With the London and Zurich Agreements a “functional federation” was founded in Cyprus in 1960 between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Despite the fact that this new state was not bizonal, it had balanced constitutional powers between the two peoples living on the island. Both motherlands, Turkey and Greece, as well as Britain, the former colonial power that owned two bases on the island, became the guarantors of the new state. The Greek Cypriot side was not happy with this new state of affairs and started immediately to work with all its might to turn this new state into a Greek Cypriot entity, drive the Turks out of the island and unite Cyprus with Greece. What the whole world witnessed thereafter is well known: Organized Greek Cypriot militant gangs waged a ruthless massacre called “Bloody Christmas” against the Turkish people starting on the 21st of December 1963. Hundreds of Turks were murdered in cold blood, thousands were forced to flee, 105 Turkish villages were evacuated. Until 1974 the Turkish people had to survive in an area less than five percent of the territory of Cyprus.
What was the reaction of the Western world while all such developments were happening? The West disappointed all by only watching the jenosidial acts in which the mainland Greek army officials also took part. The perpetrators of this savage criminal campaign have so far neither been brought into any court nor to any international tribune. Not even an official voice was heard in the West calling for a fair trial. The Turks were even asked to establish partnership with the people who allowed the perpetrators walk freely among themselves. The Western world also connived when the Turks were being forcefully thrown out at gun point from all Government organs, which left them literally without a state and converted the Republic of Cyprus of 1960 into a Greek-only administration. Although fully aware of what was happening in the island, those countries, who kept their eyes closed, formulated and endorsed this fait accompli at the United Nations on 4 March 1964 with the notorious Security Council resolution no 186, which allowed the newly formed UN Peace Force to function under the suzerainty of the Greek Cypriot Administration. In addition to such misjudgements, the West left Turkey to act alone during the Sampson coup attempt perpetrated by the Greek Cypriots in 1974 aimed to annex the island to Greece. Thus, Turkey had to realize the intervention of 20 July 1974 alone. Finally, those Western countries, though seeing quite openly that the Republic of Cyprus had now turned into a Greek Cypriot entity and that were perfectly aware that what is being done was flagrantly violating the provisions of the London and Zurich Agreements, accepted as full member to the European Union a state which was still party to an international conflict and “did not have full sovereignty over its territory”. Thus, the West has deliberately enhanced the Greek presence in the EU from one into two states.
While engaged with all these critical attempts and decisions, the West has totally ignored the injustices and the desperate situation of isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. This was not the final unfortunate step of the West; all through the talks intended to solve the Cyprus conflict, which have not brought forward any conclusions for the last fifty years, the said powers obliged the Turkish side to join the talks as “The Turkish Cypriot Community”, while allowing the Greek Cypriot side to take part as the internationally recognized legitimate representative of the island. Hence, from the very beginning, they chose to look over the unequal treatment which provided the Greek Cypriot side an unfair backing and comfort. Of course this support in effect made the West helpers of the Greek Cypriots in their ambition to become the master of the whole island. After so much support lent to them, the Greek Cypriots do not see any more a need to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Their one and only aim now remains to keep the negotiation desk intact, free of any risk of being overturned. Therefore, the idea of federation has become a Greek Cypriot fantasy in Cyprus, which could as well be labeled as a “dogma”.
SIMPLY, WHO IS THE WEST ?
We normally identify the West with enlightenment, science and reason, though for the rest of the world it also means a long history of colonialism, as well as orientalism.
Let us take a short look at history. In 1915 Britain, which had taken Cyprus from the Ottomans back in 1878, offered the island to King Constantine of Greece as an inducement to enter the First World War. Towards the end of the War, the victorious powers, i.e. the United States of America, Great Britain and France were unanimously convinced that “The barbarous Turkish race should be cleared out of Europe.” Discussion on the future of Turks was therefore a main topic at the Paris Conference which convened in January 1919. The well-known Grecophiles and proponents of Greek claims, Lloyd George and Lord Curzon, who allowed Greece to invade Izmir in May 1919, proposed at the Conference to drive the Turks out of Istanbul, move the Turkish capital to Bursa, leave the Sultan as Caliph in Istanbul under a Vatican-style status and, just like Izmir, hand over Istanbul to the Greeks. Clemenceau of France also supported the idea of taking Istanbul from the Turks and leaving them outside of Europe. (From Paris to Sėvres, 1974, Paul c. Helmreich, Ohio State University Press)
This pro-Greek British mentality was the same during the Bloody Christmas events in Cyprus. Britain did not move a finger to bring the perpetrators to justice. On the contrary, it continued to favour and act together with the emerging Greek Cypriot entity as though nothing had happened. As soon as the Greek Cypriot attacks had started, Britain, not falling short of Makarios, who was already doing his part to wipe the Turks off the island, came up with a proposal to transfer the Turkish population to the Rhodes island at the Aegean and to hand over that island to Turkey. (The Destruction of A Republic and its Aftermath, Salahi S. Sonyel, 2003) Obviously, the British, who were in early century readying themselves to offer Izmir and Istanbul to the Greek, also considered Cyprus in their hearts and minds as a gift suitable to be given readily to the aggressor in the 1960’s.
