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PRESS RELEASE

AGM of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain (25/4/2010)

The 36th Annual General Meeting (74th GM) of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in the hall of the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, was well attended and gave the opportunity for the 60 members present, the majority of whom were born in Rizokarpasso, 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.  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 and passed a Resolution to be sent to the 5 permanent member states of the UN Security Council, the EU and the leaders of the 3 main political parties in Britain.  Maria Karaolis, President, presented a report of the Associations activities since the last meeting, Yiannis Chronias, Treasurer, presented the financial accounts of the Association and Pavlos Pavlou presented the Auditors Report. On behalf of the Association Mary Karaolis congratulated Andreas Strongolou, the son of the well known actor born in Rizokarpasso, Demetri Andreas, on his selection as a candidate for the position of Councillor in Underhill Ward, Barnet, in the forthcoming Local Council elections on May 6th. Andreas Strongolou, together with Christiana Demetriou, Chris Poxamatis, Maria Panteli,  Yiannoulla Antoniades and Maria Karaolis are all born in Britain and constitute two thirds of the Executive Committee of 9 thus showing the success of the first generation in passing on their love of, and commitment to, Rizokarpasso, and Cyprus in general, to their children and grandchildren. 

RESOLUTION



1/5/2010

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Once again!!! Metro Article promoting the occupied north Cyprus

The members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain we have complained to "Metro" by email and letter (see below) regarding their inaccurate and misleading article on Rizokarpasso Cyprus.

 

26th March 2010

Metro
Associated Newspapers Limited
Northcliffe House
2 Derry Street
London W8 5TT

Dear Ms Scott

The members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain were appalled to read your travel article "Time to discover northern Cyprus" which referred to their village of Rizokarpasso as "underdeveloped villages such as Dipkarpaz where Greek and Turkish Cypriots cohabit in peace."  Clearly, you must be unaware of the fact that until the Turkish invasion in 1974  and subsequent occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, Rizokarpasso was a wholly Greek Cypriot village of 4,500 inhabitants, many of whom fled for their lives in 1974, many were forced to leave by the illegal Turkish regime, some of those who remained enclaved were murdered and we now  have only 260 enclaved Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpasso who on a daily basis are denied basic human rights and witness the homes and properties of their friends and relatives being occupied and exploited by settlers from Turkey that were transported to colonize the occupied northern part of Cyprus and change the demography and culture of the occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.  The occupation and colonisation of the northern  part of Cyprus contravenes numerous UN Resolutions, the Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Surely, it is unprincipled for you to be promoting illegally occupied properties as holiday destinations, thereby assisting those who wish to exploit the suffering  of others who have been denied the use, enjoyment and benefit from their properties and businesses for 35 years. Please note that Cyprus in 1974 had a population of  three quarters of a million (80% Greek Cypriot, 18% Turkish Cypriot, 2% Armenian, Latin, Maronite) it was invaded by Turkey with a population of seventy five million and a very big and well equipped army, over forty thousand of whom still occupy the northern  part of Cyprus along with the two hundred thousand illegal settlers transported from Turkey.

The members of our Association were either born in Rizokarpasso, or their parents or grandparents were.  Many of us, whether first, second or third generation British citizens are the legal owners of property in Rizokarpasso and other areas of occupied Cyprus.  The recent British court decision, which no doubt you are aware of, made it clear that the exploited Greek Cypriot properties in the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus, which is under Turkish military occupation, continues to belong to its legal owners who  have a right to enforce their rights against the usurpers in UK and other EU courts.

Our members would like to know how you intend to redress this misrepresentation of the facts with the vast readership of the Metro newspaper.  Furthermore, we would like to know how you intend to remedy the distress that you have caused to the many Greek Cypriots who read your article but had experienced the reality of  being uprooted from their homes and properties in 1974 by an invading, ruthless Turkish army.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Please note that if we do not receive a satisfactory response we intend to pursue this matter with the Press Complaints Commission.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Mary Helen Karaolis  OBE   BEd(Hons)  MA  NPQH   FCollT

President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain

 

The article:

20/4/2010

___________________________________________________________________

 


NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CYPRIOTS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Britannia Road, London, N12 9RU.
Tel: 020 8445 9999 Fax: 020 8445 9977

www.cypriotfederation.org.uk


9 March 2010
 

Parliamentarian friends of Cyprus join forces to boost political support for a reunited island  

Incumbent Members of Parliament today pledged their support for efforts to engage new MPs in campaigning for justice for Cyprus, at a working lunch in Parliament organised by the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK.
 
