Civilian persons in areas of armed conflict and occupied territories are protected by Article 159 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949, concerning the protection of civilians during war.
Occupations are temporary and the occupying forces are responsible for securing the interests of those protected under their rule.
Article 4 of the Convention defines the protected person. Part 3 of the same convention laid down the rules determining the status of “protected persons” in the occupied zone and how they should be treated (Articles 27-141). Thus, civilian persons are protected from murder, torture or brutality and are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, religion or political opinion.
According to the article 49(6) of the Convention, the occupying power shall not forcibly send or transfer a portion of its own population to the occupied territory.
In various resolutions and statements taken by the United Nations organization regarding the Cyprus problem, the regret for the change in the demographic structure in Cyprus has been expressed. For example, in the UN General Assembly resolution 3395 dated 20 November 1975 says, “all parties are called to avoid unilateral actions that would contradict resolution 3212, including making changes in the demographic structure of Cyprus”. In the UN General Assembly resolution 33/15 dated 9 November 1978, it is expressed that it regrets "all the unilateral actions that have changed the demographic structure of Cyprus". The UN General Assembly reaffirmed this in its resolutions of 20 November 1979 (No. 34/30) and 13 May 1983 (No. 37/253).
As it will be remembered, with the resolution of the UN Security Council dated 18 November 1983 and numbered 541, all countries were asked not to recognize any other Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus.
In the resolution of the UN “Sub-Commission on the Elimination of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities” dated 2 September 1987, it is stated: “There is also concern about the policy and practice of bringing settlers into the occupied areas of Cyprus, which constitutes a form of colonialism and is an attempt to illegally change the demographic structure of Cyprus.”
This population, which is also spoken at the negotiating table from time to time and transferred from Turkey to the occupied parts of Cyprus, is always indirectly mentioned in all UN documents. However, it constitutes one of the main issues that must be resolved during the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
I mentioned this situation in an article I wrote in 2003 titled "The situation of the Turkish population transferred to Cyprus" and I made the following determination at the beginning of the article:
“The Turkish population, who moved to the island under the name of “seasonal workers” after Turkey occupied 37% of the northern part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in the summer of 1974, has recently started to be a topic of discussion in the Turkish Cypriot public opinion. The place of the Turkish population in international law, who has disclosed that they have been used as a vote depot to give political support to the occupation regime, by being given TRNC citizenship, is now rightly questioned." (Afrika newspaper, 3-4-5 September 2003)
With the "Agreement on Economic and Financial Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Turkey for the Year 2022 and the Government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" signed in Ankara on April 14, 2022 and published in the Official Gazette on May 20, 2022. Further changes, which are intended to be made in the region of the Republic of Cyprus Turkey, occupied by the Turkish Armed Forces since the summer of 1974, exceed the purpose stated in the protocol and make it necessary to re-evaluate the issue in the context of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949.
(23 May 2022, Nicosia)