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Cyprus Prologue

Cyprus Prologue

I. INTRODUCTION

Cyprus is an island in the Eastern Mediterranean between the 34th and the 36th Northern Latitudes and the 32nd and the 35th Eastern Longitudes. It is an island of 9.251 sq. km. Its distance to Turkey is 71 km. and to Greece 900 km. Its highest point stands at an altitude of 1.019 mt. The longest distance between its East and West is 227 km. and between North and South 97 km. Its total coastal length is 782 km.
Geological research indicates that Cyprus was separated from Anatolia in the 2nd and 3rd geological times. Archaeological and anthropological finds show that the first inhabitants of Cyprus came from Anatolia.

Foreign invasions started with the Egyptians, continuing with the Phoenicians and the Persians, Alexander the Great of Macedonia, the Ptolemians and the Romans. When Rome was divided in 395 A.D. Cyprus was left under the Eastern Roman administration. In the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. the Omayyad Kingdom controlled the island to leave it to the Byzantines once again in the 10th century, but in the 12th century A.D. English Crusader King Richard I, the Lion-hearted, invaded the island, later selling it to the Order of the Knights Templar. When the Knights could not quell a revolution against heavy taxes, the British returned to it to sell it soon to the Latin King Guy de Lusignan, who had been expelled from Jerusalem by Commander Eyyubi. The Latin Kingdom of the Lusignan dynasty continued till the 15th century A.D. with various attempts of invasion by the Genoese and the Turkoman kings of Egypt. At the end of the 15th century Venice was interested with the island and King Jacques Lusignan (Giacomo Lusignano) got married with a Venetian noble lady named Caterina Cornaro. After the death of her husband and then eventually her son, Caterina Cornaro left Cyprus to the Republic of Venice. The Venetian control continued till 1571 and during that year, fighting against joint Venetian, Spanish, Genoese and Savoyard armies and fleets, the Ottomans occupied the island after the fall of the Castle of Magosa (Famagusta) and the demise of the Venetian Governor of Cyprus, Nicolo' Dandolo.

The Greek Cypriot adage says that somebody who calls himself a Greek Cypriot can be of any ethnic origin because of the long history of the island but confessionally remains to be a Greek Orthodox. When the Turks arrived to the island, the census of population they had taken for tax purposes indicated the presence of some thirty thousand households. If this is multiplied by a coefficient of four, as a reasonable figure for a household, it may be estimated that at about the year 1600 the non-Moslem population on the island was somewhere around one hundred and twenty thousand. The Ottomans, after the conquest, settled on the island peasants and town dwellers from Anatolian cities to cultivate the arable and fertile lands and to reconstruct the burroughs and villages that were destroyed through the warfare. Eventually, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Turkish population of the island was approximately thirty thousand strong. At the beginning of the 19th century, when the rebellion of Morea took place in mainland Greece with the assistance of Russia, France and Great Britain, the census of the island showed that there were seventy-five thousand Greek Orthodox inhabitants against thirty-three thousand Turks.

II. HISTORICAL CAUSES OF THE CYPRUS PROBLEM

The simplest definition of the Cyprus conflict is that there are two distinct communities living on the island, namely the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities with deep roots in history directly involving their respective motherlands, Turkey and Greece. The conflict emanates from the Greek and Greek-Cypriot aspirations and acts aiming at the annexation of the island to Greece after the annihilation of the Turkish-Cypriot community. The Turks are, naturally, determined to prevent such an annihilation and the annexation of the island to Greece.

In this context, the Cyprus problem is intimately connected with the so-called Greek "great idea" (megali idea) aiming at recreating the Byzantine Empire. As such, the Cyprus problem has its roots in the Greek rebellion in Morea against the Ottoman Government in 1821. In those days a certain Dimitrios Ipatros worked together with the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Kiprianos, enrolling him as a member of the Greek rebel organization Haeteria Philiki, obtaining monetary and moral support for the rebellion.

While Turkey was confronted by the Greek rebellion, assistance was requested from the autonomy-seeking Governor of Egypt, Mohamed Ali of Kavala and Cyprus was left under his control to be retaken by the Sublime Port in 1840. Later, the Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78 resulted in an Ottoman disaster and in the Berlin Congress of 1878 the administration of Cyprus was left to Great Britain to be used as a base on condition that Great Britain would cooperate with the Ottoman Empire if Russia attacked once again. The document relevant to the British occupation of the island was the Cyprus Convention of 1 July 1878 explicitly stating that the British presence was provisional because in an annex to the said Convention it was stipulated that if Russia restored to Turkey the Turkish provinces of Kars, Ardahan and the other Russian conquests in Eastern Anatolia made during the 1877-78 war, then Cyprus would also be evacuated by Britain and the Cyprus Convention would be terminated.

