The run-up to Thursday’s General Election has seen furious debates and deep divisions among friends and families as we try to promote the best party we feel best reflects our world view, values and aspirations.
One politician who has managed to unite the entire British Turkish community in condemnation is Theresa Villiers, the long-standing Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet in North London. Whether Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, and even those that are normally apolitical, all are incensed by her barefaced anti-Turkish bias.
Here are five reasons why she absolutely must go at this election, and the good news is she has a very slim majority of 353!
Ignoring her Turkish constituents’ requests for balance on Cyprus:
British Turks in her constituency have repeatedly tried to engage Ms Villiers since she was first elected in 2005, by inviting her to their homes for tea and a chat about Cyprus, or writing or talking to her about her clear bias for Greek Cypriots. All efforts to get her to inject balance into her actions and comments on Cyprus have fallen on deaf ears; she continues to behave as if only the Greek Cypriots have suffered in this Conflict, while taking every opportunity to bash Turkey.
Appearing in a Greek Cypriot propaganda video on 20 July of this year:
Ms Villiers was one of 17 British MPs to feature in an anti-Turkish propaganda clip. The MPs described Turkey’s actions as an “invasion”, while ignoring the events that led to this intervention, including the Greek coup, and the intense ethnic cleansing of Turkish Cypriots on the island.
A mouthpiece for her Greek Cypriot sponsors:
Parliament’s Register of Members’ Financial Interests show Ms Villiers regularly receives donations from Greek Cypriots, including the “Mayor of Morphou”. Records show she has received tens of thousands of pounds from them over the years. It is therefore no surprise she is beholden to their point of view on Cyprus and will therefore never offer a balanced perspective.
Champions Greek Cypriot interests at the expense of Turkish Cypriot rights:
Ms Villiers regularly raises questions about Cyprus with minsters in Parliament, but these always reflect the concerns of Greek Cypriots and it’s as if Turkish Cypriots do not exist.
For example, earlier this year she submitted a question to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that the North Cypriot town of Morphou (Güzelyurt) should come under Greek Cypriot control in an agreed negotiated settlement. She was not remotely concerned that this would mean the uprooting of over 30,000 Turkish Cypriots residing there, many former refugees themselves.
She also called on Mr Hunt to also ask his “Turkish counterpart in pursuance of a negotiated settlement in Cyprus to stop the extensive building in the town of Morphou”, ignoring the fact that Greek Cypriots have built on Turkish land all over South Cyprus.
20 years of standing with Greek Cypriots, never with Turkish Cypriots:
From speaking against Turkey at Greek Cypriot protest rallies in Trafalgar Square, to attending the “annual Morphou Rally in Astromeritis”, including the one in October 2017, where she received around £1,400 from the “Municipality of Morphou” to cover her travel expenses, Ms Villiers remains the staunchest Greek Cypriot supporter in the UK Parliament.
She has never shown any solidarity with Turkish Cypriots, and increasingly makes no effort to disguise her blatant bias towards Greek South Cyprus.
This heartless woman is not worthy of our support and needs to be ousted! The Turkish community’s vote in Chipping Barnet can make a real difference.
If you want Theresa Villiers out, then please vote for Labour’s Emma Whysall on Thursday, 12 December.
A trade union lawyer by profession, Whysall pushed Villiers hard two years ago and fell short by just a few hundred votes. The third-placed Liberal Democrat candidate was some 22,000 votes behind.
Emma Whysall is the only one who can beat Villiers, so make sure you vote Labour in Chipping Barnet on Thursday!
This opinion piece is by Chipping Barnet resident Sonya Karafistan.