Of the 39 Cypriot Municipalities, 9 are under Turkish military occupation since 1974 (AKANTHOU, FAMAGUSTA, KARAVAS, KYRENIA, KYTHREA, LAPITHOS, LEFKONIKON, LYSI and MORPHOU) as a result of the ongoing occupation of 37% of Cypriot territory by Turkey after the 1974 invasion.
Since then, these nine municipalities have been displaced: They maintain their legal identity although the Mayors and Municipal Councils are temporarily displaced to the free part of the island along with the majority of their voters. When municipal elections are held in Cyprus, the displaced residents vote both for their occupied Municipality of origin and for their new Municipality of residence.
The nine Occupied Municipalities compose, in the framework of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, the Committee of Cyprus Occupied Municipalities, whose mission is raising awareness and sensitising on the matter of the Cyprus Problem both in Cyprus and abroad as well as promoting the interests of the displaced population through the organisation of events, meetings with local and international actors, constant participation in international fora and the production and projection of awareness material (films, photographic exhibitions, booklets, etc.) among others.
BASIC POSITIONING OF THE OCCUPIED MUNICIPALITIES ON THE CYPRUS PROBLEM
The Committee of Cyprus Occupied Municipalities supports the efforts for vindication of the Greek Cypriot population, liberation and reunification of our island, in the context of a solution that will provide the right to return to all refugees and the exercise of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms on the basis of the United Nations Charter and Resolutions as well as the acquis communautaire.
The Commission calls for the withdrawal of all occupying troops and settlers from the Cypriot territories and the abolition of guarantees. It also strongly condemns the destruction and erosion of our Cultural Heritage, which is a valuable piece of European and World Heritage by the occupying power. In addition, the Committee of Occupied Municipalities opposes the sale of Greek Cypriot properties in the Occupied Areas, acknowledging the risk of changing data on the ground.
The Committee of Occupied Municipalities, representing the whole of the Cyprus refugee world, promotes the engagement of the people in efforts to restore their rights. In this context, it strives with all its might to translate the will to return to the youth that has no experience of the birth land, by enhancing the ties of memory with our occupied ground.
Finally, the Committee, recalling that the refugee population constitutes the spearhead of the Cyprus problem and its consequences, demands to be of the utmost importance by the Government and the political sphere through regular updating on our national issue as well as view exchange.
COMMITTEE OF CYPRUS OCCUPIED MUNICIPALITIES FOR THE 2017 – 2021 MUNICIPAL MANDATE
PRESIDENT (until 15.7.2019): ✝Alexis Galanos, Ammochostos Mayor
PRESIDENT (from 12.9.2019): Petros Kareklas, Kythrea Mayor
VICE-PRESIDENT: Victor Hadjiavraam, Morphou Mayor
Simos Ioannou, Ammochostos Mayor
Rita Komodiki, Kyrenia Mayor
Andreas Kaouris, Lysi Mayor
Neoptolemos Kotsapas, Lapithos Mayor
Nikos Hadjistephanou, Karavas Mayor
Zena Lysandrou Panayides, Lefkoniko Mayor
Eleni Hadjimichael, Akanthou Mayor
COMMITTEE OF CYPRUS OCCUPIED MUNICIPALITIES AWARENESS RAISING MATERIAL
Film entitled “The destruction of the European Cultural Heritage of Cyprus by Turkey”, scripted by Anna Marangou and directed by Michael Georgiades. Translated from Greek to English, French, German and Russian.