September 22, 2023

By Chris Elliott….

Having produced a video as shown below about the 2nd Phase of the BRS UK Government lobbying campaign,  I have taken the opportunity to send the letter below like many others hopefully, to my UK MP through the lobbying facility on the North Cyprus British Residents’ Society website.

“Dear Mr John Baron MP

As a member of your constituency, I am writing to request that you put forward my views to parliament by asking certain questions in the House of Commons.

I believe that a country of the UK’s standing which:

  • Champions human rights;
  • Places importance on values such as freedom, fairness, courage;
  • Has historic and global importance;

lacks the foresight to want to influence and bring about change to discriminatory policies towards Turkish Cypriots (including British nationals of Turkish Cypriot origin), and approximately 15,000 British nationals that reside in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

As a continuing guarantor power of the island, with vested interests in both sides of the green line, I find it inexplicable that successive UK governments hide behind unjust, out-dated, tired UN resolutions and EU bias.

During the last 12 months there is significant momentum in raising the Cyprus issue, namely:

  • More and more UK parliamentarians and journalists are paying attention to the Cyprus issue with a more balanced outlook and view regarding isolationist and discriminatory policies of the UK, the UN and EU.
  • UK Parliamentarians and journalists fact finding missions to the TRNC are increasing.
  • An increase in relevant parliamentary questions in the house on the Cyprus issue.
  • Over 180 MPs receiving lobbying letters from their British constituents regarding ending the isolation of Turkish Cypriots and others in the TRNC.
  • UK-based Turkish Cypriot civil society groups have become more coordinated and more vocal in their approach to dealing with UK authorities when it comes to Turkish Cypriot discrimination.
  • The historic call from President Erdogan’s speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2022 requesting recognition of the TRNC.
  • The TRNC receiving observer status from the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS)
  • TRNC President Tatar visiting the UK in March 2023 and sharing his vision for the future of Cyprus with parliamentarians and leading UK journalists.

Responses by MPs (from all parties) to the lobbying letters sent to over 180 MPs suggested that the vast majority lacked depth and did not address the issues of discrimination, isolation, human rights and fairness, simply responding along the lines of ‘the UK’s position supports the UN resolutions’.  There were a number of cases where MPs responses added insult to injury with references to ‘how wonderful trade is with the Republic of Cyprus’, ‘not believing that Turkish Cypriots are discriminated against’ and the ‘Cyprus problem lies with cultural differences between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots’.  I do not want my MP to be disrespectful to people’s views nor simply be dismissive, I would hope my MP would be considerate to its constituents’ views and engage with serious issues of systematic and purposeful discrimination.  I would like you, as my MP, to bring this matter to the attention of the house by asking questions based on the following:

  • Does the UK government provide an equitable duty of care towards all British nationals who choose to reside in the TRNC, compared to British nationals living in the Republic of Cyprus?
  • Why does the UK government not try to overcome the obstacles in various conventions in allowing hundreds of thousands of British nationals to travel freely, directly or unhindered to the TRNC which directly discriminates against the aged, families, disabled and anxious?
  • Is it the case that British nationals residing in the Republic of Cyprus are entitled to financial support for receiving medical treatment whereas British nationals living in the TRNC are not? And if so, will this blatant discrimination continue?  Does the value given to British nationals depend on their choice of residence?
  • Would the relaxation of trade embargoes placed upon the people of North Cyprus allow hundreds of thousands of British nationals the opportunity to trade directly with the TRNC?
  • Through supporting out-dated UN resolutions, does the UK government not recognise that it is in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 2 therefore blatantly discriminating against all British nationals who have connections with the TRNC?

These issues do not disappear by simply ignoring them.  The UK parliament must surely be at the forefront of such change and remind government the UK’s responsibility towards the Cyprus issue and to act freely and fairly.  In 2024 two significant anniversaries will occur.  The first being fifty years of peace on the island but fifty years of international isolation for Turkish Cypriots.  The second being twenty years of broken and unfulfilled promises since the UN sponsored Annan Plan referendum, one of the biggest political travesties of the 21st century.  I strongly believe this is a great opportunity for the UK to step up and lead the world in diplomacy.

The Turkish Cypriot people and British Nationals residing in the TRNC want an end to their international isolation; to be able to travel and trade freely, to have a voice and a right to life, and to enjoy the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 2, which says that:

.. .no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty”.

I thank you in advance for the consideration you will give to this letter and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely
Christopher Elliott”

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