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A delegation from the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain consisting of Mary Karaolis (President), Honorary President Panos Hadjipanayi and Executive Committee Member Andreas Strongolou had a meeting to, once again, put forward the  views of the overseas Rizokarpassides who are first and subsequent generation British Citizens.  They visited the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on Thursday 5th November and had a long, frank and open discussion on a whole range of issues with Stephen McCormick, Team Leader, Cyprus and Greece Team Enlargement & SE Europe Group, Europe Directorate General, Sophia Hayward, Cyprus Settlement Desk Officer and Alice Cooke, Cyprus Desk Officer. 


Alice Cook, Sofia Hayward, Mary Karaolis, Stephen McCormick, Panos Hajipanayi, Andreas Strongolou

Andreas Strongolou, Mary Karaolis, Panos Hajipanayi






Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain 73rd General Meeting

The  73rd  GM  of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in the hall of the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green on Sunday 1st November 2009 gave the opportunity for the members present to discuss the many issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for the last 35 years and denied basic human rights by the illegal occupying regime.  Maria Karaolis, President, presented a report of the Association's activities since the last meeting in April.  Yiannis Chronias, Treasurer, presented the financial accounts of the Association and Tony Vouros presented the Auditors Report.  The members were delighted to hear that the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Karpasia Christoforos will be in London and will attend the Association's Dinner & Dance to be held at the Cypriot Community Centre, Earlham Grove, Wood Green, N22. on Saturday 5th December.  Once again, the members vehemently upheld that the return of the refugees to their homes and properties was a human right, morally correct and totally non-negotiable.  The members steadfastness in their beliefs was expressed by voting for letters to be sent to world leaders, the UN, the EU and British parliamentarians emphasizing that:


At this critical time in the Cyprus negotiations process the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain believes that the interests of democracy, human rights and international law require that any proposed solutions include the following:


a)     The removal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus.

b)    The repatriation to Turkey of the over 160,000 illegal settlers in Cyprus.

c)     The restoration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots.

d)    The reunification of the island and people of Cyprus.

e)     The return of the refugees to their homes and properties in safety.

f)      The return of properties to their lawful owners.

g)     The end of the suffering of the enclaved.

h)    The full and effective investigation of the fate of all the missing persons.



House of Commons Lobby Thursday 14th July 2009

Rizokarpassides participated in a  well attended lobby of Parliament on Thursday 14th July and were told by British politicians that Turkey must be pressured to change its intransigent stance on Cyprus so that a solution by Cypriots for Cypriots can be freely negotiated on the island.

Other key messages at the House of Commons event, hosted by several Members of Parliament, in association with the President of the Federation, related to the need for the UK Cypriot diaspora and its supporters to use the opportunity presented by the next general election to broaden the base of support for Cyprus at Westminster. The critical importance of the United States in pushing Turkey to support actively the islands reunification was also highlighted by many of the speakers.

The annual event, organised by the Federation in co-operation with cross party Members of Parliament, to mark the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974, was attended by Cypriot community representatives in the UK, and attracted a good number of UK politicians committed to the Cyprus cause. 

Eddie OHara MP, whose outspoken support in Parliament for the reunification of Cyprus has spanned decades, spoke for the last time as a parliamentarian at the Federations annual July lobby, as he will not seek re-election in the next general election.  Mr OHara praised Cyprus President Christofias for his role in the ongoing negotiations on the island:

I pay tribute to his integrity, his consistency, his cogency and most of all, his indefatigability in his negotiations with Mr Talat. The negotiations are often three steps forward and two steps back but, crucially, the overall effect is a step forward. The onus is with Ankara and we must continue to make it clear that Turkey must recognise the Cyprus Republic and allow access to their ports and airports to the Republic, and give incentives to Turkish settlers in Cyprus to return home. And Turkey must withdraw its troops.

