By Stefanos Evripidou
THE European Union must demand Turkey to leave Cyprus as part of the obligation to protect its members, a British MP said on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, Labour MP for Mansfield Sir Alan Meale criticised the EU and UK government for not demanding freedom for Cyprus.
“What is the use of having a family if you don’t support its members? What we have to do is not ask Turkey to leave, it’s not our job to ask, it’s to demand.
“Thousands of Cypriots died for Europe and Britain during the two world wars. For us to give way and not demand freedom for them is absolutely outrageous. It’s morally and strategically wrong,” said Meale.
The British MP has been following and actively engaged in the Cyprus problem since 1987 when he entered the House of Commons.
He remains optimistic that a solution can be found, despite the stretch of time passed since the island was split by the invasion of Turkish troops over two phases in the summer of 1974.
“We’ll all wake up one day and it will be over and we’ll all wonder why it took so long to do that,” he said.
Meale listed the geostrategic advantages of Cyprus that make the island “irreplaceable” for Europe, including its large maritime fleet, role as a telecommunications crossroad, financial services, and trade arrangements with Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
He made a special reference to Cyprus’ natural gas prospects.
“Cyprus could be the gas station of the world. The European community will not allow anyone to take this resource away from them. We must take advantage of that to clear away some of the other issues,” said the MP.
Meale welcomed the possible return of the fenced area of Famagusta but warned that this should not be considered a solution in itself.
“I won’t be satisfied until every single inch of Cyprus is in the Republic and administrated by a regime which represents all of the people,” he said.
The Labour MP highlighted the need for the fate of the missing persons to be revealed in full detail, so that those responsible could be held accountable, as happened in South Africa, where truth was followed by peace and reconciliation.
“At best it was an illegal incursion which resulted in the death of thousands of people, at worst it was genocide and why should genocide be applicable in Bosnia, in the Far East or the Middle East and not in Cyprus?”
Meale noted that some of the victims were British citizens or relatives of British citizens.
Asked about his thoughts on the 40th anniversary of the invasion and occupation, Meale said: “I shake my head in disbelief that someone could do this and get away with it in modern society. It’s against everything we stand for. I think the 40th anniversary is a sad reminder of what humanity can do to one other.”
“We have to have democracy again. We have to take it back, it is one country, one island, all the people have to be together and the involvement of Turkey in this is absolutely disgraceful.”