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Turkey's Illegal Policy of Colonization in Cyprus

In the part of Cyprus occupied by the Turkish army, Turkey’s Government has, since 1974, implemented a policy of systematic colonisation in order to change the demographic character of the island. According to reports confirmed in both the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press, these settlers come from the Turkish mainland and are of Turkish citizenship. Today in the occupied part of Cyprus there are about 150,000 - 160,000 settlers. There is of course, also, a presence of 35,000 Turkish occupation troops. Over the same period, a total of 55,000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated from Cyprus. In fact the number of Turkish Cypriots in the occupied part of Cyprus has actually fallen from 116,000 in 1974 down to 89,000 at present. A natural population increase would have brought this figure up to 153,578.

The main Turkish objectives in adopting this policy of colonization in the occupied part of Cyprus appear to be the following:

(1) To distort the population balance on the Island between Turks and Greeks in order to attempt and justify the claims of the Turkish side regarding the territorial and constitutional aspects of the Cyprus Problem.

(2) To shift the balance of political power in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and ensure that the Turkish Cypriot leadership is kept in line with the policy of the Turkish Government.

(3) To influence elections held in the occupied areas in favour of the Turkish Cypriot nationalist leadership and thus maintain an obstacle to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

(4) To provide additional trained reserves for the Turkish military forces in Cyprus.

(5) To change the population balance in the entire island so that in the long run Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers outnumber the Greek Cypriots.


Turkey’s policy of colonization in Cyprus is contrary to the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, signed between the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus. Annex D to the Treaty governs Cyprus’ citizenship and makes it impossible and unlawful for either Community to upset the demographic balance by bringing in large numbers of ethnic Turks or Greeks and contend that they were of Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot descent and therefore entitled to come to Cyprus. Section 4, paragraph. 7, imposes quotas regarding the grant of citizenship to persons who had emigrated to Greece, Turkey or the British Commonwealth having before 1955 been resident in Cyprus, or who were descended from Ottoman subjects resident in Cyprus in 1914.

The fact that the occupied part of Cyprus has been subjected to systematic settlement from Turkey was reported on by Mr. Alfred Cuco, Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Migration Refugees and Demography, 28 February 1992, AS/PR (43) 39. Currently, pursuant to a Motion for an Order, the Committee is again examining the situation created by the massive influx of settlers and Mr. Jaakko Laakso, the new Rapporteur, is expected to report on the issue. 

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