Protest planned outside UK Parliament on 60th anniversary of UN Resolution 186 and start of embargoes against Turkish Cypriots

Human rights group Embargoed! and the British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA) have called for a protest outside the British Parliament on Monday, 4 March, to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the start of the embargoes against Turkish Cypriots and to highlight the role the United Kingdom played in this.

Turkish Cypriots saw their fundamental rights as a politically equal partner in the Republic of Cyprus eroded after UN Resolution 186 was passed at the United Nations on 4 March 1964. The text, drafted by British officials, refers to Greek Cypriots as the ‘Government of Cyprus’ while downgrading Turkish Cypriots to one of several minority “communities” on the island.

The resolution was in response to the growing violence in Cyprus following the Greek Cypriot coup of 21 December 1963, when they seized control of the Republic of Cyprus, killing, injuring and displacing thousands of Turkish Cypriots in the process.

Greek Cypriots had sought to force through ‘13 Amendments’ to the country’s constitution, which deliberately degraded Turkish Cypriot political rights by changing their status from a politically equal partner and co-founder in the Republic of Cyprus with veto rights to no veto rights and minority community. Turkish Cypriots resisted this and faced island-wide extreme violence from their former government partners.

The UK, a Guarantor Power with military bases in Cyprus and permanent member of the UN Security Council, drafted what they claimed at the time would be a temporary resolution, seeking to introduce a UN peacekeeping force on the island for a period of “three months”. Nowhere did the resolution recognise Turkish Cypriot rights as political equals,  nor did it call for the restoration of the constitutional order that defined the Republic of Cyprus when it gained independence from Britain in 1960.

The Greek Cypriots have relied upon this poorly drafted resolution ever since to consolidate their position as the sole authority on the island of Cyprus, while subjecting Turkish Cypriots to inhumane blockades and unjust international isolation that encompasses every aspect of their lives, from trade to transport, sport and education, collectively regarded as ‘embargoes’.

The UK has never acknowledged its role in this sorry state of affairs, nor set about seeking to remedy the situation. Sixty years on, Embargoed! and the BTCA call on UK Turkish Cypriots and their supporters to join them outside the British Parliament urging MPs to call out this historic wrong and demand the end of discrimination against Turkish Cypriots.

The two groups will also deliver a letter to the UN office in London protesting this state of affairs.

Protest Details

Title: End Turkish Cypriot Isolation

Date: Monday 4 March 2024

Time: 12 noon to 3pm

Venue: Parliament Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3BD


Main image, top, from an Embargoed! protest, ‘Gagged in Brussels, outside the EU Commission in Brussels, 26 April 2006

Read more

10 things you may not know about the embargoes on Turkish Cypriots, 4 March 2021

Turkish Cypriots, UN Resolution 186 of 4 March 1964, and the start of the embargoes, 4 March 2019