Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Cyprus Turkish Fighters Association

  It has come to our knowledge that your Committee is conducting an inquiry on Cyprus. Please find attached the memorandum reflecting the views and concerns of the Cyprus Turkish Fighters Association on the Cyprus question.

  As the name implies this Association's membership is open to those persons who took part in the Resistance Movement and the fighters who actually participated in stopping the armed Greek Cypriot attacks on our community.


  As the Hon members of the esteemed committee are well aware the Turkish Cypriot have been the victims of horrendous crimes committed against them by the Greek Cypriots specially during the EOKA emergency years and the post independence period stretching 1963 to 1974. This we all remember so vividly.

  The Turkish Cypriots have also not forgotten the anti Turkish behavior and actions of the Greek Cypriot community in the post independence years 1960-63 Partnership Republic.

  The above well documented facts have made it imperative for us the Turkish Cypriot people of Cyprus that any solution should have no cracks in the new structure which could be manipulated for extending Greek Cypriot domination over us.

  A.  The Cyprus question has been on the agenda of the international community for 41 years. Many initiatives aimed at its permanent solution ended in failure, including the latest initiative of the UN Secretary-General. The comprehensive settlement plan of the UN-Secretary General was seen as a balanced, workable and fair settlement by the international community, accepted as a compromise by the Turkish Cypriot side but strongly rejected by the Greek Cypriots as unacceptable. Greek Cypriots argue that they are willing for a viable settlement but could not accept the Annan Plan which did not address their so called "serious concerns." However, the truth is that Greek Cypriots are not ready for any settlement based on power sharing and equality. They prefer to continue enjoying their usurped title of the "Government of the Republic of Cyprus" and pursue the settlement of the Cyprus question within the EU to their full advantage.

  B.  The 1960 Republic of Cyprus was established as a Partnership Republic with checks and balances between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot partners. However in line with their aspiration to turn Cyprus into a Greek island Greek Cypriots destroyed the 1960 partnership Republic of Cyprus in 1963 by attacking The Turkish Cypriot Community and ejecting all Turkish Cypriot elements, by force of arms from the organs of the government. Since then, Greek Cypriot administration of South Cyprus has been usurping the title of the "Republic of Cyprus" as if it is the "legitimate government of the whole Cyprus".

  C.  Through our national resistance, we protected our vested rights at all costs and faced a period of oppression and violence during the years between 1963-74. It is an officially recorded reality that during this period, a quarter of the Turkish Cypriot population in the island became refugees some of them three times over, hundreds were abducted and went missing and hundreds of Turkish Cypriot civilians lost their lives at the hand of Greek Cypriots. Those lucky enough to survive Greek Cypriot atrocities were forced to live in small enclaves being subjected to gross violations of human rights.

  D.  Being saved from total annihilation by the timely intervention of Turkey at the time of Sampson Coup in 1974, we faced isolation and were outcast as if the Cyprus question was created by the sufferers rather than the oppressors. The Greek Cypriot side was allowed to continue with the pretence that it was the sole representative of Cyprus. Actually, Greek Cypriots were awarded for their aggression and achieved what they sought in the first place, namely a purely Greek Cypriot administration. We, on the other hand, have been subjected to economic, cultural, sporting and similar inhuman embargoes and deprived of our right to international representation through our democratically elected representatives. Using the benefits of international recognition, the Greek Cypriot side managed to convince the world that the Turkish Cypriot side was unwilling for a political settlement and our "punishment" continued. However, the reality finally emerged when the Turkish Cypriot people were given the opportunity to exercise their separate will and hold a referendum on the comprehensive settlement plan of the UN, the Annan Plan. 24 April 2004 referendum proved beyond doubt that The Turkish Cypriot side was indeed ready as it had always been for power shearing on equality bases.

  E.  Turkish Cypriots acted positively in the simultaneous referenda which were held on both sides of the island on April 2004. The plan was approved in the Turkish Cypriot referendum by 65% of the votes whereas 76% of the Greek Cypriot people rejected the plan. This clearly indicated they had no desire for a solution based on political equality. The Turkish Cypriot people declared their will for a just settlement based on bi-zonality and equality whereas the Greek Cypriot people clearly demonstrated that they are not ready for any power sharing agreement with us.

  F.  The referendum result confirmed our main concern that the Greek Cypriot aspirations to fully dominate the island had not changed and is not likely to change unless they are made to see that the international community will not allow such a finality as a Greek Cypriot domination in Cyprus at the cost of our rights. As the Turkish Cypriot Fighters Association, representing the Turkish Cypriots who put everything at stake to protect their vested rights and freedoms in the past. We are determined to stand in the way of future Greek Cypriot efforts aimed at extending their illegal writ over the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. We call upon the international community to stand by our just conviction to ensure that Greek Cypriots acknowledge the fact that Cyprus is the common home of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots alike who always had and shall continue to have an equal say over its destiny. Only then the way to a political settlement in Cyprus shall be open.

  G.  History stands testimony to our political and sovereign equality well as the Greek Cypriot refusal to accept this reality and resort to all means including violence to turn us into a mere minority in our own homeland. We know very well that given the opportunity. the Greek Cypriot side shall not hesitate to repeat its aggression against our people. We hope and trust that the international community, in general, and the EU in particular, shall stand in the way of Greek Cypriot efforts to do away with the established parameters of a future solution especially political equality and bi-zonality. Allowing Greek Cypriot posture to prevent the negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue and carry it to EU platform in order to solve it in line with its political considerations will certainly hold undesirable consequences for the whole Union.

