Policy and Methods of "Ethnic Cleansing"

'The case of Cyprus and Turkey's application of such policy and methods against Greek Cypriots as an ethnic and religious group. The concept and practice of 'ethnic cleansinng has been recently associated in the situation prevailing in the former Yugoslavia, and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has been condemned by the International Community. The methods applied to achieve the aim of the policy of ethnic cleansing have been described as follows:

  1. Forcible mass displacement, deportation, expulsion, and forced evacuations of persons from their homes in flagrant violation of their human rights, aimed at the dislocation or destruction of national, ethnic, racial or religious groups through indiscriminate bombing, destruction of homes and killings of civilians as well as other forms of intimidation. Victims of ethnic cleansing are forced to flee their homes and seek rescue in areas not affected by attacks. Shelling of churches, hospitals, population centres, shooting at innocent civilians, cutting off of supplies of food and other essential goods as well as wanton devastation and destruction of property are methods of intimidation used.
  2. Detention of both combatants and civilians in concentration camps, schools, factories and other unrecognized detention facilities. Civilians are detained in order to force them to leave their homes as part of the policy of ethnic cleansing.
  3. Systematic execution of prisoners and innocent civilians, torture and mistreatment including rape of persons belonging to a certain ethnic group.
  4. Massive occurrence of disappearances of persons belonging to a certain ethnic group.
  5. Creation of 'faits accompliss by the use of force against members of a certain ethnic group, division on ethnic basis.
  6. Racial discrimination practiced against members of a certain ethnic group, and fostering of hatred and violence.
    In Cyprus, the same policies of ethnic cleansing have been applied by Turkey against the Greek Cypriot community resulting in the massive violation of human rights, the forcible division of the country and its people, the colonization of the occupied areas by ethnic Turks, the forcible displacement of one third of the population, disappearances etc. By her invasion and occupation of 37 percent of the territory of Cyprus, Turkey has committed and continues to commit grave violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriots manifested in the following methods of 'ethnic cleansing.
  7. In the course of the military operations and occupation, Turkish armed forces have, by way of systematic conduct adopted a practice of 'ethnic cleansing, caused deprivation of life, including indiscriminate killings of civilians, by bombing of civilian targets and hospitals and cold blooded murders. They have subjected persons of both sexes and all ages to torture, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment, including commission of rapes, they have detained arbitrarily and with no lawful authority hundreds of persons in Cyprus and in Turkey, subjecting the said persons to forced labour. They have forcibly displaced thousands of persons from their homes and they have refused to allow them to return thereto; they have caused separation of families and other interferences with private life; they have caused destruction of property and obstruction of free enjoyment of property. All the above acts have been directed exclusively against Greek Cypriots because of their national origin, race and religion.
  8. In the course of the continuing military occupation of 37 percent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, the Turkish army, under the actual and exclusive authority and control of the government of Turkey, committed and continues to commit the following atrocities and crimes:
    1. Murders in cold blood of civilians, including women and old men as well as children between 6 months and eleven years. Hundreds of killings of Greek Cypriots by Turkish forces have been reported.
    2. 1,619 persons who disappeared are still missing. These persons, 993 soldiers and 626 civilians, amongst them 112 women and 26 children under the age of 16, have been missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and as a direct consequence of it. Most of these persons were arrested by Turkish soldiers and were known to be alive in the occupied area or in detention in Turkey long after the cessation of hostilities. Despite the adoption of a number of United Nations resolutions and the establishment of a Committee on Missing Persons in 1981, the fate of the 1,619 missing persons has not yet been ascertained because of obstacles put forward by the Turkish side and because of lack of any cooperation on its part.
    3. Wholesale and repeated rapes.
    4. Forcible eviction and diplacement of persons from their homes and land. The nearly 200,000 Greek Cypriots who were forcibly expelled from their homes by the Turkish invading forces in 1974, are still being prevented by the Turkish occupation army of returning to their homes in the occupied area and are destitute refugees in their own country. It should be recalled that all relevant United Nations resolutions call for the instituting of urgent measures for the voluntary return of the refugees to their homes in safety. Twenty years have elapsed since then and Turkey arrogantly refuses to implement these resolutions that would enable the refugees to return to their homes and lands. Turkey's 40,000 strong occupation army continues to occupy nearly 37 percent of Cyprus' territory and forcibly prevents any movement of Greek Cypriots to the occupied area.
    5. Expulsion of the enclaved. Out of the 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who remained enclaved in the occupied area after the invasion only a few hundred remain now in the Karpass peninsula, at the Eastern corner of Cyprus. This is the result of a sustained campaign of harassment, discrimination and oppression by the occupation forces which led to outright expulsion and gradual deterioration of the living conditions of the enclaved. Inhuman methods used to force the remaining Greek Cypriots to leave the occupied area included: killings, looting, restrictions on movement, religion, education and work, threats, violence, intimidation, harassment, forced labour e.t.c. Under international pressure, the Turkish Cypriot side agreed in Vienna, in August 1975, that Greek Cypriots in the occupied area would be free to stay and that their families would be free to join them. The agreement known as the Vienna III agreement, also stipulated that the enclaved 'be given help to lead a normal life including facilities for education and for the practice of their religion, as well as medical care by doctors of their own community. Despite the agreement reached, the regime in the occupied area has applied racist and inhuman policies against the Greek Cypriot enclaved in order to force them to leave their lands and make room for imported settlers from Turkey.
