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Demonstration breaks 43-year silence 2008-12-15
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Date: 22.09.2005
British-born Turkish Cypriots took part in last Tuesday's central London “Gagged” demonstration to highlight how Turkish Cypriots have been socially and economically oppressed, and their rights to an equal political voice in Cyprus effectively silenced for the past 41 years. The peaceful demonstration was organised by pressure group Embargoed! to coincide with the 10 Downing Street meeting between Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. The vocal protestors displayed a host of banners demanding human rights for North Cyprus including, “UK Government: honour your promises! End embargoes against North Cyprus now!” “Papadopoulos: you don't represent Turkish Cypriots,” “I am not a PO Box in Turkey,” and “We want to advertise on buses,” in reference to the ongoing dispute with Transport for London over their decision to ban North Cyprus travel adverts. Some demonstrators also wore gags over their mouths to illustrate the way they had been isolated from the political process. The gags read, “Gagged for being a Turkish Cypriot” and “Gagged since 4 March 1964” – reflecting the date that UN Resolution 186 was passed, which recognised the Greek Cypriot regime as the sole authority in Cyprus at the expense of Turkish Cypriot constitutional rights. UN Resolution 186 was passed on 4 March 1964, as part of the UN's commitment to end the violence in Cyprus caused by the Greek Cypriot's bloody coup in December 1963. This badly worded Resolution referred to working with the “Government of Cyprus,” which at that time was 100% staffed with Greek Cypriots. The latter used this to assert themselves as the sole “legitimate” authority on the island, even though this contradicts with the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus stating that both Turkish and Greek Cypriots are politically equal. “Turkish Cypriots are fed up with the tired old excuses politicians offer for the lack of progress in Cyprus. Everyone knows that Mr Papadopoulos has no political or moral right to claim he represents the people of North Cyprus. He has been at the forefront of violating Turkish Cypriot rights for the past 41 years and unless Prime Minister Blair stands up to this bully, nothing will change,” said Embargoed! chairperson Bulent Osman. “We hope this peaceful protest will encourage Tony Blair and his government to end the isolation of North Cyprus and demonstrate that world leaders can and will do ‘the right thing',” Mr. Osman continued. The demonstration ended with a small Embargoed! delegation, representing all generations of oppressed Turkish Cypriots, presenting a letter addressed to Prime Minister Blair and The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Turkish Cypriot People to 10 Downing Street. A parallel action also took place in North Cyprus when the International Council for North Cyprus also presented a letter to Tony Blair via the British High Commission in Cyprus. [Embargoed! is an independent, human rights pressure group campaigning to restore the fundamental political, economic and social rights of Turkish Cypriots. The group, launched on 4 March 2005, seeks an active role in raising awareness about the isolation of North Cyprus and campaigning for the immediate and unconditional end to all embargoes. Embargoed! by email: mail@embargoed.org , by post: Embargoed! Suite 205, 14 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 1JY, or by telephone/fax: + 44 20 8279 8561.

 

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