November 25, 2017

Government Spokesman replies to Turkish Foreign Minister

Commenting on a reference to Cyprus made by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Ismail Cem, before the UN General Assembly, the Government Spokesman, Mr Michalis Papapetrou, yesterday made the following statement:

“The Turkish Foreign Minister in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly has shown that he has a very selective memory concerning the provisions of UN resolutions.

These resolutions do not only stress the need for the two sides to reach a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement, but also specify the parameters of the solution that is a bizonal and bicommunal federation. Therefore, no ‘reality’ can overrule the decisions of the world organisation and the principles of international law especially when the so called realities were imposed by the force of arms.

The claim by Mr Cem that the existing Attila line was drawn by the United Nations in 1963 is outrageous. It is a distortion of historical reality which tries to embellish and justify the inexcusable, that is the presence of Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus. I would like to recall that Turkey claimed at the time that it was invading Cyprus to restore constitutional order. Constitutional order was restored and this was confirmed by the world community and the United Nations a few days later when Sampson stepped down and the lawful constitutional regime was reinstated.

Why are the occupation troops still in Cyprus? Is it because they remembered the so called strategic interests of Turkey which ‘oblige’ them to remain here? I think that time has revealed the realities. The Turkish army is in Cyprus not for the sake of the Turkish Cypriots but to satisfy the so called strategic interests of Turkey.

It is totally unacceptable for anyone to claim that he has strategic interests in a neighbouring country and to occupy part of its territory because one is stronger militarily .

As regards Cem’s claim for an alleged ethnic cleansing against the Turkish Cypriots which Turkey came to prevent, the answer is given by the facts. Since the day the Turkish army invaded Cyprus and occupied part of its territory, the Turkish Cypriots, whom it was supposed to save from ethnic cleansing, have been massively emigrating from Cyprus. This is the reality. Ethnic cleansing is the removal of people from their houses and their properties on the basis of their ethnic origin. Just because they are Greek Cypriots they have to leave. This is ethnic cleansing and these realities Turkey and Mr Cem cannot change or embellish.”