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

To: Ed Miliband MP
12 March 2012
Jack Straw’s comments on Cyprus
Dear Mr Miliband

I am writing to you regarding recent highly provocative statements by the Labour MP and former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw regarding Cyprus. 

In an interview with Turkish newspaper Radikal (4 March 2012) Jack Straw audaciously blames Cyprus for Turkey's continuing failure to meet its own conditions for membership of the EU and for the lack of progress in UN-sponsored talks regarding Cyprus. He goes as far as claiming that the EU has been "taken hostage by the Greek Cypriots" and that the international community "must start considering the division of the island as an option". 

Jack Straw's description of the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus as "South Cyprus" and the government of Cyprus as the “Greek Cypriot administration” illustrates his bias and contempt for the rule of law. As I am sure you are aware, the northern area of Cyprus was invaded in 1974 by Turkey which maintains an illegal occupation with 40,000 troops. Numerous resolutions of the UN Security Council and European Parliament condemn Turkey for this, as do rulings of many international courts such as the European Court of Human Rights. 

Despite Britain's treaty obligations as a guarantor power of the sovereignty and territory of Cyprus, Jack Straw chooses to blame Cyprus – the victim – for the lack of progress regarding a solution to Turkey's crushing occupation, which he describes merely as "a land dispute".  The occupied area has been ethnically cleansed, culturally destroyed and colonised by Turkey, which behaves not just as occupier, but colonial power. 

Perhaps Jack Straw should address the actual reasons as to why Turkey, through its own failures, is not meeting the conditions of membership set out by the EU. These include: 
• Constitutional and judicial reform
• Equality legislation for minorities and women
• Fundamental human rights standards for freedom of expression and the media
• Recognition of all EU member states and the opening of its ports to them. 

In Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Jack Straw claimed that Greek Cypriots are "electing increasingly entrenched leaders". This could not be further from the truth as Cyprus continues to make many concessions in UN-sponsored negotiations while Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu maintain their maximalist extremist stance. Mr Eroglu has reneged on agreements made by his predecessor and has stated that his aim is to preserve the illegal pseudostate in the occupied area. 

Turkey, through its occupation is preventing Turkish Cypriots from exercising their full rights as EU citizens, as well as preventing Greek Cypriots the right to return to their stolen homes. 

Perhaps Jack Straw should consider whether his continuing uncritical support for Turkey and its aggressive policies towards Cyprus contributes towards Turkish intransigence, slows down internal reform in Turkey and prevents progress on resolving the Cyprus occupation.  

Having seen the register of UK MP's interests and that Jack Straw has received payment for participating in a government of Turkey foreign policy conference, one wonders what his true motives are. Is he serving the interests of Labour and Britain or is he merely a mouthpiece of the Turkish government? 

It is unacceptable that a prominent Labour MP and former Foreign Secretary should call for the unjust and illegal imposition of permanent division and apartheid on a fellow EU member state that continues to suffer tremendously under Turkish occupation. 

Jack Straw's outrageous and insulting views have caused much distress and anger to many people in the large British Cypriot community here in the UK. I would request that as Leader of the Labour Party you take up this issue and that you distance your party from such offensive views, as Jack Straw runs the risk of irreparably damaging relations between UK Cypriots and the Labour party. 

I look forward to your response.