Two Years After:

Ten Fundamental Guidelines for the Solution of the Cyprus Question

by Andreas Theophanous, Professor of Political Economy and Director General of the Research Center - Intercollege


After three decades of continuous stalemate, developments in Cyprus in the past few years have been astounding: on April 24, 2004 Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan V with an overwhelming majority of 76% and a week later the Republic of Cyprus became a member of the EU. Ankara and its strategic partners used the Greek-Cypriot NO and the Turkish-(Cypriot) YES to absolve Turkey (even in the short run) of its responsibilities in Cyprus and to erode the moral highground enjoyed by the Greek Cypriots.


In December 2004 Turkey received a date for the start of its accession negotiations with minimum obligations toward Cyprus.  At the same time efforts have been underway for the upgrading of the “TRNC”, with the “isolation of the Turkish Cypriots” and not the Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island highlighted as the major problem in Cyprus.  During this period the usurpation of Greek-Cypriot properties in occupied Cyprus has assumed unprecedented dimensions.


In the post referendum period Cyprus lost precious time in endless and pointless discussions regarding the Annan Plan. But enough time has since elapsed for Cyprus, now a full member of the EU, to undertake its own initiatives and clearly submit its own guidelines for the solution of the Cyprus question:


(1) The Republic of Cyprus Remains in Existence: The continuity of the Republic of Cyprus will be safeguarded by a solution.


(2) The Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance and the Cypriot Army: Abolition of the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty Guarantee and withdrawal of all foreign troops.  For a transitional period there will be provisions for peacekeeping troops within the framework of the UN and the EU.  It is possible to have a professional army consisting of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots within the framework of the conventional obligations of the Republic of Cyprus towards the EU.


(3) The Importance of the Economy and the Creation of a Modern State: The solution will advance the reestablishment of the unity of economy and society as well as the viability and effectiveness of the state.


(4) Bi-communality and Bi-zonality and the Three Basic Freedoms: Although bicommunality will be an inseparable part of the solution, it will not be an exclusive one.  Bizonality will be in a loose form and the provisions that will be made will not obstruct the three fundamental freedoms.


(5) The Settlers: The issue of settlers must be addressed effectively.  In addition, there will be provisions for the limitation of the number of Turkish citizens that might be able to enter and settle in Cyprus.


(6) The Powers of the Central Government, the Hierarchy of Laws and Double Majorities: The central government should have those powers that will allow it to function effectively. The laws of the federal state must have priority over the laws of the two regions except if the Supreme Court decides otherwise. Double majorities (and strong ones (2/3)) will apply only in the case of constitutional reforms.


(7) The Supreme Court: The Supreme Court will consist of 4 Greek Cypriots, 4 Turkish Cypriots and 1 that will come from smaller communities on a rotation basis. The eldest judge will serve as the President of the Supreme Court.


(8) The Efficiency of the Executive, Democracy and Popular Sovereignty: The American system of President and Vice-President will be introduced with the additional provision that the President and the Vice-President will not come from the same community.  All Cypriots will vote for the election of the President (and the vice-President).  The composition of the Council of Ministers will be on the basis of 70:30.  The Upper House will be on the basis of 50:50 and the Lower House on the basis of 75:25.


(9) The Territorial Issue: The region under Turkish-Cypriot administration will comprise of 27,5% of the territory. It is understood that the land that will be returned to the Greek-Cypriot side will include a greater percentage of coastline.  All refugees will have the right to return. Even if all Greek Cypriots refugees do return there will still be a Turkish-Cypriot majority in the area under Turkish-Cypriot administration.


(10) Further Evolution:  If, in due time, developments are such that a functional federation evolves in which bizonality has less relevance, then, with the consent of the two sides, the bizonality provisions may be reassessed.


Such an approach entails the “osmosis” of the historical compromise of federation with the European political culture and norms.  Cyprus should adopt a comprehensive strategy and launch a campaign to promote these ideas domestically, in the EU and the international community.

Research Center - Intercollege

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