny Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus heads to the polls on Sunday with its economy suffering from international isolation and surviving mainly thanks to Turkey’s largesse.
The campaign for the presidential vote, which will see incumbent Dervis Eroglu face three main challengers, has focused on stalled efforts to resolve the 40-year-old conflict that has left the TRNC a breakaway enclave on the Mediterranean island’s northern third.
But for the TRNC’s some 300,000 inhabitants, it’s the economic consequences of the territory’s unrecognized status that hit home the most.
“The Turkish Cypriot economy has a very big structural problem, and we are very much aware of that. First is that the economy is an aid-dependent economy, and we do have lots of funds coming from Turkey,” said Mustafa Besim, a professor at Famagusta’s Eastern Mediterranean University.
“This is a reality and this is a problem. We have this problem because the economy of north Cyprus is not able to have access to international markets,” he said.
Fikri Toros, the head of the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce, said the limits have very real economic consequences.
“Take a container coming from China,” he said. “Bringing it to Limassol (the port in southern Cyprus) is going to cost you around $2,200. If you want to bring it to Famagusta, it costs $3,600.”
Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004 but goods from the TRNC do not have privileged access to the bloc so suffer from the restrictions and taxes imposed on outside countries.
It shows in the country’s enormous trade deficit -- exports of only about $130 million per year, against imports of $1.4 billion, according to Toros.
Only Turkey’s substantial support, he said, keeps the economy going.

 

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