Enclaved Greek Cypriots


  1. Who are they?
  2. Facts prove the sad reality
  3. What has urged these people to remain on their land of their own free will despite the hardships they have endured?
  4. The Third Vienna Agreement
  5. United Nations
  6. Council of Europe
  7. European Ministers of Education
  8. Foreign press reports
  9. A few illustrations of the blatant violations of human rights
  10. 19 years after the signing of the Vienna Agreement...
  11. Do the enclaved have a future?
  12. The role of the international community
  13. A humanitarian issue
  14. A test case for Turkish good will

Who are they?

As a consequence of the tragedy brought about by the first and second rounds of the Turkish invasion on 20 July and 15 August 1974, about 200.000 Greek Cypriots, who lived in the areas occupied by the Turkish troops, were compelled by force to leave their homes and properties and move to the free areas. They became refugees in their own land. However, despite the policy of terror implemented by Turkish troops, the hardships, oppressions, intimidations and threats, about 12.300 people refused to leave their homes in the area occupied by the invaders and tried to keep their possessions - their land, their homes and their property. Since then, these people have been known as the enclaved and their plight has been one of the most tragic aspects of the Cyprus problem.


Facts prove the sad reality

Immediately after the end of the hostilities in 1974, the enclaved were about 12.300 people, most of them Greek Cypriots and a few Maronites. They were mainly concentrated in the Karpass penins- la and particularly in the villages of Rizokarpaso, Agia Trias, Leonarisso, Agios Andronikos, Agios Therissos, Trikomo, Karpaseia, Kormakitis, Asomatos, in the town of Keryneia and in Apostolos Andreas Monastery (see map on page 24). In 1994, only 715 enclaved (520 Greek Cypriots and 195 Maronite Cypriots), the vast majority of whom are above 60 years old, remain in the occupied areas. It is to be noted that since 30 June 1994 there are no longer any enclaved in Trikomo.The sharp reduction in their number was due to the systematic expulsions organised by the illegal authorities together with their policy of harassment (see graphs on page 23). All these combined with a well-planned project of colonisation of the occupied parts of Cyprus, with the influx of about 85.000 Turkish mainland settlers, aimed at changing the demographic character of the island.

The table below shows the occupied areas where the enclaved live and the number in each area as it was on 30.6.1994.


The methods of the Turkish leadership include a wide variety of inhuman acts, ranging from physical violence to psychological brutality, so as to force the inhabitants of the various villages to sign "applications" to move to the government-controlled areas. This was intended to enable them to carry on expelling the enclaved under the pretext that the Greek Cypriots "move on their own free will" after submitting applications and that "although not encouraged to stay, they are not forcibly expelled". The expulsions, which are part of Turkey's policy of ethnic cleansing directed against the Greek Cypriots, were intensified between 1975-77 while the talks were still going on and despite of the Third Vienna Agreement, and continued later on, in 1981. The year in which the expulsions intensified was in 1976, leading to a reduction of 57% in the population of the enclaved.




What has urged these people to remain on their land of their own free will despite the hardships they have endured?

Above all it was their great love of their places of origin, of their homes and of their property with which they have become closely linked due to their hard labour. Another factor which contributed to this, was the expectation for a quick solution to the Cyprus problem and the strong belief that justice would prevail, thanks to the intervention of the international community.
Finally, the fear of becoming refugees and the uncertainty they would face, if they abandoned their property, also provided another incentive for staying. The Cyprus government has assisted them by offering monthly subsidies for food through UNFICYP. On 5 August 1994 they also received an allowance to repair their houses. In addition to the government, individuals, and in particular, elementary school teachers, priests and nuns, have all actively and tirelessly contributed to the welfare of the enclaved, despite repeated threats against their lives by the illegal regime.


