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Opinion: Yes, Trespassing Is Still Illegal

The Orams case has set an example to other would-be buyers of Greek-Cypriot land in the north of Cyprus that trespassing is illegal, and developing on stolen property has no defense under European law.

I'm not a hardliner but a moderate. I believe that mechanisms for cooperation have to be established between the Turkish-Cypriot community and the government, and that the island's population has the right to a peaceful environment. These mechanisms must be established with the agreement of community leaders and people through calm and reasonable negotiations.

However, in the case of stolen property on either side, it is clear that it is also up to individuals to be informed of the law and to act lawfully. For example, if Britain were partly occupied by France, and a Cypriot bought land that belonged to a Briton, wouldn't that person be acting illegally?

The same standard applies to Turkish troops occupying the northern third of the island. They are here illegally and should withdraw now. Yes, Turkey is one of the guarantors of Cyprus' independence and security through the Treaty of Guarantee, but they are clearly breaching this treaty by occupying territory that does not belong to them.

Perhaps the Orams case is the first step in prompting the international community to strongly condemn Turkey's occupation of the island and to ensure that any solution is truly based on human rights for all the island's communities, and not simply on political or financial expediency.

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