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Thinking of making your residence in North Cyprus? asks Fevzi Hussein

Thinking of making your residence in

North Cyprus? asks Fevzi Hussein

Who wants to return to North Cyprus? Fevzi Hussein remembers his fond holidays as a young boy and the current reality, as he weighs up the prospects of returning back to his parents roots.

 

By Fevzi Hussein

Picture from Ilkostur

Picture from Ilkostur

I remember those holidays so fondly. School would break up in mid to late July and within a few days we would be off to beautiful Cyprus to spend the whole of the summer holidays there. What more could any child want? The place was heavenly. The food fresh, lush and cheap. The ‘Bostan’ beach was a short drive away with golden sands and you could walk out far into the sea knowing the water would not go above your knees. There was no sign of those themed hotels which now blight the landscape in Bafra. It was beautiful.

Fast forward 25 to 30 years and some things have changed, many others haven’t. The embargoes have had a crippling effect on the economy. Most businesses struggle to make ends meet and I wonder how many are having to throw the towel in and wind-up? Debt is serviced by more debt and I suspect suicide rates are worryingly high. The failure to regulate almost everything has seen record high cancer levels amongst the locals, which are allegedly caused by toxins, which populate the air from certain outlets… Making matters worse is the unregulated produce which undoubtedly will impact negatively on people’s health.

North Cyprus is a beautiful place to go. There is no doubt about this. However, I have gone from wishing I could move out there as soon as possible to now knowing this will never happen. As someone who has been in the lobbying game for a decade or so, I have had to close my eyes and ignore a lot of the incompetence that is commonplace. I have a theory which many people support and this is that circa 5% of the population in the north control 80% of the wealth and it simply is not in their interests to allow a solution to come to North Cyprus. They are doing very well indeed from the status quo.

There is irony galore in North Cyprus. In the midst of the embargoes, I was advised recently that a Porsche showroom has recently sprouted up in Girne, which is interesting to see, but kinda smashes the lobby groups stance that the embargoes are impacting on the economy. Of course we know this to be untrue, as the embargoes on flying direct, trading directly with the EU, the ban on academia and much more plays a huge part in the detriment to the lives of Turkish Cypriots and others who have an interest in North Cyprus.

One thing that really worries me now is the lack of stability in the region. The Islamic State (IS) continues to make progress just a few miles across the water from Cyprus. As air strikes are now being carried out against IS, and I suspect these are launched using bases in Cyprus, I am genuinely worried that an escalation is not out of the question and I hope I am totally wrong with my observations.

Most Cypriots live in hope that a solution will come to this island. I am one of those. In the decades gone, proposal after proposal has come before the leaders and regrettably, both sets of leaders have rejected these; If my memory is correct some 13 such proposals have been turned down by Greek Cypriot leaders, with 1 proposal turned down by the Turkish Cypriots (one proposal was rejected by both parties). The current hydrocarbon finds in the Mediterranean is an interesting development which has caught the attention of President Obama and this may be pivotal in forcing the two sides to finally put their differences to one side. Then again pigs might fly.

So, my ramblings for now come to an end until my next piece…. By all means go to our beautiful country for a holiday but you would need your head Fevzi Husseinexamined if you want to move back there to live (if this is not for retirement purposes). Job prospects are bleak – the economy is vulnerable and has been for a long time. The youth continue to leave the island in droves as there are no real job prospects. There is still military service so anyone with a male son will have to go through the pain and fear of seeing their son subjected to a potentially very difficult two years in the army.

Cyprus has much to offer. Its beauty knows no bounds but sadly the pull to live there on a permanent basis, for me anyway,  is a complete no-no. I love my family dearly and will always go out to see them but I think this is where I draw the line. I am sure many people will agree with me, many people equally will disagree. What is it you love so much about Cyprus? What really winds you up about Cyprus?

I can be followed on Twitter @fevzihussein and you can read more of my blogs by clicking here

11 replies »

  1. Hi Fevzi.
    What a great article you have just written. I thoroughly agree with all that you have said.

    We initially intended to retire to the North when we fell in love with the place especially the people after we first had a holiday in the North 10 years ago.
    Before that we spent out time taking our holidays in the South.
    We decided to try the North as we felt the South fell into the trap of just taking your money forgetting customer service and eventually feeling of not receiving a warm welcome.