The Third Vienna Agreement

In 1975 an agreement was concluded between the intercommunal negotiators, Glafcos Clerides (the present President of the Republic) and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, regarding the Greek Cypriots living in the occupied areas and the Turkish Cypriots living in the government controlled areas. The major provisions of this agreement, known as the Third Vienna Agreement, according to a press communique issued on 4 August 1975, are the following:
  1. The Turkish Cypriots at present in the south of the island will be allowed if they want to do so, to proceed north with their belongings under an organized programme and with the assistance of UNFICYP.
  2. Mr Denktash reaffirmed and it was agreed "that the Greek Cypriots in the north of the island are free to stay and that they will be given every help to lead a normal life, including facilities for education and for the practice of their religion, as well as medical care by their own doctors and freedom of movement in the north."
  3. The Greek Cypriots at present in the north who, at their own request and without having been subjected to any kind of pressure, wish to move to the south will be free to do so.
  4. UNFICYP will have free and normal access to Greek Cypriot villages and habitations in the north.
  5. In connection with the implementation of the above agreement, priority will be given to the reunification of families, which may also involve the transfer of a number of Greek Cypriots, at present in the south, to the north.

Has this Agreement ever been implemented?
The Cyprus government implemented the part of the agreement regarding the Turkish Cypriots; consequently, all Turkish Cypriots, except a few living in the areas controlled by the State, were transferred to the occupied areas according to the provisions of the agreement.
It must be noted, however, that the vast majority of them did not leave on their own free will but were forced to move to the occupied areas through the use of various brutal acts perpetrated by TMT, the illegal terrorist organisation of the Denktash regime. The touching scenes of parting with neighbours, which took place then, constitute a real proof that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can co-exist. None of the provisions of the agreement regarding the Greek Cypriots living in the occupied areas, was ever implemented by the Denktash regime. The Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, not only failed to honour his signature by implementing the agreement he signed, but he repeatedly violated all its provisions. In their persistent attempt to take advantage of the de facto situation and divide the island by changing its demographic character, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime have implemented a series of well-planned coercive and suppressive measures, imposed on the Greek Cypriot enclaved, in order to throw them out of their homes and properties. Blatant violations of human rights
confirmed by objective reports


United Nations

A confidential UN report condemns Turkish Cypriot "authorities" for the systematic abuse of the human rights of the enclaved Greek Cypriots, who remained in the occupied area following the 1974 invasion.
The report, prepared in April 1994, documents in detail the pressures brought to bear on the 12.300 Greek Cypriots who remained in the Karpass Peninsula following the 1974 invasion. These ranged from restrictions on travel, the right to own property, freedom of movement and discrimination in education, health care and religion. The outcome of the afore-mentioned is, that only 570 Greek Cypriots remain in the Karpass today. In a condemnation of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, the report concludes: " the Greek Cypriots of Karpass are now a small minority in a part of Cyprus, which was once almost totally Greek Cypriot, and they are subject to a system whose long-term aim appears to be directed towards the eventual extinction of the Greek Cypriot community in Karpass."
The report, which was sent to the UN Secretary General in April, documents what amounts to an open breach of the 1975 Vienna Agreement, under which the Turkish Cypriot side agreed to protect the interests of the enclaved. It also acknowledges that the UN peacekeeping mission has been "frustrated, hampered and limited" in its efforts to implement and monitor the Vienna Agreement.
"This is the result of a deliberate policy on the part of the 'northern' authorities. That policy is based primarily on restricting UNFICYP's freedom of movement and access to the Greek Cypriot community and is contrary to the Vienna Agreement", the report states. Report of ASME-HUMANITAS
The H. Struebig/A. Krieg delegation of the German humanitarian organisation ASMEHUMANITAS, which visited Cyprus in April 1976, had instructions to investigate violations of humanitarian provisions. They had the opportunity to visit the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus and to talk to the authorities responsible for the Turkish Cypriot community.
After Mr Denktash's protests, the delegation continued its investigations and completed the final report in 1977. According to the report: "... b) the population in the north faces great difficulties because of lack of security for their lives and property.
c) The conditions of life of the Greek Cypriots in the north are particularly oppressive as they are deprived of their basic human rights. We established these facts by visiting the Karpass area and talking to many persons on May 3rd 1977. In particular:
  1. they are deprived of the freedom of movement and trade.
  2. They live under permanent fear for their life and property because of continuous harassment by the mainland Turks and lack of protection.
  3. They are deprived of secondary education and of sufficient elementary school facilities.
  4. They are deprived of proper medical services.
  5. They are not allowed to look after their fields freely and in many cases not even at all.
  6. Homes and other properties are often the object of theft and the people are being beaten and generally inhumanely treated.
    The problems of the population in the north are becoming greater because of the attitude of the mainland Turks who have settled there in thousands. We received many complaints of many crimes and atrocities committed by the mainland Turks against the population of the north, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots without being punished..."


