Turkey attacked the virtually undefended island state of Cyprus, spuriously claiming it did so in order to restore constitutional order, following a short-lived coup by the military junta then ruling Greece. Ankara’s far fetched deceptions to excuse its acts have long since been debunked. Turkey used the coup as a pretext to seize vast swathes of the island, ethnically cleansing 200,000 indigenous Greek Cypriots in a blatant land grab.
In July and during Turkey’s second Cyprus invasion in August 1974, the Turkish military committed gross human rights abuses in order to seize 37 percent of Cypriot territory and to expel the indigenous Greek Cypriot population, which has had a presence on the island for thousands of years.
Greek Cypriots, including non-combatants were murdered, tortured and raped as the Turkish invaders advanced through the occupied north of the island. More than 1,500 people including men, women and children, some of them taken prisoner by the Turkish military, are still listed as missing.
Since the invasion Turkey, in an act of demographic engineering and violation of the Geneva Conventions, has replaced the legitimate Greek Cypriot inhabitants of the occupied north with its own nationals. It has settled them in the stolen homes and lands of Greek Cypriot refugees, in order to colonise the area and transform it into a Turkish province. The imported Turkish colonists now outnumber Turkish Cypriots who were coerced by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership into moving into the occupied north.
In Turkey’s attempts to rewrite the history of the island, the Greek and Christian heritage of the occupied territory has been virtually extinguished. More than 500 religious sites have been desecrated and looted. Names of towns and villages have been renamed in order to perpetuate the myth that the occupied north is and always has been Turkish.
The masterplan of the Turkish authorities remains the same since the 1950s: ‘Taksim’ at all costs – the artificial division of the island on the basis of ethnicity and religion.
41 years on since the Turkish invasion, Lobby for Cyprus is committed to see the Republic of Cyprus free from Turkish occupation and colonisation and truly united for the benefit of all its citizens. The legitimate inhabitants of the island, whether they are Greek, Turkish, Maronite, or Armenian Cypriot (or of the many other groups that make up the legitimate population), should no longer be denied the fundamental rights and privileges enjoyed by other EU citizens.
A just, viable and lasting solution to the continuing occupation can only be realised if international norms, principles and laws are respected.
Lobby for Cyprus maintains that Turkish troops must be removed, the Turkish colonists humanely repatriated and all refugees given the right to return to their homes and lands.
- The Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish troops in 1974.
- Turkey maintains an illegal occupation in the north of the island with 43,000 troops in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
- 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning to their homes in the occupied north.
- Turkey continues its policy of colonising the occupied territory with hundreds of thousands of Turkish nationals in an attempt to alter the demography of the island, in violation of the Geneva Conventions.