    6. Looting of houses and business premises belonging to Greek Cypriots.
    7. Seizure, appropriation, exploitation and distribution of land, houses, enterprises and industries belonging to Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots who were forcibly expelled from their homes, continue to be arbitrarily deprived of their properties in the occupied area. Such properties are being illegally distributed by the Turkish occupation forces to persons other than their legal owners, including members of the Turkish occupation army and to Turkish mainland settlers.
    8. Thousands of Greek Cypriot civilians of all ages and both sexes were arbitrarily detained by the Turkish military authorities in the occupied areas under inhuman conditions. Concentration camps were established. Greek Cypriot detainees and inhabitants of the Turkish occupied area fell victims of systematic torture and of other inhuman or degrading treatment.
    9. Forced labour. A great number of detainees, were made during their detention, to perform forced and compulsory labour. Even today the few Greek Cypriot men residing in the Karpass peninsula in the occupied area, are forced to clean every Friday the 'Police station' of the village of Rizokarpasso.
    10. Separation of families. Many families are still separated as a result of some of the crimes described above, such as detention and forcible eviction. It should be mentioned in this respect that due to the refusal of the Turkish occupation authorities to allow the operation of Secondary Schools for the Greek Cypriot enclaved children, the latter, when they reach the age of 12 and wish to pursue secondary school studies, they have no choice but to go to the government controlled area to attend school there. These children are not allowed by the Turkish occupation regime to visit their parents in the occupied area, except at Christmas, Easter and during summer vacations. When boys reach the age of 16 and girls the age of 18 they are not allowed to return to the occupied area even to visit their parents during holidays. Relatives of enclaved living in the government controlled area are not allowed to visit them in the occupied area, even in case of deaths and funerals of relatives. The separation of families under such inhuman policies, is a method of 'ethnic cleansing used to force the few remaining in the occupied area Greek Cypriots to leave their homes and flee to the government controlled area to join their relatives.
    11. The occupying forces continue to plunder and systematically destroy the Cypriot cultural heritage in the occupied part of the island. Religious property is a particular target in an attempt to destroy the cultural identity of the occupied area. Greek Orthodox churches continue to be converted into mosques, vandalized or turned into entertainment centres, livestock pens, barns, pubs and clubs. Antiquities, mosaics and even frescoes are being removed and smuggled to international dealers. The aim: to eradicate the 9,000 year old cultural heritage in the occupied area and create an artifical one 'ethnically cleansed, suitable to the political designs of the occupying power. The aforementioned atrocities and criminal acts were and continue to be directed against Greek Cypriots because of their ethnic origin, race and religion. The purpose has been to destroy and eradicate the Greek Cypriot population of the occupied areas so as to move therein Turks, thus changing the demographic structure of Cyprus and creating by artificial means a Turkish populated area in furtherance of Turkey's policy for the geographical separation of the two communities, the secession of the occupied part and its ultimate annexation to Turkey.
      It is estimated that more than 80,000 Turkish mainland settlers were transferred to the occupied area and were given the homes and properties belonging to the Greek Cypriots who were expelled therefrom. Such settlers were given 'citizenship and 'voting rights in an attempt to adulterate the will of the Turkish Cypriot community and provide support to the occupation regime.
      The colonization policy of Turkey was fully confirmed and exposed by a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe mission, conducted by Spanish parliamentarian Alfons Cuco, who visited Cyprus and reported about the extensive colonization of the occupied area with mainland Turks, a policy which he characterized as an obstacle to the finding of a solution to Cyprus problem. The Parliamentary Assembly, based on the report submitted by Mr. Cuco, condemned such colonization by recommendation 1197 adopted on 7 October 1992.
      The Commission of Human Rights of the Council of Europe having examined the three recourses of the Cyprus government against Turkey for multiple violations of the European Convention of Human Rights (Applications Nos: 6780/74, 6950/75 an 8007/77 in the cases Cyprus against Turkey), adopted two reports on 10 July 1976 and 4 October 1983 respectively. The Commission, an impartial international judicial tribunal, having carefully evaluated evidence, has found Turkey guilty of grave violations of human rights in Cyprus from 1974 onwards.
      The conclusion arrived at by the European Commission in its two reports mentioned above, are analyzed below in section 5 (and are reproduced in Annexes I & II for easy reference). It suffices to emphasize in this respect that one of the conclusions reached by the Commission in both reports reads as follows: 'Having found violations of a number of Articles of the Convention, the Commission notes that the acts violating the Convention were exclusively directed against members of one of the two communities in Cyprus, namely the Greek Cypriot community. It concludes by eleven votes to three that Turkey has thus failed to secure the rights and freedoms set forth in these Articles without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, race and religion as required by Art. 14 of the Convention. A policy of 'ethnic cleansing implemented by Turkey against the Greek Cypriots was confirmed and recorded as such by one of the most impartial judicial bodies, the European Commission of Human Rights.

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