Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Summer 2006 Issue 19
It is said that politics is all about perception not substance. At the moment, many in the west perceive the Turkish Cypriots to be subject to an international embargo. Many also feel that Greek Cypriots do not want a settlement or if they do, will not want to reclaim their lands and ancestral homes.
The recent announcement that the continental shelf off the south coast of Cyprus contains oil and gas reserves has focussed international attention again on the huge benefits that Cypriot membership of the EU offers to European companies and investors.
There has apparently been a boom in property development in the occupied area of Cyprus since the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan plan.
The appalling destruction of churches, monasteries and Christian cemeteries by the Turks is well known, by Greek Cypriots at least. Less well known however, but equally outrageous, is the deliberate destruction of Cyprus’s archaeological heritage by the invaders and occupiers.
Documents declassified under the thirty year rule and seen by Lobby confirm that from the beginning of 1974 Turkey made to the British government its demands for a geographical federation in Cyprus. Turkey even began to refer to a bi-zonal federation as its ultimate goal.
Amongst the main lies peddled by those seeking the division of Cyprus is the myth of Turkish Cypriot isolation. The argument goes that they should be “rewarded” for their courage in supporting a settlement, the Annan Plan, which legitimised their theft of Greek Cypriot property, whilst Greek Cypriots should be ‘punished’ for rejecting this settlement.
Many in the UK were perplexed at why Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan so decisively. The reasoning is that whilst admittedly over 100,000 Greek Cypriot refugees would be unable to return to their homes they would at least be compensated for this loss or even given equivalent property owned by Turkish Cypriots.
Greek Cypriots who have visited their homes and lands in the occupied north have been shocked and outraged at the attempted eradication of Greek heritage by the Turkish occupiers. These scenes of desecration and vandalism were photographed in Akanthou in 2003.