Letter: Not paradise but stolen homes

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As a Greek Cypriot from northern Cyprus, it is difficult to be anything other than sickened by Philip Tibbenham's article "The most overlooked resort in the Med" (Travel and Money, 20 July). Yes, ever since its people were expelled by the invading Turkish forces, northern Cyprus has been bereft of humans. Similar peace and serenity can be found in the former Muslim areas of what is now the Republika Srpska.

Tourists can also enjoy the vandalised churches and abandoned Greek towns. They can play "count the Turkish soldiers" (one for every four civilians) or "spot the Cypriot" (Turkish Cypriots are leaving in droves, now nearly outnumbered by the colonists Turkey has been settling in Greek homes). And they can take in the last scraps of the 3,000-year- old Greek heritage before it is completely destroyed.

Holidaying in occupied Cyprus is the moral equivalent of cheering on the Orangemen as they march down the Garvaghy Road. It is appalling that anyone could contemplate going to northern Cyprus while its people are prevented from doing so.

Despina Christodoulou


YOU were irresponsible to publish this travel report. Whatever the considerable merits of the Turkish Cypriots' case as an ill-treated minority in former Nicosia-ruled Cyprus, the fact remains that an invasion and occupation by an outside power, Turkey, took place. Land, houses and civil rights were wrested by force from their owners. Thousands of refugees remain poverty- stricken and dependent. Encouraging tourism is in bla- tant contradiction to the express wishes of the Commonwealth Secretary, the UN, Nato and the European Union, among others. Tourism should be held in abeyance as a part of the carrot-and-stick approach required.

What next - hurry, hurry, see Baghdad on the cheap, before Saddam gets assassinated?

Lesley Abdela

London W1