We write about the decades long occupation and settlement of a country on the edge of Europe – on the edge of the much plagued Middle East .
The long divided country was brazenly and unjustifiably invaded, and some 40% of the territory had been occupied before a ceasefire was called and a so-called ‘Green Line’ created. Some 40,000 troops of the invader were stationed in the territory. After the invasion, some 60,000 people had fled into the occupied region from other parts of the territory. Subsequently, around 120,000 settlers were brought into the country by the invader – a clear violation of the Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits an occupier from transferring or deporting parts of its own civilian population into an occupied territory. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law.
A phase of the long Israel and Palestine stand-off ?… Well, no actually… a description of Turkey and Cyprus !
Between July and August 1974, massive Turkish force invaded the island of Cyprus in answer to a coup in the country, the aim of which was annexation of the island by Greece (or, ‘enosis’… union with Greece). By the time a UN ceasefire was in place, Turkish forces had taken some 40% of northern Cyprus. The UN Buffer Zone in Cyprus – the line separating the Greek and Turkish populations of the island – became known as the ‘Green Line’.
More than one quarter of the population of Cyprus was expelled from the occupied northern part of the island where Greek Cypriots constituted 80% of the population. A little over a year later in 1975, there was also a flow of roughly 60,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south to the north after the conflict. Many of the families had lived in these areas for many generations.
Then, in 1975, in occupied Northern Cyprus, civilian settlers from Turkey began arriving. Some 120,000 settlers arrived from mainland Turkey in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In spite of the transfer of countless settlers from Anatolia, there’s not a single whine against the government in Ankara from those who purport to act in the name of ‘justice’ and against ‘occupation’. No whiny students jumping up and down outside theatres and cinemas when Turkish performances take place. No calls for boycotts. No calls for rights of return.