Alan Meale MP and Roger Gale MP sponsored the event, which was hosted by Peter Droussiotis, President of the Federation and attended by the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus, Mrs Sotiroulla Charalambous, the three Vice Presidents and the Executive Secretary of the Federation and numerous MPs.
 
Mr Droussiotis updated MPs on the latest developments in the current bi-communal negotiations in Cyprus, thanked parliamentarians present for their consistent support and emphasised the importance of recruiting new MPs to the cause of Cyprus after the election expected in the spring of this year. Mr Droussiotis said:
 
The UK Cypriot community and the cause of Cyprus have enjoyed the long-standing support of a core group of MPs, some of whom are retiring at the general election. The new Parliament will contain Members who will have little or no knowledge of the Cyprus problem and certainly no first-hand experience of the events of 1974 which led to the islands current division.  Many of them would not have been born when Cyprus was invaded. In partnership with our friends and allies in Parliament, we will maximise our efforts to enlist the support of the new generation of politicians expected to enter the House of Commons at the next general election to our cause.
 
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, a veteran supporter of the Cypriot cause in the British Parliament, was the first parliamentary guest to address the lunch and underlined the unique position of Cyprus as the UKs partner both as a member of the Commonwealth and the European Union, stating that, in those circumstances Cyprus remains a running sore that has to be cured" within the context of UK foreign policy responsibilities.
 
Roger Gale MP, co-sponsor of the event, pledged the support of all Parliamentary friends of Cyprus to efforts to use the forthcoming general election campaign to educate new candidates many of whom will represent Cypruss future supporters in Parliament.
 
Andy Love MP, urged members of the UK Cypriot community to campaign for justice for Cyprus on their doorsteps, remarking:
 
When someone knocks on your door asking for your vote, it makes all the difference if you can tell that candidate exactly what you want. And what you should tell them is what you expect your MP to do to help Cyprus.
 
Nigel Waterson MP focused upon the need for the Cypriot community to target new MPs after the election, and to impress upon them their responsibility as MPs to acquire insights into a huge and largely forgotten sweep of history.
 
Joan Ryan MP emphasised how important it will be for the Cypriot community to use the months after the election, as well as before, in articulating the case for Cyprus, saying:
 
The weeks after the election will be when new MPs choose the foreign policy issues upon which they will focus their efforts. We need to grab their support right then. Our Cypriot constituents are British citizens and have every right to ask for representation via their MPs.
 
Theresa Villiers MP urged Cypriots to contextualise the Cyprus problem to campaigning candidates, saying:
 
Ask the people who want your votes exactly how they would feel if a third of their country or constituency had been invaded and occupied by a foreign power.
 
David Burrowes MP highlighted the need for all politicians with an interest in Cyprus to focus on the essence of the problem and the need for a just settlement that serves the interests of Cypriots.
 
Alan Meale MP urged all British Cypriots to take the Cyprus problem to your candidates, on the doorsteps, adding you need to create the agenda on Cyprus and take it to those who seek your vote.
 
Cyprus Minister Charalambous echoed the sentiments expressed by British parliamentarians and thanked them for their support pointing out that she was heartened to hear so many MPs speak out for the Cypriot cause in the House of Commons. She also stressed that it was President Christofiass political mission to strive for a just and lasting settlement to the Cyprus problem. She said:
 
President Christofias speaks the language of truth and, in doing so, has reconciled the Cypriot people to the fact that we will have to make a painful compromise. But our flexible approach has to be matched by the other side in negotiations so that we can reach a viable solution for the benefit of all Cypriots.
 
In bringing the lunch to a close, Mr Droussiotis expressed the Federations and the UK Cypriot communitys heart-felt thanks for the work of retiring MPs who had given their support to Cyprus over many years:
 
Since the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974, we are privileged to have enjoyed the support of many eminent politicians in Britain, including many cabinet members, Ministers, shadow Ministers and hardworking backbenchers. We intend to honour those of our parliamentary friends who are standing down at an event after the general election but, in the meantime, we send them our very best wishes for the future. Their contribution to the cause of Cyprus will never be forgotten.   