Council of Europe

Various violations of human rights are denounced in the report dated 10 July 1976 and further confirmed by the European Commission of the Council of Europe report, dated 9 October 1983 and in particular :
Council of Europe rapporteur on the demographic structure of the Cypriot communities, Mr CUCO, denounces this situation in his report dated 27 April 1992: "I drew a preliminary conclusion from my talks with all the parties concerned: the establishment of Turkish settlers in the northern part of the island is an indisputable fact. The presence and naturalisation of the settlers undoubtledly constitutes a further barrier to a peaceful negotiated solution of the Cyprus conflict."
The report was adopted by the Assembly on 7 October 1992.


European Ministers of Education

On 28 September 1994, the European Ministers of Education expressed concern about the difficult circumstances under which schools operate in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Their views were included in reply letters sent to Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture, Claire Angelidou, who appealed for their intervention to persuade Turkey to allow schools to operate in more humane and safe conditions.


Foreign press reports

Dozens of articles were written in the foreign press about the inhumane living conditions the enclaved are suffering in the occupied areas. We mention only a few of them:


A few illustrations of the blatant violations of human rights

In order to eliminate the Greek Cypriot element from the occupied areas, completely isolate the two communities of the island and allege that co-existence is "unrealistic", a most reprehensible policy was conceived, i.e a combination of the brutal separation of families with the systematic colonisation of the occupied areas. There is a continuous influx of thousands of Turkish settlers from Anatolia, who do not only change the demographic structure of the island but also harass both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied areas. The mainland settlers, estimated presently at about 85.000, were used as a lever of pressure on the enclaved so as to force them to abandon their homes. Most of the crimes committed by Turkish mainland settlers against Greek Cypriot enclaved, were intended to terrorise them further, so as to leave their land and properties which were subsequently distributed amongst the mainland settlers.
Threats constitute another measure of psychological pressure. Some of the threats used to "persuade" the Greek Cypriots to sign applications are the following: "If you do not sign, you will join the ranks of the missing", "if you do not sign, you will in any case be removed from your home and be taken to another area," "if you do not sign, you will in any case be evicted, but without any of your belongings". In order to realise the full extent of the violations of human rights in the case of the enclaved, the following are some illustrations of the inhumanities perpetrated against the Greek Cypriots in the Turkish occupied area. It is to be noted that this is not a compehensive list.
  1. Separation of families. The vast majority of Greek Cypriot prisoners of war were released in the areas controlled by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and were never allowed to be reunited with their wives and children as should be the case according to the provisions of the Vienna Agreement.
    In addition, most children were obliged to leave their homes in order to go to secondary school. In both cases, families were either brutally separated or obliged to move to the south so as to lead a normal family life again. Children under sixteen are allowed to visit their parents during the Christmas and Easter holidays, but always at the discretion of the occupying regime. Many has been the time when the children, ready to take the bus, have been turned back.
  2. Lack of Education. The lack of education possibilities for their children is another form of indirect but effective pressure exerted on the enclaved to make them leave their land. The Denktash regime has never allowed the operation of secondary schools. Only three elementary schools were allowed to operate in the villages of Rizokarpaso, Kormakitis and Agia Trias. Thus, many children are obliged to come to the areas under the control of the Cyprus Republic, away from their families in order to attend secondary schools. Another form of pressure is the refusal of the Turkish Cypriot regime to allow any replacements of teachers, who were forced to leave the occupied areas. Today there are only four teachers left. They are obliged to face the threats of the illegal regime on a daily basis and they have to make enormous efforts and undergo many sacrifices in order to keep the three elementary schools in operation. In the two elementary schools for Greek Cypriots, the very few pupils are not allowed to be taught history, religion and geography of Cyprus. Despite the fact that the Ministry of Education sends the textbooks on time, in July, these are kept and "checked" by the Denktash regime which delivers them around the end of November or at the beginning of December or it may choose not to deliver them at all.
  3. Murders. There is a long list of murders of helpless people, mostly the elderly. Incidents of murders were reported with dates and specific details by people who were once enclaved. In most cases, they have been confirmed by foreign press reports. Such characteristic cases are the ones of Demetris Demetri and Flourentza Flourou from Rizokarpaso, who were both robbed, stabbed, cut into pieces and eventually burnt by mainland settlers in May 1990. Even in the case of such incidents, the so-called "police" of the Denktash regime has taken no measures to protect the enclaved and never has any offender been arrested or punished.
  4. Rapes and threatened rapes. A flagrant case of rape was that of a fourteen-year-old girl who, on 3/10/76 was raped in the presence of her father, who was at the same time assaulted, beaten up and robbed.
  5. Savage beatings. Greek Cypriot men of all ages are savagely beaten up and then asked to sign applications to leave, under some pretext or another, and frequently without a pretext. This is a daily occurrence in all occupied Greek Cypriot villages.
  6. Detention and ill-treatment. Greek Cypriot men are arrested and detained for a number of days, without reason, ill-treated and then asked to sign applications in order to leave.