  H.  Before the referendum, the Turkish Cypriot people were assured that if they displayed a constructive approach and voted for reconciliation, as envisaged in the Annan Plan the inhuman embargoes would be lifted regardless of the result of the Greek Cypriot referendum. Now, it is time for the international community to keep their promise by lifting the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots to end our unjust isolation from the rest of the world.

  I.  After the referendum, Greek Cypriots concentrated their efforts towards the international community and especially the European Union, trying to prevent any positive decision which will support the Turkish Cypriots. Knowing the Greek Cypriot psychology this negative attitude was no surprise for us. As the Turkish Cypriot people, we still keep our faith that international community will not be misled once again by the Greek Cypriot side and serve their political objectives.

  J.  Greek Cypriots are still arguing that the Cyprus problem started in 1974 with the Turkish intervention but the truth is totally different. Cyprus issue started in the late 1950's as a direct result of the joint efforts of Greece and the Greek Cypriots to annex the island to Greece and culminated by the Greek Cypriot attack on us at the and of 1963. It was the long overdue timely intervention of Turkey in 1974 which prevented extermination of the Turkish Cypriots and the annexation of the island to Greece. Greek Cypriots claim that existence of the Turkish troops in the island prevent the possibility of a solution. However, the Annan Plan envisaged the removal of the Turkish troops from the island. in a step by step procedure. By saying "no" in the referendum Greek Cypriots clearly demonstrated that their past attitudes and acts were not sincere.

  K.  Greek Cypriots also claim that the presence of Turkish troops and the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee threatens their security. How can the existence of a symbolic number of Turkish troops less than the number of Greek troops allowed by the Annan Plan threaten the security of Greek Cypriots who considerably outnumber the Turkish Cypriots? As for the Treaty of Guarantee, why would a right given to both our motherlands and the United Kingdom that will not be exercised unless it is absolutely necessary disturb the Greek Cypriots if there are no bad but peaceful intentions? In any case, the history of Cyprus shows that it is not the Greek Cypriots who should worry about security needs but our people. It is for this reason that the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee and the presence of Turkish troops on the island is absolutely necessary for fulfilling our need for security and ensuring us that the tragic experiences of the past will not be repeated.

  L.  Greek Cypriots speak of their displaced persons and complain that under the Plan they would not be able to return to their homes left in the north. However, according to the Plan thousands of Turkish Cypriot ex-refugees would have to leave their homes once again paving the way for resettlement of the Greek Cypriots. On the other hand, it has come out that properties of the Turkish Cypriots in the south has been destroyed or expropriated by the Greek Cypriot administration. This would be a small price to pay as the separation of the Communities is the dominant factor in preventing intercommunal violence.

  M.  Greek Cypriot make missing persons a main issue of political exploitation. It is true that many Greek Cypriots went missing during the internal fighting between separate Greek Cypriot fractions following the coup of 15 June 1974. It is true that additional Greek Cypriots went missing during the peace operation of 1974. But it is also true that almost all of the Greek Cypriot missing were soldiers lost in action. It needs to be stressed that the Turkish Cypriots have hundreds of missing who nearly all were savagely murdered women and children during the fateful years of 1963-74 at the hands of Greek Cypriots. Nevertheless, we respect the agony of the families of missing persons on both sides. And in line with that respect, Turkish Cypriot authorities took the initiative and "Missing Persons Committee" restarted its activities. As the Turkish Cypriot people we also want to determine the fate of our missing and if possible honour them with a proper burial. We do not, however, exploit this tragedy for political gain but only contribute to its solution. Our silence is not because we did not suffer but out of respect for the families who continue to suffer every time the issue is brought up without a solution.

  N.  Greek Cypriot side which rejected the UN plan has become a member of the EU, while the Turkish Cypriot side which has approved the plan has not only remained outside the EU but continues to be subjected to illegal restrictions and embargoes. We are disappointed to see that, initiatives of the European Union on helping Turkish Cypriots after referendum have been blocked by the Greek Cypriots. This is definitely contrary to the principles of the European Union. It is high time for EU member countries to take concrete steps towards lifting all the restrictions on the political, economic and social development of the Turkish Cypriot people. It is incumbent upon the United Kingdom as one of the three guarantor powers to take the lead in this respect and establish closer relations with the Turkish Cypriot side in all fields.

  O.  As the Turkish Cypriot Fighters Association we are for a peaceful negotiated settlement in Cyprus. Our Association had serious objections about the Annan Plan and lots of reasons existed in the minds of each and every Turkish Cypriot for rejecting the Plan, but the majority of Turkish Cypriots still accepted it as a compromise for a peaceful future for our youngsters. At this point, the Turkish Cypriot Fighters Association cannot and will not support any solution which is not based on political and sovereign equality, which does not ensure the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee which will not ensure bi-zonality, and provide the Turkish Cypriot people with their own state. As for the displaced, missing persons, right to property and other human rights aspects of the Cyprus question, they can only be settled on the basis of realities that will not cause new problems. We strongly believe that only such a solution can ensure lasting peace and security for both the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots.

  P.  We believe the Greek Cypriot leadership will not deviate from its rejectionist stance unless it is made to understand that the Turkish Cypriot side is able to continue its existence and development without having to accept their illegal writ. It is for this reason that we are determined to protect and promote the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus until an agreeable solution is reached. In the name of a speedy and fair solution in Cyprus we call upon the world to support our full development in all fields which is the only way to overcome the present impasse intentionally created by the Greek Cypriot side.

Vural Urkmen

Chairman, Cyprus Turkish Fighters Association

5 November 2004

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