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Political parties, the APPG for Cyprus and individual MPs have condemned Turkey's illegal EEZ incursion, following representations from the Federation

18 Μάιος 2019
 
 
 
Cyprus Briefing
 
 
18 May 2019
 
 
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  • Political parties, the APPG for Cyprus and individual MPs have condemned Turkey's illegal EEZ incursion, following representations from the Federation
  • As a Federation, we wrote an open letter to the Minister for Europe on behalf of UK Cypriots asking him to clarify the comments he made in the House of Commons on Tuesday. The FCO issued a new statement on Thursday calling on Turkey "not to drill in this area".
  • Make sure your MP is also speaking out by sending them an email viawww.cypriotfederation.org.uk/mp - please share with your friends and family!
 
 
UK responds to Turkey’s illegal incursion in Cyprus’ EEZ
 
 
 
Last Saturday, our ‘Cyprus Briefing’ email reported the deeply concerning recent actions that Turkey has taken towards attempting illegal drilling for natural resources in the Republic of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We urge all UK Cypriots to make sure that their MP is calling for Turkey to remove its warships and drillship, as well as supporting a free, united Cyprus by sending them an email viawww.cypriotfederation.org.uk/MP
 
Reaction to Turkey's illegal incursion
 
There has been a strong reaction since our call on the UK political establishment to condemn Turkey’s illegal EEZ incursion.
 
Following representations from the Federation, we have received the following statements from UK Political Parties & All Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus condemning Turkey’s illegal incursion:
 
 
Fabian Hamilton MP (Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament), on behalf of the Labour Party:
 
"The announced intentions of Turkey to carry out exploration and drilling in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are wholly unacceptable.
 
"Sending in a drill ship to the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus is an irresponsible act of aggression that cannot be justified. Turkey must show respect for the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and the relevant provisions of International Law by removing its drill ship. We welcome the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus’ sovereign fund so that the benefit of any exploitation in the EEZ can be shared with all Cypriots. The Labour Party is calling for negotiations to re-commence, so the island can be re-united."
Stephen Gethins MP (Foreign Affairs Spokesperson), on behalf of the Scottish National Party:

"I have written to Jeremy Hunt over Turkey’s drilling operations within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. This is a violation of Cypriot sovereignty according to EU and International Law".
Tom Brake MP (Spokesperson for the Office of First Secretary of State), on behalf of the Liberal Democrats:
 
"Turkey’s continual breaches of international law in the Republic of Cyprus are reprehensible and unacceptable and should be met with concern and condemned. It is important that the international community supports Cyprus’ sovereignty and ensures that international law is upheld, as this is the best way to reduce tensions. The UK Government must continue to make firm representations to its Turkish counterparts about Turkey's aggressive act and British Parliamentarians must continue to show their support for Cyprus."
 
 
Mike Gapes MP (Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs), on behalf of Change UK - The Independent Group:
 
“Turkey has no right to drill and explore for hydrocarbons in the Republic of Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic (EEZ) and its intention to do so is completely unacceptable.
 
"Turkey must respect international law and the Republic of Cyprus' sovereignty by removing its drill ship immediately. Negotiations between the two communities must re-commence as soon as possible.”
Michal Chantkowski and Alice Hubbard (International Coordinators), on behalf of the Green Party of England and Wales:
 
"Turkey must not continue with the plans to start drilling activities within the area covered by the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. Drilling for oil within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus violates international law, violates maritime safety procedures and puts the Cyprus peace process at risk.
 
"Standing for the principles of non-violence and anti-colonialism, the Green Party takes a clear stance against such plans.
 
"We call on the UK government to make it clear to the Turkish government that this illegal activity which endangers not just peace, but also the environment must not be undertaken. We also maintain that fossil fuel extraction across the world should cease as soon as possible, given the climate change crisis which endangers all life on our planet."
Sir Roger Gale MP (Chair), on behalf of the APPG for Cyprus:
 
"As Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cyprus I condemn the illegal incursion by Turkey into the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ. Turkey must respect International Law and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and immediately withdraw its drill ship and warships.
 
"The unlawful action taken by Turkey can only serve to heighten tension in the region and impede progress towards a resolution of the division of the island of Cyprus and of its communities."
 
In addition, Conservative MPs Theresa Villiers MP, Julian Knight MP, Matthew Offord MP, and Labour MPs Bambos Charalambous MP and Catherine West MP have called on the UK Government to condemn Turkey’s actions.
 
Reaction to Europe Minister's response on drilling in disputed waters
 
At Foreign & Commonwealth Office (“FCO”) questions on Tuesday 14 May, Bambos Charalambous MP asked whether the Minister for Europe will “join me in condemning the decision of the Turkish Government to begin drilling for oil and gas in the territorial waters of Cyprus”. The Minister responded by saying “drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute”.
 
The Minister’s statement triggered a strong response from the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, on behalf of the UK Cypriot community, as well as from the President of Cyprus – who described Sir Alan Duncan MP as “unacceptable”. Furthermore, the President of Cyprus announced that he would be writing to the Prime Minister and the British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Mr Stephen Lillie, was called to the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain the statement further. The High Commissioner for Cyprus to the UK, Euripides Evriviades, also met with the Europe Minister on Wednesday evening.
 
The Federation also made rapid, decisive and clear representations to Her Majesty’s Government on behalf of the UK Cypriot community, to express our community's deep concern about the response. The Federation’s President, Christos Karaolis, wrote an open letter to the Minister for Europe on Wednesday 15th May, calling his statement “politically and legally unacceptable”, urging him to rapidly clarify his response to Mr Charalambous MP (given that Cyprus’ EEZ is not disputed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea), and to condemn Turkey’s illegal incursion as well as taking steps to remove warships and drillship from Cyprus’ EEZ.
 
 
Following our open letter and representations from the Federation, there was a strong reaction across Parliament. The Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament, Fabian Hamilton MP, wrote a letter to Sir Alan Duncan MP, describing his response as “shocking” and called for the FCO to “condemn Turkey’s illegal incursion”. Read the full text of the Labour Party’s response here. Tom Brake MP, on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, said, “[I] will write a further letter expressing my concern” to the Minister over his response to Bambos Charalambous MP. In addition, several Conservative MPs including Sir Roger Gale MP and Theresa Villiers MP have sent our open letter to the Minister asking for an urgent response. Ms Villiers also tabled a number of written questions to the Minister seeking further clarification. Mike Freer MP, a Government Whip, also sought urgent clarification from the Minister about his statement on Tuesday evening.
 
Updated statement from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office
 
On Thursday afternoon, in response to a question from the Cyprus News Agency, a Foreign Office spokesperson repeated the statement made by the Minister for Europe, but now added that the UK has “called on Turkey not to drill in this area”. It also says that the UK “continues to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone”. The FCO statement reads:
 
“We are following developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with concern. We would like to see the situation deescalated.
 
“With reference to Turkey’s planned drilling, as the Minister for Europe and the Americas stated on 14 May, the position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute. We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area.
 
“We also continue to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.
 
“We continue to believe Cyprus’ oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.”
 
 
 
Vote in the European Elections on Thursday 23 May
 
This Thursday (23 May), elections for Members of the European Parliament will be taking place across the UK. Given the election system is based on the d'Hondt system of proportional representation, we will be voting for political parties.
 
Based on the vote share that each political party receives per region, it will be allocated a specific number of seats for that region, in the European Parliament. The MEPs who take the seats will be determined based on a ranked list of candidates that each political party has already prepared.

We urge everyone in our community to turn out and vote:
 
Our Vote is Our Voice - we must make it heard!
 
 
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