Pressing David Cameron to act on the reunification of Cyprus

Along with twelve MPs (six Labour and six Conservative), I have written to David Cameron about Cyprus.

The letter is as follows:

“Nearly four decades after the illegal invasion of Cyprus, Turkish troops continue to occupy approximately 38% of the island’s territory. For 37 years, the world has condemned the occupation and Turkey’s intransigence in efforts to find a solution to reunite Cyprus.

In that same time, apartheid came to an end in South Africa, the USSR disintegrated, the Berlin Wall fell, former eastern bloc countries joined the European Union, and the people’s calls for democracy have triumphed over dictatorship in some Arab countries in the Middle East. During the same period, British troops have been engaged in conflicts around the world, fighting injustice, protecting British sovereignty and safeguarding or seeking to deliver democracy.

Since signing the 1959 Treaty of Guarantee, the United Kingdom has been a guarantor power of the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, with the full weight of responsibility that such status entails. But against the backdrop of the UK’s active role in international political progress around the world, the problem of Cyprus remains virtually at a standstill. While successive UK Governments have paid lip service to delivering justice in Cyprus, these same governments have effectively allowed the Cyprus problem to be downgraded as a foreign policy priority. In addition to the Treaty of Guarantee, Cyprus is a member of, and this country’s partner in, the European Union, Council of Europe and the Commonwealth, as well as a country on which Britain maintains sovereign military bases: these facts alone demand the focus and attention of the British Government to help reunite the island.

Since Turkey’s invasion in 1974, hundreds of thousands of Cypriots have remained refugees, unable to return to their rightful homes, while their properties have been appropriated and exploited by the unlawful regime in the occupied north. In the last 37 years, tens of thousands of Turkish nationals have been moved to the occupied areas by Turkey, as part of an orchestrated policy to change the island’s demography. What is more, cultural and religious sites in the occupied area have been deliberately desecrated. Ignoring relatives’ desperate pleas to respond on a deeply humanitarian issue, Turkey has stubbornly refused to investigate the fate of hundreds of Cypriot men, women and children who disappeared without trace during its military invasion. On top of all this, Turkey has been allowed to disregard numerous UN Security Council resolutions and the decisions of international courts with complete impunity.

Such a situation raises serious questions about the UK’s own role and responsibilities in this continuing tragedy. It is not only on behalf of the sizeable Cypriot community in the UK that we write to you, but on behalf of all other Britons who believe that their country should work, on the international stage, in order to defend justice and human rights.

We are writing to remind you of the clear and irrefutable responsibilities that the British Government holds with regard to Cyprus. We call upon you, as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to demand unequivocally that Turkey works sincerely for the reunification of Cyprus and that it fulfils its obligations to the EU in relation to Cyprus. Further, we urge you to use Britain’s diplomatic leverage with the United States of America and through the UN, the EU and NATO to press Turkey to end its unacceptable military occupation of Cyprus and the island’s unlawful and unjust division.

To that end, and as a first step in that direction, we, the undersigned, call upon you to extend an urgent invitation to Cyprus President Demetris Christofias to meet with you, in an official capacity, so that he can inform you on the latest political developments regarding Cyprus and so that you can explore with him ways in which the United Kingdom can actively contribute to efforts to bring to an end this continuing injustice.”

26 thoughts on “Pressing David Cameron to act on the reunification of Cyprus”

  1. It was a bitter sore for at least one voter in the ward in which I stood-successfully in the ’80s.

    Someone I canvassed told me he’d never vote Labour because of what we did over Cyprus in the ’50s.

    Did we suggest talks with Makarious first?

  2. The letter was sent a week or two back before Parliament rose for the Summer recess and followed on from the meeting that I attended in the Grand Committee Room attended by a number of Parliamentarians.

  3. So who are the virtuos dozen who signed?

    Has the Timing really have to do with publicly expressed expectations that Cyprus will default on debts or have to leave the euro?

