May 31, 2023

By Roger Bara….

This is the story of a pal of mine, who is desperately trying to return to his home of eight years, in the TRNC. But for every story like this, there are at least 100 or more ready to be told, that will equate to the heartbreak, frustration, and now, not a little anger thrown in, that is affecting everyone in this situation.

Barry Miller

For those that know him, it seems Barry Miller has always been around these parts. He’s become a regular feature throughout the Iskele area, which includes his voluntary work at the Iskele animal shelter, and his amazing support of the local football team, which has seen him form an expat supporters club who regularly travel to both home and away matches. He has always thrown himself into every aspect of North Cypriot life. He most certainly doesn’t consider he is anything special, but those around him know how much this country and all that happens within it, is uppermost in his heart and mind.

So you can imagine how he felt, after having to go to the UK for urgent reasons back in February, turning up at Stansted airport for his return trip, only to be told, erroneously as it happens, by Pegasus airline staff, that only TRNC citizens would be allowed on this flight. Pegasus got it wrong, this was before the lockdown, and Barry, like 100s of his counterparts, should have been allowed on the flights that day. Very shortly afterwards, the lockdown began.

Never one to bear a grudge, he decided to grin and bear it, and began the long road of waiting to get back as soon as it was possible.

Barry caring for the rescued dogs

As the weeks turned into months, Barry, along with over a 100 people in a similar position, all with residency, tried every way to get back home.  It even came to each of them putting up over £800 for a possible repatriation flight in conjunction with Cyprus Paradise, involving a 14-day isolation period in a Kyrenia hotel, all to no avail. It is not even known whether the government here even discussed the matter. Because, you see, the people involved were not citizens. They only had residency, and that doesn’t appear to count for anything.

Then came the bombshell. In a recent decision by the government, those stuck abroad and waiting to come back to the TRNC would be divided into three groups – the first group to be allowed back would be TRNC citizens who live full-time in the island; the second group, at a later date, would be those citizens who visit the TRNC, i.e. tourists, and the third, and therefore the obviously inferior members of the TRNC community, those that live there permanently, but not citizens, would be allowed back.

I leave it for you all to work out whether Barry and his band of 100 or more residents in the same situation, are more likely to spread the coronavirus than TRNC citizens. “I’m so upset and seething at this decision”, he told me. “We residents are way down the list to be allowed to return. There are so many people in my position, and we feel we have been shafted and discriminated against by the government.”

Barry then messaged President Akinci, Prime Minister Tatar, Deputy Prime Minister Ozersay, Health Minister Pilli and Transport Minister Atakan. Always polite, he started out by applauding the work that had been done in containing the spread of Covid-19. Then to his major point :

“I have, so far, had four returning flights cancelled. Today I was distraught to learn that, once again, only Turkish Citizens are able to return home to the TRNC from 1st June. This is so unfair to those of us that live in TRNC and have residency. I, together with many others, are desperate and more than willing to accept controlled quarantine, as per Turkish Citizens, as a condition to returning home. 

I love living in the TRNC and stress that this is my permanent home. I am currently staying with relatives and have no home in the U.K. 

Sir, your government has done a wonderful job in dealing, controlling & beating COVID-19 but now is the time for you to allow us to return back home with your own citizens. Please can you discuss our plight with your colleagues & reconsider.”

There has been no response. The saddest thing personally is Barry’s parting message to me. “As things stand, I’m seriously looking at moving on and actively looking at the possibilities of living elsewhere. I’ve had enough. My emotions are all over the place.”

10 thoughts on ““This is so unfair to those of us that live in the TRNC”

  1. this the sort of thing that will make a lot of brits leave, am sorry to say but if this country duz not sort this shit out sorry about that.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think what doesn’t help is the fact that residency in the TRNC seems pretty worthless. After days of faffing around, you get to Nicosia eventually at 05.30 in the freezing cold -have to wait up to four hours or more, the rules change every 5 minutes, and once you have it, what does it actually mean?

  2. Why do people moan so much? I am stuck in the TRNC but I don’t make a song and dance about it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Peter. It’s a tad more complicated than merely being frustrated by the inability to get home to the TRNC. The hundred or so people in Barry’s group all have residency status. All had to jump through enormous hoops to get that privilege, at a substantial cost of both time and money, only to find out it’s pretty much worthless. Tourists to the island are more important than full-time residents. Hope you manage to get away before too long.

  3. Most countries allow citizens more rights than immigrants. We may debate the merits of that system but we are required to comply. It’s close to universal… fair enough. However, to give superior rights to those wishing to return as tourist seems harsh and unfair. I personally know the subject of this article and can attest that this former Police Officer contributes more to his new home than almost all those Government considers superior citizens.

    Moreover, the Government has placed itself on a slippery slope. By correctly pointing out that the EU discriminates and belittles North Cyprus, it would seem that the TRNC would have a vested interest in treating all, regardless of religion or nationality, as equal. Clearly this is a case of do as we say, not as we do. If Barry Miller is not worthy, then please tell us who is?

    Dean Lewis,
    Unworthy Resident

    1. Cheers Unworthy Resident – I’m sure Barry would be truly humbled with your comments!

  4. Come on guys, stop complaining, pay your property transfer tax, annual property taxes, muchtars wanting ‘gifts’, (yes, we did fall for that one!), company taxes, water rates, very high electric charges, residency taxes, work payment taxes, bribes where required, high lawyer fees with no UK standard land searches, just pay up, be good boys! But do not expect anything in return, we are bottom of the pile! Now what would happen if TC s living in the UK were treated the same way and not allowed back to their homes?? it would hit the headlnes on every media possible! I have been a strong TRNC supporter since we moved her 19 years ago, my husband fought for them in the 50s in the British army protecting them from AOKA for 3 years, but now we are so disillusioned and my blood boileth over!
    It is time to hit the world media, such a shame after they have done so well with Covid!
    Saddened and stranded in the UK !

    1. Hi there and thanks for your passionate comments! I am sure there are hundreds of stranded people all over who share every one of your points. Hope you can return sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed.

  5. Thank you. I try to keep calm, have patience and take things logically/scientifically. But where is the science in letting students back ahead of Ex Pats who have done quarantine in the UK for 7/8 weeks? It is ‘rumoured’ that some of the earlier returned students even ‘escaped’ from quarantine! This proves they cannot be trusted. Please tell me, someone in authority, please! I need the scienc. Covid 19 will be with is for many years, we have to learn to live with it. Our lives will never be the same again.

    1. Thanks again for your continued contributions, and more valid points. I’m particularly interested in your last sentence – maybe a future article! What on earth will life be like for us, say this time next year?

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