Any violation of Turkish Cypriot human rights or “isolation” is driven by the 1974 Turkish invasion and continuing occupation, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
Responding to questions by PACE members following his address before the Assembly in Strasbourg, Christodoulides said in the coming days he will announce unilateral measures for the Turkish Cypriots and called on the Turkish Cypriot community to send “the right messages to Turkey.”
The Cypriot head of state also responded to a Ukrainian MP on Russian investments to Cyprus, noting that mistakes have been made with regard to the “golden passports,” as he described the Cypriot citizenship by investment scheme, noting that these are in the past, as Cyprus terminated the programme in the summer of 2020. He also called on Ukrainians to observe which countries are not complying with the EU sanctions against Russia, pointing to Turkey.
Among other things, the President also responded to a question by an Irish MP on the stance of Cyprus in relation to the British Sovereign Bases involvement in the conflict in the Gaza strip and the strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, stressing that Cyprus does not engage in military operations but only in humanitarian missions in the region.
Responding to a question by a Swiss MP, President Christodoulides also outlined how Cyprus has improved its national legislation and its mechanisms to protect the rights of the LGBT community.
“Isolation” due to Turkish invasion and occupation
Replying to a question posed by Turkish Cypriot observer in PACE Oguzhan Hasipoglu on the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and whether the Greek Cypriots are ready to recognise sovereign and pollical equality, President Christodoulides remarked that Hasipoglu may have travelled to Strasburg using an EU passport.
“Do you know what is the cause of any violation of human rights of Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and what you refer to as isolation? It is due to one and only thing; the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation,” the President added, noting that “this deprives the Turkish Cypriots of their rights.”
He recalled that Turkish Cypriots are holders of the Republic of Cyprus’ passports as they are citizens of Cyprus. He also recalled that with the approval of the Republic of Cyprus an EU financial regulation is in place, providing significant financial support to Turkish Cypriots, while the Green Line regulation governs the trade with the Turkish Cypriots.
The President also noted that in the coming days he will announce “unilateral measures for our Turkish Cypriot fellow citizens.”
“I would like to invite you to see that your future as Turkish Cypriots and our future as Greek Cypriots and the future of Cyprus will not be positive without the reunification of our country. And that’s why I would like to invite you, and I am sure of the will of the majority of the Turkish Cypriots, that the right messages will be sent to Turkey by you,” he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Recently the UN Secretary-General has appointed Former Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar as his personal envoy for Cyprus mandated to explore the ground for a possible resumption of the UN-led talks, more than six years since the inconclusive conclusion of the last round of talks in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana.