Cyprus Issue

"TRNC" - An Illegal Entity

On 15 November 1983, the part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus which has been occupied by Turkey since the 1974 invasion, unilaterally declared itself independent.

The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", as it calls itself, is an unrecognised and illegal entity. It owes its existence to the military and economic support it receives from Turkey, the aggressor in Cyprus. It was condemned by the UN Security Council (Resolution 541 and 550), which declared it legally invalid, called for its immediate withdrawal and urged all states not to recognise it. No country in the world except Turkey has recognised it.

The Turkish invasion and occupation forcibly divided the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign and independent state. The dividing line which cuts across the country has created a physical and social barrier between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities.

Previously the two communities had lived together harmoniously for more than 300 years. In a blatant policy of ethnic cleansing, almost two decades before the term was coined, the invading troops forced the Greek Cypriots out of their homes, turning a third of the population into refugees. The Turkish army still prevents these people from returning to their homes. Moreover their houses have been inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers, illegally transferred from Turkey by the Denktash regime.

Over the years the regime set up in the occupied area gradually erased all evidence of Christian or Hellenic civilisation. Greek place names, that had survived Ottoman rule, have been given Turkish substitutes. Churches have been destroyed or turned into mosques and stables, ancient monuments were left unprotected and artefacts have been illegally removed and sold on the international black art market. Nowadays the occupied area is reminiscent of a Turkish province.

As for the Turkish Cypriots, they are now a minority. Unemployment and unbearable living conditions have forced many of them to leave the island. It is estimated that since 1974 at least a third of the Turkish Cypriot community has emigrated. With the importation of over 115.000 settlers from Turkey and an additional 35.000-strong Turkish army, Turkish Cypriots are now vastly outnumbered.

The unilateral declaration of independence of the occupied part of Cyprus is part of Turkey's long held expansionist designs over the island aimed at establishing a separate Turkish state here and creating a homogeneous foothold under Turkey's control.

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities of Cyprus have proved that they can live peacefully together, as they have done for centuries. The dividing line separating the two communities is an artificial one, imposed by the presence of the Turkish occupation forces. Urgent and substantive measures must now be taken to bring an end to the division of Cyprus, which is a blatant anachronism and terminate the occupation.

Entry Date 10/8/2001