24 April, 2008
The Cyprus Peace Platform, which is based in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus, has sent a letter to EU Council President Janez Jansa. It criticizes "influential policy makers in Turkey" for their stance towards the Turkish Cypriot community and calls on the EU to take serious measures "to stop the extinction of the Turkish Cypriots since they are citizens of the EU".
A letter signed by the spokesman of the platform, Tezel Bayken, underlines the Turkish Cypriots' belief that the solution of most problems will be achieved when the Cyprus problem is solved and the united federal Cyprus is a member of the EU.
"However, until a comprehensive solution is accomplished, we wish you to take serious measures to stop the extinction of the Turkish Cypriot community since they are citizens of the EU," Bayken said.
He also adds that the influential policymakers in Turkey should respect the will of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution and should not intervene and adversely influence the new peace process.
"Policymakers in Turkey are pretending as though they want an early solution to the Cyprus problem, but their intentions are in fact to defer it until Turkey's accession. This is unacceptable. Statements such as ‘two states’ and ‘confederation’ are insistences of these circles to delay the possible early solution", he noted.
The platform also said the demographic structure in the occupied part of Cyprus has been drastically changing. "Although the population is officially expressed to be around 260,000, there is no verification for this. Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and others say the number is around 500,000. When one considers that the number of "registered" vehicles is 223,275 and registered mobile phone users has reached 385,000, it is obvious that the 260,000 is not a correct figure and it reflects the degree of the deflection of the demographic structure in detriment of the Turkish Cypriots", the letter says.
The platform calls for an independent census to be carried out, adding that allocations of work permits should continue as necessary "but as a respect to the Turkish Cypriot’s free will, citizenships should be stopped until a solution is reached. We ask for your support on our legitimate request".
Noting the issue is of vital significance to the Turkish Cypriot community, Bayken said that “while the Cyprus problem drags on, the demographic structure in the northern part of Cyprus is changing rapidly to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriot community".
Bayken stressed the commitment of the Cyprus Peace Platform to a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federal Cyprus based on political equality and that is a member of the EU.
Stability will be attained on the island and in the region when the Cyprus problem is solved, Bayken added.
He also said that the Cyprus problem is adversely affecting the EU-Turkey relations and recalled that since Cyprus became a member state of the EU on 1 April 2004, consequently the Turkish Cypriots have become EU citizens. "Therefore, it is our desire that EU uses all its influences to achieve a comprehensive solution at the end of the new negotiation process".
"In order to reach a solution and make it sustainable the existence of The Turkish Cypriot community and respect to its free will is of vital importance", he remarked. He added that the "existence of the Turkish Cypriot community and respect to its free political will is a direct responsibility of the EU since the Turkish Cypriots are EU citizens".
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the islandΤs territory.
Source: Athens News Agency