Several thousand Turkish Cypriots took to the streets Wednesday to protest at belt-tightening economic measures, pressed by Turkey, even though a similar demonstration in January angered Ankara. The protesters flocked to a square in the northern section of Nicosia, Europe’s last divided capital, forming a large crowd for the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which has a population of 255,000 and is recognised only by Turkey.
“AKP, take your hand off our collar,” read banners the protesters brandished, referring to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party. “No to being governed by instructions” and “Either take your (economic) package back or get packing,” other banners said.
Some protesters called for an end to the island’s 36-year division and waved the Cyprus Republic flag, used only by the Greek Cypriots who hold the internationally recognised government in the south.
A similar demonstration on January 28 angered Turkey, which has propped up the enclave financially since it occupied the north in 1974.