Cyprus – UN Resolution 186
What does it mean and what impact has it had?
By Ismail Veli
Many people look at the Embargoes on the Turkish Cypriots (TCs) in various ways.
1/. The TCs feel that after 50 years of isolation, injustice and being pushed into endless corners their rights as Cypriots have been eroded for the simple reason that they opposed Enosis (union with Greece), and as a result they have lost their constitutional rights, Their right to live a normal life and still see their grandchildren living in isolation for a problem that started long before they were born.
2/. The Greek Cypriots (GCs) feel that the Turkish are to blame for the division, loss of property and thousands of lives, therefore the embargoes are justified in order to pressure for the return to the pre 1974 state of affairs. It seems that it was okay for the GCs to unite to another country (Greece) while at the same time argue about the treasonous act of the TCs in dividing an independent Island.
The deep division of perception seems to have no middle ground.
Some TCs argue that “As the GCs blame Turkey for all its woes then why are the Embargoes not directed against Turkey. There are massive contradictions and hypocrisy at play, indeed it seems the GCs have been arguing that Turkey needs to open its ports and trade with south Cyprus. So how is it that the country they blame for everything under the sun should normalise its relations with them while the TCs whom the GCs claim are also victims of Turkey’s colonisation plans are the ones being punished. Is that consistent, or even a credible argument??
If, as the GCs (and some TCs) claim, Turkey are the aggressors then why continue to force the TCs into 100% total reliance on Turkey for finance, trade, infrastructure and practically everything needed to carry on with some semblance of normality????. This contradiction and dishonesty has cost the GCs dearly. If the 1977 agreement between Makarios and Denktaş had not been scuppered by Kyprianou then the few thousand “Turkish” settlers would have practically disappeared into the 700.000 or so Cypriots.
If the subsequent Boutros Galli set of ideas in 1992/93 had been agreed on, the “Turkish” settlers would have remained lower than the 2004 rejected Annan plan. Every plan is rejected on the same excuse that all settlers need to go to Turkey and every Turkish soldier to leave the Island. Every rejection means another lost decade in which the GCs “heroic stand against fascism and occupation” only to see their “hated Turkish settlers” grow in number. In the meantime “the indigenous” population of “Cypriots” on both sides stagnate or are reduced to about 600.000 while the rest of the 200.000 immigrants in the south grow just as fast as the “hated settlers” in the north.
Any TC arguing against the Embargoes are considered to be nationalists, separatist’s or even worse as fascists. One can be forgiven if the TC’s loved being under sanctions, as though it’s natural for them to accept and enjoy the embargoes as a punishment for their sins of fighting to survive in the atrocious conditions of the 1960’s and watch their children suffer the sins of the past. The 4th March 1964 anniversary of resolution 186 by the UN is upon us. This in effect saw the decimation of TC rights which are still in force today. Though there are very few exceptions, the TC’s for their part have not lobbied in any way remotely anything that can be considered consistent or professional. Many TC NGOs in the UK elect leaders that at best have their own personal agenda, have poor command of the English language and at worst, do little or nothing to promote the concerns of the ordinary TC people. Flag waving, jingoism and rhetoric is in their eyes a useful and effective form of lobbying as opposed to meeting MP’s, MEP’s and engaging decision makers. One can be forgiven on whether we should cry or laugh.
On the other hand the Greek lobby machine is well financed, remorseless and completely dedicated in their one sided revision of practically erasing anything pre 1974 from the history books on the idea that we all need to look forward and not back, until of course they then jump back a few centuries to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the “barbaric Turkish rule of 300 years”. This style of propaganda though medieval in its content and nature seems to be effective with Western sympathisers. Or is it??
In effect the Greek “heroic obstinacy in never taking any responsibility for their part in the Cyprus tragedy by rejecting 15 plans has for all intents and purposes consolidated and cemented the division of Cyprus. I doubt If that’s what they intended, while the TC distrust has led to paranoia about being engulfed by GC’s returning to the north.
I once remarked that “In a nutshell our (TC’s) inadequate efforts on the lobby front is more than matched by their (GC’s) over adequate stupidity”. A few years on I see no reason to change that view.
The hypocrisy and never ending cycle of accusations, incrimination’s and propaganda war continue unabated. In fact it’s almost like accepting the status quo is preferable to that of taking courageous decisions that will finally end the never ending saga of the Cyprus problem.
To read what Resolution 186 says click here
You may also be interested in reading the following articles that I have written :
Did the Greek Cypriots divide Cyprus? – Click here
Peace moves rejected by Greek Cypriots – Ismail Veli’s Comments – Click Here