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RIZOKARPASSO ASSOCIATION TRIP TO EASTBOURNE 2019

Eastbourne was the destination this year for the annual summer seaside trip for the members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain. The group gathered and boarded their coach near the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green. On arrival everyone enjoyed the traditional seaside lunch of Fish & Chips at Qualisea Restaurant.

After lunch they appreciated the nice weather and fresh sea air and spent the afternoon either relaxing or walking along the seafront. However, some took advantage of the shopping opportunities in Eastbourne, which has a large shopping area with many well known shops as well as a street market. Before boarding the coach for the return journey most indulged in ice cream and/or doughnuts, declaring that they would diet the following day.

The coach journey was made more enjoyable with Greek music and people singing Greek songs e.g. “To Yelekaki”, Yialo YIalo”, “Samiotissa” led by the melodious voices of Keti and Andreas.

 Anastasis, who at 97 is our oldest Association member, has a wealth of knowledge about our unforgettable Rizokarpasso and its families; he has always been a staunch supporter of the Association and never misses an outing or an event. 

Members took the opportunity to exchange family information, recount memories of Rizokarpasso, and express their desire to return to their homes and properties in Rizokarpasso. They remembered the sacrifice of the remaining 228 enclaved Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpasso, whose numbers have declined over the years from over 3,000 Rizokarpassides prior to 1974. All said they wanted to send the NFC letter to their Members of Parliament  to seek their support for justice for Cyprus and to remind them of the 45 years of Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, the continued violation of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus and the latest announcement that Turkey is sending a second drilling ship, Yavuz, this time to a drilling site off the Karpas peninsula.  Many will attend the NFC annual Parliament event for Cyprus on Tuesday 17th July. The Association’s next opportunity for family and friends to meet will be at the Association’s Dinner and Dance at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood on Saturday 30th November.

Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain Annual General Meeting 12th May 2019

The 44th  Annual General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso held at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, North Finchley, gave the opportunity for the members present to discuss the many challenges faced by Cyprus and the specific issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for over 44 years and denied basic human rights. The members reported incidents that they have been made aware of by their enclaved relatives and which will be followed up by the Committee. The members passed a Resolution to be modified as appropriate and sent to the UK Prime Minister, President of the USA, President of the European Commission, President of the European Council, President of the European Parliament, UN Secretary General, NATO Secretary General, Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, and UK Ambassadors for Russia, China, France and Germany. 

Maria Karaolis, the President, presented a report of the Association’s activities since the last Annual General Meeting.  Andreas Gavrielides, the Treasurer, presented the Financial Report and Tony Vouros the Auditors Report.  The meeting finished with all the members enjoying souvlakia, catching up on news and discussing their arrangements for the Association’s summer trip to Eastbourne on Sunday 23rd June and to the Annual Dinner & Dance of the Association on Saturday 30th November. 

The 10 Executive Committee members for the period 2019-2021 are shown below. The strength of the Association is evident by the fact that the committee includes British born Cypriots and members who were born in Rizokarpasso and still have enclaved relatives there. 

Maria Karaolis

Andreas Gavrielides

Yiannis Chronias

Demetris Nicola

Nicki Elia

Andriana Maria Demetriou

Andreas Joannou

Maria Panteli

Kate Christoforou

Andreas Strongolo

Dear Prime Minister

Today at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain we resolved to call upon you not to waver from the principles that UK Governments have set out regarding human rights and the upholding of international law.  Rizokarpasso had nearly 4,000 Greek Cypriots prior to the 1974 Turkish invasion, they have now been reduced to 228 enclaved Greek Cypriots, who on a daily basis are denied basic human rights, and the properties of the Rizokarpasso refugees have been occupied by settlers from Turkey.

The 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the continued occupation of Cyprus by over 40,000 Turkish troops and over 200,000 settlers from Turkey violates human rights, fundamental freedoms and social justice and the very principles at the heart of democracy. Turkey is in flagrant violation of International Law and of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions including General Assembly Resolution 3212 (1974).  Furthermore, it is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies.

