Written evidence submitted by TRNC Human
I have the honour to submit my views and comments
herewith on the Cyprus Question in connection with the inquiry
on Cyprus. I am sure that our submission shall duly be taken into
account by your esteemed Committee.
Please accept the assurances of our highest
Hasan Y-lmaz Is-k
1. The Cyprus conflict which has been continuing
for 41 years is once again on the agenda. Another negotiation
process failed because of the intransigent stance of the Greek
Cypriot side. However, the Greek Cypriots were allowed to join
the European Union on behalf of the whole island. Turkish Cypriots
are still prevented from freely integrating with the rest of the
world in spite of saying "yes" to the Plan. As the Turkish
Cypriot people we are very disappointed by the circumstances we
are subjected to.
2. The Turkish Cypriot people wish to integrate
with the world and expect the lifting of all restrictions on transport,
overseas trade, direct flights to Ercan Airport etc as promised
by the international community. As the reunification of Cyprus
was prevented by Greek Cypriots which lead to our being kept out
of the EU, our goodwill should receive concrete openings from
the international community. We deserve to freely travel, trade,
enter into social, cultural and sporting activities with other
nations and exercise our right to speak and act on our own behalf.
Depriving us from our basic human rights because of political
considerations runs contrary to human rights and freedoms and
the democratic principles of the EU.
3. It should now be acknowledged that; Cyprus
is the common home of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots who
have equal rights over the island; there exist two democratic
entities; each side represents its own people and no one else;
neither of the parties can claim authority or jurisdiction over
the other and there is no basis whatsoever for the unjust embargoes
inflicted upon the Turkish Cypriot people. The fact that the Greek
Cypriot administration is recognized as the "Republic of
Cyprus" does not change these realities.
4. The separate simultaneous referenda proved
that the Turkish Cypriot side is for a bi-zonal settlement based
on political equality. The world applauded Turkish Cypriot stance
and declared that the decades old injustice should be undone.
Unfortunately, more than six months have passed since the referenda
and there is no developments in the status of Turkish Cypriots.
We wish to bring the following views and considerations to your
kind attention and hope that they will duly be taken into account
during your deliberations on Cyprus.
5. Greek Cypriot administration does not
represent the Turkish Cypriot people. It entered the EU on behalf
of the whole island but this is not the reality. EU has a divided
island as a member not because of us or Turkey but because of
Greek Cypriot referendum result. No one should expect us to give
up our equality and accept Greek Cypriot domination to become
part of EU. We want to join the EU and desire a lasting settlement.
We strongly believe that holding back our full integration with
the EU until after a negotiated settlement runs contrary to all
the norms and principles of the Union itself.
6. The isolation of the Turkish Cypriot
people must end. Turkish Cypriot people have done what was expected
of them and voted for reunification. The fact that this did not
happen is not their fault. However, they are still being punished.
The UN Secretary-General asked for our unnecessary isolation to
end. We call upon the EU to act on this call and establish direct
relations with the North. It is against human rights and principles
to stop Turkish Cypriots from having direct trade and contact
with the rest of the world simply because their state is not recognized.
We urge EU member countries to decide on and implement concrete
measures to end this unjust situation.
7. Greek Cypriot isolation policies became
stronger with its EU membership. The Free Trade Regulation and
Financial Assistance Regulation prepared by the EU as an opening
for the Turkish Cypriots are being prevented by the Greek Cypriot
administration. Greek Cypriot leadership is using all means to
ensure that the Turkish Cypriot people have no choice but to accept
all its demands to be rid of the unjust embargoes imposed at its
instigation. The EU should not allow Greek Cypriot blackmail to
8. The solution of the Cyprus question can
only come about with a negotiated settlement. Turkish Cypriot
people are ready for a lasting settlement based on bi-zonality
and complete equality. However, we shall not bow to Greek Cypriot
pressure and give up our rights and freedoms in the name of a
solution. It is the responsibility of the EU to stand in the way
of Greek Cypriot efforts to use their EU member status to impose
their unjust demands on certain aspects of the Cyprus question,
most of which involve complex human rights questions.
9. The issues of property and displaced
are very crucial and complex. The property issue has to be evaluated
on a realistic and logical basis. In the case of Cyprus, it is
simply not possible to settle this problem by globally applying
the right to property on the basis of return. This reality was
once again proven with the Arif Mustafa's case. A Turkish Cypriot
named Arif Mustafa has recently applied to Greek Cypriot courts
to get his properties in the South. The court decided in favour
of Mustafa and ordered the immediate evacuation of his house in
Limassol. However, the family living in his house turned out to
be ex-refugees themselves and a serious debate started in South
Cyprus. Some supported the Court decision saying that the property
issue was political and the decision was in line with the Greek
Cypriot policy on this subject. Others opposed the decision arguing
that it was against human rights to make the family loose their
house once again.
