The critical role of Cyprus’ legal framework in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem was at the centre of the discussions during the opening of the Cyprus Bar Association’s two-day conference called ‘Fifty Years of Invasion and Occupation: Extensions of International and European Law’.

Speakers highlighted the necessity of legal support in facing Turkey’s challenges and stressed the importance of international legal order in safeguarding Cyprus’ sovereign rights.

In his address Attorney-General George Savvides said the legal service is ready to confront any new challenges regarding the Cyprus problem, reiterating his support to President Nikos Christodoulides and his administration

Savvides pointed out that since the Cyprus problem is fundamentally about invasion and occupation, “international law serves as a powerful tool to counteract Turkish designs for further violations against Cyprus’ sovereignty over its land, airspace, and sea, as well as the rights of its people”.

He also mentioned that a team of distinguished foreign legal experts, working alongside the specialised legal team at the legal service, is always ready to provide legal support against new challenges posed by the occupying forces.

Memory needs to serve as a driving force for the resumption of talks to resolve the Cyprus problem,” he said.

Speaking after Savvides, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Migration Nikolas Ioannides said that the passage of time does not legitimise violations of international and EU laws, adding that international and European laws “serve the Republic with strong arguments to support its positions”.

He then urged not to undermine or diminish Cyprus’ legal framework but to enhance it further for the benefit of the country and the international community.

“We have the duty to leave a homeland for future generations where international law and EU principles are strictly applied,” he said. “The government is seeking a fair, lasting, and viable solution to the Cyprus problem that guarantees the inalienable rights of the Cypriot people, secures fundamental freedoms, and calls for the withdrawal of Turkish troops and settlers from our country.”

He also stressed that the political struggle must be conducted with patience, perseverance, and prudence, adhering firmly to just positions on the Cyprus problem.

“We do not waive or bargain away our rights.”

The chairman of the Cyprus Bar Association Michael Vorkas added Cyprus’ statehood survives “due to the resilience of Cypriot Hellenism and the efforts to assert its statehood as a UN and EU member, grounded in international law”.

“This is why Turkey has failed to achieve recognition for the entity it established in the occupied areas despite fifty years of effort,” he said.

Vorkas argued that international responses should not differ between Cyprus and countries like Ukraine.

“International law does not distinguish between small and large countries in its application,” he said, finally slamming the selective imposition of international sanctions and highlighting that “occupiers should not move freely in Europe, the UK, or the US”.