In the meantime, the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus connected itself to the new Greek nationalist-expansionist underground organization Etniki Haeteria espousing the championship of Enosis, or, in other words, annexation to Greece. Britain also never intended to return Cyprus to the Turks because of British strategic and other interests.

Within this framework, Greek Orthodox Bishop Kiprianos of Kitium received Sir Garnet Wolseley, the first British High Commissioner to Cyprus, on his arrival to the island in early July 1878 with the following plea: "We accept the change of government in as much as we trust that Great Britain will help Cyprus, as it did the Ionian (or, in other words, Aegean) islands to be united with mother Greece with which it is naturally connected". This plea of Kiprianos was sympathetically received and, for instance, the Liberal Party leader Gladstone (later Prime Minister) remarked in March 1897 in the following way: "I subjoin the satisfaction I should feel, were it granted to me before the close of my long life, to see the population of that Hellenic island placed by friendly arrangement in organic union with their brethren of the Kingdom of Greece and Crete.". Similarly Winston Churchill, visiting the island in 1907 stated: " I think it only natural that the Cypriot people who are of Greek descent should regard their incorporation with what may be called their motherland as an ideal to be earnestly, devoutly and fervently cherished.".

Encouraged by such statements, in 1898 a patriotic Cypriot league was founded in Athens with the object of effecting in Cyprus the same revolution as had taken place in Crete and aiming at instilling into the minds of the Greek youth of the island that their great object in life was to advance the cause of Enosis. Consequently the Turkish-Cypriots were subjected to an onslaught by the Greeks on every occasion - in 1882, in 1895, during the Turco-Greek War of 1897, the Cretan crisis of 1898, in 1902, 1907 and during the Balkan war of 1912.

When eventually the First World War started in 1914 and the Ottoman Empire joined the Axis together with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany, the British unilaterally declared the 1878 Cyprus Convention null and void and annexed Cyprus. This announcement resulted in a further onslaught of the Turkish-Cypriot community by the Greek-Cypriots leading to wholesale emigration of the Turkish-Cypriots to Anatolia. Furthermore, Britain promulgated a Royal Decree on 27th of November 1917 requesting the islanders to opt for British citizenship within two years. When the Russians had to evacuate Kars, Ardahan, Batumi and other Turkish Eastern territories following the Bolshevik revolution, still abiding by the stipulations of the Cyprus Convention of 1878, Turkey requested the return of Cyprus as this was a provision that was mutually agreed upon. The British, however, overlooking their treaty obligations rejected this request.

In the meantime the members of the Turkish community in Cyprus who preferred to retain their Ottoman citizenship were treated as enemy aliens causing further Turkish emigration as they were suffering considerable economic and administrative discrimination.

At the end of the First World War, when the allies were attempting to impose on Turkey the Treaty of Sèvres, the British requested the Ottoman Empire the legal secession of Cyprus to British ownership. The Government of Ankara under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, however, totally rejected the Treaty of Sèvres. After the success of the Kemalist Government, the discussions in Lausanne aiming at creating a delicate balance between Turkey and Greece, made the status of Cyprus an integral part of the eventual peace settlement in the Eastern Mediterranean and under the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 Turkey and Greece agreed that Cyprus would be under British sovereignty. Nevertheless, the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus right away proceeded into an intensification of its campaign for the annexation of Cyprus to Greece (Enosis) already launched in 1878. The Turkish-Cypriot community, fearing colonization by Greece, firmly opposed this campaign and cooperated with the British, assisting them in the administration of the island. The British, on the other hand, tried to appease the Greek community and provided a prominent presence for the Greeks in the Government of the Island by declaring Cyprus a Crown colony in 1925 and creating an Executive Council as well as a Legislative Council with a pronounced Greek majority that would function under the nominal leadership of a British Governor.

In 1931 the Greek Cypriots encouraged by the Greek Orthodox Church and despite the lenience of the British Governor, nevertheless, resorted to violence and revolted against the British Government in the cause of Enosis. This rebellion was swiftly crushed by the British but, unfortunately, the emergency measures that followed the Greek Cypriot rebellion were of general application and resulted in the suppression of the Turkish Cypriot community rights as well. The economic development of the Turkish community was thus adversely affected and the development of the Turkish community in terms of its aspirations in the fields of commerce, language and culture were curtailed.