  7. Forced labour and humiliations. Forced labour and humiliation are part of the everyday life of the enclaved. The innumerable occasions when Turks have forced Greek Cypriots to carry out specific tasks are vividly described by those previously enclaved who sought refuge and are now living in the area controlled by the Cyprus government. They describe, for instance, how Greek Cypriots were forced to build the house of a sergeant of the Denktash "police" in Agios Andronikos and were then refused payment for their work.
  8. Plundering of movable and immovable property. Enclaved Greek Cypriots, who were not able to prove, by producing title- deeds, that the houses in which they lived belonged to them (either because they lost the title-deeds or because the houses belonged to their children or parents) were forcibly driven out and were obliged to live in barracks or with relatives. Their houses were subsequently seized by the Turkish Cypriot administration. On many occasions, property owned by the enclaved was confiscated and given to settlers from mainland Turkey. The property, which had not officially been confiscated by the Denktash regime, was either plundered by mainland settlers or included in the military "restricted areas" or, was out-of-bounds to the enclaved. In addition, the enclaved were never certain that they would ever enjoy any income from their labour. In many cases, mainland settlers would harvest the fields sown by the Greek Cypriots, the lawful owners of those fields.
  9. Burglaries. This is a routine event, from which no home escapes. Even the elderly, as well as the invalided are not spared. With a view to terrorising the enclaved, masked men raid the houses of the enclaved Greek Cypriots during the night, whom they beat up, sometimes to death.
    Another method widely adopted to terrorise the Greek Cypriots, includes knocking on doors during the night, throwing stones at houses and firing shots in the air.
  10. No freedom of movement. Greek Cypriot in the Turkish occupied area has ever been granted anything remotely resembling freedom of movement. They are all strictly confined to the precincts of their villages and are subjected to strict curfews. The enclaved are not allowed to visit the nearby villages without "police" supervision, unless they report to the "police" on the purpose of their visit beforehand. All men between the ages of 18 and 50 must report to the "police" once a week. Even today the enclaved are not allowed to visit the free areas unless they have submitted an application. Such applications must be submitted two weeks in advance and time limitations are imposed on their stay in the government controlled area. Many are the times the Denktash regime has denied them permission to visit the area controlled by the government of Cyprus. As a result, the Greek Cypriot enclaved can never be sure when they will be able to do so.
    The steps taken to isolate and restrict the movement of the Greek Cypriots have been intensified as the years passed. As a result, the enclaved are not even allowed to go out in the fields near their villages without the permission of the Turkish Cypriot "police". As for the visits to nearby villages or to the town of Ammochostos, they are very rare indeed. When they occur, they always take place under the supervision of the Turkish Cypriot "police".
  11. No communication. The Greek Cypriot enclaved are always forbidden to come into contact with any visitors unless the so-called "policemen" of the Denktash regime are present. Even direct contact with UNFICYP soldiers, whose movement is seriously limited, is not allowed without the presence of "policemen". When food is distributed by the United Nations,"policemen" are present in order to prevent any free conversation between the enclaved and U.N. soldiers. Moreover, communication between the enclaved and their relatives in the free areas is virtually impossible as there is not a single telephone in the villages inhabited by the enclaved. Correspondence with their relatives is only allowed through the United Nations but mail is checked by the "police" of the Denktash regime.
  12. No medical care. The provision of the Third Vienna Agreement concerning medical care was never implemented. No Greek Cypriot doctors were ever allowed to settle in the area or to visit the enclaved on a regular basis. The Denktash regime refuses to give permission to the enclaved to visit the free areas for medical care. There have been, for example, incidents in which the enclaved were forced to leave their houses and land and move to the free areas because of health problems and the lack of adequate medical care in the occupied areas. Following their recovery and when they wish to return to their houses the Denktash regime refuses to allow them back.
  13. Restriction of trade. The shepherds are restricted to grazing their flocks only a short distance outside their village. They use old abandoned houses in the villages as sheepfolds in order to try to prevent animal robberies by the mainland settlers. Moreover, Turkish settlers take their sheep into the cultivated fields, thus, destroying the crops.
    Fishermen are no longer allowed to fish and their boats have been mostly stolen by the Turks.
    Moreover, according to witnesses, Turkish settlers used to buy their groceries on credit from shops owned by Greek Cypriots but never payed for them. Every kind of commercial and economic deal between enclaved Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is prohibited "by law". Anybody caught violating this ban is arrested and brought before Turkish Cypriot courts which impose heavy fines. The object of this measure is to impose such financial constraints on the enclaved so as to force them to request their transfer to the free areas.
    Apart from farming restrictions, their ability to earn a living is further limited by their being forced to sell their produce at ridiculously low prices.
  14. Religious intolerance. The enclaved Greek Cypriots are unable to practice their religion freely. They are not allowed to attend church services and it is forbidden for the church bells to toll. Besides, it must be noted that most churches have been desecrated. In 1994, there were only two priests in the occupied areas.
  15. House searches. Turkish "police" search Greek Cypriot houses requesting ownership documents for items such as cookers, heaters and radios etc. Any items for which no such documents can be produced, are confiscated.