  4. The twelve MPs were:
    David Burrowes MP
    Jeremy Corbyn MP
    Mike Freer MP
    Roger Gale MP
    Ian Lavery MP
    Brandon Lewis MP
    Andy Love MP
    Gregg McClymont MP
    Sir Alan Meale MP
    Matthew Offord MP
    Simon Reevell MP
    Jim Sheridan MP

  5. Dear Sir,
    It is very noble of you and the 12 MP’s.
    However, allow me to point out a few things about your initiative. Nevertheless, I state right from the outset that I do appreciate your move and I am sure that it is well meant.
    – The first problem is that the invasion of Cyprus is as much a British feat as it is Turkish. The very first plans for the partition of Cyprus were drawn by the Foreign Office and passed to Turkey. One may argue that this is something of the past and is not applicable now. Unfortunately, historically and up to the present ALL British governments have been supportive of Turkey. Sometimes not in such an obvious way; often quite openly though. The role of the Labour government during the invasion is recently revealed due to the de-classification of certain documents; it is abominable. Recently, while in an official visit to Turkey, the head of the Torry government, Mr. Cameron has openly called for the speed-up of Turkey’s accession to the EU blatantly by-passing the issues of the liberation of Cyprus and human rights in Turkey herself. In my mind, that means that with your letter you will be knocking on a deaf man’s door.
    -In my opinion, the present president of Cyprus lacks the support of the people. In 2004, 3/4 of the Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan plan for so-called reunification for a very simple reason: that was a plan of surrender rather than liberation. The fact that it was approved by the majority of Turkish voters is void because the indigenous Turks of Cyprus were a minority among the voters. The overwhelming majority were settlers from Turkey (a war crime, by the way) and the 50,000 occupation troops. Mr. Christofias is currently pursuing a policy that leads to a similar situation as the one that would have been created with the Annan plan.
    Besides, this disagreement with the majority of the people there is another matter of distrust by the people. That is recent horrific explosion and its consequences: 13 dead and more than 60 wounded plus the destruction of the nearby power station. Besides the avoidable loss of life, the negative influence of power shortage on the economy is enormous. Recent polls show that his popularity is dwindled, even among his own party followers.
    Repeated calls for resignations only resulted in a cabinet reshuffle, with ministers only from his own party “and friends”. The British inspired constitution does not allow for impeachment or any other way of forcing the president to resign. So, he insists on not resigning, he is legally the president but very few people, if any, trust him.
    I am sorry to burden you with the internal politics of Cyprus but my worry is that if he gets together with Mr. Cameron they may come up with something worse than what came out of his meeting with Mr. Brown. At that time, Mr. Brown “avoided” calling him president, he reduced him to a “community leader” and neglecting Turkey’s responsibility and guilt they agreed on the so-called “Cypriot” solution process.
    I believe it will be much more constructive to remind Mr. Cameron that Cyprus is occupied due, greatly, to the inexcusable involvement of her Majesty’s various governments. Therefore, he should publically denounce all the past behavior of her Majesty’s governments and announce a change of heart by:
    – arranging withdrawal from the military bases (hey! this is the 21st century) within a couple years and paying to the Cypriot government the owed rent.
    – calling upon Turkey to withdraw immediately
    – all its troops from Cyprus
    – all the illegal settlers from Turkey
    – calling upon the EU to deny any progress in the accession process of Turkey, unless she does the same as above. You may also add the matter of human rights within Turkey and especially the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people.
    I also recommend visiting the website of the Movement for Freedom and Justice in Cyprus http://www.freedomjustice.com.cy/ContactUs.aspx for further information, especially the book “The bloody truth”.

