A well attended lobby of Parliament was last night told by British politicians that Turkey must be pressured to change its intransigent stance on Cyprus so that a solution by Cypriots for Cypriots can be freely negotiated on the island.
Other key messages at the event hosted by several Members of Parliament, in association with the President of the Federation at the House of Commons , related to the need for the UK Cypriot diaspora and its supporters to use the opportunity presented by the next general election to broaden the base of support for Cyprus at Westminster. The critical importance of the United States in pushing Turkey to support actively the island’s reunification was also highlighted by many of the speakers.
The annual event, organised by the Federation in co-operation with cross party Members of Parliament, to mark the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, was attended by Cypriot community representatives in the UK, and attracted a good number of UK politicians committed to the Cyprus cause.
Eddie O’Hara MP, whose outspoken support in Parliament for the reunification of Cyprus has spanned decades, spoke for the last time as a parliamentarian at the Federation’s annual July lobby, as he will not seek re-election in the next general election. Mr O’Hara praised Cyprus President Christofias for his role in the ongoing negotiations on the island:
“I pay tribute to his integrity, his consistency, his cogency and most of all, his indefatigability in his negotiations with Mr Talat. The negotiations are often three steps forward and two steps back but, crucially, the overall effect is a step forward. The onus is with Ankara and we must continue to make it clear that Turkey must recognise the Cyprus Republic and allow access to their ports and airports to the Republic, and give incentives to Turkish settlers in Cyprus to return home. And Turkey must withdraw its troops.”
Roger Gale MP echoed Mr O’Hara’s sentiments and then turned to the issue of people still missing since the invasion of 1974:
“The relatives of missing people have the right to closure, a right to know the truth. Is their suffering acceptable? Of course it’s not: it’s inhumane. It’s a breach of virtually every human right that there is. We have a duty to help to bring about justice for the missing and their relatives.”
The struggle for a united Cyprus continues – Show your support, stand up, be heard
Monday, 13 July 2009 11:17
The President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Peter Droussiotis, today urged all UK Cypriots and friends of Cyprus to show their support for a reunited Cyprus and their opposition to Turkey’s continuing military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, by joining the UK Cypriot community’s annual ‘Rally for Cyprus’ in London on Sunday 19th July 2008.
The rally, organised each year by the Federation in order to mark and condemn the invasion of the northern part of Cyprus by the Turkish army in July 1974, is the biggest opportunity for the UK Cypriot community and its supporters to call for the termination of Turkey’s continuing military occupation and to highlight the injustices which continue to be suffered by the Cypriot people as a result of that occupation.
Mr. Droussiotis emphasised the importance of making the rally successful again this year:
“It is now more important than ever that we demonstrate our opposition to the illegal Turkish military occupation of Cyprus’s northern part, as well as our support for the ongoing negotiations between the leaders of the two communities on the island, which aim at a comprehensive and equitable settlement that will serve the interests of both communities.
“The dialogue between the two leaders is encouraging and has brought us closer to a solution that will restore Cyprus to unity, but a settlement cannot be achieved unless the Turkish Government changes its stance. For too long, Turkey has stood in the way of justice and has adopted positions which are inconsistent with a free, truly reunited and independent Cyprus.
“The United Kingdom, a close ally of Turkey, with historic responsibilities to Cyprus, needs to use its influence over Turkey proactively, so that the latter takes the practical steps necessary to help bring about the true unity of the island: a federal state with a single sovereignty, international personality and a single citizenship which are the agreed principles guiding the ongoing negotiations. This clear message must be heard in the British capital and that message starts with us, the Cypriot community in the UK.”
The rally will begin with picketing outside the Turkish Embassy in Belgrave Square at 2.45pm on Sunday 29 July 2009 and will continue with a march through central London which will lead to Trafalgar Square where the main event will take place at approximately 4.15pm. The main speaker at the Rally will be Mr Neoklis Sylikiotis, Cyprus Minister of the Interior, who will be in London especially for this event. Other speakers will include British Parliamentarians from all three of the main UK political parties.
Before the rally in Trafalgar Square, Mr Droussiotis will lead a Federation delegation which will hand deliver petitions to the Turkish Ambassador in the UK and to Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.