    10 years ago after first visiting we felt the whole of North Cyprus people were completely different to the South.
    We received a warm welcome always a smile, helping hand at every corner.
    Restaurants would be very welcoming and do all what they could to accommodate.

    At that time builders and developers unfortunately were let loose resulting in our mind to spoiling this beautiful place.
    Now the North have court case after court case where good people have paid for property in good faith yet stand to lose their property through no fault of their own.

    Government sit back and do nothing.

    Unscroupulas management companies who attempt and allowed to manage and maintain apartment complexes charging fees that does not warrant the work they do.
    If owners on these said complexes disagree with management companies actions these poor owners are bullied threatened and life is made difficult for these poor unfortunate folk.

    Government sit back and make no attempt to regulate these (some not all ) poor performing management companies.

    The rubbish situation never improves just gets worse. Spoiling this beautiful island.
    Government sit back and do nothing.

    The concerning high amount of road traffic accidents. Drivers using their mobiles, children sit loose in the vehicles, drivers smoking whilst at the wheel. All risking life and limb to others and themselves.
    Government sit back and do nothing.

    Just a very few examples of the reasons we could not ever reside permanently in the North we love to holiday for several weeks at a time. We Love the hospitality of the real local people, lovely the. scenery, quiet roads, fantastic hotels reasonable cost of living but always need to get home to our much appreciated birth country.

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. I wished I had read this a couple of years ago.
    The natural beauty of N Cyprus is unparalleled but the lack of respect for it is mind boggling. From high atop seaside cliffs you spot virgin beaches and crystal waters. As you get closer the beaches are strewn with garbage and plastic bags litter the water.
    Mining or should I say, unregulated destruction of entire mountains goes unquestioned by anyone in authority. Dirty fossil fuels are used to create energy inefficient unstable electricity. All in a land that has over 300 sunny days per year!
    Solar? Anybody?
    It’s said we are 30 years behind the time, which in some respects is the charm of the place. However the country has become reliant on handouts and has bred a culture of corruption and arrogance. Trust me, you have nothing to be arrogant about. You are correct or at least I have deduced the same theory, that there are a few families here that would have their empires shattered if there was a solution.
    What bothers me most about N Cyprus is the lack of vision, the vision to be a clean, green, world class destination for tourism and industry. No tax incentives, no encouragement for foreign investment, no programs for entrepreneurs, no striving for excellence and why?
    Because they are afraid of losing their unsustainable perks. At some point the spoiled child called Cyprus will have to be disciplined.
    There are so many scammers here, people that just don’t give a shit about anything but themselves that it has ruined our perception of N Cyprus forever. If we can sell our home, I suspect we will never return.

  3. Thank you Bill, Gary & Oxolob for your feedback. It did not give me any pleasure to highlight the ‘bad aspects’ of North Cyprus but unfortunately the list is long. Gary has raised some very interesting points. Becoming a new Monaco and focusing on sustainable green energy seems a complete no-brainer, but we continue to wait as to when this light will be switched on in the heads of the Lefkosa administration. Instead we see growth areas encouraging the sex industry to boom and casinos flourish inside huge hotels. With the unregulated brothels come the abhorrent issue of human trafficking and I have no doubt this is a huge issue not just North of the island but in the South too. This all said there is plenty that lures us back every year but my advice to everyone sadly is do not trust everyone you speak too (more aimed at trade than locals).

  4. Well done Fevzi. Honesty is the best way forward and Fevzi pulls no punches in telling it the way it is. Only by admitting our mistakes can we improve our homeland.