At the end of the Second World War the Greek Cypriot campaign for Enosis was intensified once again from 1945 onwards. The Greek Orthodox Church attempted to misuse the principle of self-determination that was universally accepted in the context of the United Nations, claiming that only the Greek Cypriot community had the right for self-determination and that the destiny of Cyprus, therefore, should be left in the hands of the Greek community. As there was no single Cyprus nation but two entirely different ethnic communities living in the island, the principle of self-determination, from a proper implementation of the international law point of view could not be applied to only the Greek Cypriot community. Indeed, international law, in the presence of two distinct and entirely different ethnic communities in the island could only be applied to and be exercised by each of these two communities individually and separately. Failure to do so would have meant the denial of the right of self-determination to the Turkish Cypriot community and would hence constitute a violation of international law.

In this context, the Turkish Cypriot community attempted to defend their legitimate right of survival by opposing the Greek Cypriot efforts for Enosis. This resulted in wholesale Greek Cypriot attacks on the Turkish Cypriot population. As the Turkish community, which was lesser in number than the Greek community, lived in a widely dispersed manner over the island, the extent of the Greek Cypriot pressure on the Turkish Cypriots was very great. Under such intimidation the Turkish Cypriots were unable to continue to live among the Greek Cypriots and they were being compelled to abandon mixed villages, taking refuge in nearby Turkish Cypriot villages while consequently being deprived of their lands and homes by force. This Turkish Cypriot exodus resulted in the general impoverishment of the Turkish Cypriot community.

In 1950 the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus staged a so-called attempt to ascertain the wishes of an imaginary "people of Cyprus" claiming that it was holding a "plebiscite". Naturally the Turkish Cypriot community refused to recognise this masquarade of a so-called plebiscite which was obviously devoid of any legal basis whatsoever. In accordance with the precepts of both constitutional and international law the Turkish Cypriots continued to request that the right of self-determination should be exercised not only by the Greek Cypriots but by the Turkish Cypriots as well, as two distinct ethnic communities existed in the island and the rule of law required separate and equal treatment of both.

In 1950 Makarios III became the Archbishop of Cyprus whereupon he took an oath in church that he would achieve Enosis before his death. In 1953 Makarios managed to secure the support of the Greek government and created a terrorist movement (later to be known as EOKA) and in 1954 a Greek officer named Grivas arrived in Cyprus to become the leader of the EOKA terrorist movement. The EOKA sowed terror all over the island with the objective of uniting Cyprus with Greece. On 1st April 1955 EOKA proclaimed that its sole ultimate objective was uniting Cyprus with Greece.
In the meantime, between 1954 and 1958, Greece made several attempts in the United Nations to achieve Enosis under the guise of self-determination which Greece claimed to be an exclusive right for only the Greek-Cypriots, while in the island EOKA terror continued not only against the British government but also, and, perhaps, much more violently the Turkish community whom the EOKA considered as the greatest obstacle on their way to Enosis. During this period the Turkish-Cypriot community was driven away from thirty-three mixed villages and the Turkish homes in these villages were immediately burnt down by the Greek Cypriots.

III. THE ZURICH AND LONDON AGREEMENTS AND INDEPENDENCE

In the face of violent terrorism by EOKA and determined Turkish Cypriot resistance to Enosis, a Turco-Greek war was feared. The British therefore agreed to relinquish sovereignty over the island and indicated that any agreement to be reached between the parties to the Cyprus problem, namely the Turkish and the Greek communities and their respective motherlands, would not be rejected.

As Greece had eventually realized that a pro Enosis, unilateral self-determination resolution may not be obtained from the United Nations and the Turkish Cyprots with the backing of the Republic of Turkey would resist to any efforts for forceful Enosis, the climate was propitious for international talks.
In this context, the Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers met in Zurich and with the assistance of the leadership of the two communities decided that neither unilateral nor double Enosis would be acceptable. Finally a compromise solution was reached and with the Zurich agreement concluded on 11 February 1959 and in the London Agreement that followed it was agreed that there would be bi-national independence, based on the political equality and administrative partnership of the two communities, who would have full autonomy in their strictly communal affairs and that the settlement thus established would be guaranteed by Turkey, Greece and Britain ensuring the permanence of this functional federative system in the Cyprus Republic, eliminating discrimination and, thus, removing all causes of intercommunal friction.

