Monday, 2 September 2013

The Cyprus Question: The History Explained (4) Conclusion

In this article, we conclude our visit to the history of the so-called Cy-Prob or ‘Cyprus Question’ by looking at the declaration of Statehood on November 15th 1983, by the founding father of Turkish Cyprus, the late and great Rauf R Denktas and also we will look at the relationship of Cyprus with the EU and we will see that this entity, has by no means dealt with Turkish Cyprus in a manner which approached fairness. For some reasons better known to themselves the French in particular and the Germans too, have swallowed the Greek argument for Cyprus and it is past high time that balance was addressed. This columnist continually strives to do precisely this.

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 endeavour 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 ‘inter-communal’ 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 primary aim of the Turkish Cypriots within the November 15th Declaration of an independent state, that of 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 in the formation of a future co-federal 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 bi-zonal, bi-communal 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.

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 the light of the above, it would not be unreasonable 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 respective Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom had noted the existence of two autonomous administrations within their joint Geneva declaration. 

It is also obvious that even the Greek Cypriot administration knew 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 dominant 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 garrisoned upon this line.

A further legal defect of the unilateral Greek Cypriot application is its international capacity to act as such, thus making the application invalid or in other words null and void. The acceptance of this unilateral application by the EU, together with the EU decision taken in Luxembourg to commence negotiations with the Greek Cypriots and the subsequent talks thereafter, from a point of view of international law, were illegitimate too.  Furthermore article.23 of the Zurich and London Agreements provided 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, be again in breach of the treaty obligations were it would join in the EU and thereby exclude Turkey from most favoured nation status.

In addition to the above, article. 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)."

Given that as Turkey is not a member of the EU, the right to a final veto for the Turkish community, 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 displays in lamina, the internationally unlawful character of the authority that purports to make this application and which deprives it of the capacity so to act, thus rendering the application invalid. 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 light of the apparent disregard by the EU of accepted precepts of International Law the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have adopted the 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 a 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 can 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.

Today, 39 years on from the events of 1974, which saw the legitimate intervention by Turkish forces to prevent the extermination of Turkish Cypriots by Greek Coalition forces who were hell-bent on the creation of an entirely Hellenic state in union (enosis) with Greece, the Turkish Cypriot community, whilst protected by the permanent garrison of the TSK (Turkish Security Forces) remain internationally unrecognised and embargoed from the point of view of trade and normal relations. There is no question of Greece forcing the withdrawal of the Turkish Military presence in Northern Cyprus as they are incapable of so doing and would suffer huge casualties were such an attempt to be made, but they and Greek Cyprus use the unanswered ‘Cyprus Question’ as a ‘silver bullet’ in their otherwise limited arsenal in respect of Turkey’s protracted EU Accession process.

In October of this year, 2013 there are to be yet another round of UN hosted talks between the community leaders on Cyprus. President Nicos Anastasiades, has recently let it be known through the well-used tactic of press leaks, that he is intent upon beginning the whole talks process all over again, ignoring all previously agreed convergences. TRNC President Dervis Eroglu will not accept this pre-condition. It can be reasonably expected therefore that these talks will fail as have all previous such talks since 1967. 
In his message for the 1st September 2013 World Peace Day, President Dervis Eroğlu stated that it is time to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to do whatever is necessary in order to reach a solution in the island.In his message, President Eroğlu expressed: ‘We as the Turkish Cypriot side consider that it is time to make an agreement in Cyprus and we conveyed our thoughts to our Greek neighbours and the United Nations too’.

Moreover, indicating his opinions regarding the negotiation process, President Eroğlu said  ‘We as the Turkish Cypriot side are ready to do whatever is necessary to meet at the negotiation table with Turkey, Greece, UK and the Greek Cypriot side, and to speed up the negotiation process and reach a solution by a mutual give and take process. It is not difficult to reach a solution but the realities in Cyprus should not be disregarded and a viable agreement should be aimed at’.

This mini-series The Cyprus Question: The History Explained concludes inconclusively; the Cyprus Question remains unanswered and will continue to be so until such time as the obvious solution is enforced: This is the total annexation of Northern Cyprus by the Republic of Turkey possibly following a referendum amongst all eligible voters in Turkish Cyprus. This idea is not a new one; in fact the late president Denktas suggested as such back in the 1980’s. But with Turkey looking less and less likely to become a full member of the EU and given the nature of the ongoing regional affairs, Turkey will continue to retain her interests on Cyprus for the same strategic reasons as other nation in south Cyprus. It is simply a question of when the matter becomes permanently resolved as such. And that is yet another component of the Cyprus Question.