Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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20 January 1998
Cyprus must not be held hostage by Turkey
The people of Cyprus congratulate the European Union for having the courage to take a decisive stand against consistent intimidation and blackmail by Turkey...

Cyprus must not be held hostage by Turkey

The people of Cyprus congratulate the European Union for having the courage to take a decisive stand against consistent intimidation and blackmail by Turkey. It is bizarre, to say the least that Turkey, a country desperate for EU membership, should have been permitted for so many years to harbour these aspirations in the light of its appalling record of continuing human rights violations. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that Turkey also continues to make territorial claims against the EU and also turns a blind eye to those drug barons using Turkey as their base and from there exporting death to the youths of Europe.

Yet Turkey still continues to pose considerable threat to peace and stability within the EU. Europe must now act again, and decisively so, in the face of further Turkish aggression if its bold rejection of Turkey's membership demands are to have meaning.

Firstly, Turkey continues to provoke conflict with Greece in the Aegean. On Christmas day 1997, the most sacred day in the Christian calendar, Turkey's air force stepped up its violation of Greek airspace. Whilst this was hardly a new phenomenon, Turkey now feels it has nothing to lose by provoking war with its smaller neighbour, albeit one whose borders constitute the south eastern frontiers of the EU. Lobby for Cyprus believes that a clear message must now be sent to Turkey by the forthcoming British presidency of the EU that Europe cannot tolerate such utter disregard of its territorial integrity.

Secondly there is Cyprus, very recently given the green light for membership of the EU. The Prime Minister Tony Blair has recently stated that Cyprus's accession would be much easier were the so-called "Cyprus problem" to have first been solved. But who is responsible for this seemingly intractable problem?

Turkey chooses to present the Cyprus issue as an intercommunal dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and explains the presence of its 40,000 occupation troops as a necessity to protect the Turkish Cypriot minority. But how does Turkey explain the fact that it has deliberately encouraged the emigration of tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots since it invaded the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 and has replaced them with over 100,000 Anatolian colonists? As long ago as 1991 the Council of Europe commissioned the Cuco report into Turkey's ethnic engineering and concluded that this colonisation of occupied Cyprus was one of the greatest impediments to a settlement. In what way therefore can the Cypriots be held responsible for any lack of progress?

Turkey maintains a huge military presence in Cyprus, ignoring the demands of the EU, United Nations and anyone else sufficiently motivated to express its concern at Turkey's illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus. Again, who is responsible for this? Certainly not the Cypriots.

Finally, Turkey denies all Greek Cypriots the right to return to their stolen homes, thus flouting the most basic EU principles of freedom of movement and ownership. Turkey has in reality established an illegal apartheid regime in occupied Cyprus. Once again it is ludicrous to suggest that the Cypriots are in someway responsible for Turkey's actions.

There is no doubt that Turkey is responsible for the division of Cyprus. For this reason and others, including the persecution of the Kurds, the EU has finally realised that Turkey has no place in Europe. However, Cyprus should not now also be tarred with the same brush and be prevented from joining the EU simply because Turkey makes it impossible for a fair and lasting settlement to be found to a conflict that is entirely of Turkey's own making. It is up to the forthcoming British presidency to ensure that Cyprus is not held hostage in this way by Turkey.

Lobby for Cyprus believes that Cyprus must be admitted to the EU even if, as seems likely, Turkey's intransigence continues to stifle attempts to find such a settlement.

Only when the 3Rs are implemented will it be possible to restore justice, reunify Cyprus and ensure peace and long term stability in the eastern Mediterranean.

1 Removal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus
2 Repatriation of all Turkish colonists from Cyprus
3 Return of all refugees without restriction or preconditions

Lobby for Cyprus urges the EU to accept the 3Rs as the minimum for a viable and lasting settlement in Cyprus. Turkey must be told in no uncertain terms that it cannot expect to be treated as an EU state until it learns to abide by EU norms and in particular has taken steps to facilitate the 3Rs.

Europeam Union fact file

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Cyprus (1.4.41.) Adopted 19 September 1997
"Parliament condemned the killing of two young Greek Cypriots by the security forces of the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus during a peaceful demonstration for reunification and called on Turkey to cooperate by taking all necessary measures to identify, arrest and bring to justice all those implicated in the murder and the decision to fire on unarmed civilians. It called on Turkey to withdraw its occupation forces..."
European Parliament resolution on the murder of a Greek Cypriot in Cyprus (1.2.5.) Adopted 24 October 1997
"Parliament condemned the murder of Petros Kakoulis by the Turkish occupation forces and called for a thorough investigation to identify and prosecute those responsible. It called on the Turkish government to respect the basic human rights and freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites in occupied Cyprus. Parliament also pointed out that Turkey's relations with the EU were partially dependent on its attitude to Cyprus and reiterated its decision to suspend financial cooperation with that country and those parts of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership programme not connected with the promotion of democracy, human rights and civil society."
European Parliament resolution on human rights violations against the enclaved in occupied Cyprus (1.2.7.) Adopted 10 April 1997
"Parliament condemned the grave and persistent violations of human rights and basic freedoms by the occupying regime against Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the enclave in the occupied territories of northern Cyprus. It called for the UN and EU bodies to develop greater awareness of the problem so that measures, including humanitarian assistance, could be taken to improve living conditions in the enclave."
Avis of European Commission Endorsed by Council of Ministers in October 1993 and at Corfu and Essen summits in 1994
"Cyprus's geographical position, the deep-lying bonds which, for 2,000 years, have located the island at the very fount of European culture and civilisation, the intensity of the European influence apparent in the values shared by the people of Cyprus and in the conduct of the cultural, political, economic and social life of its citizens, the wealth of its contacts of every kind with the EU - all these confer on Cyprus, beyond all doubt, its European identity and character and confirm its vocation to belong to the Community."

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