sábado, 5 de septiembre de 2015
MEP Eleni Theocharous on refugees: "All European countries have to share the burden"
What is the current situation of the conflict between Cyprus and Turkey?
As you know, Turkey is occupying 40% of the territory of Cyprus. This is unacceptable. It was imposed on Cyprus after the war of 1974. Turkey was just materializing its plans to recapture Cyprus after they sold it to the British Empire in 1918.
They are still occupying our land. They forced our people to flee. We are refugees in our own land and we are trying to survive. There are negotiations going on, but I am very pesimistic on the outcome of them.
Is there any possibility of an agreement?
If there is an agreement, it will not be a good one. Cyprus will be given to Turkey, I am 100% sure. It's a big mistake if they sign this agreement.
Why do you think the international community does not press on this conflict?
The international bodies don't care about it, they just want an agreement. There are a lot of people who want an agreement, any kind of it. And this is not fair. It is going to be a time bomb that will explode in the near future. The only agreement should be a fair one, respecting the human rights of all the people of Cyprus and restoring the peace.
It's possible to draw a parallel between the occupation of Cyprus and the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh?
A lot of people are asking the same question. There are no similarities. Karabakh was under occupation, the people fought bravely and won their liberty, their freedom. It's not a partition of Azerbaijan, an artificial State created by the Soviets. Artsakh was given to Azerbaijan without the will of the people. Winning their independance and their freedom is extremely different than the capture of a part of Cyprus by the invading forces of Turkey. There are no similarities.
On the issue that is currently under discussion, after the story of the drowned syrian boy, do you think that Europe could change its policy towards immigrants or refugees?
The European Union made a lot of mistakes concerning the developmental or foreign policies, and they continued making mistakes during the so called Arab Spring. In Lybia, in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Syria. It was the United States and Europe who created this monster known as Islamic fundamentalism. So, one thing is the waves of refugees coming from the Sub-Saharan Africa, and I believe it is a big mistake of Europe, because they spent a lot of money in the development of these countries, and this proves that didn't do de correct purpose. They couldn't make de people stay in their own lands, they just excited their imagination to move to Europe. In the Middle East, they created all these wars, and people are fleeing to survive, to rescue their lives and families. They are responsible because they created these refugees.
My opinion is that we must stop the war, find peaceful solutions in Middle East, so most of the people would return back. Nobody wants to leave their homes. On the other hand, if they continue staying in Europe, we have to share the burden. All European countries. Greece, for example, which is my country, is holding a big burden and we are very poor now. We face financial problems and we are at the border of the bankruptcy. We can't receive one million refugees every year, we have to send them to the other European countries, but they don't allow them to get in. Is that the European solidarity? Is that the Europe we dream of? Of course not. All the countries must share the burden. But, first of all, we must stop the waves of immigrants coming to Europe, either by establishing peace conditions in the Middle East so they stay in their homes, or by developing their countries.
It is possible to achieve peace in the Middle East in the short term?
Well, at least we must start. It's not fair for the people in the Middle East. It's not fair what they do to Gaza every year, or in southern Lebanon. Nobody knows about the situation there. I went to Syria during the war as a volunteer. The situation is awful. People live in absolut poverty and with high risk for their lives every day. They don't know if they will be alive the next hour. The same happens with the volunteers.
Did you visit the Syrian-Turkish border?
Not yet, but I'm planning to go there soon. As you know I'm one of the members of the European Parliament who opposes the access of Turkey to the European Union. For many reasons: for the Armenian Genocide, for the level of the human rights and democracy, for the invasion of my country, the occupation of Cyprus. I will fight against Turkey as long as I can and as long as they don't comply with the modern democratic ways. They can't have under occupation one of the countries of the European Union and knock the doors of the European Union.
I believe we must support any refugees without discrimination. But in order to prevent the new waves, we must establish conditions of security, safety, peace and give them the hope that one day things will get better.