19 years after the signing of the Vienna Agreement...

Almost two decades after the signing of the Agreement, Greek Cypriot enclaved, whose population has dramatically shrunk to a point threatening their future existence there, continue to live in appalling and unacceptable conditions.


Do the enclaved have a future?

Concluding, it is obvious that the enclaved face an extremely serious danger. Unless practical measures are implemented, they are condemned to annihilation as their existence is being seriously threatened.


The role of the international community

Only the international community can urge Turkey to comply with international law and finally, fully implement the Third Vienna Agreement in the form of a temporary measure until a final and just solution of the Cyprus problem is reached. In this respect, the international community should, above all, become aware of the tragedy and calamities of the enclaved, and consequently safeguard the right of these people to remain in their ancestral land in conditions of safety and dignity.


A humanitarian issue

It should be understood that as this is obviously a humanitarian issue, a special and separate aspect from the political aspects of the Cyprus problem and an issue of violation of human rights, the implementation of the Third Vienna Agreement is a matter of ethics and of principle. If not rectified, Turkey's unacceptable conduct might prove to be a dangerous precedent for some unscrupulous leaders, who will certainly not hesitate to imitate such a conduct because of the international community's tolerance.


A test case for Turkish good will

The respect of the human rights of the enclaved on the part of the Turkish side is a test case for Turkish credibility for any future agreement. The intransigence of the Turkish side in the case of this humanitarian issue leads to justifiable queries: "How can the Greek Cypriots trust any future agreement when the existing agreement on the enclaved has been so blatantly violated?"
Finally, the role of the enclaved in the success of any future settlement of the Cyprus issue and in the creation of confidence between the two communities is underestimated. This handful of people could be the link between them, they could be the bridge between the occupied areas and the free areas and the proof (contrary to the allegations of advocates in favour of the partition of the island) that the two communities can and must co-exist in order to build together a brilliant future for a single and sovereign Republic of Cyprus.

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Giorgos Zacharia (lysi@mit.edu) © 1995-1999.
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