Since 1974 the northern area of Cyprus has been administered by Turkish Cypriots, who in 1983 declared the northern area the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”). The United States does not recognize the “TRNC,” nor does any country other than Turkey. Mustafa Akinci was elected “president” in 2015 in free and fair elections. The “TRNC constitution” is the basis for the “laws” that govern the area administered by Turkish Cypriot authorities. Police and “Turkish Cypriot security forces” were ultimately under the operational command of the Turkish military, per transitional article 10 of the “TRNC constitution,” which cedes responsibility for public security and defense “temporarily” to Turkey. Authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The most significant problems reported during the year included: trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and absence of a system to handle asylum applications or protect the rights of asylum-seekers.
Other problems reported during the year included mistreatment of persons in detention and in prison; overcrowding in prisons and poor prison conditions; lack of separation of incarcerated adults and juveniles; limited access to some places of worship; vandalism and removal of religious icons from vacant places of worship, including some sites that were damaged, close to collapse, or had been converted to other uses; corruption and cronyism in the executive and legislative branches; domestic violence against women; restrictions on freedom of speech and expression and pressure and censorship against journalists that interfered with their objective reporting; and failure of authorities to introduce and enforce adequate labor health and safety standards.
Authorities took steps to investigate police officials following press allegations of abuses and corrupt practices. There was evidence, however, that officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.