Turkey, archive

AA photos reveal atrocities against Turkish Cypriots

Following European Court ruling against Turkey, Anadolu Agency releases archive pictures showing violence carried out against Turkish Cypriots

13.05.2014
AA photos reveal atrocities against Turkish Cypriots

By Betul Yuruk 

ANKARA 

Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency has released photos from its archives which reveal atrocities carried out by Greek Cypriots against Turkish Cypriots in the 1960s and 70s. 

The move on Tuesday follows a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights which ordered Turkey to pay €90 million (US$124 million) in compensation to Greek Cypriots as compensation for the Turkish military's peace operation in the north of the island in 1974.

The Greek Cypriot administration had filed a lawsuit in 1994 over the displacement of Greek Cypriots and people who went missing during the operation. 

The court on Monday found Turkey guilty of violating European human rights agreements, saying that the whereabouts of 1,491 Greek Cypriots was still unknown and 211,000 Greek Cypriots were forced out of their homes.

Turkish Cypriots have been a minority on the divided island of Cyprus since the 1950s. 

Mass graves

AA's photo archives display violence carried out against Turkish Cypriots in the villages of Murataga, Atillar and Sandallar as well as mass graves.

They also show the killings of more than 100 people in the villages, the displacement of Turkish Cypriots who were forced to live in tents and houses that were damaged. 

The Greek Cypriots claim that the Cyprus problem was caused by the landing of Turkish troops in 1974 and that if they had withdrawn, no problems would have existed. 

However, according to Turkey, the modern Cyprus question began in the 1960s and the landing of Turkish troops was the consequence - and not the cause - of the problem.

Greek Cypriots launched a campaign to annex the island to Greece in 1955, which ignited violence against Turkish Cypriots. 

Peace mission

Greek extremist group EOKA forced Turkish Cypriots out of their homes and killed those who were in their way as well as British and Turkish Cypriots and even some of their own people who were opposed to the idea of unifying the island with Greece. 

Following a military coup on the island conducted by the leader of the EOKA, Nikos Sampson, Turkey sent a peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.

During the Turkish military's operation in the north, 498 Turkish soldiers were killed and about 1,200 people wounded

A total of 270 Turkish Cypriot civilians also lost their lives and 1,000 people were wounded. 

Serdar Denktas, son of Rauf Denktas, the founding president of the republic, described the order from Europe’s top human rights court "a politically motivated move."

“This judgment was passed in order to punish Turkey and to gratify Greek Cypriots and Greece,” Denktas said.

Doubts cast on EU

It cast doubts as to what extent Turkey could trust the EU, he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that the country did not need to pay any compensation to Greek Cypriots. 

"The court cannot impose a penalty on Turkey over a country that we do not recognize," Davutoglu said. 

Turkey's EU minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the ruling of the court "unlawful."

Cavusoglu said that he hoped the court's decision would not affect settlement talks in Cyprus which he said were developing positively. 

He also added that the court's decision could not be implemented while the Cyprus negotiation process was under way.

englishnews@aa.com.tr

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