  6. Dear Sir,
    It is very noble of you and the 12 MP’s.
    However, allow me to point out a few things about your initiative. Nevertheless, I state right from the outset that I do appreciate your move and I am sure that it is well meant.
    – The first problem is that the invasion of Cyprus is as much a British feat as it is Turkish. The very first plans for the partition of Cyprus were drawn by the Foreign Office and passed to Turkey. One may argue that this is something of the past and is not applicable now. Unfortunately, historically and up to the present ALL British governments have been supportive of Turkey. Sometimes not in such an obvious way; often quite openly though. The role of the Labour government during the invasion is recently revealed due to the de-classification of certain documents; it is abominable. Recently, while in an official visit to Turkey, the head of the Torry government, Mr. Cameron has openly called for the speed-up of Turkey’s accession to the EU blatantly by-passing the issues of the liberation of Cyprus and human rights in Turkey herself. In my mind, that means that with your letter you will be knocking on a deaf man’s door.

  7. -In my opinion, the present president of Cyprus lacks the support of the people. In 2004, 3/4 of the Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan plan for so-called reunification for a very simple reason: that was a plan of surrender rather than liberation. The fact that it was approved by the majority of Turkish voters is void because the indigenous Turks of Cyprus were a minority among the Turkish voters. The overwhelming majority were settlers from Turkey (a war crime, by the way) and the 50,000 occupation troops. Mr. Christofias is currently pursuing a policy that leads to a similar situation as the one that would have been created with the Annan plan.
    Besides, this disagreement with the majority of the people there is another matter of distrust by the people. That is recent horrific explosion and its consequences: 13 dead and more than 60 wounded plus the destruction of the nearby power station. Besides the avoidable loss of life, the negative influence of power shortage on the economy is enormous. Recent polls show that his popularity is dwindled, even among his own party followers.

  8. Repeated calls for resignations only resulted in a cabinet reshuffle, with ministers only from his own party “and friends”. The British inspired constitution does not allow for impeachment or any other way of forcing the president to resign. So, he insists on not resigning, he is legally the president but very few people, if any, trust him.
    I am sorry to burden you with the internal politics of Cyprus but my worry is that if he gets together with Mr. Cameron they may come up with something worse than what came out of his meeting with Mr. Brown. At that time, Mr. Brown “avoided” calling him president, he reduced him to a “community leader” and neglecting Turkey’s responsibility and guilt they agreed on the so-called “Cypriot” solution process.

  9. I believe it will be much more constructive to remind Mr. Cameron that Cyprus is occupied due, greatly, to the inexcusable involvement of her Majesty’s various governments. Therefore, he should publically denounce all the past behavior of her Majesty’s governments and announce a change of heart by:
    – arranging withdrawal from the military bases (hey! this is the 21st century) within a couple years and paying to the Cypriot government the owed rent.
    – calling upon Turkey to withdraw immediately
    – all its troops from Cyprus
    – all the illegal settlers from Turkey
    – calling upon the EU to deny any progress in the accession process of Turkey, unless she does the same as above. You may also add the matter of human rights within Turkey and especially the right to self-determination of the Kurdish people.
    I also recommend visiting the website of the Movement for Freedom and Justice in Cyprus http://www.freedomjustice.com.cy/ContactUs.aspx for further information, especially the book “The bloody truth”.

  10. I believe it will be much more constructive to remind Mr. Cameron that Cyprus is occupied due, greatly, to the inexcusable involvement of her Majesty’s various governments. Therefore, he should publically denounce all the past behavior of her Majesty’s governments and announce a change of heart by:
    – arranging withdrawal from the military bases (hey! this is the 21st century) within a couple years and paying to the Cypriot government the owed rent.
    – calling upon Turkey to withdraw immediately
    – all its troops from Cyprus
    – all the illegal settlers from Turkey

  11. Dear Lord Harris,

    Thank you very for allowing us to view the letter that went David Cameron PM and it would be very nice to find out if David Cameron would look into the Cyprus situation like some of his MPs have been and are doing since they joined parliament. With alongside the problems here in the UK.

    I am very sorry, but I disagree with some of the comments that Phoebus Sparos mentioned above that the current President of Cyprus is doing what the Annan plan said and the Greek Cypriots disagreed on. What Demetris Christofias wants is this: one regime and not two like the Annan plan stated and that there would one leadership. That book that Phoebus Sparos mentioned, it’s more for the Annan plan rather for what is going on know.

