ILPS Europe supports Cypriots’ sovereignty and their fight against foreign occupation

The ILPS Europe Organizing Committee expresses its solidarity with Cypriots in asserting Cyprus’s sovereignty as a unitary state, ahead of informal talks called by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 27-29 April 2021 in Geneva. ILPS Europe maintains that the future of Cyprus, which has long been a battleground of foreign geopolitical and economic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, should lie with the legislative bodies of the Republic of Cyprus, by restoring the constitutional order that was destroyed in 1963-64 by foreign powers

The UN-brokered meeting will gather the ‘guarantor countries’ Great Britain, Greece and Turkey along with representatives of the Greek-speaking Cypriots and Turkish-speaking Cypriots to “determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon”. For freedom-long  Cypriots, there will be no meaningful solution coming from a table where colonialists and imperialists sit.

Cyprus’s independence from British colonization was declared in 1960. The Cypriot Republic was born as a unitary and consociational state of Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriots. After the declaration of independence and during the Cold War, Cyprus was part of the Non-Aligned Movement. When unitary Cyprus became a threat to the future of British military bases in the island, Greece and Turkey sponsored a civil unrest between Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriots. Progressive Cypriots like Ayhan Hikmet, Ahmet Muzaffer Gürkan and Derviş Ali Kavazoğlu were murdered by paramilitary groups that were supported by these powers. In 1974, when the US-backed junta of Greece orchestrated a coup in Cyprus, Turkey had the chance to occupy the northern parts of the island. After this, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) introduced the segregationist ‘bizonal bicomunal federal Cyprus’ as a solution to the crisis.

Since Turkey occupied the northern part of Cyprus, it has committed war crimes reminiscent of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Since 1974, Turkey has relocated hundreds of thousands of illegal Turkish settlers from Anatolia to Cyprus. These settlements are also being used by the Turkish government for cultural, social, and economic oppression towards Turkish-speaking Cypriots who are opposing the imperialist activities of the Turkish State both in Cyprus and the rest of the eastern Mediterranean region.

More recently, on 22 January 2018, Turkish President Erdogan instigated a lynch campaign against the Turkish-speaking Cypriot newspaper Afrika (now Avrupa) in what is now one of the darkest events that happened in the island since 1974. Avrupa newspaper is the biggest Turkish-language daily published by Cypriots in the occupied areas of Cyprus and it has also been critical of Erdogan’s militarist policies in the region including those against the Kurdish people. After publishing a critique on Turkey’s occupation of northern Syria and northern Cyprus, Erdogan called on his followers to attack the headquarters of the newspaper. The next day, flag-waving protesters hurled bottles and stones to destroy the newspaper’s premises.

Currently, five NATO powers (United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, France and United States) are entrenched in this small island, which they utilize like an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the most geopolitically strategic part of West Asia and North Africa. The waters around Cyprus, known to be rich in oil and gas deposits, have been subjected to drilling expeditions by the Turkish government and big energy corporations. With the upcoming UN meeting, the NATO federal proposal, which will maintain the presence of foreign powers in Cyprus, is on the table again, despite the rejection of Cypriots of a similar proposal (known as the UN Annan Plan) when it was put under referendum in 2004.

As foreign powers prepare to sit together in April to discuss how to carve out Cyprus, we support the Cypriots’ struggle to end the foreign occupation of their country, to reject the divisive solutions being espoused by NATO and to fight for their independence. We salute the Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriots for their struggle against foreign domination and for their contribution to the liberation struggles not only in West Asia and North Africa but also in other regions of the world!

End foreign domination of Cyprus!

Uphold and support the Cypriot people’s right to liberation!

Expose and oppose NATO schemes and forces in Eastern Mediterranean and the world over!

Stop all imperialist incursions in Eastern Mediterranean!

Long live international solidarity!

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