“UK Parliamentarians show solidarity on momentous 40th anniversaries for Cyprus”
UK Parliamentarians from across the spectrum roundly condemned forty years of division and occupation of Cyprus during the 8th July 2014 event hosted by the National Federation of Cypriots at the UK Parliament.
The annual lobby event at the British Parliament focused on the tragedy of the division and occupation of the island.
In his introductory speech, Peter Droussiotis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, who chaired the meeting, pointed to the injustice of four decades of military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by the Turkish army, castigated Turkey’s continuing intransigence and called on the international community to act:
“Tonight, we mark four decades of military occupation in Cyprus. We mourn 40 years of anguish for the relatives of the missing; the utter injustice of division, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, religious desecration. These consequences are the pernicious legacy of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
“But the tragedy of this island is made even more profound because the will of the United Nations has been defied, with complete impunity, by successive Turkish governments, for 40 years, which makes today an anniversary of failure too — the failure of the international community to hold Turkey to account.
“Cyprus is up against an authoritarian and intolerant Turkish Prime Minister who has a problem with pluralism in his own country……
The UK remains a crucial player, with historic treaty obligations to Cyprus. It maintains military bases on the island and is Cyprus’s partner in the EU, in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations. It is also a strategic ally of Turkey. As such, we believe that the influence of British Parliamentarians is of vital importance to the Cypriot diaspora’s mission to help deliver long lasting unity and justice for Cyprus.”
Contributions from parliamentarians were interspersed with questions from the audience throughout the evening but began with an address from Lord Harris of Haringey.
Other speakers included the Former Minister for Europe and member of the Labour Party’s shadow team, Chris Bryant MP; Jim Sheridan MP; Costas Efstathiou; Sir Alan Meale MP; Shadow Minister for Europe, Gareth Thomas MP; Andy Love MP; David Burrowes MP and numerous other persons attending also contributed their thoughts.