Thursday, August 7, 2014

Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel: Part 3 (completes the trilogy) | Israel Hayom

Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel: Part 3
Thursday August 7, 2014

For part 1, see "Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel."
For part 2, see "Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel: Part 2."

Ever since Israel's military operation in Gaza started, Turkish officials and institutions ‎have been in a constant competition to condemn or even curse Israel.‎

On July 18, the Foreign Relations Commission of the Turkish Parliament issued a joint ‎declaration in which all political parties in the parliament condemned Israel:‎ "We vehemently condemn the attacks of Israel against the Palestinian people, which do not ‎comply with the concept of a legitimate state and which trample on international law and ‎the most basic human rights and [we also condemn] its ongoing massacre in which civilians including children and women are indiscriminately killed."‎

Well, had they replaced "Israel" with "Turkey" and "Palestinian" with "Cypriot," that ‎would have been a more valid and honest statement. It also would have been the first time ‎that Turkey would have confessed and apologized for its own crimes in Cyprus.‎

To see the insincerity of Turkish officials, we can also recall the past crimes of Turkey, none of ‎which they have ever issued any written or verbal apologies for. But our main focus should be on ‎the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, because this is ‎not a crime of the past. It is being committed every single day that the ethnic cleansing and ‎colonization of the occupied part of the island continue.‎

A week before this statement of the parliament, on July 12, Yiannakis Savva Liasis, a Greek ‎Cypriot soldier, was finally laid to rest after being killed during the Turkish invasion ‎nearly 40 years ago. ‎

Liasis, 21, had been listed as a missing person, as his body was ‎never recovered. In 2010, his body was discovered in a mass grave in Klepini, a ‎village in the Kyrenia District of Cyprus. He was formally identified only in May this year after ‎a DNA test.‎

Panayiotis Antoniou, director of the Office of the President of Cyprus, attended his funeral. ‎‎

"After an unacceptable delay of 40 years, we direct our final farewell to Yiannakis Liasis, a ‎brilliant and virtuous young man with passion and dreams for himself, his family and his ‎homeland," he said.‎

Liasis was not the only victim of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. ‎

Almost every week, Greek Cypriots bury loved ones listed as missing since the ‎invasion, as remains are discovered as part of ongoing ‎investigations carried out by the Committee for Missing Persons. ‎

Meanwhile, as if Turkey were some champion of human rights, Erdogan said in an interview ‎with CNN that Israel is a terror state.

"They are creating a wave of terror with what they are ‎doing now," he said.‎ He also blamed Israel for "spitting death, spitting blood."‎

During and after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, however, the Turkish army killed over 3,000 people, "spitting death, spitting blood."‎

Several reports state that thousands of Greek Cypriots were arrested and detained in ‎concentration camps in Cyprus by the Turkish army and by Turkish Cypriot paramilitary ‎organizations.‎

According to the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus, ‎"Over 2,000 prisoners of war were illegally taken to Turkey and detained in ‎Turkish prisons. Some of them were not released and are still missing. Hundreds of other ‎Greek Cypriots, both soldiers and civilians (including old people, women and children) ‎disappeared in the areas under Turkish occupation and are still missing."‎

Two days after the Turkish parliament issued its declaration, on July 20, the rectors of 87 ‎universities in Turkey issued another declaration, condemning Israel's operation in Gaza, ‎and stating that they would end all their academic, cultural and social relations with Israeli ‎universities that do not condemn the "massacre committed by the Israeli government," until the "massacre" ends and the blockade on Gaza is removed.‎

"The whole world, especially the Islamic world, should take a joint stance in ‎unity and solidarity against Israel, which targets Muslims and Islamic values,"‎ it said.

Have those rectors ever in their academic careers uttered a ‎single word or written a single letter to criticize or condemn the Turkish occupation of Cyprus‎?

‎"Unfortunately, all of those who turn a blind eye to the oppressor and oppression become a ‎shareholder in this savagery," the declaration said. ‎

That is true. The silence of many Turks, including academics, to the Turkish invasion of ‎Cyprus, has made them a shareholder in the oppression as well.‎

The declaration of the rectors also stated their opinions on redrawing the boundaries of the ‎region, saying that they support the demands of establishing an independent Palestinian state ‎with Jerusalem as the capital.‎

Turkey illegally divided Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus and a historically ‎Greek town, at the end of the invasion. The northern part of this city is ‎recognized by the international community as Cypriot territory under Turkish occupation.‎

Can officials or citizens of one country, who have not opposed this injustice, claim a moral ‎right to discuss what other city should be the capital of which state?‎

Instead of deciding whose capital Jerusalem should be, why aren't the Turkish rectors ‎offended by Hamas' founding covenant, which explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel ‎and the death of all Jews? ‎

Hamas produces and broadcasts children's television shows encouraging children to kill Jews, ‎which is not a very humane or decent way of raising children. Besides, it regularly announces ‎its aims to annihilate all the Jews in Israel. Why do the Turkish rectors not condemn Hamas' ‎stated objectives and terrorist tactics?‎

The declarations of both the Turkish parliament and universities called for the U.N. to condemn ‎Israel and stop the deadly attacks committed by Israel in Gaza.‎

In 1974, Turkey ignored calls by the U.N. Security Council for "an immediate end to ‎foreign military intervention in the Republic of Cyprus," and then occupied 36.2 percent of ‎the island, forcibly expelling about 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and lands. ‎

So why are the Turkish state officials calling on the U.N. to act now?‎

And why were Cypriots exposed to the horrific deadly attacks of Turkey during and after the ‎invasion?‎

Had they launched thousands of rockets from Cyprus to Turkey, as Hamas does to Israel?‎

Had they built a vast network of tunnels from Cyprus into Turkey for use in killing or ‎abducting Turks, as Hamas does to Israel?‎

Why were Cypriots forced to abandon their homes and seek refuge in the free areas of their ‎own country? Why does Turkey still deprive the displaced Greek Cypriots of their right to ‎return to their homes and lands? Or has it just found the colony it needs?‎

Why has no one in Turkey organized huge protests to condemn this injustice?‎

And why does the Turkish occupation of Cyprus not get wide coverage from international ‎media, as does Israel's military operation in Gaza?‎

The Republic of Cyprus has shown that it is committed to nonviolence and is trying to reach a ‎solution through peaceful and legal means. Can this be an excuse for the international media ‎to not pay more attention to the Turkish occupation of the island? Are Hamas-style ‎terrorist attacks required for the international media to start to care more for Cyprus? ‎Or must the invader be Jewish for the media to condemn the invasion? ‎

The final part of the universities' joint declaration answers the questions: ‎‎"May God rest the soul of our martyrs who have lost their lives under the attacks of the ‎Zionist Israeli government."‎

O, the Zionist state! Were it not for you, whom would millions of people blame for global ‎or regional crises? Were it not for you, how could all those persons and states appease themselves ‎as "the enemies of oppression" after ignoring all other plights of humanity?‎

The lives of Gazans and Israelis alike are too sacred to be exploited for one's personal gains, ‎political interests or presidential election campaigns. ‎

Caring deeply about human lives is an admirable value. But before Turkish officials and ‎institutions condemn Israel, they should first make sure their own hands are clean. ‎

Uzay Bulut is a freelance journalist based in Ankara.

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As either unitary state or federation solutions are discussed as replacements to Cyprus' 1960 and Turkey's 1923 unworkable constitutions, should we abide by "if a right is a right too many for Turkey's Kurdish community (circa 23% of population) then that right is a right too many for Cyprus' tCypriot community too (circa 15%), and vice versa." Is the adoption of this fair logic the catalyst to securing just solutions for both UN countries.