Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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To: Evening Standard
10 February 2012
Travel feature on occupied Cyprus

The Evening Standard travel feature is usually informative and considered. The latest article on Kyrenia (10 February 2012, Jonathan Gregson) displayed a flagrant disregard for the politically sensitive issue of the illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974; the 250,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and the 50,000 strong Turkish occupying army.  

The reference to the “succession of foreign rulers [who] have left their mark on the island but – curiously – it is the last 40 years of isolation that makes North Cyprus so distinct” is not only incredibly naïve but insulting. 

The occupied area of northern Cyprus is certainly not unspoilt. It has been ethnically cleansed of Greek Cypriots by Turkey following a brutal invasion which has left a legacy of murder, rape, stolen homes, desecrated churches and cemeteries and pillaging of religious artefacts. 

Following your decision to inform your readers that this 'unspoilt haven' exists but I would suggest you explain the facts. At least then readers can make an informed decision about whether it is morally and ethically acceptable to bypass international norms and bankroll Turkish colonists sent from the mainland to change the demographic nature of the island. Turkish Cypriots have left the north in droves because they cannot live with the Turks from the mainland and the occupying army.  Let’s tell people the truth behind the scenery and the new hotels, built on stolen land (still legally owned by the Greek Cypriots (see European Court of Justice decision of Loizidou v Turkey 1996) and Apostolides v Orams (English Court of Appeal 2011).