|Friday, 31 March 2023|
Written Statement of the Society for Threatened Peoples54th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
Item 10a of the Provisional Agenda
The Society for Threatened Peoples fears the development of a new trouble spot and possibly military conflict in the eastern Mediterranean. While the Government of the Republic of Cyprus prepares the building of air resistance systems with Russian support, in order to defend itself against possible attacks, the Government of Turkey threatens the Cypriots with military retaliatory measures.
In July 1974 the Turkish troops landed in northern Cyprus, after the Greek military regime in Athens had installed a facist government against the will of the population. Despite the occurence that a few days after the Turkish Army's landing democratic conditions were once more produced, they continued their offensive and occupied 36% of the island. Over 3,000 people were killed by Turkish soldiers. 180,000 Greek Cypriots and those who lived with them, the small minorities of Armenians, Maronits and Latins were expelled to the south. Since the Turkish offensive, 1,619 Greek Cypriots have been missing.
For five centuries the Turkish Cypriot population settled in all regions of the island, until they were voluntarily or forcibly concentrated in the Turkish occupied North Cyprus. Since 1974, Turkish Cypriots have left the northern part of the island under pressure from approximately 30,000 Turkish soldiers and a new wave of Anatolian settlers. There are estimates from Turkish Cypriot opposition that already half of the Turkish Cypriots have emigrated to Britain, the USA or to Australia.
Several hundred Greek and Maronit Cypriots stayed in the regions of Morphou and Karpassia. Their freedom of movement was considerably reduced, visits from relatives from the South were forbidden for over 15 years. Again and again, the situation came to mistreatment and death.
The cultural heritage of the former Greek Cypriot majority population was systematically destroyed and that of the three minorities of North Cyprus. Orthodox churches were destroyed, robbed or converted into cow stalls, valuable statues and icons were stolen and sold in Europe or in the USA.
The only Armenian cloister, Sourp Magar (St Macarius) was plundered and comprehensively destroyed. The cloister which lies in Kyrenia-Bergen is reported to be unlawfully converted into a hotel.
Despite an agreement made by the Cypriot Government with the regime of the Turkish occupied Cyprus, apparently no serious efforts are being made to explain the fate of the disappeared 1,619 Greek Cypriots of the war in Cyprus, while the official Cypriot side has begun to release files about several hundred Turkish Cypriots of the troubles in inner Cyprus in the sixties.
Today, North and South Cyprus are hermetically shut off from one another. The Turkish Army and the North Cyprus ruling Denktasch regime have separated the island with walls and barbed wire. The Turkish side has prevented visits from Turkish Cypriots in the south as well as Greek Cypriots in the north with few exceptions.
The Society for Threatened Peoples calls upon the UN Commission on Human Rights to:
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