CoE takes aim at Turk Cypriots

In a double rap to the Turkish-Cypriot leadership, the Council of Europe yesterday expressed «shock» at the human rights violations suffered by members of the Greek-Cypriot and Maronite communities in occupied northern Cyprus and called on Ankara to stop the colonization of Turkish-controlled territory on the island. The council’s Parliamentary Assembly issued a resolution urging Ankara and the Turkish-Cypriot leadership to «cease all humiliation» of the communities, «put an end to the climate of intimidation and return their property and possessions,» ensure their freedom of education and worship and grant all inhabitants equal access to medical care and the right to freely choose their representatives. A separate report also urged an end to Turkish colonization and called for international funding to support settlers’ voluntary return to Turkey. The council estimated the current number of settlers at 115,000, while the Turkish-Cypriot population stood at 87,600 in 2001 – down from 118,000 in 1974, when Turkey invaded the island.

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