Head of the Cyprus permanent committee for the standardization of geographical names Andreas Hadjiraftis has denounced Turkey’s questioning of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus during the 3rd Meeting of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Standardization of Geographical Names (UNGEGN), held in New York between May 1-5.
This meeting, an announcement says, takes place every two years at the UN headquarters.
Hadjiraftis submitted a progress report regarding the work done in Cyprus in the last two years regarding the standardization of geographical names followed by a presentation and a discussion.
He also made two additional presentations on issues related to geographical names and took part in a panel discussion.
According to the announcement, Turkey’s representative tried to politicize the content of the meeting reading a statement in which, among other things, questioned the name of the Republic of Cyprus, calling it the “Greek Cypriot Administration” and saying that it does not represent the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey’s representative also referred to a presidential decree that includes maps for the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. New illegal Turkish maritime names and claims which affect both Greece and Cyprus were included in the maps, the announcement says. Additionally, on one of the maps included in the decree, there was a map of Cyprus on which the name of the illegal entity in Cyprus’ occupied areas is mentioned.
Hadjiraftis took the floor and strongly reacted to the statement of the representative of Turkey, called on the Turkish delegation to respect the names of the UN member states and stated that he demands, as a full member of this forum, that the correct name of the Republic of Cyprus be used.
He also noted that the international community has no doubts about the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and the fact that this sovereignty extends to the entire island.
Hadjiraftis said that a significant part of the territory of Cyprus remains occupied since 1974 and the illegal entity established by Turkey was immediately condemned by the Security Council in resolutions 545 (1983) and 550 (1984). He added that the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus will always remain an integral part of the Republic of Cyprus. In this regard, he underlined, the statement of the Turkish delegation is essentially false and unacceptable.
Hadjiraftis called on the Turkish delegation to respect the technical nature of the UN Convention on the Standardization of Geographical Names and to refrain from any attempt to politicize its work and discussions. He also called on Turkey to respect the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and to also respect the United Nations Charter.
The Cypriot representative noted that the report given by the Turkish delegation was not relevant to the agenda and that in fact the only aspect of the Cypriot issue relevant to the meeting is that Turkey has illegally and arbitrarily changed over 35,000 geographical names in the occupied area of Cyprus, trying to erase its long-standing identity, character and cultural heritage.
He said that thousands of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied northern part of Cyprus are currently being illegally exploited, in violation of the owners’ rights and without their consent. The owners of these properties, he said, were forcibly displaced in 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion and the subsequent control.
Hadjiraftis said that the Republic of Cyprus rejects the content of the Turkish presidential decree issued in October 2022. He said that it includes an inaccurate and unacceptable map of Cyprus with many incorrect and illegally depicted geographical names in the land area and maritime zones of Cyprus.
He noted that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus remains the only competent and legal authority to receive any decisions on the use of these geographical names.
Hadjiraftis requested that his statement be recorded in the official records of the meeting.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.