By Philip Christopher
On this, the 30th year of the invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkish forces, I would like to thank everyone who has for 30 years joined their efforts and time in the struggle toward a just solution for the people of Cyprus. For the people of Cyprus, reunification is their only hope to have a just end to this 30 year old tragedy.
Since Turkey’s military invasion of the northern part of Cyprus in 1974, the Government and people of the Republic of Cyprus, and human rights activists around the world, have consistently pursued a just end of the forcible division of Cyprus. What we fought for, what we struggled for, is a reunification of the island that would respect the human rights of all its citizens, Greek, Turkish, Roma, Armenian and Maronite.
On April 24, 2004, 75.83 percent of the Greek Cypriots rejected the settlement plan presented by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
It is very important to remember and inform the Bush Administration, our members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, our friends, and the American media, that the Greek Cypriot “no” to the Referendum was not a “no” to a solution and the reunification of Cyprus. It was a ‘no’ to this particular plan, for among other concerns, it did not provide for guarantees for its implementation. Most grievously, the plan also did not provide for safeguarding measures regarding the gradual reduction of Turkey’s occupying troops and the transfer of territories to the Greek Cypriots.
I urge you to continue the fight with renewed energies and commitment. We are a critical time in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. This is not the time to give up the struggle. Please remember the 200,000 refugees, the families who have missing or lost loved ones, our destroyed churches and icons and the enclaved.
I promise you that we will continue the fight until justice has prevailed.
*** Philip Christopher is the President of the Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA)