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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:34, May 07, 2006
Population in northern Cyprus rises significantly: census
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The overall population in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern Cyprus rose by 31.7 percent compared with 1996, initial result of census showed on Saturday.

Last Sunday's census in northern Cyprus also showed a marked trend towards urbanization.

"The population has risen from 200,587 in 1996 to 264,172 in 2006," prime minister of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ferdi Sabit Soyer was quoted as saying.

However, he was unable to give details on the proportion of the de facto population and the number of Turkish settlers in the north.

"The full results will be available in the next five months," Soyer said, adding that "all will be revealed in time" about the demographic makeup of the north.

Population figures and the number of Turkish mainland settlers in northern Cyprus have remained contentious issues between the two communities on the divided island since 1974.

"Those who came to the island 30 years ago and had children who have since then had their own children can be thought of as nothing other than citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," he said.

"There is no way anyone could describe them as foreigners," Soyer added.

Meanwhile, Cypriot Undersecretary to the President Christodoulos Pashiardis has seen the result of the census as unreliable, claiming that the census is aiming to legitimize the illegal settlers "undermining in this way efforts for a mutually accepted settlement of the Cyprus question."

Hailing the census a success, Soyer said the information would help the administration plan for the ten years ahead.

"All our plans were based on the figures of the 1996 census. Now we have to revise these," said Soyer, adding that the information gathered from the 61-question census would be used to help provide better services for the public.

Another striking feature of the results, apart from the 31.7 percent increase in overall population, was the rapid urbanization of the north.

It may be necessary to slow down the trend by offering incentives to people to remain in the countryside, Soyer said.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of Cyprus following a coup by a group of Greek officers.

Source: Xinhua

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