On the basis of the compromise settlement reached through the Zurich and London Agreements, a Treaty of Establishment was drawn up and guaranteed by Turkey, Greece and Britain by a Treaty of Guarantee in 1960. In accordance with this settlement a Treaty of Alliance was entered into between Turkey, Greece and the new Republic of Cyprus. The Treaty of Alliance provided for stationing in Cyprus of Turkish and Greek military contingents. The two communities from then on worked together as equal partners and prepared the Constitution of the bi-communal Republic of Cyprus. Thus on 16th August 1960 the Republic of Cyprus came into existence. After much suffering and loss of life since the EOKA violence erupted in Cyprus, the two peoples, in exercise of their separate right to self-determination, had accepted a compromise and worked out a Constitution after long deliberations which had lasted eighteen months, forming a "Partnership Republic" based on the existence of two different national peoples and on their inalienable rights and partnership status.

With their Constitution these two peoples coming into agreement within the bi-national state of Cyprus agreed to cooperate in partnership, sharing the legislative, executive, judicial and other functions of their state. Matters which the two peoples had managed on a communal basis over the centuries, like education, religion, family law etc. were left to the autonomy of the communal administration which had legislative, executive and judicial authority over such matters. In fact, a functional federative system was established by the two co-founding peoples of the Republic with a Greek Cypriot President, a Turkish Cypriot Vice President, each elected by their respective communities; a Cabinet with seven Greek, three Turkish Ministers; a Parliament of sixty Greek, forty Turkish deputies etc.. After independence the United Kingdom had transferred sovereignty to both Cypriot peoples jointly. Moreover, independence was not granted as a mere unilateral act of grace on the part of the United Kingdom but as would be observed from the foregoing was the consequence of the conclusion of a number of international treaties and agreements between five parties, namely, Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and the Turkish Cypriot people as well as the Greek Cypriot people. Independence was so stipulated that neither national communities could claim exclusive sovereignty in respect of the island as a whole. The transfer of sovereignty jointly to the two Cypriot peoples was endorsed by Turkey and Greece and the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece have guaranteed the sovereignty jointly and individually under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee.

IV. THE USURPATION OF INDEPENDENCE

When Cyprus became independent in 1960 it was hoped that the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, as the two peoples of the island would be able to live harmoniously, side by side, sharing power conjointly in their bi-national Republic. But already on the 27th of September 1960 the President of the young Republic, Makarios, made a statement to the New York Herald Tribune which clearly indicated that he did not believe in the internationally guaranteed bi-national Republic of Cyprus; in fact he said, "the cause of Enosis has not died. I cannot say that Enosis has been forgotten." Indeed, while the Turkish Vice President, Ministers, Deputies and community administration were working in full compliance with the Constitution of the bi-national Republic of Cyprus and the international agreements and treaties which led to independence, the Greek Cypriot side had secretely joined forces with Greece and developed the notorious "AKRITAS Plan" seeking to bring about Enosis despite the solemn promise of Greece to preserve the independence of the Republic of Cyprus as a guaranteeing power together with Turkey and the United Kingdom under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. In pursuance of this plan in 1963 the bi-national government was put to an end and the Greek Cypriot wing of the bi-national state illegally and by force of arms blocked the Turkish Vice President, Ministers and Deputies and judges from functioning, usurping thereby the sovereignty of the Turkish community that was bestowed on them through the declaration of the independence of the bi-national, partnership Republic of Cyprus, violently and effectively ending this partnership and shelving the contractual Constitution in 1963. In fact by doing so the Greek Cypriots wanted to achieve monopoly of political power and to relegate the Turkish Cypriot people to the status of a minority though they were equal co-founders of the Cyprus State. Already on 4th September 1962 Makarios had openly declared this aim; he had said, in a public address: "unless this small Turkish community - forming a part of the Turkish race which has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism - is expelled from Cyprus, the duty of the heroes of EOKA can never be considered as terminated." On 9 April 1963 in a statement to the London Times he said: "Union of Cyprus with Greece is an aspiration always cherished within the hearts of all Greek Cypriots. It is impossible to put an end to this inspiration by establishing a Republic." In a statement to a Stockholm paper on 5th September 1963 he was even more explicit: "It is true that the goal of our struggle is to annex Cyprus to Greece".

