LONDON – The National Federation of Cypriots in the UK is the representative body and acknowledged voice of Cypriots in the UK. It was founded shortly after the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 to coordinate the activities of the UK Cypriot community, which now consists of 300,000 people. They released a statement on July 20 to mark the tragic anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and give an update on the Federation’s recent activities.
The text follows:
On this day (20 July) in 1974, Turkey launched the first wave of its full-scale invasion on Cyprus and its military continues to occupy 37% of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey’s long-planned and premeditated invasion came just a few days after a coup d’etat by the military junta in Greece on 15 July 1974. For 44 years now, Turkey continues to occupy the northern part of Cyprus in clear violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions. Thousands of Cypriots were killed or injured as a result of the actions of the invading Turkish army and approximately 1,100 persons are still missing.
On the occasion of the 44th year since Turkey’s illegal invasion and continued occupation, Federation President, Christos Karaolis, said: “Whilst 20 July is a dark anniversary for our community, our desire to end the Turkish occupation and reunify Cyprus will not be eroded over time. Our community, with the Federation at the forefront, will continue to campaign for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue. We will continue to advocate for the rights of all Cypriots and we will continue to advocate for a free, united Cyprus that is a normal state without outdated ‘guarantor powers’ and without occupying troops on the island. Cyprus must be a state where all its legal citizens – regardless of their origin, background or religion – can live in conditions where human rights are respected and where there is peace, progress and prosperity for all.”
A number of MPs recorded messages for our community on the anniversary of the illegal Turkish invasion at our recent event in Parliament, “Cyprus: Prospects for a Solution.” Watch the video on the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Facebook page.
On this tragic anniversary, the #HandsOffCyprus campaign has concluded as voters across the UK have been contacting their MPs, over the last month, about the latest developments in Cyprus as well as Turkey’s unacceptable demands towards Cyprus. The highlighted map below shows the 41% of constituencies where MPs have been contacted by their voters about Cyprus and many MPs have replied to the emails. Emails were sent to MPs as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Plymouth.
Federation President Karaolis, commented on the outcome of the campaign, “I’m delighted that so many members of our community and friends of Cyprus have emailed their MP as part of our #HandsOffCyprus campaign. It clearly demonstrates how widespread and established our UK Cypriot community is, and the power of our strong, collective and united voice. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to email their MP as part of the campaign.”
Many people have sent the responses they have received from their MPs to the Federation, for more information, email: [email protected]
The Federation has sent a resolution to the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, on the 44th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey. The resolution raises concerns about Turkey’s “increasingly authoritarian and aggressive policies towards Cyprus” as well as Turkey’s “unacceptable demands around its own influence in a reunified Cyprus.”
The resolution also reminded the Prime Minister that the tragic humanitarian issue of the mission persons is still unresolved and that, “the UK can make a real contribution on this issue.”
It concludes by appealing to the Prime Minister to make a positive and lasting difference for Cyprus:
“The United Kingdom remains a crucial player in relation to Cyprus. Not only does it have a historic treaty obligation under the Treaty of Guarantee 1960, it also maintains military bases on the island and it is Cyprus’s partner in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. It is also a strategic ally of Turkey. With a newly re-elected President Erdogan, now is the time for our Government to do more and use the leverage it has in order to exert real pressure upon Turkey to persuade that country, which holds the key to a solution in Cyprus, to engage positively and constructively towards a just and sustainable solution.
“You have the power to make a lasting difference in relation to Cyprus and, on this tragic anniversary, I urge you to exercise this proactively and constructively.”
The Federation also sent a resolution to the Ambassador of Turkey to the UK to call on Turkey to end its occupation and recognize that a reunified Cyprus brings benefits to the region and to the prosperity of all Cypriots.
More information is available online: cypriotfederation.org.uk.