The Queen’s representatives ordered to
stay away from Cyprus police memorial
We would like to thank John Oakes and T-Vine for sharing this very important article with cyprusscene.com and our other news sharing partners and it just goes to show that forces are still at work trying to deny the truth of the past and wanting to preserve the status quo. Non-recognition of the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus!
By John Oakes
Representatives of the Queen have been ordered to stay away from the unveiling of a memorial to 19 British policemen gunned down in Cyprus during the troubles. The ban has angered serving officers, relatives and veterans.
The British High Commissioner for Cyprus, Mr. Ric Todd bluntly informed TRNC Royal British Legion officials that he will not be attending their November 8th ceremony. That remains the position, despite protests to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office made this week by peers and MPs.
Even Sir Hugh Orde, former Chief Constable of Northern Ireland and now Patron of the Police Roll of Honour Trust, the charity sponsoring the memorial, has been told he may only attend on condition that he leaves his uniform and medals at home. No other uniforms are being allowed at the unveiling.
The snub follows pressure from the Greek Cypriot authorities who claim that the slightest sign of Royal involvement in the ceremony would be tantamount to acknowledging the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which they claim is “illegal”, and therefore cannot be allowed any form of diplomatic recognition.
To date, only Turkey recognises the TRNC. It was Turkey’s armed intervention in 1974 which created a safe haven for Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus after they had been subjected to ten years of genocide. The TRNC was eventually declared under President Rauf Denktaş in 1983 after nearly a decade of talks with Greek Cypriots had failed to unite the island. The Greek Cypriots continue to claim they are the sole authority on the island, even though this goes directly against the constitution and the international treaties governing the Republic of Cyprus.
British acceptance of the Royal ban has caused outrage in police and military circles, who see it as cowardly and disrespectful to the men who laid down their lives for their country – and not just British lives. The Memorial also lists 25 Turkish Cypriots, 18 Greek Cypriots and 1 Maronite who were also shot by Greek Cypriot EOKA terrorists fighting for Enosis (union with Greece) between 1955 and 1960.
When asked to comment on the issue, the Minister for Europe, The Rt Hon David Lidington MP said this week: “Anniversaries are a politically sensitive issue in Cyprus, and we consider British Government participation carefully.”
British Legion and Police Roll of Honour officials involved are being diplomatically tight-lipped about the whole affair, but other old Cyprus hands are seething.
Lord Maginnis, a veteran of Ulster’s stormy politics and previously an Army Major who served in Northern Ireland for 12 years, told T-VINE this week:
“When, in 2009, I insisted that the British High Commissioner in Cyprus [Peter Millet] attend the unveiling of the British/Cyprus memorial to our 371 servicemen who died between 1956 and 1959, the Greek Cypriots boycotted his office until he was replaced. But that is no excuse for either this or the previous Government’s blatant cowardice and capitulation to the successors of EOKA and EOKA-B. It makes me angry and so ashamed.”
He continued, “The recently-released diaries of General Grivas, the genocidal head of EOKA, put next week’s Royal ban in perspective: it comes as a direct result of the inter-community bloodshed he created. His evil deeds cast a long shadow.”
Our readers may also be surprised to read the following text which is a reply following a request for clarification of whether a UK Government representative would be attending the unveiling of the Cyprus Police memorial. It seems they feel more comfortable going to events and being supportive in the Republic of Cyprus or in the UK buffer Zone. I wonder why as surely as this is hardly an even-handed demonstration by a 1960 Cyprus Treaty Guarantor of being impartial.
To read the T-Vine article and other news, please click here
“from the Minister for Europe
Thank you for your note on British High Commission attendance at the British Cemetery in Kyrenia.
We pay tribute to those who have lost their lives during the Emergency Period. The British Government will continue to be represented by the High Commissioner at the annual ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Wayne’s Keep in Nicosia, where we commemorate all UK Service personnel killed in Cyprus.
We do not have any plans to attend the service at Kyrenia in north Cyprus. We recognise the difficult history of the Cyprus Problem which continues to have an impact on the island today. Anniversaries are a particularly sensitive issue in Cyprus and we consider UK Government participation carefully.
Our focus on the island is currently how to help the Cypriots achieve a better future together, and we do this by supporting the UN-led settlement negotiations to re-unify the island.
Thank you again for your interest in this sensitive and important matter. Please do pass this letter on to Mr Oakes by way of further explanation.
Rt Hon David Lidington MP”