After this first coup in 1963 the Greek Cypriots with Greece’s military assistance continued to raid and attack Turkish Cypriot villages and Turkish Cypriot quarters of towns. In one decade 103 Turkish Cypriot villages were destroyed and 30.000 Turkish Cypriots, a quarter of the total Turkish Cypriot population, became refugees. Eventually, in July 1974 a second coup was engineered and staged by the Greek Cypriots under the leadership of a certain Mr. Nicos Sampson, directed by the military government then in power in Greece. The Greek Cypriots declared the creation of a "Hellenic Republic" and openly announced that they would annex this "Hellenic Republic" to Greece.

This second coup d'état was defined by Makarios himself in the United Nations Security Council during its 1780th meeting on 19 July 1974 in the following manner: "It is clearly an invasion from outside... the coup...was the work of the Greek officers staffing and commanding the Greek Cypriot national guard... it is an invasion which violated the independence and sovereignty of the Republic".

In the face of this flagrant violation of both the Cypriot Constitution and international law as well as the peace in the island, the UN Peace-keeping force sent to the island after the first Greek coup in 1964 was unable to protect the Turkish Cypriots against the Greek Cypriot elements who were supported by 20.000 mainland Greek forces clandestinely sent to the island. In order to act according to the obligations incumbent on the guaranteeing powers, the Turkish government requested the United Kingdom to pay due attention to the situation prevailing in the island. The then Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit even went to London to meet with the then British Prime Minister Mr. Harold Wilson. Mr. Wilson, however, chose to remain in the Scilly islands on holiday. The then Under-Secretary General of the UN for Special Political Affairs Mr. Kurt Waldheim called for a meeting of the Security Council but he encountered considerable reluctance to act among the Council members. Waldheim also urged the British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan to act jointly with Turkey under the Treaty of Guarantee to safeguard the Turkish Cypriot community, but Callaghan was reluctant. It was therefore left to the Republic of Turkey to act alone in order to prevent the imminent annexation of Cyprus by Greece and the annihilation of the Turkish Cypriot population. The Turkish intervention started on July 20th and resulted in the physical safeguarding of the Turkish Cypriot community. Upon this intervention the Security Council passed on resolution No. 353 calling upon Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom to enter into negotiations for the re-establishment of constitutional government in Cyprus. The Foreign Ministers of the three guaranteeing powers met in Geneva in accordance with this resolution and with the Geneva declaration of 30th July 1974 unequivocally recognised the existence in Cyprus of two separate and autonomous administrations with the following words: "... the Ministers noted the existence in practice in the Republic of Cyprus of two autonomous administrations: that of the Greek Cypriot community and that of the Turkish Cypriot community".

The two administrations, however, could not function together any longer and in Vienna on 2nd August 1975 an agreement was reached between the representatives of the two peoples of Cyprus, Mr. Denktas and Mr. Clerides for the voluntary re-grouping of populations in a Turkish zone in the North and a Greek zone in the South. This agreement was reached under the auspices of the UN Secretary General who was working under a re-formulated mission of good offices on the basis of the UN Security Council resolution 367 (1975).

The agreement to re-group the populations also paved the way for an agreement between the leaders of the two communities Denktas and Makarios on 12th February 1977, forming the basis for a federal solution, and envisaging the establishment of an independent, non-aligned, bi-communal, bi-zonal, federal Republic. In 1979 a further summit meeting between the leaders of the two communities Mr. Denktaş and Mr. Kiprianu took place in Nicosia on 18th and 19th May 1979 and the 10 point agreement which became the acknowledged basis of subsequent inter-communal negotiations was signed. In point 8 in this agreement it is stated that, the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic should be adequately guaranteed against union in whole or in part with any other country and against any form of partition or secession. From this point onwards a series of meetings took place and unfortunately no final agreement could have been achieved until today. A detailed account of the negotiations and proximity talks under the umbrella of the good offices of the UN Secretary General would therefore be useless. It is nevertheless necessary to remember that at this moment there is no Republic of Cyprus as was proclaimed in 1960. Indeed, this Republic which was based on a carefully balanced functional federalism where the President, a Greek Cypriot elected only by the Greek Cypriots; the Vice-President, a Turkish Cypriot elected only by the Turkish Cypriots; a Cabinet with seven Greek and three Turkish Ministers; a Parliament with sixty Greek, forty Turkish Deputies; five separate municipalities and a Constitutional Court with Greek and Turkish judges, does no longer exist.