Ends   
 
For more information, please call Tony Sophoclides on 07887 935 335.
Photos of this event are available on the website below.
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Notes to editors

-       Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish military forces invaded the northern part of the island and thereafter occupied approximately 38% of its territory.
-       The National Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom was founded shortly after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and has since represented the largest community of Cypriots outside of the island itself.
-       The Federation is an umbrella organisation of the Cypriot community associations across the UK and seeks to coordinate the activities of more than 300,000 Britons of Cypriot origin.
-       Peter Droussiotis was first elected President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK in June 2007 and was re-elected for a second term in June 2009, the first second generation Cypriot elected to that position and the fourth President of the Federation. Peter also serves as President of Episteme The Association of British Cypriot Professionals and has previously been a leading Labour Councillor in Haringey. A barrister by background, Peter founded PGD Strategy Limited, a specialist corporate finance and strategy consulting firm, of which he is the current Chairman in 2000, after a career which included senior roles with Credit Suisse, Minet Group (now part of Aon) and Price Waterhouse (now PWC).

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain sent the following letter to the President of the European Commission.  Similar letters were also sent to:  The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams; the Rt Hon Chris Bryant MP, Minister of State & Minister for Europe;

Alexander Downer, UN Special Adviser on Cyprus.

 
4th March 2010

 

His Excellency Jose Manuel Durao Barroso

The President of the European Commission

European Commission

1049 Brussels

Belgium

 

 

Dear President Barroso

 

We are writing to you regarding the urgent need for restoration works of St Andrews Monastery, built on the headland of the Karpass peninsula on the spot where the Apostle Andrew is said to have come ashore on his way to Asia Minor and Greece in the 1st century AD.  This is a major pilgrimage site in Cyprus and a symbol of the common heritage of the island as well as having a unique landscape of natural beauty and rare indigenous flora.  The Monasterys building complex includes the 14th century St Andreas church as well as a later church built in 1851.

 

The Management Committee of Apostolos Andreas Monastery could begin immediately the execution of a number of restoration operations since all the relevant plans have been prepared with the approval of the interested authorities of the Church, the State of Cyprus and the UN.  The Turkish-Cypriot illegal regime initially agreed for the restoration of the Monastery to take place, however, subsequently it and the illegal Turkish occupying forces have for many years prevented the work from commencing.

 

The restoration of the Monastery is now very urgent if this high cultural and historic monument is to be protected.  For over thirty years Revd. Zacharias has served at the Monastery which has met the spiritual needs of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots from all over the island of Cyprus for centuries. St Andrews Monastery is in the collective memory of all Cypriots.

 

We ask you in your capacity as President of the European Commission to use your influence on Turkey so that they allow the restoration works of St Andrews Monastery to commence.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 
Mrs Mary Helen Karaolis   OBE   BEd(Hons)   MA   NPQH   FCollT

President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain

on behalf of the Executive Committee and Members

_________________________________________________________________

The Association of Rizokarpasso in Great Britain has send a  letter to Chris Bryant, Minister of State & Minister for Europe, which accompanied the Memorandum of the People of the Karpass Peninsula sent to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and signed by the leaders of the 10 Associations in the UK which represent villages in the Karpass Peninsula.

 

23rd  February 2010

Rt Hon Chris Bryant MP 
Minister of State & Minister for Europe
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr Bryant

On Wednesday 3rd February, I attended the National Federation of Cypriots working dinner with you at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood building in North Finchley, London N12, and was heartened to hear your comments regarding the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the Republic of Cyprus, the return of properties to their legal owners and your commitment to supporting the Cyprus negotiations.
Enclosed are 10 copies of the Memorandum of the People of the Karpass Peninsula.  Each has been signed by the President/Chairman of the 10 associations in the UK representing the major villages of the Karpass Peninsula, (Anglo-Aganthou Aid Society,   Association of Ayios Theodoros Karpasias UK,   Eptakomi Association UK,   Koma Tou Yialou Association,   Komi Kebir Association,   Limnia Association,   Association of Patriki UK,   Association of Rizokarpasso in Great Britian,   Association of Tricomo in Great Britain,   Yialousa & Suburbs Association).
As British Citizens we want our Human Rights as property owners to be respected and we expect our Government to use its considerable influence with Turkey to ensure that it acts in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions and the principles on which the EU is founded.  We believe the pressure on Turkey should be to immediately withdraw its occupation troops from Cyprus,  remove its Turkish settlers from Cyprus and reinstate properties to their legal Greek Cypriot owners.
If possible, we would welcome the opportunity for a small delegation of leaders of the Associations,  whose members have roots, family links and properties in the Karpass Peninsular, to meet with you.  We hope that this is possible; we would be able to visit your office whenever convenient to yourself.
We appreciate that you are very busy and we are grateful to you for taking the time to consider our communication.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely
Mrs Mary Helen Karaolis 
OBE   BEd(Hons)   MA   NPQH   FCollT
President of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Great Britain

