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The Real Cyprus Problem – Sibel Hodge

When does an unrecognized country become an international household name? When there’s a political witch hunt being played out in the European and UK courts.

Many people have read the press reports over the last week about the Apostolides V Orams court case, so I’m not going to talk about the background to the case. After all, the whole world already knows the historical facts surrounding the Cyprus issue, right?

Wrong!

So I’m going to take this opportunity to remind the world about the well documented historical facts that they conveniently forget.

Since 1963 the Turkish Cypriots have been victims: Victims of genocide (or ethnic cleansing, if you prefer) at the hands of Greek Cypriots. Anyone only has to read the Greek Cypriots’ Akritas Plan to see this. Turkish Cypriots have been victims of the UN for failing to punish this genocide. They’ve been victims of the UK for failing to honour its Treaty of Guarantee and let the genocide carry on. They’ve been victims of terrorist organization, Eoka. They’ve been victims of the Greek Cypriot obsession with Enosis. They’ve been victims of the EU for allowing a divided island to become a member state – basically allowing this court decision to be made – and for the EU failing to keep its promises to strip away the embargoes imposed on North Cyprus. They have been, and still are being, discriminated against.

Greek Cypriots illegally ejected Turkish Cypriots from the government in 1963, thereby forcibly ending the contractual bi-national constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. And On 21/12/63 the genocide against Turkish Cypriots began. They were forced to flee their homes (many in South Cyprus) as refugees and were eventually living in small enclaves with their basic human and constitutional rights denied while the world sat back and watched. This genocide carried on for eleven years until Turkey was the only country with the balls to intervene.

Now it’s time for a reality check. What were Turkish Cypriot refugees supposed to do for the last thirty-six years? Were they supposed to just wait to die in refugee camps without basic food, water, and medical supplies? Were they supposed to live in poverty with no roof over their heads? Or were they supposed to rebuild their homes, their infrastructure, their economy, and their lives? It’s called survival. And until the rest of the world finally admits the real cause and effect of the “Cyprus Problem” how can any decision, recommendation, or pressure that they make be anything other than uninformed bias?

OK, so the Greek Cypriot President, Demetrious Christofias, wasn’t a direct party to the Apostolides V Orams case. But it insults our intelligence to say that it didn’t receive his full backing. And while these kinds of piecemeal court cases are being played out in the international media, how can the Cyprus negotiations between the two leaders carry on? These property issues cannot be dealt with on a one to one basis. They must be part of a comprehensive political solution. How can the North and South reach a political agreement when one side is using the courts to shoot a missile through the talks? By continuing with this kind of action the Greek Cypriots are condemning any chance of an amicable settlement. How can a bizonal, bicommunal solution be possible under these circumstances? Basically, I think it dooms the talks to failure now and partition will become inevitable.

We can’t go back to the 1960s, and who would want to? Since the intervention of the Turkish Army’s aptly named “Peace Operation” in 1974, that’s exactly what there has been on the island: Peace. No one has been killed in the name of war since then, and that’s how I want it to stay.

Similarly, we can’t change the past. We have to turn a negative into a positive and look to the future. Now would be a brilliant opportunity for the Turkish Cypriots to get their mouths into gear and shout about the real reasons for the “Cyprus Problem.” Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this court case will also have an impact on Turkish Cypriots who have assets in other EU countries.

So, what will happen now? Will the borders be closed? Will North Cyprus be annexed to Turkey? What about the land in the South belonging to Turkish Cypriots that has been occupied, sold, and misappropriated by Greek Cypriots? With the problems of many EU countries, will there even be an EU in ten years time? Your guess is as good as mine. Everyone I’ve spoken to about the Orams case is not in panic mode, and today’s news is tomorrow’s chip wrapper.

Every country has its own political agenda that shape our lives and the average person will never be aware of the true issues behind their decisions. What I do know is that it’s rarely about what’s right and wrong.

Read more about Sibel Hodge and her latest novels at www.sibelhodge.com

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