A recent surge of one-sided media coverage in Britain which effectively endorses Turkey’s positions in relation to Cyprus and unfairly vilifies the Republic of Cyprus today prompted a call by the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK for a redressing of the balance of the debate. Mr Peter Droussiotis urged the UK Cypriot community, as well as friends of the cause of a united Cyprus and the Cypriot community’s political allies in the UK, to redouble their efforts in countering misrepresentations aimed at absolving Turkey of its serious responsibilities in Cyprus.
Mr Droussiotis said:
“In recent days we have seen an apparently orchestrated campaign by the Turkish government, conducted through their friendly politicians and journalists via the British media, whose sole purpose is to exonerate Turkey of its crimes in relation to Cyprus. Shameless attempts are being made to frame the Cyprus problem in a manner that portrays the victim of Turkey’s aggression on the island – the Cypriot people – as the guilty party.
“This has been the backdrop to relentless efforts by Turkey, and those who champion blindly its membership of the European Union, to push for outcomes that legitimise virtually all of the grave consequences of Turkey’s illegal invasion and 36 year old military occupation of the northern part of the island.
“I call upon all Cypriots in the UK – a sizeable voice within the electorate – to support the Federation in its efforts to counter Turkey’s propaganda. We must all urge our elected representatives in the House of Commons, to speak out for justice in Cyprus and to work with us for a free and reunited island. I ask our friends in Parliament to turn up the volume on Cyprus. We must ensure that deliberate misrepresentations in the press are countered by the collective response of those who believe in a peaceful, truly independent and united Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots.”
Citing the critical nature of the ongoing negotiations in Cyprus and at the UN next week as a factor for needing to provide redress, Mr Droussiotis called on British Cypriots to write to their MPs demanding support and to write in response to media articles that misrepresented the aims of the Republic of Cyprus in seeking a truly reunited island.
In doing so, he underlined several points that recent media coverage had overlooked:
- The essence of the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation by a foreign power, not merely an inter-communal dispute, as Turkey would like to portray it
• Turkey’s total and continuing disregard of numerous UN and EU resolutions as well as many judgments by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights
• Turkey’s illegal policy of colonisation of the occupied northern part of the island through the mass transfer of its own nationals, as part of a deliberate strategy to change the demography of the island
• Turkey’s deliberate destruction of the cultural and religious heritage of the island
• Turkey’s refusal to investigate the fate of people, including children, who went missing during its military invasion even in cases where such people are known to have been captured alive by the Turkish army
• Turkey’s refusal to abide by agreements it has already signed with the European Union in relation to Cyprus
• The fact that Turkish Cypriots on the island enjoy full rights as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and, therefore, as citizens of the European Union
• The overwhelming majority of Cypriots want, and are committed to the struggle for, a free, united Cyprus but know that this cannot be achieved for as long as Turkey refuses to give up control of the area it occupies.