Turkey has proven time and again that it cannot refrain from interfering in Cyprus’ affairs. Turkey’s rhetoric is clear that it intends to continue to take unilateral actions and use its military power so that Turkey, itself, benefits from Cyprus’ natural resources. There have been countless occasions where the Turkish warship, ‘Barbaros’, has entered Cyprus’ territory without the consent of the Cypriot Government. In the last week, this has escalated as ‘Barbaros’ and the drilling ship, ‘Fatih’ (which translates to ‘Conqueror’ in English), have arrived in Cyprus’ EEZ with the intent to start drilling for natural resources.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, has described Turkey’s recent illegal incursion as a “second invasion” and it comes nearly 45 years after Turkish troops landed in Cyprus in July 1974. Cypriot authorities have taken steps to issue an international arrest warrant for the crew of ‘Fatih’ and all those involved in the illegal drilling operation. They are also examining a series of other possible measures, within the context of EU and International law. Cypriot Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, has confirmed that Cyprus has submitted the coordinates delineating the boundaries of its EEZ and continental shelf to the United Nations. There has already been strong international condemnation expressed regarding Turkey’s latest actions. 

We ask that our UK Government takes sustained action to ensure Turkey removes its warships and drillship from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and respects the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and International Law.  The Republic of Cyprus must be allowed to exercise its sovereign and legal right to explore and exploit its natural resources, uninhibited. A sovereign right which must be respected according to international law. At a time when the coalition nations have been using UK bases in Cyprus for global security reasons it is important that powerful nations and international bodies act with integrity to stop Turkey from threatening and violating the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU state, a member of the UN and of the Commonwealth and is a democracy that provides stability, support and refuge in a volatile region. . The UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a leading member of NATO and of the Commonwealth, a member of the Council of Europe, is still a member of the  European Union, and has sovereign bases on the island: no other state has such vested historic, cultural, strategic and national interests in Cyprus.

We believe that Turkey’s role as a NATO member should be reviewed and its progress towards EU membership should be frozen until it complies with international law and UN Resolutions. Turkey mistreats its minorities, violates freedom of speech, restricts the media and press. We believe that Turkey should comply with International Law and abide by the values upheld by the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe of which Turkey is a Member State.  Furthermore, we believe a negotiated solution for Cyprus should encompass:

  1. The reunification of the island and people of Cyprus.
  2. The removal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus.
  3. The repatriation to Turkey of over 200,000 illegal settlers in Cyprus.
  4. The return of all properties to their lawful owners.
  5. The return of all the refugees to their homes and properties in safety.
  6. The abolition of the anachronistic Guarantor Status held by other countries.
  7. The full and effective investigation of the fate of all the missing persons.

RIZOKARPASSO DINNER & DANCE 2018

The Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain on November 24th held its annual Charity Dinner and Dance at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood, which it filled to full capacity. All age groups were represented, ranging from 1 to 96 years of age, proud of their roots and not prepared to forget that Rizokarpasso belongs to them.   The music had toddlers to pensioners on the dance floor, in what was a joyful community atmosphere where people ate a delicious  traditional souvla  meal, danced and enjoyed the company of friends and relatives at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood. Zacharias Koullas and guests came to London from Brighton to enjoy the evening.  Present amongst the guests were the Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Nicholas Manolis, The Rt. Revd. Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou, the Member of Parliament for Finchley & Golders Green, Mike Freer, and the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Christos Karaolis.   

Maria Karaolis, the President of the Association of Rizokarpasso thanked those present at the Charity Dinner and Dance saying that they, together with the brochure advertisers and the providers of raffle prizes and donations had, once again, enabled the Association to send, via the Cyprus High Commission, a €50 Christmas present to each of the 48 schoolchildren enclaved in Rizokarpasso. She also spoke of the hardship and sacrifices of enclaved friends, relatives and compatriots in Rizokarpasso, who, since the 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, have been denied the basic human rights and freedom that all other European citizens enjoy as well as suffering violence and intimidation, which had reduced the Greek Cypriot population of Rizokarpasso from around 4,000 people in 1974 to less than 250. 

Mrs Karaolis stated that Turkey muzzles democracy, imprisons Government critics, closes down media outlets, imprisons journalists, fails to abide by Agreements, ignores the Geneva Convention, ignores UN Resolutions, mistreats its religious and ethnic minorities, including the sizable Kurdish minority community which is 25% of Turkey’s population.  Turkey does not share Western interests or European values of democracy, respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, equality and the rule of law; it violates the Republic of Cyprus airspace and Exclusive Economic Zone. Turkey’s anachronistic Guarantor Power for Cyprus should end; its illegal occupation of Cyprus should end and Turkey should withdrawal its troops and illegal settlers from Cyprus and allow the return of all refugees to their homes and properties.  The Republic of Cyprus is an independent country and a member of the UN, the EU, the Commonwealth and is a valued, stable, reliable, democratic, ally in a very volatile region. She expressed the hope that talks would resume in a manner that could lead to a just, viable and lasting solution that will reunify the island, terminate Turkey’s illegal actions, which are a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and against international law, and allow all of the Cypriots to live together throughout the island in a peaceful and safe Republic of Cyprus. 