    With many thanks

  12. Mrs. Marguerite A. Evangelou

    It is your right to disagree with anybody and especially me. Needless to say that I strongly disagree with you about the interpretation of what Mr. Christofias wants. However, allow me to question your ability to analyse certain things:
    1) If you agree on two SEPARATE states under a very vague umbrella which you call federation – or confederation – how many “regimes” do you have? I count 3 (three).
    2) The book I mentioned, which btw is called “The Bloody Truth”, was written expressely to oppose the Annan Plan or any solution similar to that. The authors (Movement for Freedom and Justice to Cyprus) call for the “Proposal” of the correct Yes. A proposal diametrically opposed to any Annan-like plan. Can you point out how you drew your conclusions about “what is going on know”?

  13. Dear Mr Phoebus Sparos,

    It’s actually MISS. The book that you have mentioned actually agrees with the Annan plan, even thouh it states that it does not agree with the Annan Plan and not what President Christofias wants. President Christofias wants one Federation and that is for all the Cypriots to be known as one and to be recognised as one.

    You say that Cyprus as three regimes, you tell me who they are.

    I do not agree on two regimes, because that is what Cyprus has got now. Where there is a Turkish pesident for the north and a Greek Cypriot for the South, which is all wrong. Cyprus is too tiny for two presidents and its too tiny for all these political parties.

    That is the reason why I agree with what President Christofias wants and this will help all the Cypriots to live together like they did and how they are in the south and how the Cypriots are around the world.

  14. Dear Miss Evangelou,

    Can you be kind enough to explain to us how “The Bloody Truth” actually agrees with the Annan Plan? I can also state that the Earth is flat and triangular but that does not mean it is true. So, please do not just state things, explain them.
    The “one federation” of Mr. Christofias will be composed of two states of equal status as he has so generously proposed. Each of these states will be a regime plus the federal administration, another regime; therefore, total 3 regimes …that is how I count.
    Now, if indeed Mr. Christofias wants “all the Cypriots to live together like they did” he should come up with a plan that calls for all Cypriots to live in the same areas as they did (before 1974 and even before 1964) under a free democratic government which will guarantee and safeguard everybody’s rights. How on Earth, can a separate state, essentially only for Turks, promote this togetherness? And how can you equate the 18% op the population (the indigenous muslims of Cyprus) with the 82% (the rest of us Cypriots)?
    Even without settlers from Turkey, such a situation will mean that the Turkish state will have equal power in the federal government as the Greek state. Therefore, given that the Turkish state – like the pseudo-state of today – will be a puppet regime of Turkey, in practice Turkey will have a 50% say of what happens in the whole of Cyprus. In my mind, this is worse even than partition (which would be the legalization of the existing situation) for a very simple reason: In a partition, you have two separate states that are independent of each other and which (in principle) do not interfere in each other’s affairs; whereas in the “BBF (Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation) with two states of equal status” the two states “share” power 50-50 on the whole of Cyprus. In effect this will mean, to put it very mildly, a very strong grip of Turkey on the whole of Cyprus.
    Forget not that the sovereign bases of the UK are situated 100% in what will be considered as the Greek state. So, how much Cyprus will be left under the control of the 82% of its population?

  15. Dear Mr Sparos,

    This is what I have to say to you and this would be my final reply to you, cause you do not seem to understand what the President of Cyprus wants and what I understand what understood just reading the book that you suggestted in reading. The President loves all of his people and he wants to find a solution that all of his people can be together and live together as a one nation like it was back in the spring of 1974.

    On a different note, have you seen what the troops have done to Cyprus and you want them to stay??? Give me a break. I bet you have not seen what they have done in the Polis, of which belong to the Greeks, what is called Instanbul? Well, I have and part of it is like what they have done to the North part of Cyprus.

  16. Dear Miss Evangelou,

    I admit that I cannot follow either your logic or your way of reading. I respect your wish for your final reply but I have to comment on your 2nd paragraph:
    I know very well what the TURKISH troops have done in Cyprus and I definitely do not wish them to stay there. Whatever gave you that impression? Furthermore, I never wrote or implied that. On the contrary, your Mr. Chrostofias acts will lead to that.

