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
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 examined 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?
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