V. DECLARATION OF STATEHOOD

Because of the elimination of the Turkish Cypriot component of the Republic of Cyprus, first the Turkish Cypriot administration functioned as the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, the appellation "Federated" indicating their desire to return to the 1960 Bi-communal Constitution. Then on 15 November 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was proclaimed by the unanimous vote of the Legislative Assembly of the hitherto Turkish Federated State of Cyprus, which is the democratic representative body of the Turkish people of Cyprus. The proclamation stressed that the Republic would adhere to all treaties and agreements binding on it, including the Treaty of Guarantee, would follow a policy of non-alignment, would remain faithful to the principles of the United Nations Charter and would endavour to facilitate the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal republic where Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots could co-operate in peace and harmony. The proclamation emphasized, inter alia, that the founding of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a manifestation of the right of self-determination of the Turkish Cypriot people of Cyprus. The declaration also stipulated that the newly created entity will not unite with any other state, except with the southern unit to form a federal republic of Cyprus.

When the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Cyprus, Mr. Gobbi, met Mr. Denktash on 15 November, the latter handed to him a letter addressed to the Secretary-General, explaining to him why the Turkish Cypriot people had been "left with no other alternative but to take this vital step based on our equal co-founder partnership status in the independence and sovereignty of Cyprus". The letter expressed the disappointment arising out of Greek Cypriot attitudes towards the intercommunal talks, stressed the belief that a genuine federation can only be established between equal partners having the same political status and affirmed that, having waited for 20 years under an uncertain political status, the Turkish Cypriot people had taken a legitimate step for re-defining their political status in the form of an independent and non-aligned republic by exercising their natural right to self-determination. In the same letter, Mr. Denktash, drawing attention to the provisions of the Declaration, expressed his desire for the continuation of the Secretary-General's mission of good offices and his readiness to resume the negotiations under the Secretary-General's auspices at any time. He also stated that his proposal for a high-level meeting remained in effect.

The aim of the Turkish Cypriots in declaring, on 15 November 1983, an independent state, i.e. the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is to assert their status as co-founders of the future confederation of Cyprus and to ensure that the sovereignty of that republic will derive from the existing two states joining together as equals to form the future confederal republic.

The declaration of statehood was supported by 87,928 signatures. On the same day, Turkey recognised the new Republic.
Later the set of ideas of the UN Secretary General as to be found in the Annex to the Report of the Secretary General to the Security Council, S/24472 dated 21st August 1992 clearly accepted the fact that there was no longer a single Republic of Cyprus and suggested to continue negotiations between the two communities in order to establish a new bizonal, bicommunal confederation in Cyprus. This set of ideas however was not accepted by the Greek Cypriot side nor were the confidence building measures suggested by the UN Secretary General. Despite this situation the diplomatic initiatives continued.

VI. THE CYPRUS ISSUE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

It is, nevertheless, difficult to expect success from such moves nor from the continuing good offices of the UN Secretary General as the prospects for a negotiated settlement were marred and the crisis of confidence prevailing in the island between the two communities was further deepened by the illegitimate unilateral application for membership of the European Union made by the Greek Cypriots in 1990 and accepted by the EU Council meeting on the 12th-13th December 1997 in Luxembourg despite its flagrant illegitimacy.

Before going into the details of the legal issues that concern the Greek Cypriot application to join the EU, it would be particularly relevant at this point to recall that at the time the Greek Cypriots were applying for membership the UN Security Council had adopted resolution 649 on 12th March 1990 which called upon the parties to pursue their efforts to reach freely a mutually acceptable solution in the form of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. Indeed, the UN Secretary General reporting to the Security Council (S/21183) had used the following phrases: "Cyprus is the common home of the Greek Cypriot community and of the Turkish Cypriot community. Their relationship is not one of majority and minority but one of two communities in the State of Cyprus. The mandate given to me by the Security Council makes it clear that my mission of good offices is with these two communities. My mandate is also explicit that the participation of the two communities in this process is on an equal footing. The solution that is being sought is thus one that must be decided upon by, and, must be acceptable to both communities. It must also respect the cultural, religious, social and linguistic identity of each community." In view of the foregoing, therefore, it would not be unjust to claim that not only legally but also from a political point of view, acceptance by the EU of the Greek Cypriot unilateral application for membership without the consent of the Turkish Cypriot community will result in impeding the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General aiming at a mutually acceptable solution in Cyprus between two politically and legally equal sides. This, because the EU has unlawfully recognised only one of the two parties, namely, the Greek Cypriot administration by accepting its unilateral application in 1990 and by negotiating with this administration for full membership in the near future at the same time with the other five first wave candidates for membership.