Again, it was the British who actively took part in drafting the UN Security Council resolution 186 that poured oil into the Cyprus fire. This very resolution later in 2004 was taken as a pretext when the Greek Cypriots were being admitted unlawfully as a full member to the European Union. During the same year, the British were also a full participant in outlining and designing the eleven-thousand-page Annan Plan. This Plan’s vague wording was called “constructive ambiguity”, a peculiar invention of the British diplomacy. Moreover, the British enviously kept for themselves the Acrotiri and Dikhelia bases, which they labeled as the “Sovereign Areas” and tried to cautiously keep these regions away from all settlement plans. They are still quite keen on not transferring them to anyone. While emphatically using the word “sovereign” for the bases, the British authorities refrained from using this term for none of the administrations established by the Turkish Cypriots after 1963, when they were left out of the state apparatus in 1963. The British intentions did not change after Brexit either. It would not as well be so hard to guess that Britain might not be helpful to any attempts to increase the influence of the EU in Cyprus. The continuation of the present state of affairs in the island is for the British lesser of two evils.
FEDERATION NOW BECOMES A GREEK CYPRIOT PLOT
Normally, in order to have a viable federation, experts say it is essential for the parties to have a mutual trust, respect and dependence, as well as strong common interests and a culture of sharing things in critical matters. Do these qualities exist in Cyprus? As said before, Greek Cypriot atrocities committed between 1963-1974 have neither been brought into daylight, nor the criminals punished. There still exists a Greek Cypriot entity from which the Turks were left out by force of arms and which the international community sees no trouble in continuing to recognize as the only representative of the whole island. The confidence building measures proposed so far by the Turkish side and its good will steps like opening the border gates with the South have not been found satisfactory by the other side. It should also not be forgotten that 75 percent of the Greek Cypriot side voted no to the Annan Plan, which envisaged a model of federation.
With regard to the discussions on federation, the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made this realistic diagnosis at his report dated 28 May 2004 on the situation in the island : “The Greek Cypriots do not want to share authority or prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots at an equal condition/statue.” No other statement could explain so unquestionably the plain truth that federation is not the right thing for the island.
Federation as a model has now become the name of the status quo in which the Turks are being isolated and forced to live under embargoes. It has virtually turned into an instrument of letting the unfair circumstances in favour of the Greeks last forever, while keeping the Turks chained to the negotiation table. Federation has obviously turned into a sinister game used by the Hellenistic rulers of Greece and the Greek Cypriot side along with the philhelenistic states tied to them with adoration, with the aim of cornering the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, along with a strong desire to drive the Turkish army out of the island by destroying the Guaranteeship system, which is definitely the last sanctuary of the island Turks. Therefore, it has now become cristal clear that the Greek side will never say yes to any agreement before they have a “settlement model” which would let them seize the whole island.
TURKISH CYPRIOTS HAVE A STATE OF THEIR OWN
Cyprus was never ruled in history by the Greeks. In 1960 Turkish and Greek Cypriots took part as equal founding partners in the formation of the sui generis Republic of Cyprus, whose independence was secured by three guarantor powers (Turkey, Greece and Britain). Turkish Cypriots subsequently constituted their own autonomous administrations following the attacks that left them out of the state in 1963 and proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983. The TRNC has all the prerequisites a modern state should possess. It is perhaps the only country in the world which, although greatly suffering embargoes and acts of isolation, attributes great value to the human rights and basic freedoms and implements an exemplary democracy. It is diplomatically recognized by the Republic of Turkey, a significant power of the Eastern Mediterranean and the region.
