Letter: Turkish Cypriot response to a neighbour's provocation

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The Independent Online
Sir: As Lord Bethell says, he is chairman of a committee called 'Friends of Cyprus', containing 19 MPs of all parties, which is a committee of the friends of Southern (Greek) Cyprus. I am chairman of the Parliamentary Friends of Northern Cyprus, which has an active membership of more than 40 MPs of all parties.

Lord Bethell repeats the claim that Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974, but forgets that this was the culmination of 11 years in which Turkey had witnessed acts of genocide by the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots, had watched the Turkish Cypriots driven out of all their lawful positions in the republic, and had seen them herded into defended enclaves amounting to less than 3 per cent of the land. Even then, Turkey might not have acted if, in 1974, the Greek Cypriot militia, backed by mainland Greek troops, had not tried to take over the whole island by force and annex it to Greece.

To the suggestion that the Turkish army should then have withdrawn, Sir Anthony Kershaw, former chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, responded:

Does this not ignore the reality of the situation? To say that Turkey was obliged to work for no result except the restoration of the 1960 Constitution is absurd. That Constitution had ceased to exist. The Turks came to protect the lives of the Turkish Cypriots and the only way to do that was with troops on the ground.

The German newspaper Die Zeit wrote on 30 August 1974: 'the massacre of Turkish Cypriots in Paphos and Famagusta is the proof of how justified the Turks were to undertake their intervention'. There is no parallel between the 'Green Line' in Cyprus and the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was not erected to protect West Germans from aggression, and the 'Green Line' does not divide a nation.

Lord Bethell complains that Britain buys oranges produced by Turkish Cypriots on former Greek Cypriot farms; why does he not mention the many hundreds of former Turkish Cypriot farms, homes and businesses occupied by Greek Cypriots in the South?

It is shameful that the Greek Cypriots have obtained so many one-sided resolutions from the UN, and I welcome the warning given to the Greek Cypriots by Douglas Hurd that they should not use the Commonwealth conference in Cyprus for that purpose.

I am appalled by the behaviour of the Greek Cypriots toward the Queen, which shows that enosis (union with Greece) is not dead, and that the Turkish Cypriots are right to rely on the Turkish army for protection against further Greek Cypriot extremism. I am pleased that the Foreign Secretary has agreed to meet the Turkish Cypriot leader, and urge the Prime Minister to do so as well, as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

KEITH SPEED

MP for Ashford (Con)

House of Commons

London, SW1

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