Erdogan’s visit to the UK: open letter to Prime Minister May

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Lobby for Cyprus open letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 


Dear Prime Minister

President Erdogan’s visit to the UK will take place against the shadows cast by his destruction of democracy in Turkey, his government’s appalling human rights record, his country’s gunboat diplomacy and the enduring consequences of the two Turkish invasions of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974.

Having ethno-religiously cleansed and colonised 36 per cent of the territory (and 57 per cent of the coastline) of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey continues to occupy its northern areas in flagrant breach of international law and in a throwback to the Ottoman imperial epoch when Turkey misruled the Island of Cyprus from 1571 until 1878.

If and when you, any other Minister of the Crown or HM The Queen meet President Erdogan during his forthcoming visit, we trust and expect that certain messages will be delivered to him by Her Majesty’s Government:

  • Turkey must comply with international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international law generally, the norms of democracy and the humane values of the UN, NATO and the the Council of Europe of which Turkey is a Member State;
  • Turkey must withdraw all of its armed forces and all of its other state agents from the Turkish-occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus;
  • Turkey must humanely repatriate all of its citizens who have been illegally colonising or otherwise illegally living in the Turkish-occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus in breach of the law of the Republic of Cyprus and also in breach of Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949;
  • Turkey must be held to account for the international crimes and human rights violations for which it is responsible, including the forced eviction and forcible transfer of more than 170,000 people from their homes in the Turkish-occupied north of the Republic of Cyprus, the arbitrary steps taken to prevent these people from recovering possession of their homes or other properties and the purported appropriation of these properties by the illegal subordinate administration of Turkey;
  • Turkey must stop threatening the Republic of Cyprus and it must also refrain from engaging in any action which interferes with the legal rights of the Republic of Cyprus, including the right to exploit its own hydrocarbon resources;
  • Turkey must not use any British-made arms, weapons or other military exports to support its illegal occupation of the north of the Republic of Cyprus or for any other purposes which are unlawful or unethical.

If and when you or HM The Queen meet President Erdogan, we trust and expect that he will also be warned that the national security, national interests and democratic values of the UK will not be satisfied unless and until any Cyprus ‘settlement’ is achieved via a transparent and democratic procedure which inter alia:

  • complies with democratic norms, the principles of justice and the rule of law;
  • protects the fundamental rights of all citizens and lawful residents of the Republic of Cyprus;
  • ends the apartheid-style differentiation of citizens along ‘bi-communal’ ethno-religious lines and their enforced ‘bi-zonal’ segregation into separate and segregated ‘zones’ built along the same lines;
  • ends Turkey’s illegal occupation via the withdrawal of all Turkish armed forces, agents and colonists;
  • guarantees that all displaced persons will recover possession of the homes and properties from which they were forcibly evicted;
  • accounts for the whereabouts of all prisoners of war and all other persons who went missing;
  • terminates the anachronistic concept of ‘guarantor powers’ and, in line with European norms, anoints independent judges as the guarantors of legality, justice and human rights;
  • ensures that Turkey signs and becomes a state party to a host of international treaties of fundamental importance to peace, justice or security such as the 1973 Crime of Apartheid Convention, the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the 1998 Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court and the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

In short, President Erdogan must be told in no uncertain terms that the United Kingdom will not countenance any settlement which fails to provide for a truly free, democratic, united, unitary, independent, sovereign and secure Republic of Cyprus which is not scarred by any occupation, segregation, partition or any other form of division. President Erdogan must also be warned that if Turkey does not abide by the above conditions forthwith, the United Kingdom will call for international sanctions and other restrictive measures to be imposed on Turkey.

I look forward to hearing from you with confirmation that each of the above messages will be or has been transmitted to President Erdogan.


Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation that campaigns for a Cyprus free from Turkish occupation and a unitary Cypriot state without segregation along ethnic and religious lines.

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