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The death of F.W. de Klerk, Apartheid in Cyprus and the ‘UDI’ of 15 November 1983

Dear friend

Lobby for Cyprus marks the passing of F.W. de Klerk, the renowned South African lawyer, politician and Nobel peace laureate who died on 11 November 2021, aged 85. From 1989 until 1994, F.W. de Klerk served as the last President of South Africa during its long era of Apartheid.

Anti-occupation campaigners in the UK call for an end to apartheid in the Republic of Cyprus © Lobby for Cyprus

Together with Nelson Mandela and others, he was one of the co-dismantlers of Apartheid and one of the co-architects of the new post-Apartheid South Africa, imperfect though it has proven to be.

  • Apartheid is intrinsically inhumane.

It is a guarantee of separation, segregation, discrimination and inequality. Yet, as Lobby for Cyprus has been repeatedly warning since it was founded in 1992, during the Presidency of F.W. de Klerk, the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus continue to be oppressed by a pernicious variant of Apartheid, as enforced by Turkey and as tolerated by all those states that have chosen to appease successive Turkish governments.

Not only have the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus been constitutionally segregated along neo-Ottoman lines into ‘two communities’ consisting of ‘Greek Cypriots’ and ‘Turkish Cypriots’. In addition, as the prelude to the formation of a proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’, those citizens have been physically segregated, by force, with the members of each ‘community’ effectively compelled to inhabit their own separate ‘zone’.

The enforced Apartheid-style physical segregation of citizens has its origins in the Ottoman separation of non-Muslims from Muslims and in the segregationist policies of Turkey, the colonial ruler of Cyprus from 1571 until 1878, as formulated during the 1950s but updated during the 1960s. However, Apartheid reached its peak in the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 and in the years that followed. In 1974, Turkey exploited a coup to invade the Republic, occupy 36 per cent of territory as well as 57 per cent of its coastline and begin an inhumane programme of demographic engineering, including the ethnic cleansing of the Turkish-occupied north.

Since 1974, the de facto population of the Turkish-occupied north has been illegally supplemented by Turkish armed forces, colonists from Turkey and countless other people from around the world including ‘students’, irregular migrants and the victims of human trafficking who have illegally entered the occupied north, contrary to the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.

On 15 November 1983, the illegal occupation authorities issued a ‘unilateral declaration of independence’ (‘UDI’) purportedly establishing the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’. As implied by its name, this de facto secessionist entity was established by Turks for Turks with the aim or effect of reinforcing Turkey’s stranglehold over the Turkish-occupied north, diverting attention away from the ongoing occupation by Turkey and enhancing the pre-existing Apartheid.

More recently, in 2017, the illegal occupation authorities reportedly reserved a beach area in Turkish-occupied Famagusta for the exclusive use of Turks only. At the time, that beach was rightly condemned as an ‘Apartheid beach’.

None of this should come as any surprise. Turkey has refused to sign let alone ratify a series of international treaties on the Crime of Apartheid. These include the 1973 United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (https://bit.ly/3FdXsX4), the 1985 International Convention Against Apartheid in Sports (https://bit.ly/3otgaTN) and the 1998 Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (https://bit.ly/3nhi6zC), the latter of which underlines that Apartheid is a crime against humanity.

As for the UN Security Council, apart from adopting a series of largely ineffective Resolutions that have branded the purported ‘UDI’ as ‘legally invalid’, it has done nothing to overturn the Apartheid that has been inflicted in the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the UN, the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe and, since 2004, the European Union.

In an interview granted by him in retirement, F.W. de Klerk reflected on his achievement as President of South Africa. He recalled that he had ‘played an integral part’ in helping to formulate a ‘new vision… that we must abandon apartheid and accept one united South Africa with equal rights for all, with all forms of discrimination to be scrapped from the statute book.’ (https://bit.ly/3F7c3nc)

Lobby for Cyprus draws inspiration from these words. Lobby for Cyprus, therefore, calls for an immediate end to the ongoing Turkish occupation and, by means of a transparent and otherwise fair peace process, for the formation of one truly united as well as unitary Republic of Cyprus with equal rights for all of its citizens and with all forms of Apartheid, segregation, discrimination and inequality eradicated from it..

  • Lobby for Cyprus thanks Klearchos A. Kyriakides for his assistance in the preparation of this statement.

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