Cypriot MEP calls for withdrawal of Turkish troops
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Feb 24 (CNA) - Cypriot MEP Yiannakis Matsis has called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus and their replacement with a European force, which will monitor the situation on the island.
Speaking before the Joint EU-Turkey Committee, which convened in Strasbourg, Matsis raised the issue of Turkish settlers in the areas of the island under Turkish occupation, and presented evidence recorded in reports submitted to and passed by the Council of Europe.
According to a press release issued by Matsis' office and the Council of Europe reports, Turkish settlers are forcing Turkish Cypriots to abandon the northern areas of Cyprus and are now the majority in the occupied areas, by a ratio of one Turkish Cypriot for every two Turks, a fact that is to the detriment of a Cyprus settlement.
Matsis suggested a population census in the Turkish occupied areas to determine who the Turkish Cypriots and the Turks are, noting that the settlers should be sent back to Turkey as the are the product of a war crime.
The Cypriot MEP's remarks were in response to positions expressed by Vice President of the Turkish National Council Onur Oymen and British Liberal MEP Andrew Duff.
Oymen questioned the entity of the Republic of Cyprus and Duff wondered if Turkish Cypriots so-called parliamentarians could be observers at the European Parliament, since the Turkish Cypriot community accepted a UN plan for a solution in a referendum in April 2004, while the Greek Cypriot community rejected it.
Matsis reminded Oymen and Duff that the outcome of the referendum in the Turkish Cypriot side and the so-called parliamentary elections last Sunday was determined by the settlers from Turkey and not the Turkish Cypriots.
He pointed out that there was a non-valid regime in the occupied areas and read out UN Security Council resolutions calling on its member states not to recognise the puppet regime.
Matsis also referred to the decision in Cyprus' Fourth Interstate Appeal against Turkey that clearly stated that the northern part of Cyprus was under occupation and that the regime there was under Turkey and its army.
The Cypriot MEP reiterated that the Greek Cypriots wish for a democratic solution on the basis of the full respect of the EU principles and values.
He added that Turkey aspires to join the Union and wondered why Ankara does not agree to such a solution and the withdrawal of its troops from northern Cyprus, and their replacement with a European military force.