Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Association of Martyrs' Families and War Veterans

  In connection with the new inquiry on Cyprus conducted by your Committee, I have the honour to enclose a memorandum on behalf of our organization. The Association of Martyr's Families and War Veterans was established on 1 January 1975 and has over 4,000 members. We trust that the views presented in the attached memorandum shall be taken into due account during your deliberations.

Ertan Ersan

President, Association of Martyr's Families and War Veterans

3 November 2004


  1.  Separate simultaneous referenda were held on 24 April 2004 in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and South Cyprus on the comprehensive settlement plan of the UN Secretary General, the Annan Plan.

  2.   The plan was approved in the Turkish Cypriot referendum by 65% of the votes whereas 76% of the Greek Cypriot people rejected the plan. As a result, the island of Cyprus was once again deprived of a negotiated solution by the Greek Cypriot side.

  3.  As the Turkish Cypriot people we awaited a just and viable solution for over four decades. We had overseen the destruction in December 1963 of the bi-communal 1960 Republic of Cyprus and were rejected by force of arms from the partnership government.

  4.  Greek Cypriots abolished the Republic on 21 December 1963 by force of arms and deprived us from our partnership rights by exclusion. They undertook a violent campaign of ethnic cleansing against our people between the years 1963-1974 in accordance with the Akritas Plan. The inhuman Greek Cypriot actions were reported to the Security Council by the UN observers.

  5.  If a thorough research is conducted between the years 1963-74, the UN records would officially show these realities which culminate in nothing but genocide.

  6.  Greek Cypriots refused to accept our equal rights and freedoms and pursued their aspirations to turn Cyprus into a Greek island in the most vicious way. Turkish Cypriots were not only driven from their homes, forced to live in small enclaves, deprived of their basic human rights but repeatedly subjected to violent attacks. The Turkish Cypriot people, in general, chose to forgive and forget the agonies of the past in the name of a better future for next generations. But we, as the families of the martyrs, who have been left behind, still shudder with the memories that are impossible to forget. The memories are kept alive with the spirits of the martyrs. Their unrecognizable dead bodies come before our eyes every single day. Our suffering is eternal.

  7.  Greek Cypriot murderers believed that Turkish Cypriots who refused to accept their absolute domination over Cyprus deserved to die in return. They killed the unarmed, innocent people from 16 day old babies to 95 year old grandmothers in Aloa, Sandallaris and Maratha. Their mass graves were opened in front of UN observers. 95% of Aloa, Sandallaris and Maratha villages which were completely inhabited by Turkish Cypriots were killed by the Greek Cypriot paramilitaries. Thousands more were killed, maimed or wounded, hundreds went missing and those lucky enough to survive the massacres were forced to live in open air prison conditions during 1963-74.

  8.  If a Greek Cypriot lady named Louizidou can demand a compensation for not being able to see her house in Girne, then, it should be our right to demand a moral compensation for all of these atrocities and particularly for the 127 babies and women killed who had been living in Aloa, Sandallaris and Maratha in peace without any defense weapons.

  9.  We still believe that the Greek Cypriot genocide should have been acknowledged as it is. We should have received some sort of compensation but our suffering was not recognised in the Annan Plan as well. However, we know that we must look ahead and cooperate with Greek Cypriots for a better future.

  10.  It was the Turkish Cypriots who voted for "Yes" in the referandum accepting many sacrifices such as evacuating their houses maybe for the second or third time in 30 years. Turkish Cypriots compromised and supported the Annan Plan so the inhuman embargoes on them could be lifted. Turkish Cypriots wanted to join the EU. Turkish Cypriots wanted to have unhindered relations with the world. And Turkish Cypriots wanted a lasting settlement in Cyprus. But, Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan. They wanted to join the EU on their own and represent us without our permission. Greek Cypriot administration claims to be the government of the whole island and wants to solve Cyprus question on this basis.

  11.  Greek Cypriot administration demands that all Greek Cypriot refugees return to the North, they want to get all their properties in the North, they want all Turkish migrants to leave the island and they believe they have the right to rule us because they outnumber us. They also claim that EU principles and human rights dictate all these.

  12.  What about the rights of the Turkish Cypriots? Most of our ex-refugees have no homes to return to even if they wanted to. Their houses and land were either destroyed or expropriated. Now, they must become refugees once again so that the human rights of the Greek Cypriots are served. Turkish Cypriots were not the attackers in the past. And now, Turkish Cypriots are the ones who accepted to compromise to solve the Cyprus problem. Turkish Cypriots settled and invested in the North because they had no other chance for a secure living. Why do they have to suffer again? Why should they give up the properties they invested in and got attached to for thirty years? Is it not the right approach to solve the property and displaced persons issues without destroying the principle of bizonality and in a more humane way? We do not object to the right of property and right of return. But we know that they can also be recognised on the basis of compensation. It is a more feasible and absolute solution to solve these issues on the basis of compensation and without harming the right of another human being.

  13.  Turkish migrants came to the North because menpower was needed. They started a new life in Cyprus, had children and grandchildren who know nowhere else but Cyprus as home. Majority of these people have been living in Cyprus for over twenty or thirty years. Don't they have the same right as all other migrants who have become and are accepted as the citizens of the countries they settled in after 5-10 years in Europe? Does human rights and freedoms ask for their punishment simply because they settled in a conflict island? We don't think so and hope that the EU will not allow Greek Cypriots to cause new problems in pursuit of their unjust demands.

  14.  Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are political equals. We have our own democratically elected representatives and the Greek Cypriot administration does not represent us. A divided island and an administration representing only the Greek Cypriots entered the EU. As all Turkish Cypriots, the members of the Association of Martyr's Families and War Veterans, are ready to compromise for a lasting solution. But political equality, bi-zonality and the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee are the principles Turkish Cypriots can not and shall not compromise on.

  15.  To this day, Turkish Cypriot people face all kinds of isolation in every aspect of life and the international community who promised to help us, in case we as Turkish Cypriots said "yes" and Greek Cypriots said "no", did not do anything. We have been left outside the EU whereas the Greek Cypriots joined the EU. They now use their new membership to force all their demands upon us and grant us with minority status. It is very dissapointing that the EU allows the Greek Cypriots to stop every initiative towards correcting this injustice.

  16.  Turkish Cypriot people cannot and will not bow to Greek Cypriot domination. We know that the EU and the rest of the world do not intend to help Greek Cypriots do away with our rights on Cyprus. We know that they share our determination for a just, lasting and negotiated settlemet. It is for this reason that the international community should now establish direct contact with and support the development of the Turkish Cypriot side. Otherwise, the Greek Cypriot leadership shall have no incentive to stop blocking a negotiated settlemet at the cost of their people, Turkish Cypriots and the EU.

  17.  The Turkish Cypriot people only ask for their decades old unfair punishment to come to an end. We as Turkish Cypriot people continue to be subjected to illegal restrictions and embargoes. Our right to act and speak on our behalf is not acknowledged. It is high time that the inhuman embargoes imposed upon the Turkish Cypriot people are lifted outright and the undeniable fact that the so called "Government of the Republic of Cyprus" does not and has no right to represent us is recognized. Only then the way to a lasting settlement in Cyprus shall be open. Only then the EU shall be rid of the burden of having a divided conflict island as its member.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 22 February 2005