Roger Gale MP echoed Mr OHaras sentiments and then turned to the issue of people still missing since the invasion of 1974:

The relatives of missing people have the right to closure, a right to know the truth. Is their suffering acceptable? Of course its not: its inhumane. Its a breach of virtually every human right that there is. We have a duty to help to bring about justice for the missing and their relatives.

Mr Gale added that although the solution lies with Turkey, the United States is key to progress, saying I dont believe that Turkey will act without pressure from the US adding that entry to the EU should also be deployed with more leverage.


Rudi Vis MP, who will also leave Parliament at the next elections, called for the EU to get tougher with Turkey:

The European Union should stop negotiations with Turkey, totally, until there is an agreed timetable, starting as soon as possible, with all the aspects that the Republic of Cyprus wants resolved included in it. Personally, I dont want Turkey in the EU at all until it has sorted out not just the Cyprus issue but the many human rights issues that it has domestically.

He added that he agreed that the United States was central saying the Cyprus President should be talking to President Obama. There is no Cyprus problem: there is only a problem with Turkey.  And Turkey must be made to act.

Nigel Waterson MP also spoke about the responsibility of Turkey to act, stating:

After 35 years, we now see British born Cypriots moving over to Cyprus, where they see a better life. They want to live their lives in their country of origin. We owe it to that younger generation to find a solution and to find one soon. And if that solution does not involve Turkey and the USA, it is unlikely that we will see any progress other than at the margins.

Joan Ryan MP, the Governments former Special Representative on Cyprus, endorsed a recent statement of President Christofias, saying:

President Christofias warned that continuing the current situation in Cyprus encompasses huge risks and that the ongoing negotiations process must succeed because there is no other way to reach a solution. He is right. Weve learned the lessons the hard way that it has to be a solution for Cypriots by Cypriots but that doesnt mean that it will be done without the influence of outside powers, such as the EU and USA. It is inconceivable that Turkey could join the EU without a solution in Cyprus.

David Burrowes MP began his address by speaking of the tragedy of the missing people. He recounted his experience on a trip to Cyprus last year, on which he visited the laboratories undertaking studies to help identify missing people. He said that:

We ask for the truth for Cypriots of all backgrounds but we also want reconciliation. There are now grandchildren who have never known their missing relatives, which brings home the dreadful length of time that this has dragged on.

He added that UK Cypriots can look not only to the window of opportunity represented by the negotiations in Cyprus but to the opportunities that the forthcoming general elections in the UK represent:

In the coming months, with candidates coming to speak to communities, we must all work to promote the Cyprus cause. There will be lots of new MPs and now is the time to start getting Cyprus into their consciousness. Get Cypriots voices heard loud and clear.

David Lepper MP, another committed advocate of a united Cyprus to stand down at the next election, said that his support had originated from exactly the sort of representations from constituents that Mr Burrowes had referred and encouraged UK Cypriots to do the same:

Use the opportunity presented by the general election campaign not just in London to meet the candidates from all parties to make sure that they understand the issues. The solution must be reached by Cypriots but that doesnt mean that the rest of us can sit back and watch. We cant tell the people of Cyprus what to do but we can tell Turkey that they need to act, and we can ask the United States to apply pressure on behalf of your just cause.

Theresa Villiers MP, spoke of the tragedy of a whole generation of Cypriots growing up in exile. Ms Villiers joined the previous calls for UK Cypriots to step up pressure prior to the general elections in the UK. Paying tribute to the work of UK Cypriots in keeping the issue on the political agenda she added that:

Across the parties, we will keep on working on your behalf. We remain dedicated to working towards delivering a solution to an island that has remained divided for far too long.

Andy Love MP thanked Eddie OHara, David Lepper, Rudi Vis and other retiring MPs for their support for the Cyprus problem, saying that it will be a big challenge for the community to find new MPs coming in next year, who, like Eddie and David, have very few Cypriot constituents, but who are committed on the grounds of principle. Underlining the importance of the EUs role in exerting influence over Turkey by using accession as an incentive, Mr Love added:

There are many steps that need to be taken and need to be changed. There are many things that the EU can do to make Turkey come to an accommodation. Through the EU, we can engage Turkey in the peace process. Turkey has to be open and transparent with all parties, internationally as well as on the island. 