  5. The sad thing is that the island has no future. As you state the young are leaving in droves. It is so disheartening to see restaurants,bars and shops shutting due to lack of trade. Beach clubs appear deserted and open for such a short period of the season.People unable to leave the island because they cannot sell their property.Half finished houses dotted all over the landscape. Yet most of this is self inflicted by the Government. For at least a decade there have been calls to amend the current property laws. A wealth of literature, mainly by those that have experienced the buying procedure in Cyprus, highlight the pitfalls, corruption and ineffective court system. This has destroyed the construction industry.Who would buy now? Handled professionally and regulated, North Cyprus could easily have taken a bigger share of the holiday home and retirement market in the Med. The knock on effects of rentals, furniture, garden, maintenance, leisure and tourism would have helped to secure the Norths future but the greed of a few has ruined the livelihoods and dreams of many. It will take years for confidence to be restored even if the Government got their act together and introduce safeguards.

  6. Thanks Ismail abi. Susan great points. Regulation and North Cyprus have never been two words closely associated. Far too many people have had their fingers burned on issues linked to property (amongst others). Opportunism and short-sightedness is rife in North Cyprus. I will share a classic example of this with Cyprusscene readers: When the border crossings opened in 2003 and the Greek Cypriots began their pilgrimages to Apostolos Andreas Church in Dipkarpaz, on their first ever trip the coaches stopped in Bogaz for a comfort break and the visitors were able to buy coffee/tea etc. The cafe owners in Bogaz charged something like 5 greek pounds for a cup of tea, or a bottle of water… Well, the owners of the cafe made a killing that day but did the coaches ever stop at this location again? No. So a brilliant opportunity was missed to build a wonderful commercial enterprise. For me this is a pattern repeated in North Cyprus far too often, We do have massive potential but 95% of it is locked away and hopefully one day someone with the vision and desire will unlock this…

  7. Thank you Fevzi, I found your article to be honest and enlightening. We recently have moved to live here in Girne. Having owned property here for the last six years we have only ever been here on holiday. The reality of living here is entirely different of course. When I first read your article my reaction was right let’s pack up and go back to the UK. Then after pondering it a while I realised that the thought of going back to the rat race of the UK was even more abhorrent. Yes Northern Cyprus does have its problems but where in the world doesn’t. Show me a country that is perfect then we will all go and live in it and inevitably we will ruin it. It is a human characteristic to dislike change. Only a few are flexible enough to accept and readily adjust to it I’m sad to say. Every country is having economic problems and the UK without a doubt has a higher suicide rate than here I am sure of that. Every country has its good and bad points, often down to politics and religion. It is the way of the world. I love the fact North Cyprus seems behind the times in certain areas, this does definitely add to the charm of the place speaking on a personal level, so of course the green energy issue will eventually come, it just takes time. Where else in the world would I live? I can’t think of anywhere other than here for now. I like to go in with my eyes wide open, as they say ” it’s better the devil you know”. Many thanks to Fevzi for the insight, my eyes are open but my mind is flexible.

  8. The fact is though that the Turkish Cypriots have no one to blame but themselves for the appalling state of this psuedo Country. The vast majority have no concern or pride in their homeland. What was once a beautiful place has been destroyed and turned into a rubbish dump due to their own corruption and greed, led by totally inept, useless Politicians.The piles of litter and rubble have destroyed a once glorious landsacpe. Many locals now just see the ex-pat community as cash cows to be fleeced at every opportunity. The cruelty to animals is beyond belief and met with a shrug when tackled.The corrupt Governments couldnt give a toss about anything or anyone , the only concern being how much can they stuff in their own back pockets So what do the locals do ??. They simply continue to vote in the same corrupt, narcissistic useless Politicians who couldnt run a whelk stall on Blackpool sea front ( do they still have them ???)
    I have lived here now for nearly 12 years and it continues to get worse. The only thing keeping me here is the climate.Do i regret coming here??. A resounding yes but when I bought land and built here 16 years ago things were very different.

  9. Victoria I have been meaning to reply so apologies for the delay. For sure you are correct, everywhere does have its own problems. I cannot help but feel though that the problems in North Cyprus can be remedied far easier than some of the issues we have here in the UK. The problems with property for example are entirely self-created AND perpetuated. The economy is bleak and job prospects are dismal so I really fear for anyone who is trying to make a living out there. Even people who have retired are finding their standard of living is being eroded. Of course there are lovely aspects to staying in North Cyprus too and one must try to be balanced on these issues.