The Turkish propaganda to misinform reached the newspapers of Jersey earlier this month with former BBC journalist, Robert Gara, writing a biased and factually incorrect article.
Titled “Northern Cyprus should not be treated like North Korea”, the article suggests that “While the Greek Cypriots can enjoy relations with the rest of the world and be accepted into the European Union with all the benefits that free trade can bring, (remember, they started all this), the north, the Turkish side, is treated like some pariah state.
“They are not allowed to trade with any other country apart from Turkey, cannot have direct flights from any other country except Turkey, and even their sportsmen and women are banned from taking part in international competition, because, you see, they don’t exist. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is simply not recognised.
Mr Gara, who has made the Turkish occupied north his new home, continues: “For us ex-pats, maybe that’s no bad thing. Many of you will be dissuaded from coming here, because the Greeks will tell you what a terrible place it is, and how unsafe it is, and you will probably be shot………and many travel agents simply go with that flow. So we expats don’t have to share our piece of heaven with many of you!”
Responding to the article, as well as to an advert advertising the “Hidden Secrets of Northern Cyprus” as the Reader’s Offer, Mr Christos Karaolis, president of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, wrote to the Editor of the Jersey Evening Post, stressing that “Mr Bara’s article misrepresents the truth and consciously chooses to ignore what the international community has recognised – namely that in 1974, Turkey illegally invaded and occupied 37% of the island of Cyprus and 57% of its coastline, following a shirt-lived, illegal, Greek junta coup. Turkey;’s occupation continues to this day, violating numerous UN Security Council resolutions.”
The complaint letter, published in the 24 October 2019 edition of the publication, continues:
“It is paradoxical to see that on the one hand, your paper advocates for a Free Palestine and on the very same page refers to an illegal state, the so called ‘northern Cyprus’, a stolen “paradise” from its lawful inhabitants.
“The illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus resulted in over 170000 refugees, thousands being murdered; over 1000 persons still missing; and thousands of refugees of whom many fled to the UK. No guarantor power had or has the right to carry out such atrocities against the Cypriot people, something recognised both by the courts and the Government of the UK. For example, in the words of Lord Justice Pill, in his judgment in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) of England and Wales in the case of Apostolides v Orams & Ors  EWCA Civ 9: ‘In July 1974, the army of the Turkish Republic invaded the north of the island and set up an administration for that part of the island its forces occupied’. There can be no doubt therefore that Turkey did in fact invade Cyprus, so when Mr Bara claims Turkey was “perfectly entitled to…arrive in force” this could not be further from truth.
“A series of UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, as well as resolutions adopted by numerous other international organizations, highlight the universal condemnation of Turkey’s invasion and all subsequent acts of aggression against Cyprus. The resolutions demand, inter alia, the withdrawal of foreign troops, the return of refugees to their homes and the ascertainment of the fate of missing persons. Moreover, they call for the respect of the human rights of all Cypriots to be upheld, as well as the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus to be respected.
“United Nations Security Council resolution 541 declared a breakaway state of ‘Northern Cyprus’ to be “legally invalid” and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared the illegal Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1983 as ‘clearly incompatible with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee’ – as a result, the UK government only recognises the Republic of Cyprus.
Therefore, suggestions by Mr Bara that the illegal regime and Turkey are not at fault, or are the victims e.g. being unable to trade with the international community is factually incorrect as this stems from the illegality and the consequences associated with Turkey’s invasion.
“Sadly, successive rounds of UN-sponsored talks to end the occupation and reunite Cyprus have not yet yielded a positive result due to the uncompromising and aggressive stance of Turkey, which we can also see in northern Syria today.
“President Anastasiades, on the other hand, who remains steadfast on positions of principle, proceeds to the negotiating table in good faith and with targeted proposals, seeking to reunify the country and its people in a modern, functional and truly independent European state.”