14 August marked the tragic day on which Turkey launched its second brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. It has been asserted that the Turkish regime has deepened over the past 44 years its colonisation and exploitation of the occupied territory of Cyprus amid the international community’s silence and support for Turkey’s bi-communal bi-zonal federal policy. A policy founded on segregation between the Moslem and non-Moslem population.
Co-ordinator of Lobby for Cyprus, Theo Theodorou, told the Syria Times e-newspaper that Turkey, under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has deepened its colonisation and exploitation of the occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. It has consolidated the de facto Islamisation of the occupied area, through a programme of ethno[religious] cleansing, destruction of cultural heritage and population displacement.
“Turkey has also stepped up its verbal and physical threats to the Republic of Cyprus. For example the Exclusive Economic Zone incursion earlier this year, with warships in addition to the almost daily incursions of Cyprus’ airspace with fighter jets.” He added that things will only get worse due to Turkey’s transformation into a one-man regime following Erdogan’s win in elections held last June.
It is not only Cyprus but also Syria that has suffered from the Turkish regime’s neo-Ottomanism, according to Theodorou, who made it clear that the Erdogan regime seeks to assert Turkish power, Turkish doctrinal values and a Turkish interpretation of Islam not only over the immediate region, but also beyond.
“Turkey, the colonial ruler of Cyprus from 1571 until 1878, remains the occupying power of 37 per cent of the territory and 57 per cent of the coastline of the Republic of Cyprus. It does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus despite the fact that it is a party to three treaties from 1960 relating to Cyprus”, Theodorou clarified, stressing that Turkey has one of the worst humanitarian records of any country – past and present.
Erdogan committed crimes against humanity
“Erdogan is an autocrat. Erdogan’s government has an abysmal record on women’s rights. His government tramples on basic human rights including freedom of expression, right to life and prohibition of torture. It has committed what could be considered crimes against humanity in its treatment of its Kurdish population, and has been complicit in crimes in Syria. It is extracting a large sum of money and other concessions from the European Union in order to stem the flow of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe that it helped to worsen in the first place. In short, Turkey is one of the last places on earth that should be hosting a global summit devoted to addressing genuine humanitarian concerns,” he added.
Turkey ethnically cleansed 37 per cent of the island
Theodorou indicated that Britain had done nothing to halt Turkey’s second invasion in August 1974 (just as it did nothing to stop the first invasion in July 1974). “Following Greek Cypriot refusal at negotiations in Geneva to agree to a de facto partition in the guise of a ‘bi-zonal’ settlement, Turkey ethnically cleansed 37 per cent of the island in a brutal aggressive campaign.“
As a guarantor power, Britain together with the rest of the world, failed to prevent the crimes against humanity committed by Turkey, not only during its two invasions but also throughout its unlawful occupation.
It is worth noting that Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 and occupied the north of the island with 43,000 troops in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
Around 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning to their homes in the occupied north, while Turkey continues its policy of colonising the occupied territory with approximately 162,000 Turkish nationals in an attempt to alter the demography of the island, in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour
This article appeared in The Syria Times on 27 August 2018
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.