Tensions Increase as TC Authorities Announce Economic Austerity Package

The Turkish Cypriot (TC) authorities announced a proposed austerity package in the first week of June. The package, which could see taxation on pensions and additional taxes on salaries, increased tensions among the public as it came shortly after the bankruptcy of Cyprus Turkish Airlines (CTA), and its sale to Turkish carrier Atlas Jet.

The Unions’ Platform comprised of 34 trade unions, pensioner associations, NGOs and some political parties protested the current authorities’ proposed measures and selling of CTA.  Almost 5,000 protestors gathered outside the TC central authorities’ building on 5 June, after announcing a half day general strike. The crowds shouted slogans against the authorities and calling for their resignation. Some groups were holding banners which said “Turkey, we don’t want your package, your money and we don’t want your servants”; “If  CTA goes, we will go to Larnaca”. Eggs, plastic bottles and tomatoes were thrown on the building walls during the rally, breaking a window and dying the walls in yellow and red.

Almost one hundred policemen were protecting the building, whom the protestors invited to join their side, saying “You are our brothers this time but it might not be the same in the future, you should join us”. The protestors left after announcing that they will go on strike indefinitely unless the authorities withdraw the measures. The protestors also warned the authorities that any future protests and rallies “won’t be this peaceful in the future”.

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