  17. Since this exciting letter,what has happened,is this matter back on the agenda,or is the only solution a military one?

  18. You are right Mike. Is the situation still open or not? I would like to know as well.

  19. I hear some discussions regarding Famagusta is on the table now,however we can’t trust the British,Americans,or any of the International members to act for a Cyprus solution,Lord Toby Harris is doing what others have done,that is playing lip service to the situation,thinking that we may feel he is on our side,best keep your mouth shut from now on,thank you.

  20. @Mike
    Why should we keep our mouths shut?
    Lord Tobby Harris and all other British politicians should know what we believe.
    Knowing that we do not go along with their machinations may force to have second thoughts about applying them.
    @Marguerite A Evangelou
    Since you seem to have the crystal ball that reveals to you the thought of president Christofias, can you tell us what he agreed with Turkey’s gauleiter Eroglou and that undescribable Australian Down (on behalf of Mr. Moon) at the Greentree sell-out?

  21. I am sorry, but you have got me wrong, I don’t have a crystal ball, I am not Mystic Meg thank you very much even if I was I will always be wrong. However, with the Cyprus situation everyone is blaming President Demetris Christofias in everything. What if the problem actually laid in the hands with Eroglou and the Turkish government its self? How many of us actually know what the Turkish govenment have actually told Eroglou to do and what is going through Eroglou’s mind for Cyprus? Eroglou tells Christofias what he thinks Christofias wants to hear, but when he goes back to Turkey and tells them its a different story. However, I have a feeling that Turkey have given Eroglou a speech to say and that is what he following.
    Lord Harris is only doing what was discussed in that meeting, of which I attended and I remember this letter was to be done and I am so glad that I have seen it back in August and now it has been 3 months and it seems to me that David Cameron has not bothered about Cyprus, why’s that? I know that he has to deal with problems here in Britain, but Britain is one of Cyprus’ guarantors, so why are they not helping the Cyprus situation? I know that the MPs are, but it is the PM that should pull his figure out and help Cyprus.

  22. dear Miss Marguerite Evangelou,
    Let me point out a few things about your last comment.
    1) Crystal ball: that was clearly an ironic (sarcastic even) comment on my part because I got the impression that you belong to the personality cult of Mr. Christofias.
    2) “with the Cyprus situation everyone is blaming President Demetris Christofias in everything” is contradictory: since you obviously do not blame him, even if you were the only one, you cannot claim that “everyone”.
    3) “What if the problem actually …” This is exactly where the problem lies in the defeated minds of our political leadership. And I am referring to the whole spectrum, from the supposed left of AKEL and Mr. Christofias to the supposed right of Mr. Annanstasiades. To begin with:
    i) it is evident to anybody, including you this time, who bothers to look at a few basic things that Eroglu and before him Talat and before him …Denktash do not really represent those who are considered by the 1960 agreements as Turkish Cypriots (T/c). Instead, they are gauleiters of Ankara. Therefore, pretending that the discussions are between “the two communities” – and not between the occupying power and the victim of occupation – is very cunning of Ankara and very stupid of those of “us” who accept it. Turkey is automatically converted from an aggressor to a benevolent mother country.
    ii) “it has been 3 months and it seems to me that David Cameron has not bothered about Cyprus, why’s that?” If things are going according to plan why should he bother? Did you ever wonder why Cyprus needs to have guarantor powers? Does the UK have any? or any other country? Despite various occupations and colonization of their island, Cypriots have remained predominantly Greek since the end of the Trojan War. This is more or less what the English thought of us in 1878 when they leased Cyprus from the Ottoman Sultan:
    “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace the old and ancient education system, her culture, because if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them to be, a truly dominated nation.” (Thomas Macaulay, a one-time Secretary to the Board of Control in India; 1835).
    When we (or rather our parents and grandparents) sought our right of self-determination (which amply meant uniting with Greece – “enosis”) the English “reminded” Turkey to claim Cyprus. In fact, Turkey had already abandoned any claim on Cyprus since the end of WW-I. The Foreign Office prepared the plan of partition, complete with maps and everything.
    “Eventually” we compromised to the “solution” of an independent country, largely due to Greece’s lack of decisiveness under the then Prime Minister Constantine Caramanlis. The English “inspired” constitution was a bomb ready to explode with a variable time fuse. The only thing the UK had to do is sit and wait. In the meantime, it enjoyed the use of 99 square miles of “sovereign (?)” bases, the whole of the air-space, radar installations etc. Why should her majesty’s gvt want to change the situation? why should they want a just solution for the people of Cyprus? they do not! that would make their advantages disappear into thin air! ALL HM gvts have been pursuing this line because, unlike our leaders, they have long range designs and several alternative plans if one fails. “Divide and rule” has been very skillfully applied.
    Listen to what Cameron had to say when he visited Turkey:
    “When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a Nato ally, and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan, alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.
    “My view is clear. I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent.
    “So I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.”

