Following the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of the “Annan Plan” for the solution of the Cyprus issue, on April 24, 2004, we detected anger coming from several officials of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and other countries.
The main political argument on which such anger is based is that “the Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic of Cyprus remain isolated at a time that the country officially entered the European Union and, as a result, they are prevented from enjoying the benefits of being European citizens”.
The first major issue we wish to stress is that the Greek Cypriots voted “No” in a democratically organized and carried out referendum, in which they had the right to choose to vote “Yes” or “No” to the implementation of that particular plan. So, it has to be understood by democratically structured countries and organizations, that the Greek Cypriots had just exercised their democratic right and rejected by a majority of 76% a plan which they consider unacceptable for being the foundation of their country’s future.
In fact Greek Cypriots were absolutely right in rejecting the “Annan Plan”, given that such plan:-
- was based on racism and racial discrimination,
- implied permanent violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
- did not provide for the restoration of human rights and fundamental freedoms continuously violated by Turkey since her invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in July 1974 and her continuing occupation of 37% of the country’s territory,
- provided for the establishment of “a non state”, by not giving any powers to the federal government, by demanding separate majorities of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot constituent states for each and every decision to be adopted and by referring the final political decision in case of a deadlock to a federal court consisted of three Greek Cypriots, three Turkish Cypriots and three foreign judges, by sharing the international legal personality of the state between the federal and the constituent states, by providing for the presence of Turkish troops on its territory with a right “to take unilateral action” if Turkey considers that the constitutional order or the geographic area of the federal state or either of its constituent states is at stake, by not permitting any amendments to the federal constitution except with Turkey’s consent, by permanently dividing Cypriot population and creating borders based on the Cypriot’s ethnic origin etc.,
- provided for the prohibition of referring any violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights for any action prior to the entering into force of the plan, and that any such violation should be compensated by the victim’s own constituent state,
- justified the transfer of tens of thousands of Turkish citizens to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, contrary to strict provisions of international law,
- provided for the extension of the “rights” of the British military bases in Cyprus by giving them rights to Cyprus’s territorial sea and sea shelf, renewing their “rights” to Cyprus’s territory and airspace and by prohibiting the reference of any dispute to any judicial or other institution,
The second major issue which we consider fair to examine is whether Turkish Cypriots are in fact isolated and who is responsible and has to be “punished” for such isolation.
We do agree that Turkish Cypriots are isolated and that their economic situation is far from being acceptable, especially when compared with the economic situation of the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus. Who is to be blamed for that?
- In 1974 Turkey, applying a plan aiming at the creation of a “homogeneous” geographic and population area, has forcibly uprooted the Turkish Cypriots from their homes and properties, transferring them against their will to the areas under Turkish occupation. At the same time, within the framework of the same plan, Turkey had expelled thousands of Greek Cypriots, uprooting them from their homes and properties situated in such areas.
- Since 1974 Turkey and the puppet “administration” representing her in the occupied areas of Cyprus strictly prohibited any relationship between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It is to be stressed that any “unauthorized” visit by a Turkish Cypriot to the government controlled areas constituted a “criminal offence”. Turkey did not even permit the Turkish Cypriots to attend scientific or social events in the government controlled areas and there are numerous complaints by Turkish Cypriot politicians, scientists, professionals and other factors of the community to that effect.
- Turkey had unilaterally proclaimed the establishment of a “Turkish Cypriot state” within the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus challenging thus the international community. As a result the Security Council, expressing the fundamental principles of international law, called upon all states not to recognize the purported state of the “Turkish Republic on Northern Cyprus” set up by secessionist acts and called upon them not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid secessionist entity (Security Council Resolutions 541 of 1983 and 550 of1984).
- For 30 years Turkey and its puppet “administration” in Cyprus had rejected each and every proposal towards achieving a solution to the Cyprus issue and prevented any relationship between Greek and Turkish Cypriots at any level and such attitude is included in several United Nations reports.
- Turkey and its puppet “administration” in Cyprus refused to implement the agreement reached in Vienna on 2nd August 1975 in the presence of the UN Secretary General, providing for the conditions of living of the Greek Cypriots residing in the Turkish occupied areas and continue the flagrant violation of their rights and freedoms.
- Turkey and its puppet “administration” in Cyprus refused to implement the high level agreement achieved in 1979 in the presence of the UN Secretary General, providing for the fundamental principles on which a settlement to the Cyprus issue should be based and refused to return the town of Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants.
It is obvious that Turkey works for 30 years towards isolating the Turkish Cypriots, exploiting their existence for achieving her own strategic targets. It is also obvious that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots has been legally, politically and factually implemented by the United Nations themselves as a measure of defence against Turkey’s actions which are contrary to international law.
While Turkey’s thirty year aggression against the Republic of Cyprus continues without any measures of “punishment” been taken by the Security Council, the Secretary General’s report on Cyprus (S/2004/437 of 28 May 2004) proposes measures against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Republic of Cyprus, the victim of Turkey’s aggression, as a punishment of the Cypriot population who rejected the “Annan Plan”. Such proposals are contrary to international law and particularly to the Security Council Resolutions 541 of 1983 and 550 of1984.
It must be understood that the Greek Cypriots’ “No” to the Annan Plan is a “No” to that particular plan and not to a solution to the Cyprus issue. It must also be understood that the Greek Cypriots are the first to welcome a solution to the Cyprus issue, provided that such solution is based on the principles of freedom, democracy and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In other words, just to be honest, although we have a great desire for a solution, although we want our Turkish Cypriot compatriots to develop their status and enjoy all the benefits from the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union, we will never accept a solution based on injustice, racism, the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms or malfunction of the state.
We believe that the principles on which the United Nations are build provide a fair and sound framework within which a solution to the Cyprus issue should be reached. Such solution will benefit all the Cypriots and help them forget the past and concentrate on the establishment of a prosperous future, while it will be an insult against the United Nations for anyone to suggest that such solution will be “against the interests of the Turkish Cypriots”. We will work towards that goal and we hope that all the free, democratic and civilised countries and the international community will support our efforts.
Cyprus is a very small country, but the United Nations were established with a view to safeguarding the values of mankind irrespective of the size of any country. We do believe that Cypriots are also entitled to freedom, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and of course human dignity and that is why we are sure that the Secretary General’s proposals should be rejected.
5 June 2004
President of the Pan Cyprian Association
for the Protection of Human Rights