Turkish Cypriots to Stage Human Rights Protest in Brussels - 24 April 2006London, 24 April 2006
: Over 150 protestors from the UK and North Cyprus will be heading to Brussels on Wednesday 26 April to protest at the failure of the European Union (EU) to lift the international isolation of Turkish Cypriots and their ethnic homeland of North Cyprus. The peaceful demonstration, dubbed "Gagged in Brussels", will coincide with the second anniversary of the EU Council of Ministers’ decision to end North Cyprus’ isolation and to provide financial aid for, and commence direct trade with Turkish Cypriots. To date, not a single embargo on North Cyprus has been lifted.
Human rights group Embargoed! and fifteen other NGOs will be staging a demonstration outside the Council of Ministers Justius Lipsus building on Rue de Loi – the heart of the EU – to protest against their inability to fulfill their commitment to end 42 years of embargoes on Turkish Cypriots. The Council announced the ending of the isolation on 26 April 2004, two days after the historic referenda to unify Cyprus, where 65% of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the Annan Plan, while 76% of Greek Cypriots voted against. Since the entry of Cyprus into the EU on 1 May 2004, only Greek Cypriots in South Cyprus have enjoyed full EU benefits and representation.
Embargoed! chairman Bülent Osman stated, “It beggars belief that we are in the twenty first century and yet here in the EU, people are still being forced to live under embargo. EU credibility is at stake over this issue: they claim to be a model of human rights and democracy, and yet here they are violating the rights of their own citizens in complete contradiction to the promises they made two years ago.”
The protest will commence at 13:00 and run until 16:00. At 15:30, a declaration will be read out, followed by the release of 42 balloons to symbolize the number of lost years for Turkish Cypriots living under embargoes. London based Embargoed! has also organized a number of meetings with MEPs and with representatives of Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn’s office, where they will present evidence of the adverse impact of the embargoes on Turkish Cypriots, and underline the need to fulfil the promises made two years ago to end all embargoes on North Cyprus immediately and without further conditions.
Dr. Bülent Dizdarli, President of the Cyprus Turkish Medical Association (CTMA) is flying from North Cyprus to join the protest. He said, “We have been under embargoes for decades, but the world doesn’t care. The CTMA is refused membership of international bodies and participation in their activities, making it difficult for our members to keep abreast of developments. As the bird flu incident recently proved, illness knows no boundaries, so how can they justify this inhumane isolation?”
Notes to editors
Representatives from the following North Cyprus NGOs and institutions will also be in attendance at the protest:
1. Hüseyin Ezgin, Representative of Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry
2. Ziya Özkosar, Representative of Cyprus Turkish Farmers Union
3. Dr. Bülent Dizdarli, President of the Cyprus Turkish Medical Association
4. Kamil B. Raif, Head of think tank DEKAP
5. Hakki Atun (former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus), Chair of Eastern Mediterranean University’s Strategic Research Centre (DAÜ-SAM)
6. Dr. Kaya Arslan, Representative of Eastern Mediterranean University
7. Mesut Günsev, President of the Foreign Press Association
8. Ms. Seniz Büyükkaraca, General Secretary for the International Council of North Cyprus (ULKON)
9. Bertan Özerdag, Representative of (North Cyprus) Law Association
10. Associate Prof. Dr. Cavit Atalar, Representative of Near East University
11. Aydin Yorgancioglu, Representing (North Cyprus) National Olympic Committee
12. Özbek Dedekorkut, Representative of (North Cyprus) Travel Agents
13. Ms. Remziye Özpolili, Representative of (North Cyprus) Young Business People’s Association
About Embargoed! – www.embargoed.org
Embargoed! is an independent human rights group campaigning for the immediate and unconditional end to all embargoes against North Cyprus. The group was launched on 4 March 2005 and aims to play an active role in raising awareness about the isolation of North Cyprus and lobbying world leaders and institutions to restore the fundamental political, economic and social rights of Turkish Cypriots.
• Telephone/fax: + 44 (0)20 8279 8561
• Email: email@example.com;
• Post: Embargoed! Suite 205, 14 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 1JY
Ms. Ýpek Özerim T: +44 (0)777 623 0466 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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