Since 1974, Turkey has illegally occupied northern Cyprus and later created the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) that only Turkey itself recognises. The “TRNC” is recognised by UN Security Council Resolutions UN Security Council Resolution 541 and UN Security Council Resolution 550 as an illegal entity.
Despite this illegality, Turkey continues to act in a way that defies international law. Although the world is trying to forget about Cyprus, one man refuses to allow this to happen and continues to undermine Turkey’s occupation of his homeland in anyway he can.
Harry Theocharous is a pilot that is now involved in airline business development, airline state-aid and restructuring, aviation consultancy and lately takes a greater interest in international relations.
Although born in Cyprus, he grew up and studied in South Africa where he worked as a bush pilot and later at a cargo company, but also enhanced his knowledge in aviation by taking various courses in airline restructuring and airport operations.
“I worked at Swissport too at the operations department who were the ground handlers for then national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY). I battled to keep CY airways afloat but the decision to close the airline was political. I disputed the decision by the EU ruling against CY Airways for illegal state aid and the story is ongoing. My sister worked for the company so I sought legal action through her for the unfair closure,” he told Greek City Times.
He explained that he has been fighting for Cyprus single-handedly without support from the Cypriot government, but has “achieved many wins.”
Theocharous recounted how the German delivery and logistics company DHL either mistakenly or on purpose had the flag of the illegal “TRNC” as the Cypriot flag, but after making an issue it was not only taken down, but he also received an apology from CEO Phil Couchman on behalf of the company’s head of communications.
But this is just one of many things Theocharous has done to fight against efforts to normalise the “TRNC.” Speaking to Greek City Times, Theocharous gave a full account on what he has done to defend Cyprus.
The United Kingdom once had a government web page for “TRNC” visas. He got it taken down.
The east African country of Tanzania was issuing visas for “North Cyprus.” He contacted Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directly and put an end to it.
The Olympic committee had the “TRNC” flag and Theocharous got it taken down.
The International Air Traffic Controllers Association had the right address in Cyprus but instead of the flag of the Republic of Cyprus, it had the “TRNC” flag, which he promptly got removed.
A Euronews article mentioned the Prime Minister of Israel, the Prime Minister of Greece and the leader of the Greek Cypriot community. He made them correct it to President of the Republic of Cyprus as only Turkey refers to the President as the “Greek Cypriot community leader.”
Martin Schulz, a German ex-President of the EU parliament, unsurprisingly pushed to help Turkey with the Syrian refugee crisis that Turkey itself helped create by financing and arming terrorist organisations in Syria. Theocharous reminded him that Lebanon and Jordan also host refugees. Schulz immediately added these countries for countries that needed assistance.
The illegal “TRNC” regime sent a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization complaining that the Republic of Cyprus is interfering in “their” airspace. Theocharous sent a letter too. The reply “was a hammer to the occupiers head,” he said.
The letter from the International Civil Aviation Organization confirmed that the “TRNC” do not have their own sovereign airspace, despite their attempts at creating one.
In the United Kingdom, the “TRNC” regime was advertising all over London that North Cyprus is a holiday destination. He put an end to that.
“I have informed the government of Cyprus on many occasions about occurrences in our FIR [Flight Information Region] and have been fighting with several authorities around the world about this,” he told Greek City Times.
His efforts have also been blocked by a lot of high ranking officials in Turkey because of his criticisms and activism.
The Turkish Milliyet newspaper published that Google had included “TRNC” in their database.
“Not for long though, I made Milleyet remove it in just a few hours,” he said while laughing.
“Apart from all this, I have been trying to promote tourism in Cyprus and try to get in contact with various government ministries, but to no avail,” he continued.
“There are so many things that I have been doing at my own expense without backing from the Cypriot government. People think that I’m a government official but when they find out I’m not, they wonder why the Cypriot government neglects me. Seriously, hundreds of comments saying ‘You should be the foreign minister.’ I’m not saying this but people that read and follow me,” he told Greek City Times.
Commenting on the recent event where an airplane delivering medical supplies to Cyprus was forced to change course, Theocharous said “the government did nothing whatsoever. Not even one Tweet about the incident.”
Flight from China to Cyprus diverts to unknown destination just before entering Turkish airspace. The aircraft is delivering large amounts of medical supplies to Cyprus but looks like Turkey prohibited it from using airspace. Leave politics out Mr @RTErdogan.@SHGM? pic.twitter.com/PVyba1ol30
— Harry Theocharous (@TheocharousH) May 13, 2020
When questioned why he does what he does, he said “for the love of Greece and Cyprus.”
“Our parents taught us to love and respect our heritage, culture and religion. And of course, for the injustice from Turkey against us.”
“I don’t have expensive equipment or government funding to get the word out. I have an iPhone, a MacBook, common sense and dedication, that’s all. I only have 4,000 followers [on Twitter], but my tweets reach out to people with 50,000, 60,000 and even 100,000 followers,” he added.
He even revealed that he has many verbal spats with Turkish politicians and ambassadors all around the world, as well as “ministers” from occupied Cyprus.
“I’m the one who revealed that their ex-“Prime Minister” Hüseyin Özgürgün was a holder of a Republic of Cyprus passport.
“I even published the passport,” he said.
Ο ψευδοπροθυπουργός της ψευδοκυβέρνησης του ψευδοκράτος ειναι κάτοχος διαβατηρίου της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας την οποία δεν αναγνωρίζει. Αυτά! pic.twitter.com/gsG1qRqOF7
— Harry Theocharous (@TheocharousH) December 7, 2016
There is no doubt that Theocharous has served Cyprus effectively and gives no space for the illegal “TRNC” to get any international traction or recognition.