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A GREEK Cypriot man who won €30,000 at a casino in the north was arrested and had the money confiscated by Turkish Cypriot police on his way back through the Ayios Dometios crossing.

According to Africa newspaper the man, only identified as Fotis, was treated as “a foreigner attempting to take more than the legal limit in cash out of the country”.

Fotis was arrested and bailed for €10,000 plus an additional €1,000 he had to pay to a Turkish Cypriot lawyer. His casino winnings were confiscated as evidence.

It is not known whether Turkish Cypriot police at the crossing were tipped off by the casino that Fotis was carrying a substantial amount of money.

But for Africa newspaper the issue was how Fotis was treated as a foreigner in his own country.

“You would think that he was from Syria, Jordan, Arabia or Egypt, but definitely not from Turkey. If he had been from Turkey, would he be considered a foreign citizen?” asked the newspaper.

“The Talat administration in the north, just like the Denktash administration, treats the Greek Cypriots as foreign citizens in their own country. It considers them foreigners, while it considers those from Turkey to be locals.”

It said while Greek Cypriots were charged tourist fees to museums in the north, Turkish mainlanders pay only “local fees”.

“It [the Talat administration] considers as abroad the other half of Cyprus, which it has divided.”

There was, however, one exception to the Turkish Cypriot rule of considering the Greek Cypriot side a foreign country, Africa said.

“It does not accept that our young people who study at educational institutions in the south are studying abroad because this does not suit it, and it does not allow them to benefit from the exemption from the military service, like those studying abroad…”

Justice Minister Kypros Chrysostomides said yesterday he was aware of the case.

“People continue to visit casinos in the occupied areas,” he said.

“The aim is to reduce the number and hopefully this will come about through awareness of personal responsibility and not just the economic crisis currently plaguing the world.”

By Jean Christou, Cyprus Mail, October 24, 2008
|||Police in north confiscate Greek Cypriots casino winnings
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