As to the legal defects concerning the unilateral application of the Greek Cypriots and the treatment of it by the EU one may start first with the constitutional illegitimacy as the Greek Cypriot administration had no lawful authority to make such an application because it is obvious that through the first coup of the Greek Cypriots ousting the Turkish Cypriots from their guaranteed positions in the organs of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, the basic and entrenched articles of the 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus were irredeemably maimed. Indeed, in June 1967, the legislature in the Greek Cypriot administration went so far as unanimously passing a resolution of Enosis, in other words, union with Greece though such action was clearly prohibited by article 185 of the 1960 Constitution. Moreover, as was referred earlier on 30 July 1974 the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom noted the existence of two autonomous administrations within their joint Geneva declaration. It is also obvious that even the Greek Cypriot administration knows that it has no right to act on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus and consequently, it submitted an application in respect of "Cyprus" and not the "Republic of Cyprus". This of course is also unacceptable either in law or in fact because it suggests a unity in the island under the control of the Greek Cypriot administration despite the fact that there exists in the North a distinctly separate Turkish Cypriot state and community divided from the South by the UN cease-fire line as well as the presence of a UN force on this line. A further legal defect of the unilateral Greek Cypriot application is its international illegitimacy since it flagrantly violates international treaties freely negotiated and concluded by not only Turkey, the United Kingdom and Greece but also by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities. These international treaties had established the bi-communal partnership Republic of Cyprus of 1960 and imposed an explicit restriction on the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organizations and pacts of alliance in which Turkey and Greece are not both members. As it will be recalled from earlier references the 1960 settlement consisted, first, of the Zurich and London agreements of 1959. These were international treaties which raised the undertakings of the concluding parties to the level of international legal obligations. Thus, the Zurich agreement concluded between the Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers on 11 February 1959 establishing the basic structure of the emergent Republic of Cyprus reinforced by the Treaty of Establishment and the Treaty of Guarantee and Alliance of 1960 as well as the Cyprus Constitution itself constitute international undertakings which result in treaty rights and treaty obligations. The second paragraph of art. 1 of the Treaty of Guarantee, for instance, states that "the Republic of Cyprus undertakes not to participate, in whole or in part in any political or economic union with any state whatsoever". Obviously integration with the EU would mean political and economic union with its members among which is Greece and this would be a violation of the Treaty of Guarantee. Nobody can claim that the EU was not in existence in those days or Greece was not a member and therefore this treaty obligation did not concern the EU as it did not exist in those days, because, the EEC was already there and in July of 1959 both Greece and Turkey had applied for associate membership.

Similarly par.2 of art. 2 of the Treaty of Guarantee stipulates that the guaranteeing powers "... likewise undertake to prohibit, as far as lies within their power, all activity having the object of promoting directly or indirectly either the union of the Republic of Cyprus with any other state or the partition of the island." Certainly, therefore the United Kingdom and Greece are expressly violating this clear treaty obligation incumbent on them by promoting directly the union of the Greek Cypriot administration with the EU and, to add insult to injury, by doing so they are also partitioning the island, since the Turkish Cypriot state does not fall in the context of the unilateral application of the Greek Cypriots nor the treatment of this application by the instances of the EU.

Furthermore art.23 of the Zurich and London Agreements provides that "the Republic of Cyprus shall accord most favoured nation treatment to Great Britain, Greece and Turkey for all agreements whatever their nature". The Greek Cypriot administration would, therefore, once again be in violation of its treaty obligations if it would join in the EU and thus leave out Turkey from most favoured nation treatment.

In addition to the above, art. 8 of the Zurich and London agreements stipulates that "the President and the Vice President, separately and conjointly shall have the right of final veto on any law or decision concerning foreign affairs, except the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organizations and pacts of alliance in which Greece and Turkey both participate or concerning defence and security as defined in Annexe 1 (which is the Treaty of Alliance between the Republic of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and the declaration concerning the United Kingdom Military Bases on the island)." It will be realised that as Turkey is not a member of the EU a right of final veto for the Turkish community arises in the context of the unilateral Greek Cypriot application for membership in the EU and the Turkish Cypriot opposition to this application is of a fundamental nature; it arises in limine; the internationally unlawful character of the authority that purports to make this application deprives it of the capacity so to act thus making the application invalid or in other words a nullity or, with a better known legal expression, totally null and void. The acceptance of this unilateral application by the EU and the EU decision taken in Luxembourg to start negotiating with the Greek Cypriots and the negotiations taking place thence forward are, similarly, from a point of view of international law, null and void as well.

