Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Committee

  With regard to the ongoing inquiry on Cyprus I wish to submit the attached memorandum on behalf of the members of our Organization. We have no doubt that the views end comments incorporated in our memorandum are shared by a large majority of the Turkish Cypriot people.

Dervis Baha


Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Committee

  1.  As of 1 May 2004, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus is among the 10 new EU member countries.

  2.  The Greek Cypriot Administration which is accepted as an EU member does not represent the partnership State established between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in 1960. Since the forcible expulsion of the Turkish Cypriot side from the partnership Republic by the Greek Cypriot side in 1963, there has not been a single state, government or parliament with the right and authority to represent the island as a whole.

  3.  From 1963 to 1974, for 11 years, one of the serious cases of human rights violations in the history of humanity was experienced in Cyprus.

  4.  During the period, Turkish Cypriots were subjected to acts of violence by the Greek Cypriot side. Nearly 30,000 Turkish Cypriots were forced to flee from their homes and rendered refugees in enclaves with no freedom of movement and deprived of basic necessities to survive, Greek Cypriot paramilitaries, raided Turkish villages and towns. The armed campaign led to the destruction of 103 Turkish Cypriot villages along with all the mosques and holy places. Due to immense human suffering, thousands of Turkish Cypriots fled from the island. The Security Council discussed the situation and decided to dispatch a UN peace keeping force in March 1964. Long before the term ethnic cleansing was coined in connection with the Bosnia tragedy, it was practiced in Cyprus by Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots.

  5.  The 41-year-old continued occupation of the seat of Government of the once bi-communal partnership Republic of Cyprus by the Greek Cypriot partner since 1963, is the reason of the Turkish Cypriot isolation from the international arena and since then, Turkish Cypriots have been waiting a just and viable solution for their isolation to end.

  6.  Separate referenda on the Annan Plan were held on 24 April 2004 on both sides. The plan was approved by 65% at the Turkish Cypriot referendum. However, because of the Greek Cypriot rejection by 76%, the UN initiative ended in failure.

  7.  Despite the historical background and the significant sacrifices that the UN Secretary General's plan entailed for many of them, Turkish Cypriots said yes to the Annan Plan to facilitate the resolution of the Cyprus issue prior 1 May 2004 and enable the entry of a united Cyprus into the EU. Turkish Cypriots said yes to many compromises such as becoming refugees for the second or third time during their lifetimes by moving from their villages; leaving behind their properties that would tall within the territories to be handed over to the Greek Cypriots; giving most fertile lands such as Guzelyurt, which provides the water supplies of the North, to Greek Cypriots; accepting the withdrawal of Turkish Army in stages from the island which is perceived as the main source of deterrent against repetition of Greek Cypriot aggression; giving up their right to moral and material com.

  8.  With the referenda, Turkish Cypriot people, once again expressed their will in favour of a comprehensive settlement on the island based on bi-zonality and political equality of the two peoples. On the other hand, Greek Cypriots, with an overwhelming majority showed that they are not willing to enter into a power sharing arrangement with the Turkish Cypriots which they see only as a minority rather than the co-owner of the island. International community failed to condemn the negative attitude of Greek Cypriots who destroyed the partnership Republic in the past and rejected the comprehensive settlement plan of the UN Secretary General at present.

  9.  It is the Greek Cypriot rejection which stopped the entry of a united Cyprus into the EU and brought the problems of a divided conflict island upon the rest of the European family. Now, instead of accepting the responsibility of this undesired outcome and agreeing to compromise for its speedy correction, Greek Cypriot side started to use the benefits of its new membership to its full advantage.

  10.  Greek Cypriot side is vigorously trying to prevent EU openings towards Turkish Cypriots such as the direct trade and financial aid regulations by using their position as the internationally recognized "government of Cyprus" in a negative manner.

  11.  Greek Cypriot side is trying to use Turkey's EU accession process as a tool to achieve their main objective; to destroy our equal political rights and give Turkish Cypriots protected minority status in their homeland. Greek Cypriots are confident that if Turkey accepts its preconditions for furthering her membership process, it will be very easy to settle the Cyprus question as it wishes. In other words, the Greek Cypriots administration is using the Union to do away with those rights of the Turkish Cypriots which are the very principles the EU is founded on. We urge the EU member countries to stop the Greek Cypriot Administration from destroying our rights to freely exist, to rule ourselves through democratic principles, be represented at all international fora through our elected representatives, integrate with the world in all fields and exercise our right to separate will, which we have already used for a viable settlement.

  12.  It needs to be stressed that the Turkish Cypriot people are ready for a just settlement and unification in Cyprus. However, Turkish Cypriots are also determined to protect their right to political equality as well as the principles of bi-zonality and the continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee. Accordingly, Turkish Cypriot people cannot and shall not accept the authority of the so called "Republic of Cyprus" which has long been destroyed by the Greek Cypriot side. The Turkish Cypriot people have their own state. The fact that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is not recognized does not change the reality that a fully fledged democratic entity exists in North Cyprus. We are dedicated to our state which is the symbol of our right to make it as prosperous as possible and shall work towards its development until a new partnership based on full political and sovereign equality can be established.

  13.  It is obvious that unless the Greek Cypriot side comes to terms with the foregoing realities, it will not be possible to reach a mutually acceptable solution in Cyprus. We, therefore, call upon the European Union to support our economic, political, social and cultural development so that the Greek Cypriot side can finally acknowledge that there exist an equal people with same rights and freedoms as their counterparts. There is no doubt that only then the Greek Cypriot side shall be ready for a negotiated settlement.

  14.  Greek Cypriots are portraying the issues of refugees, property rights and missing persons as human rights violations affecting only them. These humane questions are not violations but problems common to both peoples of the island which arose as a result of their violent efforts to dominate Cyprus. Annan Plan brought realistic and feasible solutions to these issues in line with human rights and freedoms. However, the Greek Cypriot side refused the Plan eliminating the chances of a solution. Now, they are trying to exploit their EU membership to force upon each and every Greek Cypriot that the Turkish Cypriot rights and needs do not exist.

  15.  The Greek Cypriot side demands that all Greek Cypriot property in the North should be returned at the coat of the rights of the present inhabitants. This is despite the tact that most of them are Turkish Cypriot refugees who had no option but to flee their homes, establishing and investing in a new life in the TRNC. Greek Cypriots demand that all Greek Cypriots displaced should return to their past places of residence. Is it just to almost punish the Turkish Cypriots who will have to empty those places and restart a new life again? It is a known tact that the rehabilitation of ill Greek Cypriots displaced have long been completed. Greek Cypriot insistence on this issue is nothing but exploiting human rights for political gain. Surely, the principle of the right to return does not dictate the victimization of thousands of people for political considerations. As for missing persons, we urge the Greek Cypriot leadership to stop its political exploitation and to start cooperating for a speedy and realistic solution of this humanitarian subject.

  16.  It is not easy to solve complex questions with many humane dimensions to the full benefit of all concerned. Naturally, it is impossible to solve them to the full benefit of only one party. If the Greek Cypriot side does not acknowledge this reality and start co-operating with us for a negotiated solution, it is obvious that a hard period awaits us all, including the European Union. It is high time the EU makes it clear to the Greek Cypriot side that EU norms and principles do not and shall not provide the basis for its superior rule of the island but calls for a just and lasting compromised settlement in Cyprus. The immediate unconditional lifting of all restrictions on Worth Cyprus is the only way to Contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus question, To that end, bold actions are necessary on part of EU member states. We hope arid trust that the United Kingdom shall not hesitate to take the lead.

Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Committee

9 November 2004

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