Turkish Cypriots stage new anti-austerity rally

Thousands of Turkish Cypriots on Wednesday took to the streets of occupied Nicosia to protest an austerity drive they claim has been imposed on them by Ankara.

Some 50,000 people attended the demonstration, one of the largest ever turnouts in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus. Protesters object to large cuts to state sector salaries, which were announced last year following talks between the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the government in Turkey.

Police confiscated dozens of Cypriot flags from demonstrators as the sight of a sea of flags at a rally on January 28 had angered Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had accused Turkish Cypriots of being ?ungrateful.?

According to Agence France-Presse, Ankara contributed 635 million euros to the Turkish Cypriots this year, which amounts to a third of their budget.

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