News reports in the northern part of Cyprus show the devaluation of the Turkish lira and higher wages in the south are driving more Turkish Cypriots to seek employment in the Republic of Cyprus.
According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris, the minimum salary in the north is around TRY 2279, just over €300, saying it is not enough to cover even the basic needs of a family.
“As a result, more Turkish Cypriots prefer to work in the south where the minimum wage can have as much buying power as 9000 Turkish lira in the north.”
Turkish Cypriot unions have also been calling on workers to join the organised labour force, according to CNA News Agency, asking workers not to tolerate any loss of their lawful rights or accept employment that violates labour laws and protection.
At the same time, Greek Cypriots in droves cross the checkpoints to fill up their cars with cheaper gasoline in the north, according to media reports in the south.
However, while the fall of the lira against the euro has been a major factor, drivers in the Republic of Cyprus have often cited what they see as unnecessarily higher prices in the south such as more expensive petrol and medicines.
The lira in Turkey has fallen 40 percent so far this year, with anxious investors concerned over the credibility of the central bank and possible influence over the institution by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
A recent rate hike in Turkey was thought to alleviate some concerns in the long-run, according to analysts, but it would not go far enough to address fiscal and current account deficits, they said.
Observers are on a wait-and-see to see if the Turkish lira will weaken further, rendering the rate hike as ineffective and causing more uncertainty ahead. [Kathimerini Cyprus]