She informed members that in the summer the Rt Hon. Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green had, unsuccessfully, tried to persuade the authorities to allow direct flights to the occupied  area and that on November 15th, when members were picketing outside the Turkish Embassy against the illegal UDI, he was celebrating the anniversary of the illegal UDI with the representatives of the illegal regime at the prestigious Hyatt Regency London. She emphasised that members should engage with their political representatives and promote a free, united Cyprus.

Maria Karaolis thanked all the Presidents, Officers and Committee Members of the Association their dedication and hard work.  She also thanked all members, friends, advertisers, providers of raffle prizes and those who had made donations who had supported and sustained the Association since its formation in 1975.  She wished everyone a Happy

Christmas and a New Year, 2019, full of happiness, prosperity and good health; a New Year that brings Freedom, Joy and Justice throughout Cyprus. 

She ended her speech by calling for Maria Mouzouris, a long term member of the Association, to come to the front of the hall, where, to her surprise, she was presented with a bouquet of flowers from the Association.  Mrs Mouzouris had an even bigger surprise when a 90th Birthday cake was brought out for her and pastichia given to all present; organised by her daughter Tina. Everyone present sang Happy Birthday to Maria and made her 90th birthday celebration memorable and enjoyable for all.

DAY TRIP TO BRIGHTON 2018

Members of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain enjoyed a day trip to Brighton on a very sunny and hot day. The group gathered and boarded their coach near the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green. On arrival in Brighton the group attended the service at the Greek Orthodox Church of Ayia Triadas where they were met by Church Committee Treasurer,  Zacharias Koullas, whose family roots are from Rizokarpasso; at the end of the service they had refreshments in the sunshine outside the church.  Lunchtime the group enjoyed the traditional seaside lunch Fish & Chips at The Regency Restaurant. The service for our large group of 50 was quick and the food was delicious.  

After lunch everyone enjoyed the sunshine and fresh sea air either relaxing or walking along the seafront.  The coach journeys were made more enjoyable with members singing many well known Greek songs such as “Yerakina”, “Bera Stou Bera Kambou”, “O Mikros O Kinigos”, “ Loulla Mou Maroulla Mou”, “To Yelekaki”, “Yialo, Yialo”,  “Samiotissa”.  The singing was led by Keti, Kyriakou, Anna and Andreas and everyone joined in. As always the traditional Shinnopittes prepared by 92 year old Katina, for the outing, were enthusiastically received by all as were the sweets, nuts etc that various members had brought to share. Anastasis, who at 96 is our oldest Association member has a wealth of knowledge about our unforgettable Rizokarpasso and its families. Members were delighted to see 86 year old Michalis Lidas on the trip.  Michalis had served continuously on the Rizokarpasso Association Committee since it was formed in 1975, retiring last year due to poor health. 

Members took the opportunity to exchange family information, recount memories of Rizokarpasso and express their desire to return to their homes and properties in Rizokarpasso. They remembered the sacrifice of the remaining 228 enclaved Greek Cypriots in Rizokarpasso, whose numbers have declined over the years from over 3,000 Rizokarpassides prior to 1974. All said they wanted to send the NFC letter to their Members of Parliament  to remind them of the 44 years of Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and to ask for their MPs support for justice for Cyprus.  Many will attend the NFC annual Parliament event on Tuesday 10th July.

The Association’s next opportunity for family and friends to meet will be at the Association’s Dinner and Dance at the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood on Saturday 24th November.

Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain Annual General Meeting 13th May 2018

The 43rd  Annual General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso held in the hall of the Cypriot Community Centre, Wood Green, was well attended, and gave the opportunity for the members present to discuss the many challenges faced by Cyprus and the specific issues regarding Rizokarpasso, especially in relation to the plight of compatriots who have been enclaved for over 43 years and denied basic human rights. Maria Karaolis, the President, presented a report of the Association’s activities since the last General Meeting.  Andreas Gavrielides, the Treasurer’s Report. Pavlos Pavlou presented the Auditors Report. The meeting finished with all the members enjoying souvlakia, catching up on news and discussing their arrangements for the Association’s summer trip to Brighton on Sunday 24th June and to the Annual Dinner & Dance of the Association on Saturday 24th November. The AGM was attended by the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Christos Karaolis.

