NICOSIA – The self-declared republic on the Turkish occupied side of Cyprus that’s unrecognized in the world will tax residents there to help deal with the costs of the deadly earthquake which devastated a region of Turkey.
The assessments will be from 1-5 percent of people’s salaries as a mandatory deduction, reported DuvaR.English, an independent media site that has been critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian government.
The tax will be taken based on income, the lowest at 1 percent for those making the equivalent of up to $1,590 monthly and the highest of 5 percent for those earning more than $3,975, seeing $198.75 withheld
The tax will be in place until February 2024 but it wasn’t said if it could be continued beyond that nor who would handle the money nor how it would be distributed in Turkey where the government controls finances.
A workers union on the occupied side said it’s skeptical about where the money will go and that it should be done on a voluntary basis although employees had no say in the decision.
Güven Bengihan, head of the civil servants union criticized the move by the head of the occupied territory, hardliner Ersin Tatar who generally follows the lead of Erdogan and gave workers no choice.
“It is very wrong to take a decision hastily with regards to a decision that concerns everyone, from the retirees to minimum wage earners, and make a deduction from everyone. Humane feelings are trying to be abused,” Bengihan said.
Seven public and private sector unions said they would try to stop the tax in court, said the Özgür Gazete Kıbrıs online news website.
An opposition Turkish lawmaker, Doğuş Derya, said that the move to take money from people’s paychecks and pension benefits was “doing opportunism through the pain” and was “forcibly collecting money” amid suspicions it not go to earthquake relief or how it would be accounted for, if at all.