At this special time of year, we send our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2023.

I hope that this year’s festivities are a welcome change to the previous two years and that you can enjoy quality time with family and friends. We know that this time of year can also be an especially difficult period for many people. Not only has the Russian invasion of Ukraine brought back tragic memories of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, but it has also contributed to a Cost-of-Living Crisis and inflation unlike any that most of us have ever seen. As your Federation, we are working with community organisations and local authorities to ensure that those in-need get the support that they require.

This time of year is an opportunity for us all to reflect on the challenges that we’ve faced and the opportunities that await us in the new year. We’ve continued to work hard for our community this year to advocate for a free, united, Cyprus as well as to proudly represent and advance our diaspora.


Advocating for a Free, United Cyprus


Sadly, this year, Turkey has opted to escalate tensions instead of constructively engaging in the proposed Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) by President Anastasiades and the efforts to restart negotiations on the agreed UN-framework. There have been repeated calls by the Turkish President for the international community to recognise the occupation regime, including at the UN General Assembly, as well as a pledge to reinforce Turkey’s military presence in the occupied area. Throughout the year, we have continued to engage with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Opposition Parties, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Cyprus, and individual MPs to help advance our just cause.



In March, in response to our letter, the then Minister for Europe, James Cleverly MP, reaffirmed the UK’s active engagement in the Cyprus settlement process “not just to urge progress, but to urge restraint from any actions or rhetoric that could undermine prospects of a settlement”. Mr Cleverly also went on to reiterate the UK’s commitment to a solution “in line with UN parameters based on the model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal Federation with political quality” – a clear rejection by the UK Government of Turkey’s two-state solution and partition plans for Cyprus.

At a working dinner that we hosted with the Shadow Foreign Secretary, David Lammy MP and Shadow FCDO Minister, Bambos Charalambous MP, Mr Lammy reiterated the Labour Party’s commitment to ending the occupation and reuniting Cyprus, as a bizonal, bicommunal federation in line with UN Security Council Resolutions. In addition, they reiterated their support for the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit hydrocarbons in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and condemned the illegal opening of the fenced of town of Varosi, which is in violation of Security Council resolutions.

In the run up to the 48th anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974, we once again, ran our annual #HandsOffCyprus email campaign. This year’s message urged Parliamentarians to speak out against Turkey’s partition plans and called on the UK Government to hold Turkey to the same standard for its illegal actions in Cyprus, as it has held Russia to, for its illegal actions in Ukraine. Over 62% of MPs were contacted by their constituents about the Cyprus issue. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to email their MP as part of our campaign. Making our voice heard does make a difference.

We also marked this tragic anniversary with our annual Parliamentary Meeting, hosted with the APPG for Cyprus, that was attended by a large number Parliamentarians. H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, provided an update on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, including CBMs. The Europe Minister at the time, Graham Stuart MP, spoke about the UK’s support for a solution in line with UN resolutions and the benefits that reunification could bring. Shadow Peace and Disarmament Minister, Fabian Hamilton MP; Alyn Smith MP, SNP Foreign Affairs Spokesperson; Vice-Chairs of the APPG for Cyprus, Caroline Nokes MP, Theresa Villers MP, Bambos Charalambous MP; Treasurer Mark Jenkinson MP; and APPG Member Geraint Davies MP also addressed the meeting.

In addition, along with the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, we organised a memorial service, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, to commemorate the memory of those who sacrificed their lives defending Cyprus in 1974 and all the missing persons of Cyprus.

One of the most tragic and humanitarian aspects of the Cyprus issue is the Missing Persons. 975 people are still missing in Cyprus. So, in October, we launched an information campaign, supported by the Presidential Commissioner of Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots, Mr Photis Photiou, to raise awareness amongst all 650 MPs and to urge the UK Government to ensure Turkey fully cooperates. As a result of this campaign, a number of Parliamentarians asked Questions of Government Ministers, about what additional action the UK Government could take. In response to our letter regarding Missing Persons, Europe Minister, Leo Docherty MP, said that the UK calls ‘on all parties to enhance their cooperation with the Committee on Missing Persons, explicitly through providing full access, without delay, to all areas and responding in a timely manner to requests for archival information on possible burial sites.’

In November, we were delighted to welcome several Parliamentary friends, as well as many new friends, to our Cyprus Information Day on the dark anniversary of the illegally occupied area’s ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ (UDI). Parliamentarians from all parties joined us to renew their pledge and support for the reunification of Cyprus. Cypriot Foreign Minister, Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, who was in London to sign a Cyprus-UK MOU, also had the opportunity to brief MPs about the latest developments in Cyprus.

