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Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what efforts are being made by Her Majesty's Government to prevent the ejection from, and facilitate the return to, their homes of Greek Cypriots from those areas occupied by Turkish forces as a result of the Turkish invasion.

The British Government are naturally concerned at reports that Greek Cypriots are being forced against their wishes to leave their homes in northern Cyprus. This concern has been made known to the Turkish Government and to the Turkish Cypriot authorities. This problem and other humanitarian problems in Cyprus are unlikely, however, to be completely resolved except within the context of an overall political settlement, which the British Government will continue to work hard to promote.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now implement in full the recommendations of the Select Committee appointed to investigate the Cyprus problem; to what extent the Turkish Government now admit responsibility for the looting of British property in the Turkish military zone; what steps are being taken to extract compensation from them; when he expects to settle the claims of British residents who have lost their property as a result of the Turkish action; and if he will insist upon freedom of movement for United Kingdom citizens in Cyprus both in present circumstances and in any possible future bizonal federation.

The Government's observations on the Select Committee's report on Cyprus were published on 4th August 1976. The Turkish Government have not accepted formal legal responsibility for claims, but have assured us that these will be considered on humanitarian principles and in a spirit of co-operation. I cannot say when all claims will be finally settled but negotiations are progressing satisfactorily. Representations in both Nicosia and Ankara have led, during the last year, to a considerable relaxation of the travel restrictions applying to British residents of northern Cyprus and those who own property there. We shall continue to work for further improvements.