by Turkish settlers of the occupied part of Cyprus
1. The Parliamentary Assembly expresses its
deep disappointment at the failure of the negotiations under the aegis of the
United Nations aimed at achieving a functional and viable solution to the
Cyprus problem. It hopes, nevertheless, that the efforts will be resumed and
continued until a sustainable settlement is found.
2. It is a well-established fact that the
demographic structure of the island has been continuously modified since its de
facto partition in 1974, as a result of the deliberate policies of the
Turkish Cypriot administration and Turkey. Despite the lack of consensus on
the exact figures, all parties concerned admit that Turkish nationals have
since been systematically arriving in the northern part of the island.
According to reliable estimates, their number currently totals 115 000.
3. The settlers come mainly
from the region of Anatolia, one of the least developed regions of Turkey.
Their customs and traditions differ significantly from those present in
Cyprus. These differences are the main cause of the tensions and
dissatisfaction of the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population, who tend to view
the settlers as a foreign element.
4. In particular, the Assembly expresses its
concern at the continuous outflow of the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population
from the northern part of the island. Their number decreased from 118 000
in 1974 to an estimated 87 600 in 2001. In consequence, the settlers
outnumber the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population in the northern part.
5. In the light of the information available,
the Assembly cannot accept the claims that the majority of arriving Turkish
nationals are seasonal workers or former inhabitants who had left the island
before 1974. Therefore it condemns the policy of naturalisation designed
to encourage new arrivals which was introduced by the Turkish Cypriot
administration with the full support of the Government of Turkey.
6. The Assembly is convinced that the
presence of the settlers constitutes a process of hidden colonisation and an
additional and important obstacle to a peaceful negotiated solution of the
7. Therefore, the Assembly recommends that
the Committee of Ministers:
i. instruct the European Population
Committee (CAHP) to conduct a population census of the whole island, in
co-operation with the authorities concerned, in order to replace estimates
with reliable data;
ii. promote the idea of the creation, with
a contribution from the international community, of a fund which would
ensure the financing of any voluntary returns of the Turkish settlers to
iii. encourage the involvement of the
Council of Europe Development Bank and call on the governments of Turkey and
Cyprus to present concrete return projects for financing;
iv. call on Turkey, as well as its Turkish
Cypriot subordinate local administration in northern Cyprus, to stop the
process of colonisation by Turkish settlers and, in particular, call on the
Turkish Cypriot administration to review their migration legislation and
policies, and especially the law on naturalisation, with a view to revising
them and, in consequence, bringing them into line with international
v. call on Turkey to comply with the
decisions of the European Court of Human Rights concerning refugees right
to property in the occupied part of Cyprus;
vi. promote contacts and dialogue between
the civil societies of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
Assembly debate on 24 June 2003 (19th Sitting) (see Doc.
9799, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography,
rapporteur: Mr Laakso).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 24
June 2003 (19th Sitting).