NEWS

No refugees left on Cyprus: Denktash

The Cypriot government expressed outrage on Saturday at a statement by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash who said that there were no refugees on the island, following the 1974 invasion by Turkey. Some 200,000 Greek Cypriots fled the north or were expelled and cannot go home, as the northern part of the island remains under Turkish military occupation. About 40,000 Turkish Cypriots left their homes in the south. Speaking to reporters on Friday after one of last week’s three meetings with President Glafcos Clerides, Denktash said that 28 years after the fighting «refugees no longer exist because they have all been settled.» Yesterday, Clerides replied: «The refugee problem should have been settled a long time ago… But it still exists and the struggle for its settlement and against the (Turkish) occupation has no time limit.» «The Denktash statement is simply outrageous,» government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said on Saturday. «Denktash is fully aware that it is the Turkish army’s weapons that prevent the refugees from returning to their homes,» he added. «The passage of time does not terminate the refugee status and neither does it erase the reasons why all these people have been kept away from their homes and property.»