Tom Cox, the former MP for Tooting and a committed friend of Cyprus for decades, also addressed the meeting. He called strongly for a concerted effort from all supporters of the Cyprus cause to use the general election to educate new politicians of all parties with regard to the issues of Cyprus. 

Tony Wright, Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth, attended despite pressing commitments elsewhere in Parliament, to register his support.

Peter Droussiotis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, chaired the meeting and thanked all Members of Parliament for their participation and support. In his opening address, Mr. Droussiotis listed the breaches of human rights and international law perpetrated by Turkey in Cyprus since its invasion in 1974, adding:

All of these things have been done, and continue to be done, by a country that is knocking on the door of Europe, that has been voted as a non permanent member of the UN Security Council and which is often held up as an example of a democratic state in the Islamic world. 

Turkey needs to understand that it will not be accepted as a member of the EU without a solution in Cyprus that is freely negotiated by Cypriots. Turkey must understand that it will suffer a cost, if it refuses to allow a settlement based on the UN Charter and the principles of the European Union and international law. The United Kingdom, a close ally of Turkey, with historic responsibilities to Cyprus, must exert real pressure on Turkey to support with deeds -not merely with words - the true unity of the island.***

In closing the meeting, which included a question and answer session, Mr. Droussiotis urged Cypriots to show their commitment to the Cyprus cause by attending the march through London and subsequent rally for a united Cyprus taking place this Sunday at Trafalgar Square.




Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain joins other UK Cypriots in demonstrating outside the Turkish Embassy and march to and rally in Trafalgar Square for "Justice for Cyprus and an end to the island's division" Sunday 19th July 2009 
British Cypriots and politicians from across Britains political spectrum yesterday condemned Turkeys intransigence over efforts to end its continuing illegal military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.
The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, was petitioned to use the UKs influence over the Turkish Government in order to persuade Turkey to withdraw its occupation troops and play an active and positive role in current efforts to reunite Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots. 
A demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy in London and the delivery of a letter of protest to the Turkish Ambassador was followed by a march through the heart of London, the delivery of the petition in Downing Street and then a mass rally in Trafalgar Square. The annual July London Rally for Cyprus was the culmination of a series of events, organised by the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, to mark the twin anniversaries of the fascist coup by the military junta then ruling Greece on 15h July 1974, and the illegal invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army which followed 5 days later, on 20th July 1974. The event came hot on the heels of a lobby of Parliament held on Tuesday 14th July 2009.
The rally in Trafalgar Square was addressed by several British MPs and MEPs from all three main political parties, Mr Peter Droussiotis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Mr Alexis Galanos, Mayor of occupied Famagusta and President of the Occupied Towns and Municipalities of Cyprus, and Mr Neoklis Sylikiotis, Cyprus Government Minister of the Interior who was the main speaker at the event.  The Mayors of the occupied Cypriot towns of Morphou and Lapithos, Mr. Charalambos Pitta, and Mr Athon Eleftheriou, respectively, also took part in the Rally.   
In his opening address, Mr. Droussiotis said, among other things: 
The division of Cyprus is a scar on the face of the island, an anachronism in the Europe of the 21st century, a tragedy for all of the islands people that must not be allowed to continue. This is a division created by Turkey and sustained by it through force of arms.  Turkey must, at long last, be held to account.
We are here today to remind the British Government of its historic responsibilities to Cyprus. We call upon the Prime Minister to use Britains influence over Turkey proactively and decisively.  The United Kingdom must exert real pressure on the Turkish Government to support with deeds not merely with empty words the true unity of the island. *
Mr Sylikiotis spoke of the hope of President Christofias that the goodwill he has shown in current direct negotiations on the island will be matched by his opposite number, Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Talat, but added that progress in those talks was dependent upon Turkeys commitment to a solution:
The Cyprus settlement must be found by Cypriots for Cypriots but the key to a solution lies in Ankara. Turkey must abide by international law and the UN Resolutions on Cyprus. The EU also has a central role to play. In her EU accession course, Turkey must fulfil her obligations to the Union and the Republic of Cyprus and must cooperate and support a solution that serves the interests of all Cypriots. Cyprus and Greece currently support Turkeys accession. This support, however, is not unconditional. Turkey has to fulfil the obligations of the Ankara agreement.
British MPs and MEPs called on the UK government and EU member states to act in order to ensure that the ongoing direct negotiations between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus are not in vain. There was vocal and unanimous support for a comprehensive and durable settlement which will liberate Cyprus from the Turkish military occupation and end the islands forcible division of the last 35 years.
Theresa Villiers MP highlighted the importance of the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice on the matter of property rights:
It rightly sends a signal to anyone thinking of buying a property abroad: dont buy stolen property in occupied northern Cyprus because one day justice will catch up with you. It is a tragedy that Cyprus remains divided and it is an honour to be here to show my solidarity with your campaign for justice.
Simon Hughes MP also referred to the ECJ ruling, stating:
We have a European Court of Justice whose rulings have ultimate jurisdiction and I reinforce the Courts message that property rights cannot be transferred by illegal occupation and that this needs to be understood north of the line as well as beyond the frontiers of Cyprus.
Charles Tannock MEP called for Turkeys accession course to the EU to be used as leverage in order to exert pressure on Ankara:
Turkey cannot make gains through its accession negotiations; it must recognise Cyprus, a member state of the EU, if it wants to be a member itself. It needs to understand that it needs to grow up and act responsibly in accordance with international law.
Andrew Dismore MP addressed the rally in Greek, saying that the islands 35 year long division was unjust and unacceptable and that it was time for Turkey to play a constructive role so that justice could be done and Cyprus could be restored to unity for all Cypriots.   
Mary Honeyball MEP spoke of her admiration for President Christofias in his endeavours to progress negotiations towards a solution:
President Christofias deserves recognition, congratulations and praise for the lead that he is taking and for the patient commitment he is displaying for the sake of a solution. With such commitment, even in the face of such desperate intransigence from Turkey, there is surely real hope for a settlement.
Support was also lent to the Cyprus cause by some of the performers on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, who had earlier lent their voices to the calls for justice and the upholding of human rights.
The event in Trafalgar Square was also attended by German MEP, Reimer Boege, the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr Brian Coleman, a large number of London Councillors including UK Cypriot Councillors and former Members of Parliament Tom Cox and Ian Twin, long standing friends of Cyprus and the UK Cypriot community.


Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain celebrates Ayios Synesios and protests against the continued attack on their basic human rights.


Rizokarpasides attended St Demetrios Church, Edmonton, London on Sunday 31st  May 2009 to participate in the liturgy and celebration of the patron saint of Rizokarpasso, Ayios Synesios, the actual Saint's day is 26th May. The icon of Ayios Synesios has been located in the church of St Demetrios for many years and was originally commissioned by the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain. The church was full beyond capacity with members of the congregation also in the courtyard outside.  At the front of the church was Marina Yannakoudakis, whose father was born in Rizokarpasso (Lefteris Yiallourou) and who is one of the MEP candidates in the Euroelections taking place on June 4th 2009 beside her was Maria Karaolis, President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain.


At the same time they were thinking of their enclaved compatriots and the continued attack on their basic human rights and the rights of all the refugees both in Cyprus and in the diaspora.  Following the service there were refreshments for the congregation in the adjoining Church Hall which gave people the opportunity to rekindle their memories of Rizokarpasso and discuss their plans to participate in the forthcoming events which highlight the injustice inflicted on Cyprus and its population by the invasion and continued occupation by Turkey of their ancestral land.





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