27th anniversary of the murder of Theophilos Georgiades, Human rights activist

The 20th March 2021 marks the 27th anniversary of the murder in Nicosia of Theophilos Georgiades, the desk officer responsible for Turkish affairs at the Cypriot Public Information Office who was killed on March 20, 1994.

Theofilos Georgiadis was best known as a human rights activist, a dynamic figure who fought for the rights of Cypriots and Kurds, as well as other oppressed minorities in Turkey, promoting the human rights violations of Turkey.  In the 1990’s, Theofilos managed to create the strongest legitimizing platform in Europe for the just struggle of the Kurds.  He was a vigorous supporter of the Kurdish liberation movement and the chairman of the Greek-Cypriot “Kurdistan Solidarity Committee”.

One of his most publicized achievements was at the International Conference in Brussels in March 1994, where Theofilos Georgiadis, through a multifaceted enlightenment campaign, convincingly and scientifically substantiated Turkey’s human rights abuses and achieved the unanimous condemnation of Turkey for the invasion and occupation of Cyprus, for terrorism and violence and fascist policies against minorities.  The international outcry, as expected, provoked Ankara’s discomfort and reaction.

Brief Biography

Theofilos Georgiadis was born on September 9, 1957,and studied Political Science in Greece in the late 70’s, followed by studies in France and Germany.  Upon his return to Cyprus, he was initially hired by the Police and then took over the position of Officer in the Turkish Affairs Department of the Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus. An in-depth expert on Turkish issues, he had given hundreds of interviews and lectures on Turkey’s expansionist policy, lobbying in Europe for the promotion of human rights and democracy in Turkey.

His murder

It was Sunday, March 20 at 10:00 pm. Theofilos Georgiadis was returning from Larnaca airport to his home in Nicosia. After parking his car, he moved to the entrance of his house. Five bullets hit him, resulting in his death. The investigation that followed found clear links between the assassin and the Turkish secret services, but the investigation was never officially concluded.   Even so, it is accepted that the assassination was the work of the Turkish secret services, as stated repeatedly by officials of the Cypriot Government.  As for example, stated by the Cypriot Minister of Defense Mr. Savvas Angelidis in 2019 at the Commemorative speech of the memorial of Theofilos Georgiadis  “So, on March 20, 1994, at 10 pm, at Thucydides Street in Aglantzia, paid agents of the Ankara secret services shot Theofilos with 5 bullets, outside his house.”

The assassination of Theofilos Georgiadis was one of the few political assassinations in Cyprus.

Sources:

https://www.philenews.com/f-me-apopsi/arthra-apo-f/article/675236/i-dolofonia-toy-theofiloy-gorgadi

https://www.pio.gov.cy/%CE%B1%CE%BD%CE%B1%CE%BA%CE%BF%CE%B9%CE%BD%CF%89%CE%B8%CE%AD%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B1-%CE%AC%CF%81%CE%B8%CF%81%CE%BF.html?id=6568#flat

https://www.reporter.com.cy/editors-choice/article/318036/

https://www.tothemaonline.com/Category/michani-tou-chronou?p=40

 

Turkish Cypriots demand democracy

Thousands of Turkish-Cypriots rallied in the occupied part of Nicosia on Tuesday to protest against Turkey’s intervention in Turkish Cypriot affairs, days before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit the resort of Varosha which was illegally opened last month, for a ‘picnic’!.  Demonstrators carried banners stating “No picnic over others’ pain”, “Cyprus is secular and will remain secular”, “Varosha and Cyprus belong to all Cypriots”.

The demonstration was called by the newly formed party “Democracy and Political Will”, and attended by former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, leader of main opposition Republican Turkish Party Tufan Erhurman and leader of the Communal Democracy Party Cemal Ozyigit.

Anger has been seething in the occupied north over Ankara’s blatant intervention in last month’s election, by boosting the candidacy of Mr Tatar who won and became the new Turkish Cypriot leader.  The demonstration revived memories of the large demonstrations in 2003 in support of a UN reunification plan for Cyprus.

Turkish President Erdogan announced he would arrive in Cyprus on Sunday, the 37th anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence in the occupied north, for a picnic in the recently opened part of the fenced area of Varosha.

Cyprus is divided since a 1974 invasion by Turkey which still maintains troops in the EU member’s northern part and is the only country to recognise as a ‘state’ an illegal entity there.

