Monday, August 4, 2014

What about Turkey and Cyprus? Part 2 | Uzay Bulut

Uzay Bulut, Sunday August 3, 2014 | What about Turkey and Cyprus? Part 2

For part 1, see "For What about Turkey and Cyprus?"

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his presidential election rally in the southern ‎province of Mersin that Israel will be tried by an international court if it continues to act with its ‎current mentality. "We will see that. As Turkey, we will struggle for that," he added.‎

Ironically, when the European Court of Human Rights convicted Turkey in May of this ‎year for its crimes during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet ‎Davutoglu said that Turkey would ignore the ECHR ruling to pay compensation to the ‎Republic of Cyprus.‎

‎"This ruling is neither binding within international law nor does it have any value for us," ‎Davutoglu said.‎

Davutoglu made these statements at the end of a meeting of the U.N. Committee on the ‎Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. ‎

So, after passionately defending the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Davutoglu ‎announced that Turkey would refuse to pay Cyprus the compensation ruled by the ECHR in ‎respect of the non-pecuniary damage suffered by the relatives of the missing persons, and by ‎the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula during the Turkish invasion of ‎Cyprus.‎

If Turkish state officials do not recognize the rulings of international courts, then why do ‎they threaten Israel with being tried in the same courts?‎

In 2011, Erdogan said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a movement of ‎resistance that tries to protect its country from occupation. When Erdogan said that, the Gaza Strip ‎was not occupied; there was not a single Israeli in Gaza as Israel had withdrawn all its citizens ‎and soldiers from there in 2005. ‎

Erdogan, who has a great deal of sympathy for Hamas, does not seem to have the least of it ‎for the Republic of Cyprus.‎

Last year, he even said at a meeting at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest that "there is not a ‎country called Cyprus."‎

He added: "There is the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration. There is a Green Line, and ‎then at the northern part of it is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The new name of ‎this region according to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is the Turkish State of ‎Cyprus. The Kofi Annan plan also names it like that."‎

Unfortunately, no one in the conference rectified Erdogan's incorrect statements.‎

Of course there is a country called the Republic of Cyprus. This is recognized by the whole ‎world, although the northern part of it has been occupied by Turkey for 40 years. And there is ‎also the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is recognized only by Turkey. The ‎international community correctly calls it the Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of ‎Cyprus.‎

But how did the occupied northern part of Cyprus fall into the hands of Turkey?‎

Even though Turkish state officials proudly acclaim their 1974 "victory" in Cyprus, and ‎try to insult the Republic of Cyprus by claiming that it does not exist, the 1974 invasion of the island was ‎a collective crime against humanity and never a victory for people of conscience.‎

The "victory" for Turkey was a deprivation of life for Cypriots, including ‎indiscriminate killings of civilians, the bombing of civilian targets and hospitals, and cold-‎blooded murders that included women, old men, and children as young as 6 months old. ‎

Turkish army officials who took part in the invasion not only killed Cypriot ‎civilians but stole their property, as well. ‎

Land, houses, businesses and industries belonging to Greek Cypriots were seized and ‎distributed by the Turkish occupation forces to persons other than their legal owners.‎

They subjected persons of both sexes and all ages to torture and degrading treatment, including wholesale and repeated rapes.‎

They arbitrarily detained thousands of Greek Cypriot civilians in the occupied area under ‎inhuman conditions. They subjected them to forced labor and established concentration camps. ‎

A total of ‎1,619 persons have been missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and as a direct ‎consequence of it. ‎

Turkey, which forcibly displaced approximately 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their ‎homes in the occupied area and refused to allow them to return, is blaming Israel for being an ‎‎"occupier" in an attempt to boost its own international prestige.‎

After committing all those crimes against humanity, Turkish state officials ‎falsely declare that there is no country called Cyprus.‎

Ever since the occupation began, Turkey has maintained that it carried out a "peace ‎operation" to restore the constitutional order of Cyprus following a brief Greek Cypriot coup ‎and to protect Turkish Cypriots from harm and danger.‎

Turkey experienced two coups d'etat, in 1960 and 1971, before invading Cyprus. ‎

Then, six years after the invasion of Cyprus, in 1980, came the most horrific Turkish coup d'etat, claiming thousands of lives. How can Turkey, which has not been able to draft a civil ‎constitution for itself for 34 years after this coup, claim the ability to restore another country's ‎constitutional order?‎

The human rights record of Turkey during and after the occupation shows clearly that the ‎brief Greek coup d'etat was just a pretext for Turkey to invade Cyprus.‎

You don't torture, rape or forcibly displace innocent civilians after seizing their property if ‎your only aim is to restore constitutional order and to protect people there.‎

Sadly, the international community buys into this Turkish state propaganda. ‎And even globally known intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky seem to fall into its trap.‎

‎"Turkey is the only country that has explicitly displayed its stern attitude toward Israel and ‎has opposed Israel's oppression of Palestine," Chomsky told the state-run Anadolu news agency.‎ But while praising Turkey's attitude toward Israel, he uttered not a word about the Turkish occupation of Cyprus.

Every time the international community sees Turkish state officials bashing Israel for its ‎military operation in Gaza, it should recall the ongoing Turkish occupation of ‎Cyprus. ‎

Wars must come to an end; killings of innocent people must come to an end. So must ‎hypocrisy and double standards. ‎

While the officials of a colonizing country are occupying the land of Cypriots, ‎can they be sincerely concerned about the suffering in Gaza? If they can, it only shows their hypocrisy and anti-Semitism.‎

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.