A jobless father of two has entered 2016 in style, scooping the biggest ever jackpot of one million TL in the TRNC’s New Year Lottery.
Salih Çavus, 41, of Karaman, said he was “in denial” after his first glance at the winning numbers in the New Year’s Eve draw, and checked them 15 times before believing he had won the big prize.
He only found out the news on Wednesday, six days after his ticket became the winner.
Mr Çavuş, who bought just one ticket with his father in Girne last month, told Cyprus Today: “On the night of the draw I was helping out at a relative’s restaurant and couldn’t check the numbers, and then I was ill for the next few days.
“On the day we checked on the website to see if we had won anything, I was shocked and couldn’t believe that we had actually won the biggest prize ever given out in the country.”
Mr Çavuş, who worked in Australia for four years but has been unemployed for five years since having to return for personal reasons, added: “We weren’t expecting anything when we bought the ticket with my father’s encouragement, but I know this money will help our living standards; the future of my children, my parents, and my sister who lives in Australia.
“I’ve deposited all the money into a joint account for my family to benefit from as well and as a priority we will be refurbishing our house which we have had since the ’90s and needs a lot of work.”
Some 130,000 of a possible 200,000 tickets were sold for the big annual lottery which this time had a total prize fund of 2.2 million TL.
Handing over the giant jackpot cheque On Wednesday, Lottery Department director Biray Delicerrmak said: “We are delighted that the lucky winner is an unemployed person, meaning he and his family will benefit greatly from the money, and we hope they’ll spend the money with joy.”
He added: “Most importantly, young people and the future benefit from the income we make from the lottery.
“Thanks to everyone for their trust in us and for their support by purchasing tickets.”
New regulations mean the TRNC National Lottery will now be played three times a month – on the 8th, 18th, and 28th – rather than only twice, on the 15th and 30th.
By Yasemin Gulpinar for Cyprus Today