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Cyprus Political Question

» Historical Review

Cyprus, owing to its strategic position, was throughout its history colonized by some of the most influential colonial powers in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1878 Britain was the last power to occupy Cyprus, taking over the island from the Ottoman Empire. The Cypriots, Greeks and Turks alike, had for centuries co-existed peacefully in mixed villages, towns and places of work.
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» Missing Persons

Disappearance constitutes a multiple violation of basic and fundamental principles and norms of Human Rights. In human terms, the worst consequence of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in the summer of 1974 is the tragic humanitarian problem of the missing persons and their families. During and after the Turkish invasion, thousands of Greek Cypriots were arrested and detained in concentration camps in Cyprus by the Turkish army and by Turkish Cypriot paramilitary organizations acting under the control of the Turkish army. Furthermore, over 2000 prisoners of war were illegally taken to Turkey and detained in Turkish prisons. Some of them were not released and are still missing. Hundreds of other Greek Cypriots, both soldiers and civilians (including old people, women and children) disappeared in the areas under Turkish occupation and are still missing. There are hundreds of testimonies from eyewitnesses documenting the arrest of missing persons by the Turkish army or by Turkish Cypriots acting under its control.
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» Illegal Demographic Changes

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 115,000 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 88,000 at present. A natural population increase would have brought this figure up to 153,578.
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» Destruction of Cultural Heritage

As a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 the rich cultural heritage of the occupied part of the island has suffered considerable damage and is in danger of complete destruction. Hundreds of churches and monasteries have been desecrated, turned into mosques, hotels and recreational sites or otherwise reduced to stables, hay stores and places of public convenience. The Turkish army has also used them as arsenal and ammunition depots, hospitals, dormitories and playgrounds.
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» Bicommunal Contacts

The Cyprus Government is in favor of and encourages bicommunal contacts, which show that the two communities can co-exist in peace, in a united Cyprus, as in the past.These contacts have taken place in both the free and the occupied areas of the island, and in the buffer zone as well as abroad.In some cases, countries and international organizations interested in becoming more actively involved in the efforts for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem promote bicommunal contacts.
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» Political Situation in Occupied Areas

The political situation in the occupied part of Cyprus is dominated by the presence of the Turkish occupation army and the Turkish mainland settlers and the overwhelming influence of Ankara.

Significantly the ex-leader of the Communal Liberation Party Mr. Mustafa Akinci has openly criticised Ankara's domination of the Turkish community's affairs by stating, after his withdrawal from the so-called "coalition Government" between his party and the National Unity Party, that "the "government" was brought down through close co-operation between Rauf Denktas and those in Turkey who neither wish the resolution of the Cyprus problem, nor the accession of Turkey in the E.U. and who do not approve of the process of democratisation"(Ortam newspaper 25.5.2001).
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» Policy towards Turkish Cypriots

Every citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of national or religious background, is eligible to enjoy all rights provided for by the Constitution and international conventions signed by Cyprus.

Following the Turkish invasion of July and August 1974 several thousand Turkish Cypriots remained in the districts of Paphos and Limassol. In November 1974 the Government tied to encourage the Turkish Cypriots to stay in their homes instead of yielding to the pressures of the Turkish side and move to the occupied part of the island. However, during early 1975 the Turkish Cypriots who had remained in the free areas of the Republic were impelled by their leadership to move to the occupied part of Cyprus.
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» Enclaved Persons

The deplorable living conditions of the enclaved Cypriot's can be demonstrated by the simple recounting of their numbers following the Turkish invasion of 1974. In July of that year the Greek Cypriot population of the area presently occupied by the Turkish army was 162,000. By the time the second phase of the Turkish invasion had been completed, in August 1974, 142,000 Cypriots were expelled or forced to flee, leaving 20,000, mostly in the Karpas peninsula (Report S/11488 of the UNSG to the Security Council dated 4 September 1974). During the next four months, another 5,000 were forced to leave, resulting in a reduction of the Greek Cypriot population of the occupied area by 91% (Report S/11568, 6 December 1974, para. 43). According to the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council this number has diminished to 427 Greek Cypriots and 165 Maronites (S/1122, 30 November 2001, para. 8).
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» The Council of Europe and the Cyprus Question

The Republic of Cyprus joined the Council of Europe on May 24, 1961 soon after its independence. Since then, Cyprus remains an active member of the Council and on four occasions has presided over the Commission of Ministers. The "Situation in Cyprus" has been for many years an item of the agenda not only of the European Committee but also of the Assembly of the Council of Europe. Most importantly within the Council of Europe the European Human Rights Court has dealt with the human rights violations resulting from the Turkish invasion and continued occupation of a large part of the Cyprus territory.
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» Ownership status of hotels and other accommodation facilities in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus hereby publishes a list of hotels situated in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus. The majority of these hotels belong to Greek Cypriot displaced persons who were forced to leave their properties following the Turkish invasion of 1974 or have been built illegally on properties belonging to displaced Greek Cypriots, in violation of the latter’s property rights and without their consent.