“It would appear that the word ‘humanitarian’ has acquired a new meaning, and the dictionaries of the world have not caught up,” said Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus.
He was referring to the fact that Turkey, which has one of the worst humanitarian records of any country – past and present – has been playing host to the first United Nations-sponsored World Humanitarian Summit, on 23 and 24 May.
“To help politicians, the public, and the lexicographers,” Theodorou went on, “let me offer a definition. A humanitarian is someone who supports terrorism and terrorists, jails journalists and people who dare dissent, opposes the concept of gender equality and refuses to accept judgments from courts and international bodies – to name a few.”
In all these broad areas, Theodorou said, Turkey is the one country where the use of the word ‘humanitarian’ is least welcome.
“Almost daily,” Theodorou continued, “we read of Turkey’s tacit support of ISIS, or al Qaeda, for instance, and yet nothing is done to discipline Turkey. The world has seen Turkey kill thousands of its Kurdish people and destroy their villages, and has done and said nothing. Turkey continues to defy world bodies with its occupation of more than a third of Cyprus, and the world does nothing.”
The case against Turkey can best be summarised by an observer who has studied Turkey, starting from its president, said Theodorou. The observer recently commented:
“Erdogan is an autocrat. His government tramples on basic human rights such as freedom of expression. It has committed what could be considered crimes against humanity in its treatment of its Kurdish population. It scoffed at a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, which sought to hold Turkey accountable for its illegal occupation in Cyprus and the human suffering it caused. Erdogan’s government has an abysmal record on women’s rights. It is extracting a large sum of money and other concessions from the European Union in order to stem the flow of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe that it helped to worsen in the first place. And it supports terrorist organisations… In short, Turkey is one of the last places on earth that should be hosting a global summit devoted to addressing genuine humanitarian concerns.”
In supporting the observer’s comments, Theodorou said that as far as Lobby for Cyprus is concerned, “we express our dismay that the United Nations considers Turkey, a country with such an abominable record on human rights, to be a suitable host, for what should be a major conference for all who truly believe in humanitarian principles.”
Notes to editors
- The Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish troops in 1974.
- Turkey maintains an illegal occupation in the north of the island with 43,000 troops in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
- 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning to their homes in the occupied north.
- Turkey continues its policy of colonising the occupied territory with hundreds of thousands of Turkish nationals in an attempt to alter the demography of the island, in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation that campaigns for a Cyprus free from Turkish occupation and a unitary Cypriot state without segregation along ethnic and religious lines