Cyprus Mail

Why I can no longer attend the Queen’s birthday party

Letter to the British High Commissioner, Stephen Lillie

I was invited and accepted your kind invitation to participate in the annual celebration for Her Majesty the Queen of England’s birthday. It was a great honour and pleasure for me.

As a Cypriot I admire the British civilisation and democracy. I am also a strong supporter of the presence of the British troops in Cyprus and retaining the military bases.

The presence of British troops in Cyprus is absolutely needed for the protection of western civilisation, which emanated from the ancient Greeks, and the protection of human rights. They also contribute greatly to the economy of Cyprus and furthermore employ a lot of Cypriots on very good salaries and working conditions. The presence of British troops in Cyprus also contribute significantly to the influx of British holiday makers to our country.

I must admit though that I was highly disappointed by the stance and statement of the British Minister for Europe, Sir Alan Duncan, regarding the right of Cyprus to exploit the oil reserves within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Indirectly, but clearly, that statement gave the green light to Turkey to proceed with a second military invasion and usurp our resources as they did in 1974.

This was done at a critical time in our struggle for vindication against the Turks, who try to impose on us the terms of surrender due to their military might. As the discovery of gas in our EEZ changed the balance of power, so we hoped that the Turks would budge and allow a just solution, that they would not insist on an equal share on executive powers with a minority of eighteen per cent, nor take thirty per cent of Cyprus territory nor demand to transform Cyprus into a permanent Turkish protectorate. The statement of Sir Alan Duncan was a stab in our back. Britain being a guarantor power of Cyprus’ independence and territorial integrity should play a significant role in vindicating the people in Cyprus. Sir Alan Duncan is doing quite the opposite.

For some reason, we have forgotten and forgiven Britain for letting Greece and Turkey massacre the Cyprus population for their own interests. Britain had the political and military might to prevent both, just by telling them “Do not do it!” Nothing more! Britain unfortunately failed to act in both cases. Britain failed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Cyprus which she was bound to prevent by international treaty.

Britain’s latest stance through her Minister for Europe is unacceptable, outrageous and unforgivable.

So, it is with great regret that under these circumstances I decline the honour, and I cannot attend that event. I also urge all my compatriots to do the same. This is why I am also publishing this letter through the media.

George F Pittadjis, lawyer 

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