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

To: Economist
26 April 2004
RE: “So close and yet so far”
Sir

I congratulate you on your article “So close and yet so far” (Economist, 22 April 2004), but I feel compelled to put certain issues straight.

You are right that Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, but did not mention that it occupied 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus; forcibly removed 200,000 Greek Cypriots (1/3 of the total population) from their homes and properties and transported over 100,000 settlers from Anatolia to colonise the areas vacated by the Greek Cypriots. Needless to say, all these acts of aggression are in contravention of the UN charter and international law.

The reason that the Greek Cypriots intended to vote NO in the referendum, is not because of their unwillingness for the Cyprus issue to be resolved, but because of the unfairness of the plan put before them and in particular the refusal of the UN Security Council to guarantee its implementation by Turkey, something that Akel, the largest Greek Cypriot political party was seeking, in order to support a ‘Yes’ vote. Turkey has ignored over 120 United Nations resolutions calling for the removal of its army of occupation from Cyprus, ignored judgments of the European Court of Hunan Rights and did not honour any of its previous agreements.

For the record, the UN's Plan, grants the Turkish Cypriot minority of 18%, equal power sharing in the new federal state, grants Cypriot citizenship to all illegal settlers (colonists), re-enforces Turkey’s guarantorship, giving the right to interfere in Cyprus’s affairs whenever it wishes; expects the Greek Cypriots, many of the refugees from 1974, to foot the bill for the reconstruction of the occupied north of Cyprus and for compensating those refugees and property owners whose properties would not be returned. In addition Turkey would expect to be granted a date for commencement of negotiations with the EU and Great Britain’s rights over its bases on the island will be safeguarded forever, and the list can go on.

Therefore you can see why I disagree with your statement that “much would be gained by a ‘Yes’ vote by both sides”. Much will be gained by Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots including the colonists and even by Great Britain.

The UN, in its eagerness to satisfy Turkey’s demands forgot that there is public opinion in Cyprus, as a UN official confided to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Papadopoullos.

Yours sincerely
Lobby for Cyprus