Affiliated with the University of Nicosia
TURKEY AND CYPRUS REVISITED
By Andreas Theophanous
Professor of Political Economy at the University of Nicosia and Director of the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs
July 13, 1974 the two constitutional experts, M. Dekleris and O.
July 15, 1974 the Greek Junta overthrew Makarios.
The putschist regime in
July 20, 1974
With the reestablishment of democracy in Greece and of the
constitutional order in Cyprus, international public opinion changed.
Both Karamanlis and Clerides enjoyed respect and credibility
throughout the world. Nevertheless Turkey continued its military
operations despite the negotiations (involving Greece, Turkey, Britain,
Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and the UN) for a peaceful resolution.
On August 14, it launched a second massive attack against Cyprus by
land, air and sea after the rejection of its ultimatum to the Republic
surrender about 34% of the land.
The Greek-Cypriot civilians were expected to leave this territory and allow the Turkish army to deploy itself accordingly.
By August 16, 1974
Had Turkey stopped its military operations on July 23, 1974 very few people would have questioned its stated reasons for intervening. Retrospectively though, there is no doubt that Turkey committed ethnic cleansing, did not reestablish the constitutional order in Cyprus, occupied 38% of the land of this island-state, has set up a puppet/protectorate regime and has pursued an ambitious policy of colonization. Currently, there are more Anatolian Turkish settlers than Turkish Cypriots in the area it occupies which calls itself the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“T.R.N.C.”). And there has been a systematic destruction of the cultural heritage as well as a massive exploitation and usurpation of Greek Cypriot properties.
Despite the initial outcry and various resolutions of the UN and other international
institutions, in essence no action has been taken against
It is important to recall that since 1974, whenever Turkey confronts major decisions such as dealing with the American arms embargo in the 70’s and in its EU relations recently, they are accompanied by major initiatives to resolve the Cyprus problem. Yet the record suggests that international pressures are then directed toward the weaker side and not toward Turkey. Not surprisingly, to the present day Turkey has not altered its policy. It has not even implemented the minimal obligations toward the EU and Cyprus undertaken in December 2004 when a positive decision was reached to begin accession negotiations with the Union. The Turkish narrative projected today is about “the Turkish-Cypriot isolation.” And according to this narrative the term occupation (of the northern part of Cyprus) is a politically incorrect term!
Following the end of the Cold War and Bill Clinton’s election to the Presidency in 1992, the US adopted a new policy perspective which emphasized that the Cyprus question as well as Greco-Turkish problems should be resolved within the EU. The underlying assumption was that Turkey would be accepted as a member of the Union. Undoubtedly, the US had been and continues to be a staunch supporter of Turkish membership in the EU. But not enough attention has been paid by the US to the requirements for such membership. Perhaps the strong support that Turkey enjoys from the US and other countries (including Britain) has led Ankara to believe that it has a largely blank cheque that does not require the resolution of several issues, including the Cyprus problem.
Ankara claims that it acted responsibly when the UN submitted what came
to be known as the Annan Plan (V) in April 2004 as a comprehensive
solution to the Cyprus problem.
The Turkish Cypriots (and the settlers) voted YES (65%), while
the Greek Cypriots rejected the plan overwhelmingly (76%).
The Turkish side stressed that the Greek Cypriots did not want to
share power and wealth with the Turkish Cypriots.
In actual fact the Greek Cypriots rejected a plan which would have legitimized the
outcome of the 1974 invasion and would have made
Furthermore, Greek Cypriots felt that the provisions of the Annan Plan
reversed many of the gains of the then imminent EU accession.
Moreover, they also felt that there were inadequate guarantees in
relation to the inflow of more Turkish settlers
let alone that
It is worth noting that Turkey pursues a policy of double standards, comparing how it would like to resolve its own Kurdish question and the Cyprus problem. Ankara would like to "give more rights" to the 15 million Kurds within the framework of a policy of integration. But in Cyprus, for about 100.000 Turkish Cypriots (and almost 180.000 Anatolian settlers) Ankara wishes to advance, using its leverage, a completely different philosophy; a loose federation/confederation based on ethnocommunal lines. It is also notable that recently the Turkish Foreign Minister A. Davoutoglu stated regarding the Balkans that Turkey hoped that the EU would implement policies that covered the entire region and that did not exclude any ethnic or religious groups. The Turkish message was clear: policies should not be based on ethnic and/or religious criteria. Yet in Cyprus, Turkey contradicts itself as it pursues a philosophy based on separation along ethnic and religious lines.
the present day and despite its European ambitions,
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