Second day of the deliberations of the World Conference of Overseas Cypriots, P.I.O 28/07/2022
The second day of the deliberations of World Conference of Overseas Cypriots by the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Youth of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (NEPOMAK) hosted in Cyprus, at St Raphael Restort, in Lemesos, began with the presentation of PSEKA report of activities, by the President of the organization, Mr Philip Christofer.
During the presentation a short video with messages by Senators from the USA was screened. Their support to the struggle of Cyprus expressed Senator Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Chris Smith, Congressman Chris Pappas, Congressman John Sarbanes, Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis and Congressman David Cicilline.
In his statements to the press, Mr Christopher, stated: “I think we are in a difficult position because Turkey has been too much upgraded with the Ukraine war. In America-Turkey relations, of course, there is a problem and we have proved this with the F16 planes, and we will continue this fight. There are economic, strategic, geopolitical interests Turkey has with the United States, and with other countries, such as England. You have to listen to the problems our Diaspora is facing in England and in France. Turkey spends millions of dollars and I come back to what I have always said, that enlightenment is the greatest weapon we need to have. In every country in which we live, we spend our own money, we spend millions, to promote the Cyprus problem and our relations with each country. I am pleased to say that after 48 years, we have very good relations between the US and Cyprus, between the US with Greece, and now we have very good relations with Israel and Egypt. The Armenian lobby helps us a lot, the Kurds are helping us a lot, but it’s a struggle because we face a huge propaganda from Turkey with the millions of dollars it spends in every country that we have expatriates.
The reason we are all here is to find ways to proceed even better, on how to promote the issue better and of course we have the fear that Mr Erdogan will move on with the annexation of the occupied territories. Of course, we are very disturbed by the issue of Varosha. Now we have the Varosha issue and we are waiting to see what will happen with Greece’s EEZ and the other threats that Mr Erdogan has expressed. I think it’s probably the most difficult time for us, but I think we need to take advantage of this problem.
The US want to hear a specific plan that will benefit the US, Cyprus and Greece by providing a solution to the Cyprus problem. I know we have presidential elections now, and of course Mr Erdogan has elections and becomes more aggressive because of this; he’s trying to find a way, and I think he might strike somewhere – perhaps in Syria – or announce that he will proceed with the annexation of the occupied territories. My effort today and tomorrow is to carry out some actions that we can transfer to the countries we live in and have even more influence”.
Mr Christopher added that in all his speeches over the past 40 years, he said that the only weapon we have to combat Turkish propaganda is through enlightenment. “There is no doubt that after 48 years many MPs and political leaders do not know about the problem in Cyprus, they see it as an intercommunal problem and in a conversation I had with them, in the US, the answer was that there is no war, there is no conflict and people are living well, asking me why I am saying this, as Cyprus is not the same as Ukraine”.
Afterwards, the delegates were briefed, in a closed session, on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem and Varosha by the Greek Cypriot Negotiator for the Cyprus problem, Mr Menelaos Menelaou. Delegates were also briefed on Varosha by the Mayor of Ammochostos, Dr Simos Ioannou.
The delegates were also briefed, in a closed session, by the Presidential Commissioner, Mr Photis Photiou, together with the Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), Mr Leonidas Pantelides, on issues relating to the missing persons. In his briefing, Mr Photiou, referred, among other things, to the fact that in a small European country in 2022 around 750 families could not experience the suffering of their own people for almost half a century. “There are even families of missing persons from 1963-67 who are looking for answers for more than half a century”, he said, referring to the obstacles posed by Turkey: “Turkey refuses to cooperate in the search of its military archives despite the agreement that has been reached within the framework of the CMP, in showing the mass burial sites where the remains that were deliberately moved from the primary burial sites have been reburied by the Turkish army”. Mr Photiou concluded with references to what actions could be taken with the governments and other institutions, in the countries where the Cypriots of the Diaspora reside, in order to exert the necessary pressure to curb Turkish intolerance.
The briefing was completed by the address of the President of the Pancyprian Organization of the Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons, Mr Nikos Sergides.
At noon, the delegates were informed about defence issues by the Chief of the National Guard, Lieutenant General Dimokritos Zervakis.
Second day’s deliberations ended with the screening of a film titled “Keryneia, an occupied European city”, created by the Municipality of Keryneia in cooperation with the Head of PSEKA.
At 18.45 the Central Committee of Overseas Cypriots organizations will be received by President Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace, who will host a reception in honour of the delegates.