10. This ongoing debate projects the dilemma
surrounding the property issue. It is very easy to demand that
all Greek Cypriot property in the North and all Turkish Cypriot
property in the South are returned to their original owners. However,
it is not easy to implement this demand regardless of the suffering
that shall be inflicted upon the people who had been living in
or making use of that property for over 30 years. It is for this
reason that the Turkish Cypriot side insisted on solving this
issue through compensation and/or global exchange.
11. Greek Cypriot insistence that all displaced
should have the right to return to their original places of residence
is also an unrealistic demand. The principle of bi-zonality has
been mutually accepted since 1977 and has been one of the main
principles of the UN negotiating process. It is a vital security
need for the Turkish Cypriots that bi-zonality is protected in
a future solution. It is impossible to preserve bi-zonality and
provide for the return of all refugees at the same time.
12. The Annan Plan offered a compromise
solution on property based on return and/or compensation. The
plan also involved the return of a considerable amount of land
to Greek Cypriots in order to provide for the return of thousands
of Greek Cypriot refugees. This meant that hundreds of Turkish
Cypriots would have to give up their houses and workplaces once
again and thousands more would become refugees for the third or
fourth time. Turkish Cypriot people agreed to sacrifice in the
name of a durable solution but the Greek Cypriot side refused
the Annan Plan.
13. Greek Cypriot leadership is still insisting
on the solution of the property issue on the basis of return despite
the fact that only the case of Arif Mustafa is still to be finalized
in South Cyprus. It is high time the Greek Cypriot side agrees
to a realistic solution of the property issue so that thousands
of complex cases do not come before the local and European courts
making the overall solution of the Cyprus question impossible.
Moreover, Greek Cypriot side is saying that it is committed to
a bi-zonal solution but also promises its people that all displaced
shall return to their former residences. Greek Cypriot leadership
should reveal the fact that bi-zonality which is a mutually accepted
principle of a future solution does not provide for the return
of all refugees. Only then the Greek Cypriot people shall be ready
for a realistic solution in Cyprus.
14. Another humanitarian issue is the situation
of the so called settlers. It is a fact that thousands of Turkish
citizens migrated to North Cyprus over the years due to the need
for work force. It is also a fact that thousands of Greek citizens
and Pontian Greeks migrated to South Cyprus under similar circumstances.
Most of these people naturally acquired the right to permanent
stay and /or citizenship after they completed the necessary period
of residence. Greek Cypriot leadership argues that the Turkish
mainlanders should return as they have been implanted to change
the demographic structure of Cyprus. If this mentality was accepted,
then mainland Greeks and Pontian Greeks were also intentionally
implanted to alter the demographic structure.
15. It is simply against human rights to
exploit the situation of migrants for political gain. We call
for a fair and just solution of this humanitarian issue on the
basis of equal treatment. The status of the so-called settlers
on both parts of the island needs to be solved through applying
the same international norms and principles for all "settlers"
in Cyprus regardless of their origin or place of residence. Turkish
people from Turkey, Greeks from Greece and Pontian Greeks from
different countries all have equal human rights and freedoms which
should be respected within the framework of an overall solution
16. The Turkish Cypriot people have been
suffering from the missing persons issue since 1958. There are
hundreds of Turkish Cypriot missing and this humanitarian problem
is not particular to Greek Cypriots. Families of the missing on
both sides expect and deserve a fast solution of this painful
subject. Greek Cypriot leadership has been utilizing this humanitarian
subject and refusing to accept the fact that hundreds of Greek
Cypriots listed as missing were in fact known to have been killed
in action. It is the responsibility of the Greek Cypriot side
to come clean and acknowledge this reality as well as the fact
that all Turkish Cypriot missing are civilians. We only hope that
the new initiative which started at the instigation of the Turkish
Cypriot side shall finally lead to the permanent solution of this
17. It is high time the Greek Cypriot side
acknowledges the fact that human rights and freedoms, in general,
are not there as a political tool but to protect people from discrimination
and unfair treatment. It is the responsibility of the international
community to end the most damaging human rights violation in Cyprus
and lift the embargoes and restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot
people. A political solution in Cyprus also depends on this crucial
step which is the only way to bring overall Turkish Cypriot development
to the same level as Greek Cypriots and open the way for reunification.
Hasan Y Is-k
President of the Association
10 November 2004