Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Media Watch 2003

06 June 2003
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Comment: The following editorial appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 6 June 2003.
Ethnic cleansing, worst environmental crime

The ethnic cleansing of the 200,000 Greek Cypriots by Turkey from the occupied north, their replacement mainly by illegal settlers from the mainland and the consequent deliberate destruction of the environment of the towns and villages that had developed and survived through hundreds of years, coupled to the methodical obliteration of the Greek and Christian cultural heritage is justly considered as the worst environmental disaster affecting Cyprus.

This unpunished crime is worth recalling this week when the world marked World Environment Day, with emphasis on the need to preserve and protect the environment on both globally and locally. 

While the world was observing Environment Day, that master demagogue, Rauf Denktash, excelled himself this past week declaring that “nobody has the right to uproot a country, a community and its members.” 

No, he did not have a change of heart over the ethnic cleansing of the Greek Cypriots and the adamant refusal by Turkey to agree to their return, as demanded by the UN Security Council and the judgements of the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe. 

What he was referring to was the provision in the Annan plan for the partial return of some of the expelled Greek Cypriots and the consequent move of the Turkish Cypriots and the mainland settlers introduced illegally to the island from the usurped homes and properties of the refugees. 

Denktash maintained that “the path of peace should not be obstructed by the mania of return (of the Greek Cypriot refugees).” 

He repeated his demand that a settlement must be based on the acceptance of the “reality” created by the invasion, ignoring the fact that this reality has been branded illegal by the Security Council and the Human Rights Court, which demand the restitution of legality in Cyprus. 

It is time that Denktash, and his Ankara backers, accepted the true reality of the situation, that the ethnically-cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees have every right to persist with their “mania” to return to their usurped homes and properties, and that Turkey, must sooner or later comply with the judgements of the Rights Court, and the Security Council resolutions, if it wants to be regarded as a civilised state and a prospective member of the European Union. 

This desired development, and the correction of the continuing and worsening environmental destruction in the occupied north, will remain an unfulfilled dream for the ethnically cleansed population as long as the international community continues to tolerate Turkey's war crimes.

Surely, it is time something was done by the international community, beginning with an end to the ridiculous constant postponement by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of any action against Turkey for refusing to implement the judgement of the Rights Court in the Loizidou case, as it did yet again this week."