The members passed a Resolution to be modified as appropriate and sent to the UK Prime Minister, President of the USA, President of the European Commission, President of the European Council, President of the European Parliament, UN Secretary General, NATO Secretary General, Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations and the President of the Republic of Cyprus. The letter to the UK Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Theresa May:

Dear Prime Minister

Today at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain we resolved to call upon you not to waver from the principles that UK Governments have set out regarding human rights and the upholding of international law. The future of Cyprus is delicately balanced: we hope that future talks between the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades and the Leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci, will be more successful than those of the past. However, the key to any solution lies in Ankara, which to date has not demonstrated a willingness to support a solution with deeds.   Recently Turkey has continued to ignore international law and once again violated the EEZ of Cyprus by sending Turkish warships that prevented the Italian exploration vessel from drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ. Such bullying gunboat diplomacy has no place in the 21st Century.

Rizokarpasso, in occupied northern Cyprus, had approximately 4,000 Greek Cypriot inhabitants 43 years ago when Turkey invaded Cyprus. Only 228 enclaved Greek Cypriots, of whom 45 are school children, remain in Rizokarpasso.   On a daily basis, the enclaved are denied human rights and basic freedoms. In October last year the illegal regime in occupied northern Cyprus stopped the UN humanitarian aid being taken to the enclaved by imposing duties on the aid.  Last week the illegal regime allowed the resumption of UN humanitarian aid. The desecration of the cemetery in Rizokarpasso and the looting and destruction of most of the churches is part of the cultural destruction of the occupied areas which is Turkey’s deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing so that all traces of Greek Cypriot presence in northern Cyprus is eradicated. Our members, were either born in Rizokarpasso or their parents or grandparents were and they look to their UK  Government to play a crucial role in supporting and influencing a just solution for all the legal citizens of Cyprus.

The UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a leading member of NATO and of the Commonwealth, a member of the Council of Europe, is still a member of the  European Union, and has sovereign bases on the island: no other state has such vested historic, cultural, strategic and national interests in Cyprus.

At a time when the coalition nations are using UK bases in Cyprus for global security reasons it is important that powerful nations and international bodies act with integrity to stop Turkey from threatening and violating the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU state, a member of the UN and of the Commonwealth and is a democracy that provides stability, support and refuge in a volatile region.

We urge you to ensure that your administration remains committed to the UK’s obligations as set out in International Law and the Treaty of Guarantee. The UK’s continued, constructive contribution is key to progress, not least in the form of pressure upon Turkey to bring about a more positive and constructive engagement.  We trust that you took the opportunity during President Erdogan’s visit to stand firm on the UK’s commitment to the principles which should guide you and your

government’s actions in relation to Cyprus; human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law: values which, by its actions, Turkey does not uphold.  Furthermore, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, over 200,000 Turkish nationals were transferred  from Turkey to settle in northern Cyprus and take over the homes and properties of Greek Cypriots.

The continued occupation of Cyprus by over 40,000 Turkish troops and over 200,000 settlers from Turkey violates human rights, fundamental freedoms and social justice and the very principles at the heart of democracy. Turkey is in flagrant violation of International Law and of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions including General Assembly Resolution 3212 (1974).  We believe that Turkey’s role as a NATO member should be reviewed and its progress towards EU membership should be frozen until it complies with international law and UN Resolutions. Turkey mistreats its minorities, violates freedom of speech, restricts the media and press; it is not a democracy and should not be allowed to exploit the current migration crisis in Europe. We believe that Turkey should comply with International Law and abide by the values upheld by the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe of which Turkey is a Members State.  Therefore, a negotiated solution for Cyprus should encompass:

  1. The reunification of the island and people of Cyprus.
  2. The removal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus.
  3. The repatriation to Turkey of over 200,000 illegal settlers in Cyprus.
  4. The return of all properties to their lawful owners.
  5. The return of all the refugees to their homes and properties in safety.
  6. The abolition of the anachronistic Guarantor Status held by other countries.
  7. The full and effective investigation of the fate of all the missing persons.

DINNER & DANCE – 25TH NOVEMBER 2017

The Association of Rizokarpasso in Britain on November 25thheld its annual Charity Dinner and Dance at the Grand Palace Banqueting Suite. All age groups were represented, proud of their roots and not prepared to forget that Rizokarpasso belongs to them.  The music had people from all age groups on the dance floor from the toddlers to pensioners, in what was a joyful community atmosphere where people ate a delicious meal, danced and enjoyed the company of friends and relatives.