 

MEMORANDUM OF THE PEOPLE OF THE KARPASS PENINSULA

In view of the current talks to resolve the Cyprus issue, being deeply concerned about the future of the Karpass peninsula (it is defined as the area starting from a line from Akanthou to Trikomo villages, as its western boundary, and extends eastwards up to Cape St. Andreas), we state here below briefly the position of the whole of its Greek-Cypriot population which overwhelmingly forms the population of Karpasia.

1. We state that we fully support a federal system of government which will be in accord with the summit agreements and the resolutions of the United Nations and which makes provision for the withdrawal from Cyprus of the Turkish troops and the establishment of all the human rights and the three basic freedoms (free settlement, free movement and freedom of ownership and use of property), and which will exclude any right of unilateral military or other intervention, Consequently we support the bi-communal talks that are currently taking  place between the two leaders Messrs Christofias and Talat, hoping that these will come to a conclusion on an agreed solution.

2. The Vienna C (Third Vienna) Agreement
On the capture and occupation by the Turkish army of the Karpass peninsula on 14th August 1974, some 12,600 Greek-Cypriots (66.5% of its total Greek-Cypriot population) remained in their homes. On the 2nd of August 1975, the Vienna C Agreement was concluded between Messrs Clerides and Denktash, under the aegis of the secretary General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim. This agreement stipulated, inter alia, that every assistance would be afforded to all the Greek-Cypriots who lived in the North so as to live a normal life, including education and exercise of their religious rights and beliefs, medical care by doctors of their own choice, as well as freedom movement. In addition, it provided for the re-unification with their families of persons who had been expelled. Contrary, to this, the Turkish army continued to expel the Greek Cypriots from their homes with the result that by September 1976, only a small number of enclaved Greek-Cypriots remained, as is the case today.
The immediate adoption and application of the Vienna C Agreement indicates and assesses the credibility and trustworthiness of Turkey that it will honour its own signature in any future agreement on the Cyprus problem, and will afford the opportunity to all the people of the Karpass peninsula to return to their homes, under a Greek-Cypriot Administration.

3. More especially for the Karpass, the organized institutions, the local authorities and the whole of its population, unanimously state and demand The Karpass peninsula is formed part of the area to be administrated by the Greek-Cypriot side for the following reasons: 

a) Such a settlement will result in natural justice, meet the expectations and justify the struggles and sacrifices, not only of the enclaved Karpass people, but of the whole of the Karpass people, who in their overwhelming majority are Greek-Cypriots.
b) Cyprus today depends on tourism for its survival. With the Karpass peninsula as part of it, the Greek-Cypriot federal state will contain a larger proportion of coastline than at present, which currently only amounts to about 37.5% of the total length of the coastline of Cyprus.
c)  The Monastery of St. Andreas is the most important religious and cultural centre of Cyprus and of the Greek Christian Orthodox world. It must thus be set free so that we can exercise our religious rights without hindrance or any restrictions.
d) Such an agreement is justified and necessary on historical and religious grounds, given that the Karpass peninsula has, through the ages, always been settled by Greek Christians.

4. We are convinced that this demand of all the Karpass is a just one and will be taken into account within the framework of the Cyprus talks otherwise we will not be able to accept a solution which will not make provision for the return of the Karpass peninsula. It must be realized fully by all concerned that for any solution to be viable, it must be just, otherwise it will not be approved, as was ANNAN plan, which was heavily biased against the Greek Cypriots.     

Signed ________________________________________________   

Date ___________________________________

Association

President

Address

 

 

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