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CoE should take measures against settlers in occupied Cyprus
2002-10-29 10:37:45

Nicosia, Oct 29, (CNA) ---- Jaako Laakso, raporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on the Colonization of the occupied part of Cyprus, believes the Council of Europe (CoE) should take certain measures on the issue and proposes a population census.

''There is a real danger that the Turkish Cypriot community is becoming a minority in its own area. That is why it is necessary for the CoE to take certain measures'', Laakso said after a meeting here with President of the House of Representatives Demetris Christofias.

Referring to those measures he said, ''I am proposing a census'', but he did not want to get into any further details on the matter.|

''I am going to make my report in any case, which will be finalized at the beginning of next year and it will be discussed in the PACE next spring in April'', Finnish raporteur said.

He said the issue of the settlers is fundamental, sensitive and serious and should be solved in connection with the solution of the Cyprus problem.

''The question of the settlers is very essential and it should be in the UN plan also (on a Cyprus settlement). You cannot put this question aside'', he stressed.

Laakso added that if the UN submit a constructive plan, that includes the problem of the settlers, this could help him finalize his own report.

Laakso thanked the Cyprus government for providing him with the relevant information, but expressed disappointment at not being allowed to enter the northern Turkish occupied part of the Republic and talk to representatives of Turkish Cypriots political parties ''on the spot.''

''I have already come to the conclusion that there has been a dramatic demographic change in the northern part; lots of tens of thousands of Turkish settlers have entered the northern part and because of this movement, the whole demographic structure of the Turkish Cypriot community has essentially changed.'', he said.

Christofias said Laakso's report is expected to be very objective.

''The report represents things as they are, regarding the settlers, the demographic change in the occupied areas, the drop in the number of Turkish Cypriots living there and the increase in the number of the settlers'', Christofias added.

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