Cyprus continues to remain divided 33 years after Turkish invasionNovember 28th, 2007 - 6:24 pm ICT by admin
Nicosia, Nov 28 (ANI): The UN General Assembly and Security Council, along with several other international organisations, have adopted a series of resolutions condemning Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus, as the latter remains divided even 33 years after the former invaded it.
After occupying nearly forty percent of Cyprus’ northern sovereign territory through its military occupation, Turkey has implemented a geographic separation of the population along ethnic lines, by forcing the Greek Cypriots out of their homes in the occupied areas and moving the Turkish Cypriots into the occupied areas.
Coming down heavily against this act, the resolutions demand the return of the displaced people to their homes in safety and the ascertainment of the fate of all missing persons. In addition, they call for respect for the human rights of all Cypriots and for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.
Moreover, the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights have found the government of Turkey culpable for gross and systematic violations of human rights in Cyprus.
The situation was further exacerbated by attempts at secession of the occupied areas from Cyprus– first in 1975, through the announcement of the so-called “Turkish Federated State of Cyprus” and then in 1983, through a “Unilateral Declaration of Independence” (UDI), which sought to establish the self-styled “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC).
Turkey has even tried to mislead the international community into believing that the Government of Cyprus was, somehow, responsible for the predicament of the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey has used this approach for two reasons– to divert, in view of its EU aspirations, attention from its ongoing military aggression against Cyprus, and to upgrade the illegal regime in the occupied areas of the island. In essence, Ankara has been seeking to secure for the secessionist regime economic attributes of an independent entity with no formal international recognition. This would allow the illegal regime to exist without any incentive for constructive participation in the peace process for the reunification of the island.
In their efforts to gain international support for their propaganda, Turkish leaders have adopted, as their main argument, the misleading slogan of “ending the economic isolation” of Turkish Cypriots when, in fact, their goal has been all along political.
In response to Turkey’s aggression, Cyprus introduced a number of necessary defensive measures to safeguard its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, economy and society. One of these measures was the declaration of all points of entry and exit (seaports and airports) in the Turkish occupied area of the Republic as illegal. This and other defensive measures became necessary, because the Government of Cyprus was not able to exercise effective control in the areas under Turkish military control.
Under international law, Cyprus is the only legal and recognized authority with sole responsibility for air and sea travel, trade, security, safety and similar issues within its sovereign territory. Similarly, under international law, the regime established by Turkey in occupied Cyprus is illegal and, therefore, all its professed institutions, decisions and documents have no political or legal validity in Cyprus or internationally.
The record clearly shows that the military occupation by Turkey has victimized, albeit in different ways, both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island. Turkey’s continuing occupation is directly responsible for whatever sense of “isolation” Turkish Cypriots may have experienced.
Turkey has maintained control of the economy in the occupied areas through conditional aid, direct instructions and management, which fostered an inefficient and corrupt system, with disastrous results for the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey has, since 1980, been responsible for the rejection by Turkish Cypriot leaders of confidence-building measures, because, though beneficial, such measures would not promote the international recognition of the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus.
On the other hand, the Government of Cyprus has always been concerned about the economic situation of Turkish Cypriots. It has demonstrated this concern in practical terms before and after Turkey’s invasion of the island and long before the Annan Plan was proposed.
The Cyprus Government has been better able to provide services to Turkish Cypriots since the partial lifting in 2003 of illegal restrictions, imposed by the Turkish military on the free movement of people across the 1974 UN ceasefire line that extends across the island. Turkish Cypriots have since been able to work, in increasing numbers, in the Government-controlled areas.
Since 2003, more than eleven million people and more than three million vehicles have crossed the ceasefire line. The substantial increase in economic activity and trade across the ceasefire line has helped to double the per capita income of Turkish Cypriots.
These peaceful, incident-free crossings have also destroyed the myth cultivated for years by Turkish propaganda that the two communities are not able to live together.
While steadfastly promoting a comprehensive settlement, the Government also continues a systematic policy designed to foster trust and reconciliation between the two communities that would ultimately lead to reunification. The Government has already implemented a series of such tangible measures that have yielded visible results.
Only the reunification of Cyprus and the reintegration of its economy and institutions can adequately address the political and economic welfare of all citizens.
A unified Cyprus will reintegrate its people, institutions, society and economy and create conditions for peace, security and stability. Turkish Cypriots will then be able to enjoy the entire spectrum of benefits offered by the state of Cyprus and EU membership. The Government of Cyprus will continue to expand its integrative policy initiatives unilaterally and in cooperation with the European Commission and its EU partners. It will do so while steadfastly pursuing a viable settlement on Cyprus that will reunify the country and its people, reintegrate its economy and satisfy the fundamental concerns of all its citizens.
As Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stated, “What we demand is very reasonable and what we aim for is self-evident: We demand and aim for the reunification of our country and our people in the framework of a bi-communal,bi-zonal federation; a state with one economy, a cohesive society and non-fragmented institutions. We demand andaim to safeguard our fundamental rights and basic freedoms. We demand a solution which can be workable and lastingin order to serve the interests and rights of all Cypriots and not of other countries.” (ANI)
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