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Volume 889: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in negotiating with the Turkish Government for compensation for the British owners of land in Cyprus now under Turkish control.

We continue to press for a positive response from the Government of Turkey to the repeated representations made by Her Majesty's Ambassador at Ankara about the establishment of compensation procedures.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Will he pay special attention to the plight of those British citizens whose land in Cyprus has been seized by the Turks and who, because they happen to have been born in Cyprus, may have unwittingly acquired dual British-Cypriot nationality? Will he assure that representations are made by Her Majesty's Government on their behalf to the Turkish Government?

We are conscious of these problems, particularly the one referred to by my hon. Friend. We continue to make representations from time to time, varying in strength and in our attitude according to the depth of suffering. My hon. Friend referred to a group of people who are suffering particularly. I promise that we shall continue to do what we can, but my hon. Friend must understand that in the Cyprus situation our powers are limited. However, we shall continue to press as far and as fast as we can.

On the question of representations to the Turkish Government, is it not a fact that they are now suggesting that such representations should be made to the Federal Turkish authorities in Cyprus? Does the Minister accept that this is a foolish and unworthy distinction? Will he tell the House whether he is in fact negotiating these matters with the Turkish Government at home or with the Turkish authorities in Cyprus? Indeed, was not most or much of the damage caused by Turkish troops under Turkish command?

I do not wish to comment on the hon. Gentleman's definition of foolish and unworthy distinctions. I should like to make it clear that we expressed our position in this House on the day that the so-called federated State of Cyprus was declared. Our position is that the legitimate government of Cyprus has not altered because of the unilateral declaration. Notwithstanding that, we have special obligations, in practice as well as in principle, to British citizens who are suffering in Cyprus at the moment. Because of that, we thought it right to make representations both to the Turkish Government in Ankara and to the local authorities in Cyprus. I am sure that we are right to continue to do that.