Updates on Turkey in Cyprus

 Updates on Turkey in Cyprus

updated Jul 24, 2013

by Daniel Pipes December 16, 2010

This weblog entry updates the Turkish and Cypriot dimension of my article "Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza" of July 20, 2010: Imagine Israeli forces stopping a mosque service on a major Islamic holiday. Well, that's what Turkish troops did yesterday, on Christmas, at a church in northern Cyprus:

Church of Saint Sinesios in Rizokarpaso, northern Cyprus.
For the first time in 36 years Christians trapped in the occupied area were forbidden from celebrating Christmas. On Christmas morning, Saturday 25 December 2010, Father Zacharias and a large number of people went to the Church of Saint Sinesios in Rizokarpaso (photo) to begin Matins for Christmas. Meanwhile men of the occupied forces rushed to the church, interrupted the service, urged the priest to remove his vestments, and ordered everyone leave the church. When everyone had left, the doors were sealed.
(December 26, 2010)

Nov. 27, 2011 update: It's not just Turkey in Cyprus; it's also Turkey in Kurdistan. For some strong views on that topic, see Chia Shojaei, "The Dirty War in Northern Kurdistan." Here's the first paragraph:

Imagine a great empire, the Kurdish Medes, has been a colony and everyday are killed reality owners of this land, Kurdistan, by the Turkish immigrants. Oppressed people are Kurds and cruel nation are the Turkish government. The Turks came and got Kurdistan under their power on 11th century. During the Othman power until recently, they killed more than two million Kurdish and Armenian people. Right now there is fighting between colonist, Turks, and colony, Kurds. For almost 30 years, Turkish government has directly started the war against Kurdistan. This war has many reasons but the primary roots of war between Kurdish nation and Turkish government are cultural, political, and economical issues.

Dec. 22, 2011 update: Speaking in Washington, the foreign minister of Cyprus, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, noted that "Mr. Erdoğan sees no contradiction in pontificating from the UN General Assembly podium on the failure of Israel to abide by UN resolutions, while Turkey is in violation of numerous mandatory UN Security Council resolutions in Cyprus."

Oct. 31, 2012 update: Arsen Ostrovsky, previously of Hudson Institute and EYEontheUN.org, notes in " Erdoğan, Sovereignty, and Israel" the contrast in Erdoğan's policies toward Syria and Gaza:

In the past week, the government of Turkey – understandably – launched military action against Syria in response to mortar fire by the Assad regime, which killed five Turkish civilians in the town of Akcakale. In retrospect, this represents an opportune time for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan to consider apologizing to Israel for some of his vitriolic attacks against the Jewish state following their response against Hamas rocket fire from Gaza in late 2008.

Responding to Syria's unprovoked attack against Turkey, Erdoğan said "Turkey is a country which is capable of protecting its people and borders. No one should attempt to test our determination on the issue." Further, in tabling his motion in Parliament on October 4th, seeking approval for military action, Erdoğan added: "This situation has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security. Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country." …

Erdoğan's decision to send Turkish troops into Syria came after a single mortar attack, which the Syrian authorities claim was accidental, but nonetheless killed five Turkish citizens.

Yet, Israel endured something in the vicinity of 8,000-plus rockets, and many more causalities from Gaza, before retaliating against Hamas in Operation 'Cast Lead' in December 2008. Rocket and mortar fire still continues from the Gaza strip today.

At the time of Israel's response, Erdoğan unleashed a barrage of vitriol against Israel, the likes of which were unprecedented in the history of relations between the two states, calling Israel's actions against Hamas terrorists in Gaza a "crime against humanity" and saying that "Israel must pay a price for its aggression and crimes". He even went to so far as to call for Israel to be barred from the United Nations.

Jan. 4, 2013 update: Dore Gold of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs adds an important dimension in "European settlements and double standards" that I did not cover in my article: foreigners coming in and buying discounted vacation homes in Occupied Cyprus.

July 23, 2013 update: Douglas Murray excoriates the European Union for its recent decision to ban funding or cooperation with any Israeli institutions that operate in the West Bank and points out that Cyprus should be of much greater concern to it.

what makes the EU's latest double-standard even more delicious is that the occupied island of Cyprus is actually a member of the EU. As such, shouldn't it surely command the most detailed and persistent attention from the international body?

Yet this is not so. The northern part of Cyprus has been illegally annexed for the last four decades by Turkey. It is not as though Turkey shares a border with the island. Nor does it have—as Israel has with the West Bank—any legitimate historical, political or other territorial claims on the northern part of the island. There is no security reason for Turkey to sustain its occupation, as there is an obvious need for Israel to have defensible borders that do not permit terrorists from the West Bank to fire rockets into Israel, as do its friends in post-disengagement Gaza or southern Lebanon. …

Into the fifth decade of Turkish occupation of Cyprus, there is still no serious dictating by the EU to Turkey over what it must do about northern Cyprus. Turkey does not find itself under even the most remote international pressure finally to disengage from its illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.