The British government must make it “unequivocally clear” to Turkey that its accession to the EU cannot proceed without a resolution of the Cyprus problem which will respect the island’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK Peter Droussiotis has said.
“After all, these are the things which Britain has guaranteed by international treaty,” he added. Droussiotis, who coordinates the campaign in the UK for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue added that there needs to be even greater interaction at all levels between Nicosia and the UK based Cypriot community, estimated to be around 300,000 strong.
He explained that all the Federation’s actions revolve around three core points: “Demonstrate our community’s strong presence and unity of purpose, articulate a positive pitch in favour of Cyprus’ freedom and unity and counter well-financed, systematic propaganda orchestrated by Turkey and its advocates.”
Adding that he has been impressed by the genuine engagement of the younger generations with the Federation and their passion for the Cypriot cause. He envisages both a renewed Federation in terms of younger people coming in and a new set of actions that will make the Cyprus case heard stronger.
“We must develop multiple strategic alliances not only within but also outside our community, for example, with other influential communities and groups which share our emphasis on human rights or our ‘geo-strategic’ orientation. We must encourage our new generations to become more integrated into and more active in mainstream British political parties. Above all, we must be externally, not internally, focused. And, yes, we must do more to involve UK Turkish Cypriots who share our agenda and our vision in aspects of our work, intelligently and sensitively,” he explained.
On the level of response by British MPs to the Federation’s campaign, Droussiotis said he was satisfied with the level of cross-party response and engagement they have had. “But we cannot afford to be complacent, especially in the face of aggressive Turkish propaganda,” he warned.
Successive British governments have sought to appease Turkey in relation to Cyprus and this has made Turkey even more intransigent in its approach to the Cyprus issue, he noted, calling for pressure to be exerted by London over its strategic partner.
“The absence of a solution in Cyprus hurts all Cypriots, but the regional instability which this creates in an already volatile part of the world is inimical to the interests of the United Kingdom, Greece and Turkey as well. It is our duty to make the case for a united Cyprus and to seek an alliance of interests which can persuade the British government to act more constructively in relation to this problem which, historically, is partly of its own creation.” he concluded.