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View from the North Site of Cyprus through the eyes of a Turkish Settlers’ daughter

Her name is Ayşegül. She is 28 years old. She works at a nail salon in Kyrenia.

She was born to settler parents 13 years after the division of the island, in a house that belongs to a displaced Greek Cypriot family. She has lived in Kyrenia all her life. She knows of no other life.

“I would never knowingly take away somebody else’s house,” she says. “Of course I can imagine the pain.”

Her parents were brought to Cyprus from a remote village in southeastern Turkey after late Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash, in May 1975 signed a secret protocol with Turkey named, ‘Ordinance on Overcoming the Shortage of Labour Force in the Turkish Region of Cyprus by Sending Labour Force from Turkey as Requested by the Turkish Cypriot Federated State.’

Ayşegül is just a face behind the numbers. She is one of the tens of thousands of Turkish settlers in Cyprus, whose future status is one of the most controversial issues for both communities. While the transfer of population is clearly a crime and a violation of international law, the expulsion of the entire settler population including their descendants is as inhumane as it is impossible.

Can individuals like Ayşegül be penalised for crimes committed by their home state causing an equally major humanitarian tragedy as the displacement of refugees?

This very contentious and controversial question should be debated not only as a legal, but also a humanitarian issue, leaving populism, stereotypes, fears and myths aside.

Read the full story found on in-cyprus.com

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