Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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29 May 2007
Turks destroying homes of Greek Cypriot refugees
London--"The recent report that the Turks are burning the former homes of Greek Cypriot refugees is both disturbing and typical," said Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus, referring to the news of the destruction in the village of Rizokarpaso, in the Karpass peninsula, in the northeast of the island.

London--"The recent report that the Turks are burning the former homes of Greek Cypriot refugees is both disturbing and typical," said Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby of Cyprus, referring to the news of the destruction in the village of Rizokarpaso, in the Karpass peninsula, in the northeast of the island.

"It is disturbing," Theodorou added, "because it will mean that the refugees will have no homes to return to, after the Turks leave the illegally occupied north, as they will have to, before they are admitted into the European Union."

According to the report, the destruction began about a month ago and, so far, 60 homes have been razed to the ground.

"The destruction is also related to the 'property issue'," Theodorou explained.  "With no homes on them, the plots can be more easily sold to developers and unknowing foreigners who foolishly want to build homes in the area."  He explained that the plots may be sold as if they had never belonged to the Greek Cypriots. However, he said, the title-deeds held by the refugees will disprove any Turkish claim to the contrary. "Recent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have always been in favour of the refugees and their title-deeds," Theodorou added.

Theodorou explained his use of the word "typical" by saying that the history of Turkey's treatment of many of its minorities was, first, to kill or ethnically cleanse them from an area, then destroy their heritage, and, finally, deny that the minority was ever present. "We have seen this with what has been done to the former Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek areas of Turkey," Theodorou said, "and, going on the premise that if a formula works once, it is worth repeating."

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation dedicated to the reunification of the island of Cyprus through the removal of the 40,000-man Turkish army, the repatriation of 120,000 Anatolian colonists imported into the north to change the area's demographic make-up, and the return of all refugees to their homes. Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974, and one third of it has been illegally occupied since then, despite United Nations and European Union resolutions.