Picture Credit: @UniteCyprusNow/Twitter

Sources:

https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/11/10/thousands-protest-in-north-over-turkish-interference/ ; https://greece.greekreporter.com/2020/11/11/turkish-cypriots-rally-against-erdogans-plan-for-a-picnic-at-varosha/ ; https://www.financialmirror.com/2020/11/11/turkish-cypriot-anger-against-ankaras-interference/ ; https://in-cyprus.philenews.com/turkish-cypriots-out-in-the-streets-to-demand-democracy-in-breakaway-north/

Anger as Turkey opens part of Varosha beach in Famagusta ghost town

Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974, leaving Varosha (Famagusta town) a ghost town.  It was once a tourist paradise, attracting holidaymakers and film stars to its beaches.  But on Thursday Turkey’s military took down the fencing and reopened the city’s beachfront (with a checkpoint for controlled access).  Civilians were permitted to enter into the beach strip, while Turkish Cypriot authorities announced that the public will be able to access the permitted areas from 9am until 5pm daily.According to Turkish Cypriot media, the area will be assessed by Turkish Cypriot real estate agents, to see how to restore the decaying town in line with Turkey’s statement that it plans to gradually reopen the entirety of the ghost town of Varosha (Famagusta), instead of returning the town and its properties to their rightful owners.

Cyprus’s internationally recognised government has condemned the move as a violation of international law.  In Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus not everyone agrees with this move either, Leader Mustafa Akinci stating that it was a “mistake that will put the Turkish Cypriot people in a difficult situation on the international stage”.

Hundreds of exasperated Famagusta refugees took the streets to protest with a banner reading ‘Save Famagusta, Freedom for Cyprus’, demanding the return of the town to its lawful inhabitants and the full implementation of UN resolutions governing the future of the town that was abandoned after 1974 conflict.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern Tuesday over Turkey’s decision to open to the public a beach in Cyprus that has been closed since war divided the island 46 years ago.

He warned against “unilateral actions” that could heighten tensions and undermine chances for a resumption of peace talks.

Cyprus reopening June 9th

Larnaka city marina

Cyprus is scheduled to reopen to international tourists on June 9th, after tampering down its outbreak taking good measures.  The government has outlined plans for the resumption of commercial flights from a select number of countries with low coronavirus infection rates.  With visitors from the UK and Russia, the two main tourism markets in Cyprus, not yet allowed to travel to the country, alternative countries are being targeted.

The Cypriot government has said it will cover the vacation costs, food, drinks, medicine, and lodging of any tourists who contract the COVID-19 coronavirus while holidaying in the country.

Cyprus is being optimistic, while cognizant of the consequences related to the pandemic.

  • Visitors have to test negative at their point of origin within 72 hours
  • Travel will be restricted from countries with bad outbreaks.
  • Tourists have to set their umbrellas at least 12′ away from other beachgoers.
  • Groups are limited to 10 at restaurants and bars.

According to government data, nearly 4 million tourists visited Cyprus last year, bringing in revenues of 2.7 billion euros. Tourism reportedly accounts for 13% of the country’s economy, and it could lose up to 70% of that revenue this year due to global restriction for the pandemic.

Akinci – annexation would be “horrible”

Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci launched his re-election campaign last week as an independent candidate, highlighting the core message of his candidacy: independence.

Speaking to the Guardian in an interview published last week, Akinci warned that Cyprus runs the risk of permanent partition, and highlighted that the differences between the two sides of the island are growing more entrenched, diminishing the prospect of reaching an equitable federal solution that would reunite the island.

“We can take two roads. We will push for a solution and we will succeed, or we will be drawn into a more dependent structure as part of the north of the island. We do not accept to be a minority of the Greek Cypriots, nor a slave to rulers in Turkey. We want independence and freedom,” he said.  Akıncı added that the prospect of Crimea style annexation was “horrible” and highlighted his vision of a unified Cyprus within the EU.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said that a solution would help disentangle the north from Ankara’s grip, especially financially, and would allow for the development of a more independent relationship with Turkey, rather than Erdogan’s vision of a ‘mother and baby’ relationship.

Relations between Akinci and Ankara have been deteriorating recently, with Akinci growing increasingly outspoken over Turkey’s actions in the region.

Source and additional information:  TheGuardian 

Cyprus president, Nicos Anastasiades (L), meets the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı, in Nicosia on Monday. Photograph: Katia Christodoulou/EPA

 

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