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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 02-09-26

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

Thursday, 26 September 2002


CONTENTS

  • [01] PACE report finds Turkish colonisation alters Cyprus' demographic structure
  • [02] PACE's Legal Affairs Committee presents draft report on Cyprus
  • [03] House President meets Greek Foreign Minister and counterpart in Athens
  • [04] US State Department: Washington plays active role in Cyprus


[01] PACE report finds Turkish colonisation alters Cyprus' demographic structure

Within the framework of the Fourth Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, and the meeting of its Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, in particular, the Finnish rapporteur Mr. Jaakko Laakso presented on Tuesday his preliminary report on the "colonisation by Turkish settlers of the occupied part of Cyprus".

In his report, Mr. Laakso makes reference to the change of demographic structure in Cyprus due to the colonisation of the occupied areas, which is a product of the Turkish policy in occupied Cyprus, and expresses the view that the presence of settlers on the island constitutes an obstacle to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Although exact figures on migration in the northern part of the island are scarce and vary according to the source, estimates show that Turkish settlers reach as many as 100.000, a figure advanced by the Cyprus Government, the report states. In addition, "it is estimated that between 1992 and 2000, approximately 55.000 indigenous Turkish Cypriots left the country: a figure which represents about a third of all Turkish Cypriots". Regarding Greek Cypriots, the report notes that although they constituted over 78% of the total population in1973, and 77% in 1992, they now stand for 76%, due to the inflow of settlers. This demographic transformation in Cyprus, Mr. Laakso supports, "creates a real threat that in the long-term the considerable increase in the numbers of the Turkish-speaking population might be used for a justification of the inordinate claims of the Turkish side regarding territorial arrangements and political powers in a final settlement of the Cyprus problem".

The Finnish rapporteur notes that the Turkish Cypriot side should be obliged to provide regular data regarding the flow of settlers on the island and be urged to reconsider its policy on the matter, which aims to promote the settlers' permanent establishment on the island.

The report also mentions the presence of 30.000 Turkish soldiers in the occupied areas, claiming that "it is a very substantial figure, equivalent to some 15% of the total population of the northern part of Cyprus".

Furthermore, Mr. Laakso claims in his report that the most important measure for the settlers has been the possibility of acquiring Turkish- Cypriot "nationality". Along these lines, "the use of the term 'settlers' to describe these persons is fully justified since they actually come to settle down".

Concluding, the rapporteur notes with regret that "since the last report on the subject, there has been no progress towards demographic stabilisation on the island - to the contrary", and that during his visit to the Government controlled part of the island, he confirmed that the colonisation has not stopped. In his opinion, the most serious problem is created by the settlers' "naturalisation", and he observes that the so-called 1975 Act on naturalisation and the 1981 rules passed by the Turkish Cypriot "administration" show clearly the "deliberate" policy of changing the demographic character of the northern part of Cyprus.

[02] PACE's Legal Affairs Committee presents draft report on Cyprus

During a meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in Strasbourg, the Swiss rapporteur Mr. Dick Marty presented his preliminary draft report on the "rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of Cyprus".

In his draft report, the rapporteur expresses deep concern over the "rigorous and arbitrary" division of the island and the status imposed upon the Greek Cypriot and Maronite communities that have remained north of the demarcation line.

Referring to the 10 May 2001 judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey, which found Turkey guilty for 14 violations of the European Convention of Human Rights, Mr. Marty points out that after his visit to the north he agrees with the Court's decision, especially regarding violations of the human rights and basic freedoms of the Greek Cypriots and Maronites living there.

"Turkey therefore has a general obligation to secure respect for the human rights safeguarded by the Convention for all persons in the territory controlled by the Turkish Cypriot administration; therefore there cannot be any 'lawless' zones of Europe or areas where the principles of the European Convention of Human Rights do not apply", the draft report reads.

The Swiss rapporteur also expressed the Assembly's shock by the "imposed division of families, the prohibition on young people returning to their homes, the arbitrary confiscations and expropriations and the general climate of apprehension and uncertainty, even fear, to which members of those communities are deliberately subjected".

The discussion of the draft report on Cyprus was interrupted due to the commencement of the sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly, and it is due to be concluded at the coming meeting of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee. It will then be referred to the Parliamentary Assembly, at the beginning of 2003.

[03] House President meets Greek Foreign Minister and counterpart in Athens

The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimitris Christofias met yesterday in Athens with the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr. George Papandreou. The meeting was also attended by the Ambassador of Cyprus in Athens, Mr. Leonidas Pantelides.

Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Papandreou pointed out that the efforts will be intensified after the elections in Turkey, with the aim of finding a solution to the problem before the accession of Cyprus to the EU, which should be certainly based on the Helsinki decisions that do not presuppose a solution before accession. The solution must be in line with the European acquis communautaire and the UN Resolutions, he added.

On his part, Mr. Christofias, said that there was an exchange of views with Mr Papandreou regarding the handling of the Cyprus problem and its subsequent route. He expressed, however, his pessimism, pointing that the intransigence of Mr. Denktash is continually reaffirmed, not only in all rounds of negotiations, but also in talks with Mr. Koffi Anan and his representative.

Mr. Christofias expressed the hope that the international community and the EU will take into serious consideration, on one hand, the good will of the President of the Republic during the talks, and Mr. Denktash's intransigence, on the other, which constitutes the main obstacle for a solution to the Cyprus problem, hoping that the international community will not associate a possible non solution with the island's accession to the EU. Furthermore, the Cyprus House President added that the Turkish threats should not be tolerated, adding that a lot of work is required in all directions.

Mr. Demetris Christofias also met with his Greek counterpart in Athens, Mr. Apostolos Kaklamanis.

The meeting focused on the coordination of the efforts of the two bodies in support of Cyprus' accession to the EU and a just solution to the Cyprus problem.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis stated that the Greek Government, during its Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2003, will be happy to see the accession treaties signed, with that of Cyprus being the first item on the agenda. "This has been our hope, our vision, this is our aim and towards this aim both Parliaments have concentrated their efforts", Mr. Kaklamanis said.

[04] US State Department: Washington plays active role in Cyprus

The US has always played an active role in the efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and will be keeping in close touch with the parties involved.

The US State Department spokesman, Mr. Richard Boucher, expressed the above position during the State Department's regular briefing yesterday, replying to a question on whether he will get involved in the October meeting between the UN Secretary-General, President Clerides and Mr. Denktash in New York.

Mr. Boucher assured of Washington's active engagement in the developments regarding the Cyprus problem but noted that the UN is more directly involved in the meetings themselves.


From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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