Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Statements

22 May 2008
Fighting for Cyprus in the UK
A Lobby for Cyprus delegation attended PSEKA, the annual Cyprus, Hellenic and Orthodox issues conference, in Washington DC. The following speech was made at the Russell Senate Office building of the US Senate on 22 May 2008.

A Lobby for Cyprus delegation attended PSEKA, the annual Cyprus, Hellenic and Orthodox issues conference, in Washington DC. The following speech was made at the Russell Senate Office building of the US Senate on 22 May 2008.    

[Quotation] 
Does the international community truly want to solve the Cyprus issue, or does it merely desire a quick-fix solution to absolve Turkey of any responsibility and pave the way for its eventual entry into the EU?

[Quotation] 
Our question is: what is the price that Cyprus will have to pay for Turkey to join the EU? 

[Bodytext] 
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this important gathering. I would like to congratulate the team at PSEKA for bringing us all together and for staging yet again another successful conference. 

Distinguished guests, Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen. Mr Ambassador [of Cyprus to the US], delegates from around the world, I bring you all warm greetings from my colleagues. 

At Lobby for Cyprus we are fighting the fight in the UK. 

Lobby is a grass roots non-party-political organisation that comprises of individuals and a number of prominent refugee organisations which are under 
our umbrella. 

Like many of our sister organisations worldwide, we are working hard to campaign on the many aspects of the Cyprus issue – in the case of Lobby, for the past sixteen years. While much of our work will cross over with yours, there are some issues we are in a position to tackle in the UK. 

One such area is the property issue which has many far reaching consequences for Cyprus. The illegal development of our properties results in further colonisation as workers are transported from Turkey with their families to build on our stolen lands. 

As you are aware, many Brits are illegally buying properties in the occupied northern territories. Unscrupulous property companies are lying to the British public. They tell them that the title-deeds issued by the occupation regime are legitimate. They say that there has been an ‘exchange’ of properties between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. This of course, we know could not be further from the truth. 

Lobby for Cyprus is involved in a number of prominent property court cases and we are winning them. 

We peacefully disrupt exhibitions that promote the illegal sale of our properties. And we have successfully managed to cancel some. One such closure was recently filmed by an undercover BBC television programme and was broadcast in the UK. 

Our policy is the 3Rs: 
• the Removal of all Turkish troops
• the Repatriation of all Turkish colonists and
• the Return of all refugees to their homes without preconditions. 

Whatever the solution to the Cyprus issue is – whether it is bizonal, bicommunal – whatever form it takes, 
the refugees must have the right to return. Lobby for Cyprus is made up of refugee organisations – so that is our policy. 

We are European Union citizens. But we do not want to be second class citizens. We want freedom of movement, ownership and settlement in all of Europe – and that includes Cyprus. We do not want an apartheid state in the EU.
 
We support the efforts of President Christofias to negotiate a solution. While we are cautiously optimistic regarding the current talks, we have legitimate fears: does the international community truly want to solve the Cyprus issue, or does it merely desire a quick-fix solution to absolve Turkey of any responsibility and pave the way for its eventual entry into the EU?

In 2004 I read the following quote in the Cypriot press: 

“It is easier to de-democratise Cyprus than to democratise Turkey.”

Our question is: what is the price that Cyprus will have to pay for Turkey to join the EU? 

In the last few days at this conference myself and my colleagues have been encouraged to hear reports of a ‘bottom-up’ approach to a Cyprus solution. One that is decided by the Cypriots rather than one that is imposed by outside powers. I welcome that – as we are only too aware of what kind of solution can be imposed from outside Cyprus: the notorious Annan plan. 

I thank you all for your tireless work. Cyprus needs its friends, in particular those in the United States to fight for the just cause of human rights in Cyprus. 

But at Lobby, we believe that while the US is of utmost importance to Cyprus, many of the policies of the international community actually originate from the UK – case in point again is the Annan plan. 

I hope to learn more at this conference about your important work and to have an exchange of ideas with many of you.

We have packs of Lobby for Cyprus material here if you wish to find out more about our ongoing campaign work. 

To close with, I would like to make one last comment. I have heard many references at this gathering to the ‘Cyprus problem’. At Lobby for Cyprus, we do not believe that there is a Cyprus problem. We call it the ‘Turkey problem’ – a problem of invasion, occupation and colonisation. 

Thank you.