November 23, 2017

28th Tragic Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion and Occupation of Cyprus

July 20th, 2002 will mark twenty-eight years since the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus and the subsequent occupation of almost 40% of its territory. Despite repeated calls by the international community for the restoration of human rights in Cyprus, the withdrawal of Turkish troops from its soil and for respect of its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Turkey continues its refusal to comply with the United Nations resolutions and decisions on Cyprus and to end its occupation. The refugees have yet to return to their homes, the families of the missing persons have yet to receive answers on the fate of their loved ones and the enclaved are still denied their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Regrettably the hopes generated at the beginning of this year following the announcement of the beginning of a settlement of the Cyprus problem have been dashed. Mr. Denktash misses no opportunity to repeat positions that fall outside the parameters of the UN Security Council Resolutions. He insists that in Cyprus there exist “two separate and sovereign states” and that the solution of the Cyprus problem must be based on the existing “realities”. It should be reemphasized however that the UN recognize it as a reality that the regime established and maintained by Turkish military force is “legally invalid” and the European Court of Human Rights has described it as “a local subordinate administration” to Turkey.

Instead of heeding the demands of the Security Council to change its attitude, Turkey is engaging in a deliberate attempt at raising tensions as evidenced by the recent increase of the Turkish occupation troops by 5,500 men, repeated airspace violations and the so-called “extension of territorial waters” of the illegal entity.

Despite the negative Turkish stance in the negotiations, the Greek Cypriot side is sparing no effort to find a just and workable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the UN Security Council Resolutions. As Cyprus is moving firmly and rapidly towards becoming a full member of the European Union we believe that there is still time to take advantage of the window of opportunity for finding a solution and for putting an end to the tragic division of the country, so that a reunited federal Cyprus enters the European Union. The solution of the Cyprus problem will restore regional stability and give new impetus to the improvement of the Greco-Turkish relationship. It will also end the hardship of the Turkish Cypriots who for the last 28 years have had to endure repression and denial of their basic rights and fundamental freedoms including the freedom of speech and expression.

On this sad occasion of the Turkish invasion, the Cypriot people renew their determination to continue their struggle for finding a peaceful settlement which will ensure peace, prosperity and security in a reunited, bi-zonal, bi-communal federal Cyprus, member of the European Union for all without discrimination. We count on the support of the international community to put an end to the Cyprus tragedy.