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Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives meet in London

Greek and Turkish Cypriot representatives meet in London
27.11.2013
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İlker Kılıç, head of the Republican Turkish Party’s London branch (centre)

İlker Kılıç, head of the Republican Turkish Party’s London branch (centre)

By Zeynep Kösereisoğlu

THE UNITED Cyprus Platform organized a meeting, inspired by the high level meeting between the Greek and Turkish authorities a few days ago.

The meeting held in the House of Commons, lasted over two hours, with all participants expressing their commitment to a unificaton of the island.

The meeting, moderated by … had many attendees, overcrowding the committee room.

Sir Roger Hale was the first to speak, expressing his desire to see a united Cyprus. Referring to Syria and the relations between Iran and Israel, Sir Hale stated that the value of a successful settling of the dispute in Cyprus could be a symbol of hope for the rest of the region. Sir Gerald Koffman, MP from the Labour Party, also underlined that after a long history as a politician he wished to witness a unification of the island in his lifetime.

The moderator gave the representatives of Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus the first opportunity to speak. They were followed by the remarks of British politicians, reacting to the opinions and demands of the Cypriots. First such representative was the head of KIBES, Cyprus Science, Education, Health and Cooperation Organization Kıvanç Diren. He referred to the agreement made between football organizations, saying that this arrangement and attitude should be reflected in politics as well.

On the other hand, Armagan Candan, Republican Turkish Party (CHP) MP announced that his party was in favour of a federal solution. According to Candan, the election of his party to parliament and their number of votes was a message from the Turkish community to the Greeks in Cyprus. He finished his remarks by quoting from the joint statement between the CHP and AKEL, the Progressive Party of Working People.

Edmonton MP Andy Love (centre)

Edmonton MP Andy Love (centre)

The moderator also gave the representatives of Cypriot communities in foreign locations, a chance to express their opinions. Head of OKOE, the Federation of Cypriot Organizations in Greece Costas Stamataris and the Head of the London branch of the CHP İlker Kılıç were among those who spoke. Kılıç stated his discontent with the inactivity of the British parliamentarians in assisting the talks about the unification process. He warned against being trapped in the generality of statements and called on everyone to talk about specific issues and ways that the British authorities could help the Cypriots. He listed that the British MPs could assist the Bi-communal Famagusta Initiative, that they could bolster the football agreement and host the first friendly game between the Greek and Turkish sides and that they could arrange to improve the relations between the politicians of the two sides in the near future when they will all be in Brussels.

Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Association for Democracy Hasan Raif kept his statements short and highlighted the urgency of the need to come to an agreement. He warned that if a settlement was not agreed upon, the Turkish community that was already in danger, would disappear in 10 years.

AKEL’s representative in the UK, Bambous Charalambous on the other hand underlined the need for the creation of a unified international Cypriot identity. Baroness of Richmond Angela Harris was also present in the meeting, showing her support for a unified Cyrpus.

After having listened to the representatives, MPs Andy Love and Alan Meale were given  a chance to express their opinions as well. Edmonton MP for the Labour Party Mr. Love conveyed his  satisfaction with the fact that both sides agreed on the framework set up by the 1977 and 1979 high level agreements. He also talked about his latest visit to Cyprus in October, and his observations regarding the economic difficulties faced in the island. Mr. Love drew attention to the need to initiate confidence building measures between the countries. He recognized the Committee of the Missing in this regard, but also expressed his disappointment that its operations had slowed down recently. Mr. Love also agreed with Cypriot representatives that the British authorities were not sufficiently engaged with the issue. He recognized that the UK had a special role and responsibility to play in the issue and that it had not lived up to those responsibilities.

Mansfield MP for the Labour Party Alan Meale on the other hand focused on the necessity for the foreign troops to leave the island in order for a transition to a fully civil framework for achieving a unified island. He also referred to the existence of a unique Cypriot identity the need to protect its authenticity. Confirming that Cyprus was a European country, he culminated his speech by stating his desire to see a unified European Cyprus.

 

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IMG_0748.jpg Edmonton MP Andy Love (centre)

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