- We launched a campaign on Saturday 24 February urging the community to write to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to call on him to condemn Turkey’s illegal actions so that Cyprus can exercise its legal sovereign right via www.cypriotfederation.org.uk/eez (please share this message).
- The community response has been phenomenal so far, with over 1,800 emails sent, several supportive statements from British Parliamentarians and the Armenian community.
- Since 9 February 2018, Turkey has illegally deployed warships to Cyprus’ EEZ to prevent Italian energy company ENI from conducting exploration work in compliance with a permit issued by the Republic of Cyprus.
On Saturday 24 February, the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK launched a campaign asking members of the UK Cypriot and Greek community to email the Foreign Secretary.
The email takes less than 30 seconds to send (via www.cypriotfederation.org.uk/eez) and urges the Foreign Secretary to speak with his Turkish counterpart and unequivocally call on Turkey to remove its warships from the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ and adhere to international law.
“Commenting on the results of the campaign so far, Federation President Christos Karaolis said, “in the response so far, our community is sending a powerful and clear message to our Government in the UK that it needs to unequivocally condemn Turkey’s actions in Cyprus’ EEZ.” Mr Karaolis added, “I am exceptionally grateful to our friends in Parliament for speaking out in such clear terms. We must continue to make our community’s voice heard on this crucial issue.”
Statements from British Politicians
A number of Parliamentarians have released statements in support of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign and legal right to explore and exploit its natural resources, and to condemn Turkey’s actions.
We are very grateful to our friends in Parliament who are standing by Cyprus so vocally at this important time.
Sir Roger Gale MP
MP for North Thanet & Chair of the APPG for Cyprus
“As Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus I condemn the illegal intrusion by Turkey into the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ.
“The Republic of Cyprus has a sovereign right, defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to explore and exploit its natural resources.
“The unlawful action taken by Turkey can only serve to heighten tension in the region and impede progress towards a resolution of the division of the Island of Cyprus and of its communities.”
Theresa Villiers MP
MP for Chipping Barnet & Vice-Chair of the APPG for Cyprus
“I believe that the actions of Turkey are not acceptable. Cyprus has the right to authorise drilling in its EEZ and Turkey has no right to prevent this activity. I have raised this issue in Parliament and I will continue to press the UK Government to take action. I want UK Ministers to condemn what is taking place and raise this matter with their Turkish counterparts.
“It is in the interests of all Cypriots that the natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean are properly explored and hydrocarbon deposits are extracted. There is no justification for Turkey to use ‘gunboat diplomacy’ to threaten vessels undertaking lawful activities in the Cyprus EEZ and I will continue to call for this to stop.”
Kate Osamor MP
MP for Edmonton & Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
“Turkey’s actions in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone are an intrusion that ignores Cyprus’ sovereignty. Cyprus has a legal right to access its natural resources, which Turkey should not block.
“The UK Government should stand up to Turkey on this, and I urge the Foreign Secretary to call unequivocally on Turkey to remove its warships from Cyprus’ EEZ.”
Bambos Charalambous MP
MP for Enfield Southgate & Vice-Chair of the APPG for Cyprus
“Considering the United Kingdom’s longstanding relationship with Cyprus, and the right of every country to extract natural resources from its internationally recognised territory, I ask you, on behalf of the UK Government, to condemn Turkey’s illegal intrusion into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and ask them [Turkey] to desist from continuing with this inflammatory action.”
Joan Ryan MP
MP for Enfield North & Vice-Chair of the APPG for Cyprus
“The Turkish navy must immediately cease entering the EEZ and from impeding the Republic of Cyprus’ legitimate efforts to explore and extract its natural gas resources, which have the potential to benefit all Cypriots.
“The UK Government must make the strongest possible representations to Turkey about this matter, making clear that their actions cannot be condoned and are absolutely unacceptable.”
Support from other diaspora communities
The Armenian National Committee of the United Kingdom released a statement in support of the email campaign and said, “ANC UK strongly condemns the illegal entry of Turkish warships in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. We stand in solidarity with Cyprus as it seeks to exercise its right to sovereignty and call on the British Government to take a strong stance against Turkey’s unlawful actions.”
Mr Karaolis thanked ANC UK and noted, “the increasingly hostile rhetoric and actions towards Turkey’s neighbours by President Erdogan are alarming for everyone in the region. It is important we stand together for human rights, international law and against authoritarianism in these difficult and unpredictable times.”