Present amongst the guests were the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in the UK, Evripides Evriviades, The Rt. Revd. Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou, the Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate, Bambos Charalambous and the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, Christos Karaolis.   Cousins Katina Chrysostomou and Katina Michanicou, both aged 91 and very active members of the Association, were presented with bouquets to celebrate their Names Day festival of Ayia Katerina. Both have continuously supported the Cyprus cause and attended the July Rally for Cyprus and November Picket outside the Turkish Embassy. Their advancing years have not prevented them from participating in Association events or dampened their desire to see a free united Cyprus and the return of their properties in Rizokarpasso.

Dinner&Dance
25 November 2017

Maria Karaolis, the President of the Association of Rizokarpasso thanked those present at the Charity Dinner and Dance and said: “You being here this evening together with the advertisers in our brochure and donors of raffle prizes has enabled us once again to send each enclaved school child in Rizokarpasso a €50 Christmas present in a personalised Christmas card.  We have sent a Christmas present to the Rizokarpasso school children every year since 2005 when there were 61 school children.  Year by year their numbers fell and by 2011 there were 35 school children.  Since then they have been increasing, last year there were 41 and this year there are 45 school children.  We are grateful to the Cyprus High Commission in London for arranging the delivery of the Christmas presents to the children in Rizokarpasso.  Many of the students who finish the Rizokarpasso Gymnasion go on to university in Cyprus and abroad.  In 2005 Demetris Kotsiekkas was in his first year in Gymnasion, in 2015 whilst studying Law at the University of Cyprus he gained the European Union ERASMUS internship and came to London at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution.  He has graduated and is now at the University of Cyprus undertaking research.  We are proud of the enclaved Rizokarpassides and the successes of their children.  However, we also remember the hardship and sacrifices of our enclaved friends, relatives and compatriots in Rizokarpasso, who for the last 43 years, since the 1974 Turkish invasion and continued occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, have guarded our rights to our properties whilst they, on a daily basis are denied the basic human rights and freedom that all other European citizens enjoy. They have suffered violence and intimidation, which has seen the Greek Cypriot population of Rizokarpasso reduced from around 4,000 people in 1974 to less than 250 of whom 45 are schoolchildren.  Since October this year the UN Humanitarian Aid taken to the enclaved in Rizokarpasso has been subject to customs duties by the regime in occupied Cyprus and so the UN no longer takes provisions and only takes medicines to the enclaved.  Furthermore, 5 teachers were refused permission to teach in the Rizokarpasso schools and had to be replaced and 8 textbooks were prohibited.”

She continued: “Turkey is considered by our Government and other Western nations to be an important NATO ally that holds the key to Western security and the control of migration.  Turkey wants to join the EU yet muzzles democracy, imprisons Government critics, since July 2016 Turkey has closed down more than 180 media outlets and imprisoned 281 of its journalists. It also fails to abide by Agreements, ignores the Geneva Convention, ignores UN Resolutions, mistreats its religious and ethnic minorities; the Kurdish minority community is 25% of Turkey’s population.  Turkey does not share our Western interests or European values of democracy, respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, equality and the rule of law. Turkey says that it wants the negotiations on Cyprus to be successful yet it violates the Republic of Cyprus airspace and Exclusive Economic Zone. Turkey insists on keeping its anachronistic Guarantor Power for Cyprus.  The Republic of Cyprus is an independent country and a member of the UN, the EU, the Commonwealth and is a valued, stable, reliable, democratic, ally in a very volatile region; it doesn’t need Guarantors. Let us hope that the talks will resume in a manner that can lead to a just and viable solution that will reunify the island, terminate Turkey’s illegal actions, which are a violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and against international law, and allow all of the Cypriots to live together throughout the island in a peaceful and safe Republic of Cyprus.  Our Association was formed immediately after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and has all these years campaigned tirelessly for the rights of the enclaved, for an end to the illegal occupation of Cyprus, the withdrawal of Turkish troops and illegal settlers and for the return of all refugees to their homes and properties.”

Maria Karaolis concluded by thanking all the Presidents, Officers and Committee Members of the Association over the last 43 years for their dedication and hard work.  She also thanked all members, friends, advertisers, providers of raffle prizes and those who had made donations who had supported and sustained the Association since its formation in 1975.  She wished everyone a Happy Christmas and a New Year, 2018, full of happiness, prosperity and good health; a New Year that brings Freedom, Joy and Justice throughout Cyprus.


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