In response to this flagrant disregard by the EU of accepted precepts of International Law the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have decided that, in view of the full political and legal equality of the Turkish Cypriot people in determining the future of Cyprus, as confirmed and enshrined in international treaties, and the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as a sovereign and independent state, there is need to create the circumstances for the two peoples of the island to live side by side in mutual respect, peace, security and cooperation, and this can only be achieved through a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus question which could only be obtained through negotiations between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot peoples, that would lead to a confederation between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Southern Greek Cypriot Administration, based on the system of guarantees as established by the 1960 Treaties.

In this context, it may be envisaged that,

1. The ultimate aim in Cyprus is the achievement of a bi-communal and bi-zonal confederation based on the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides. The settlement to be reached shall be submitted to the two peoples in separate referenda in order to enable them to reflect their free will.

2. The full and effective guarantee of Turkey will continue under the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance of 1960 following a final political settlement.

3. The EU membership of Cyprus can be taken up in discussions once the final political settlement is reached. However, it should be borne in mind that, as stipulated by the 1959 Zurich and London Agreements, Cyprus cannot join international political and economic unions to which Turkey and Greece are not members.

4. The objective of EU membership will be taken into consideration during the intercommunal talks that may be conducted under the auspices of the UN; and after the two sides agree on fundamental issues such as sovereign equality, they could begin to discuss, as a separate topic, the conditions of EU membership.

5. Accession to the EU should be carried out only after the final settlement, within the framework of the common positions to be agreed upon by theTurkish and Greek Cypriot sides.

6. Until the final settlement, as before and after it, Turkey will continue fully to ensure the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and shall take all necessary countermeasures against the ongoing Greek/Greek Cypriot attempts of military escalation.

7. The Customs Union between Turkey and EU does not include any provision that hinders commercial and economic relations between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Incentive and support measures designed to promote trade and economic relations as well as bilateral investments between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will be maintained.

8. With a view to promoting trade and economic relations between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the opportunities provided by the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU will be put to use to the fullest extent possible.

9. As, after a political settlement the Confederation of Cyprus can join the EU, at its earliest, simultaneously with Turkey's accession, the preparations may already be initiated to facilitate harmonisation with the EU and gradually implementation may begin in the context of intercommunal talks.

10. Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would continue to make joint efforts to ensure the lifting of all restrictions imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the international arena with a view to providing unhindered political, economic, cultural and sportive ties between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and third countries, pending a political settlement.

11. Turkey would make all efforts in order to enable the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to express its views in international organisations until the Confederation of Cyprus is fully established.

VII. THE LEGAL OPINION OF PROF. M.H. MENDELSON Q.C.

At this point quotations from just one of the experts who objectively support the foregoing references to international law may help in further developing the ongoing analysis.

Prof. Mendelson, Queen's Council and a well-known international lawyer, in summary, says that, "on a proper construction of the relevant treaties and related instruments the Greek Cypriot administration is not entitled in international law to apply to join or, having applied, to join the EU whilst Turkey is not a member. Furthermore, as members of the EU and parties of the agreement in question, Greece and the United Kingdom are under an obligation to seek to prevent such accession. Moreover, as a matter of law of the EU, there are serious legal obstacles to such accession."

In view of the foregoing, therefore, it is not only logical but also legally incumbent upon the Turkish Government to resist any attempt to unite the Greek Cypriot Administration with the EU. A simple Turkish Cypriot presence in a so called "Cypriot delegation" in union negotiations would not be enough to ascribe legitimacy to such negotiations which will be utterly illegal until after there is a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution to create the Confederation of Cyprus and a new application need be made on behalf of the Turkish Community, which, today, is represented by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Even in such an eventuality, prior to Cypriot integration to the EU, Turkish full membership should be ascertained, particularly by the U.K. and Greece as members of the EU and as treaty-bound to Turkey in this respect.

VIII. CONCLUSIONS:

1- In view of the foregoing it is legally and politically impossible to accept the unilateral accession of the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus to the EU.

2- The accession of Cyprus to the EU may only be foreseen after a Confederation of Cyprus comprising the Turkish and Greek Cypriot States and in the context of the existing guarantee system may be created through negotiations between the two sides, and, when the Republic of Turkey becomes a full member of EU in advance or simultaneously.

3- If and when an evenhanded approach based on the above precepts are accepted, the contacts under the auspices of the UN Secretary General to reach a solution in Cyprus which are now bogged down may start again. Hence, the UN Secretary General, would be well advised to formulate his approaches to the parties involved in view of the precepts summarised in para. 2 above if he, realistically, would wish to expect success from his contacts.

 

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