Our UK Cypriot diaspora also made its voice heard on 15th November, on the anniversary of the illegal ‘UDI’ by the occupation regime in the northern part of Cyprus. Over 200 people amassed opposite the Turkish Embassy in London to condemn the ‘UDI’ and call for a free, united Cyprus at the Federation’s annual protest. In addition, letters were delivered to the Turkish Ambassador and UK Prime Minister. Rt Hon Sir Roger Gale MP (Chair, Cyprus APPG) and Stephen Doughty MP (Shadow Europe Minister), released videos emphasising the UK’s commitment to the reunification of Cyprus and the importance of consistency in upholding of international law.

As always, we are extremely grateful to the Parliamentarians who have stood up for Cyprus, throughout 2022, by asking questions of HM Government in Parliament, engaging with the APPG for Cyprus, or simply helping behind the scenes.

As part of our engagement with the FCDO, we also actively engage with the UK High Commissioner in Cyprus. In September, we met with the new UK High Commissioner, Mr Irfan Siddiq OBE, to stress the importance of ending the System of Guarantees, the withdrawal of occupation troops, as well as the need for positive engagement by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership in negotiations. We also bid farewell to outgoing High Commissioner, Mr Stephen Lillie CMG.

Beyond parliamentary and political engagement, we have also sought to raise awareness about the ongoing occupation of Cyprus and Turkey’s provocative actions by engaging with journalists, think tanks, academics and many others. As your Federation, we rely on our community’s active participation in our campaigns – we are grateful for the support and, together, we will continue the campaign for a free, united Cyprus.



Proudly Representing and Advancing our Community


As your Federation, we also actively represent and advance the interests of our community.

Throughout this year, we engaged with a number of Cypriot Government officials to discuss issues of importance to you. With the Minister of Health, Mr Michalis Hadjipantela, we discussed healthcare coverage for our diaspora in Cyprus, as well as how to utilise the talents of UK Cypriots in the Cypriot health system. With the Minister of Interior, Mr Nicos Nouris, we discussed the improvements being made to the Cypriot citizenship application process for our diaspora in the UK.

We have also continued to celebrate our roots and culture. We were proud to organise a Doxology, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, to mark the national anniversaries of March 25th and April 1st, with a cultural programme from students from the Greek schools.

We have also been working to upgrade and enhance our supplementary Greek schools, working closely with the Cyprus Educational Mission in the UK and Ministry of Education in Cyprus. Through our work, we remain committed to preserving our national identity, customs, traditions, language and religion for the diaspora generations to come.


This year we have also enhanced our cooperation with the Armenian, Kurdish and Jewish diaspora representatives. With the Armenian National Committee UK and Kurdish People’s Assembly, we wrote a joint letter about the UK Government’s decision to suspend restrictions on new arms exports to Turkey. With the Board of Deputies of British Jews, we discussed common initiatives to address the challenges facing the Cypriot and Jewish diasporas as well as the importance of maintaining language and culture.

We also continue to promote mentoring and career development opportunities for UK Cypriots of all ages, industries and experiences through our UK Cypriot Professionals Network (UKCPN) scheme. Over 150 UK Cypriots have taken part already and we’re currently preparing to open the new round of applications in January, so please do apply and take advantage of this network.

At this time of year, our minds also turn to those less fortunate than ourselves. It is often said that the mark of a society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable. It is for this reason that I am particularly proud of our community’s charitable efforts at this time of year. The Rizokarpasso Association in the UK sent a generous Christmas present to every enclaved child in Rizokarpasso; the Cypriot Community Centre continues to provide Meals on Wheels for the elderly; the Birmingham Cypriot Estia is opening its premises as a warm space and; NEPOMAK UK, our youth branch, coordinated UK Cypriots in London, Coventry and Mansfield to send presents to enclaved children in occupied Rizokarpasso as well as Ukrainian refugees in the UK.

This is a just a small snippet of our many activities over the last year. As the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, we remain honoured to serve our wonderful diaspora and will continue to build on 2022’s successes as we enter a new year. Whilst I’m proud of our achievements this year, we all need to re-double our efforts as we write next year’s chapter in our history. To kick off next year, we are looking forward to welcoming President Anastasiades to London on Saturday 14 January, for a memorable Gala Dinner with Ministers, Parliamentarians and leading members of our diaspora.

More than ever before, we must remain united and look at what we can all do differently for our diaspora – whether that is opening a dialogue with your local MP about Cyprus; actively participating in the Federation’s campaigns and initiatives; or engaging with the political party that you support.


Once again, thank you for your incredible collective support.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2023,

Christos Karaolis

President, National Federation of Cypriots in the UK