It is not so hard to understand that the intention of the Greek Cypriot side is to make the Turkish side “beggar for a solution”, fastened to the process of intercommunal talks, left with no other options. Nevertheless, the situation is quite the other way around. There exist in effect in Cyprus two different territories, two different states, two different democracies, two different nations and two different cultures, each exercising full sovereignty at its own region. On the island , the plain and time-tested reality which should not be expected to change easily in close future is that these two states live and will continue to live side by side. Taking all these facts into consideration, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side, frustrated by the endless talks on federation, have put forward the formula of “two state” solution, which means that the existing peace and stability, successfully maintained in Cyprus by the Turkish army since 1974, depends on the separation of two peoples and their countries. Defenders of federation oppose this idea by claiming that two states cannot exist in a small island. This is not true, because there are divided islands in other parts of the world like Timor or Hispaniola. Moreover, one should then question why we have two British bases which totals 254 square kilometers in an island which is too tiny to divide. If two different administrations have managed perfectly well to live together for 48 years without having any serious conflict, uniting them by a push from outside would beyond any doubt be a futile effort, if not a bad intention.
IN CYPRUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO STATES WILL BE LIKE THAT OF ANY TWO STATES
Bilateral relations among neighboring states are normally organized according to international law. The TRNC and the Greek Cypriot Administration could as well arrange their relationship on the principles of non interference in internal affairs, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. What, then, will happen to the issues like property, territory, free circulation of people or EU membership, which have taken years of lengthy discussions at the negotiation table? These matters will have to be seen as the new agenda items that could be solved only if there is a will between the two sovereign states of Cyprus. The issue of territory, for instance, will turn into a bilateral matter consisting only of border adjustments. The border will not change as long as the sides do not agree. The issue of property, by taking into account the Turkish properties left in the South, may be taken up by a committee like the “Joint Property Commission” that in the past was formed to tackle the issue of the title deeds of lands left reciprocally in Turkey and Syria. Free circulation of people is an issue regulated according to the visa regimes of countries. As for the membership of the TRNC to the EU, the rational solution will be joining the Union simultaneously with Turkey, since any other formula means the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots within the EU and Turkey losing her rights in Cyprus. It is important to remember the words of the late founding President of the TRNC, Rauf Denktaş, who said “Without Turkey I wouldn’t even go to heaven.” Regarding the continuity of the presence of the Turkish army, a joint defense cooperation agreement might be enacted.
IN 1997 ECEVIT, ALSO A WELL KNOWN EXPERT ON CYPRUS, HAD THE WISDOM TO SEE THE SITUATION TODAY
Bülent Ecevit, the late Turkish statesman who most courageously took all the important decisions and diplomatic initiatives during the intervention of Turkey in Cyprus in 1974, had made a momentous speech at the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 21 January 1997 that touched upon vital issues on Cyprus and still carries important messages for today.
In his speech, Ecevit said that it was understood clearly that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to share powers in a federation, therefore it was time Turkey must ask friendly nations to “acknowledge” the TRNC. He advised that through an autonomy agreement with the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey’s support should be arranged in foreign affairs and defense matters. He emphasized that the TRNC is a significant security assurance for Turkey just like Turkey being a security assurance for the TRNC. He added that the security of the Mersin and Iskenderun sea ports of Turkey, as well as the region’s oil pipelines or any future gas and oil pipelines to be constructed in the Eastern Mediterranean area all depend on such assurances, therefore Turkish troops must remain in Northern Cyprus forever.
It is believed that the adoption of the two state model in Cyprus by Turkey and the TRNC is a significant step, taken at the right moment. It is also relevant in the sense that it is necessitated by the national interests of both countries. It is presumed that only by insisting on this certain model would it be possible to avert the initiatives of the Greek Cypriot side backed by the EU, USA and Britain to create a Greek dominated entity.
Past experiences have amply proven that other ideas, mainly the insistence on federal solution that are expected to be put forward during the upcoming talks in Geneva are openly aimed at reducing the Turkish Cypriots into a minority under a Greek Cypriot state. Turkish Cypriot people do not want to live again the sorrows and the savagery they had after 1963 and do not want to be migrants for a third time at their own country. Perpetrators of the Bloody Christmas and the murders committed before 1974 still await to be brought to justice and account. The UN Security Council resolution no 186, which has made a tremendous unjustice to the Turks by presenting the Greek Cypriots as the sole representative of the island has not yet been corrected.
There remains no other option in Cyprus other than making the Turkish Cypriot state live.