UK Cypriots mark 46 years since Turkish invasion with letter to Boris Johnson, CNA/Thanasis Gavos – UK/London 16/07/2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged by 19 UK Cypriot citizens to act so that the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus can be achieved.
In a letter to mark the upcoming 46th anniversary of the illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, the signatories note that the “brutal” invasion of 20 July 1974 resulted in many thousands of deaths, the forceful eviction of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots from their homes and ancestral lands and the illegal partition of the island.
They express their gratitude to the British people and successive UK Governments for accepting them in their country as refugees.
“We are worried that the situation in Cyprus is much worse now than in 1974," they say.
The occupied territories, they add, "have been ethnically cleansed and repopulated with settlers from Turkey, religious and cultural monuments and sites have been destroyed and forty centuries of Cypriot history has been obliterated. An illegal administration subservient to Turkey has been established and the hope of the displaced people returning to their homes is rapidly dimming.”
The 19 UK Cypriots also note that Turkey persists in blocking the Republic of Cyprus from joining international bodies such as the NATO and the OECD, frustrates its commercial activities by imposing a maritime and aviation embargo, violates the Republic’s territorial water and national airspace, and since the discovery of hydrocarbons in the Republic’s own exclusive economic zone, Turkish naval forces prevent Cyprus from exploiting its natural resources.
They underline that the Republic of Cyprus has made “colossal” concessions in order to terminate the illegal occupation of its lands and restore the constitutional order and rights of all its citizens on its entire territory, “but a solution cannot be found as long as Turkey insists that Cyprus surrenders its sovereignty and accepts the anachronistic system of external guarantors.”
“The United Kingdom, and especially a conservative government, should not ignore Turkey’s flagrant disregard of the international legal order. Beyond its legal obligation to defend the Republic of Cyprus enshrined in the 1960 Treaty of Establishment, there is also a moral imperative on the United Kingdom, as the cradle of democracy and freedom, to use all the powers at its disposal to effect the withdrawal of the occupying forces and disoblige Turkey of its illegal aspirations,” concludes the letter to Prime Minister Johnson.
The letter has been signed by Doros Partasides, Antonis Savvides, Andreas Tambourides, Leonidas Leonidou, Spyros Papacharalambous, Tasos Poyatzis, Stella Protopapa-Dinenis, Nikos Savvides, Marie Nicholsby, Seraphim Diakou, Yiannis Kouvaros, George Pippas, Spyros Neophytou, Nicholas Galazis, Pantelis Demosthenous, Elissa Xenophontos, Kikis Christofides, George Georgiou and Elias Dinenis.
It has also been sent to leaders of opposition parties in the UK, EU and UN officials, as well as to British media.
It has been accompanied by photographs of the dramatic events of July 1974, taken by Partasides.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.