    Do you really believe that this pm will ever tell Turkey to get the hell out of Cyprus or otherwise forget about EU membership? Or do you believe he will order HM troops to liberate Cyprus? After all that is what a guarantor power is to do, according to the agreement. Why on Earth would a pm of HM gvt want to spoil something that works perfectly for them?
    Of course Lord Harris will hand the letter to the pm. If that keeps you and other voters happy he will do that. He’ s got nothing to lose. The big question is: “if you believe that Lords and MPs like Harris are really interested to help Cyprus why don ‘t you ask them to denounce their (consequtive) governments actions on Cyprus”.

  23. In fact I have. I know a great deal of those MPs mentioned above and I have mentioned it to them. Infact, Cyprus is actually an island of its own as it does not share any other countries flag whatsoever. You say that Cyprus is a Greek island! Ok then. When did the Cypriots get their own flag and why?

    I tell you, Cyprus got their own flag in 1960 when they gained independence from Britain as well as Greece. Cause the Cypriots did not want Greece to get involved with them. So Britain said fine you can have your independence and we shall be here when you need our help and we are going to leave our base in Acrodiri, Lemesos.

    So you cannot tell me about the Trojan war at all.

  24. As they say these days, OMG!
    Where on Earth you learn your history?
    With a surname like that I assumed you are somehow related to Cyprus. But probably you are better acquainted with the history of Mars or some other terrestrial object than Earth and especially our little island Cyprus.
    So, Britain out or her benevolence said “fine you can have your independence and we shall be here when you need our help”. Your allegience to HM gvt is admirable but I wonder if you know anything about British History either. Just out of curiosity when did England annex Scotland, Wales and Ireland?
    OK now, I quote from the Constitution of the RoC:
    “ARTICLE 4

    1. The Republic shall have its own flag of neutral design and colour, chosen jointly by the President and the Vice­President of the Republic.

    2. The authorities of the Republic and any public corporation or public utility body created by or under the laws of the Republic shall fly the flag of the Republic and they shall have the right to fly on holidays together with the flag of the Republic both the Greek and the Turkish flags at the same time.

    3. The Communal authorities and institutions shall have the right to fly on holidays together with the flag of the Republic either the Greek or the Turkish flag at the same time.

    4. Any citizen of the Republic or any body, corporate or unincorporate other than public, whose members are citizens of the Republic, shall have the right to fly on their premises the flag of the Republic or the Greek or the Turkish flag without any restriction.”
    Not that it is much to my liking but at least it recognizes the existence of Greeks (and Turks). Now if were occupied by Greece, as you suggest, we must be some kind of masochistic idiots to want to fly the Greek flag. It would be like flying the English Union jack …
    I do not know where you find these ridiculous versions of truth and history but all I have written is supported and documented.
    If you are really interested download the book “Bloody Truth” from here http://www.freedomjustice.com.cy/ and read it; do not just utter some kind of aphorism like you did last time.

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