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

To: Prime Minister Tony Blair
20 July 2006
32nd black anniversary of the Turkish invasion

Letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair hand delivered at 10 Downing Street by a Lobby for Cyprus team on 20 July 2006 to mark the 32nd black anniversary of the Turkish invasion. Enclosed with the letter was the latest Lobby newsletter and articles from the Sun and Sunday Times of 1974 and 1977 respectively that document atrocities committed by Turkish troops in its invasion and occupation of Cyprus.
Dear Prime Minister

No doubt you, as well as the Greek Cypriot people, have noted the irony of the current developments concerning Cyprus. On the very day that the Republic of Cyprus is in mourning commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the brutal Turkish invasion of the island, your wife is in Court 24 of the Royal Courts of Justice arguing for the legitimisation of the theft of Greek Cypriot properties by UK subjects following the brutal eviction of the legal owners by Turkish troops in 1974.

Of course these events are also happening against the backdrop of the evacuation of thousands of British citizens from Lebanon to Cyprus, where the legendary hospitality of the Greek Cypriot people awaits our fellow British citizens. Perhaps you have concluded that someone, somewhere, is trying to make a point to you about your treatment of Greek Cypriots. If not then let me try.

During the nine years that Labour has returned to power British foreign policy towards the Republic of Cyprus has achieved the astonishing result of converting almost heavy majority political support in the UK amongst Greek Cypriots towards the Labour party to almost complete opposition to the party. This was clearly demonstrated at the last General Election when a number of excellent Labour MPs lost their seats in constituencies with heavy Greek Cypriot representation. The House of Commons is a less effective body for example without the contributions of
Barbara Roche, Stephen Twigg and Linda Perham.

The reasons for Greek Cypriot dissatisfaction are many and I set out below a selection only.

Despite several manifesto promises nothing has been done to ease the illegal Turkish occupation of the north of Cyprus or the ethnic re-engineering that took place in 1974.

No refugees have been permitted to return home, no Greek Cypriot properties have been returned to the legal owners and no Turkish troops asked to leave the island.

UK policy has been to support the Annan Plan, which as you know was overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots in April 2004. If you and your ministers had actually read the Plan rather than relied on Foreign Offi ce briefi ngs, it would have been patently obvious why 76% of Greek Cypriots, let alone the President of the Republic, could not support it. Instead your government has seemingly followed a deliberate policy of seeking to punish Greek Cypriots by overwhelmingly supporting Turkish interests on the island. Indeed some commentators have explained the Annan Plan as the US’s gift to Turkey in exchange for Turkish support of her policies in Iraq. Have you asked yourself why such a high proportion of Greek Cypriots felt compelled to reject the Annan Plan given our wish for the re-unifi cation of Cyprus?

Nothing has been done to stop the illegal exploitation of Greek Cypriot property in the north of the island by UK based companies and developers. Greek Cypriots have therefore been left with the legal route, which is the only remaining option available to them. This of course makes your wife’s acceptance of the Orams’ retainer all the more damaging.

The legalities and the moralities of the Cyprus issue are not rocket science Prime Minister. You will know that over 180,000 Greek Cypriots were ethnically cleansed by Turkish troops in 1974. You may not know that thousands of Greek Cypriot women were raped by the advancing troops, over 4,000 civilians were killed and over 1,500 people are still missing, some presumed alive in Turkish prisons. I would urge you to read contemporary reports of the events of 1974. We can provide reports from the British press from this time should you wish but to give you some fl avour I attach extracts from the Sun and the Sunday Times. Given your apparently deep Christian beliefs we cannot understand how these can be reconciled with your acceptance of Greek Cypriot ethnic cleansing.

Accordingly the members of Lobby for Cyprus are demonstrating outside Downing Street today and as the voice of the Greek Cypriot refugees in the UK are sending this letter to you to highlight our concerns.

Yours sincerely
Lobby for Cyprus