At a recent meeting with the T/C leader Mr. R. Denktash, the British High Commissioner in Nicosia, raised the issue of the increasing number of T/C «passport» holders seeking asylum in the United Kingdom

Among those asylum seekers are also included Turkish settlers, who are provided with T/C «passports» by Mr. Denktash's illegal regime, in the framework of its policy aiming at the permanent alteration of the demographic structure of Cyprus.

According to the figures presented by the British official about 1200 Turkish - Cypriots are currently awaiting a political refugee status in the United Kingdom while another 300 persons have applied for such status in the last three months.

In a desperate attempt to conceal the true reasons behind the fleeing of the indigenous population from occupied northern Cyprus, Mr. Denktash accused those who fled of «shamelessly maligning the image of the « Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus».

However, the leader of the opposition «Communal Regeneration Party» Mr. Akintzi, attributed the situation to the «unbearable living conditions» and the «economic hardship» prevailing in occupied northern Cyprus. Furthermore, he indicated that the internal climate of insecurity, generated by the presence of an ever increasing number of Turkish settlers among the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants, was an additional reason forcing the latter to leave their homes in search of a better future abroad. Their desperation is such that even the threat by Mr Denktash to seize their property, once they are gone, would not prevent them from fleeing.

As also reported in the Turkish Cypriot press members of Turkish extremist and criminal organizations compete for supremacy in the field of illegal activities in the occupied part of Cyprus. A policy of progressive turcisation of the northern part of Cyprus is, thus, being implemented, complicating to the utmost the efforts for a negotiated settlement and further alienating the indigenous T/C population from the land where they have lived for so long.

Ironically so, the official justification for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was to protect the Turkish - Cypriot population and to secure their future well - being.

The actual situation ,where the legitimate inhabitants massively emigrate from the so-called «Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus», proves beyond any doubt that the real concern of Turkey was and still remains to exercise effective control over Cyprus ,even at the expense of the Turkish - Cypriots.

Countries which are actively involved in the efforts for a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus issue should not dismiss or overlook the radical alteration - both in figures and in quality - of the demographic structure in occupied northern Cyprus. The progressive substitution of the indigenous Turkish - Cypriot population by Turkish settlers could become a major obstacle in the way for a just and viable solution in Cyprus.

Athens, March 31, 1997