By Chris Elliott……..

In the past week the world has started to look at sleepy North and South Cyprus and take interest in the UN efforts to try and help the two communities find a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem and the division of the island since 1974. This drive for a solution culminated in a 5 Party Conference including the TRNC, RoC and the 3 Guarantor powers but an agreement was not reached due to disagreement over Security Guarantees and Land Exchange. and further preparations and  discussions will start again today the 18th January to seek the final solution.

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International Geneva Conference

Why was Cyprus divided? The rift in Cyprus goes back to the time of the Ottoman rule when  many Greek Cypriots supporting the Greek independence effort that began in 1821 and became independent in 1829, many Greek Cypriots sought the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece which failed and Cyprus remained part of the Ottoman Empire.

After WW1, Britain declared the complete annexation of Cyprus into the British Empire in 1914 as the Ottomans had aligned themselves with central powers in WW1 and the colony of British Cyprus was proclaimed in 1925.

Following a terrorist campaign by the Greek Cypriot military group EOKA during the Cyprus Emergency period of 1955 to 1959 to remove the British from Cyprus (Enosis) so it could be unified with Greece and the United Kingdom granted the independence of Cyprus in 1959.

Makarios speaking at the Treaty of Guarantee in 1960 meeting.
Makarios speaking as the First President of the Republic of Cyprus

The Guarantor Powers, Britain, Turkey and Greece declared the formation of the Republic of Cyprus on 16th August 1960 with Greek Cypriot Archbishop Makarios III being elected the first president of independent Cyprus with Turkish Cypriot, Fazıl Küçük, the Vice President with extensive veto rights and in  1961 the Republic of Cyprus became the 99th member of the United Nations. To read the full text of the Guarantee Treaty of 1960   click here

With a revival of EOKA activities and renewed intercommunal fighting in 1963 click here  after which there was a cease fire in 1964  Dr.Kucuk several times requested from the United Nations their security to return to the Parliament. This return was refused by Makarios and Clerides unless the Turkish side accepted 13 conditions to change the  constitution to include abolishing the Turkish local councils and  guarantees.

There was heavy fighting in 1963 to 64 and neither the Turkish Cypriot MPs or Turkish Cypriots could take the risk of  crossing  the Green Line border without risking their lives.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was established in Cyprus under United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting following intercommunal violence between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order.

Following the 1974 Greek Cypriot coup d’état supported and encouraged by Greece, President Makarios on 19th July 1974 went to the UN Council to tell them about the Cyprus problem and who was at fault and said:

MAKARIOS: “… It may be said that it was the Cyprus Government which invited the Greek officers to staff the National Guard. I regret to say that it was a mistake on my part to bestow upon them so much trust and confidence. They abused that trust and confidence and, instead of helping in the defence of the Island’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, they themselves became the aggressors… the events in Cyprus do not constitute an internal matter of the Greeks of Cyprus. The Turks of Cyprus are also affected…The Security Council should call upon the military regime of Greece to withdraw from Cyprus the Greek officers serving in the National Guard, and to put an end to its invasion of Cyprus…” Click here to read the full speech by Makarios to the United Nations.

On 20th July 1974 the Turkish Armed Forces launched “Operation Atilla” a peace intervention operation in Cyprus as their right as a guarantor power which was intended to safeguard the lives of the Turkish Cypriots who had been driven into enclaves and under threat of annihilation. They had requested help and support from the United Kingdom, the other guarantor power but this request was denied.

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Turkish forces arrive in Cyprus in 1974 to stop the bloodshed

In Resolution 573, the Council of Europe supported the legality of the Turkish invasion (intervention) as per Article 4 of the Guarantee Treaty of 1960, which allows Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom to unilaterally intervene militarily in failure of a multilateral response to crisis in Cyprus.

The Court of Appeal in Athens further stated in 1979 that the Turkish invasion (intervention) was legal and that “The real culprits… are the Greek officers who engineered and staged a coup and prepared the conditions for the invasion (intervention)”.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) extended and expanded the mission to prevent the dispute turning into war, and UNFICYP was redeployed to patrol the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus and assist in the maintenance of the military status quo. Since its establishment, the force has also worked in concert with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and representatives of the two communities to seek an amicable diplomatic solution to the Cyprus dispute.

Peace moves rejected by Greek Cypriots

A fine article by Ismail Veli which brings the facts stated on many occasions by ex Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Nicos Rolandis, that a total of 15 peace plans have been developed and 14 were rejected by Greek Cypriots and 1 by both communities upto and including the Annan Plan.

To read more of this article, please click here

So do we need to preserve the Cyprus Treaty of Guarantee?

A recent Cyprus Mail review stated – “If the Treaty of Guarantee was necessary in 1960, it certainly isn’t now” which puts one side of the current argument which is for the removal of security guarantees. Click here to read the article in full.

Click here to read another fine analysis written by Kudret Ozersay after the failure of the Annan plan when the Republic of Cyprus voted against an agreement.

In the final analysis, we include a statement  by President Erdogan of Turkey, and  his view for the need to preserve security guarantees that can be read by clicking here.

Cyprus – UN Resolution 186 – What Does It Mean And What Impact Has It Had?

Ismail Veli looks at the UN Resolution 186 dated 1964 about “The Cyprus Question” in which the Security Council stated “Noting that the present situation with regard to Cyprus is likely to threaten international peace and security and may further deteriorate unless additional measures are promptly taken to maintain peace and to seek out a durable solution”

The UN aspirations to resolve The Cyprus Question have still not been achieved and do please click here to read the full article.

To read UN resolution 186 in full, please click here

 

Conclusion:

So there we have it, the Republic of Cyprus has invested heavily in defense since 1974 and is said to be one of the most heavily armed countries in the world and ready to defend its territory from further Turkish military incursions. Many Turkish Cypriots worry that if the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee is abolished and Turkish and Greek armed forces leave the island, will they see a return of ethnic violence between the 2 communities if Cyprus becomes two communities within one state again.

For further reading and information:

Cyprus Mail – “1963 is still a historical minefield” 

Should guarantees remain?

The beginning of the the end and buildup to the division of Cyprus has been described by Elias Hazou on 22nd December 2013 in the article you can read by clicking here,

Some will argue that both sides were to blame but when you read that there was systematic action taken by the Greek Cypriots to change the Republics constitution and exclude Turkish Cypriots from governance of a two community the dye was being cast for a path of no return.

In this article it quotes a summary by Richard Patrick who was an officer in UNFICYP in the late 1960s and pursued his interest in the Cyprus conflict as a doctoral student in political geography at the London School of Economics. This research was published as ‘Political Geography and the Cyprus Conflict, 1963-1971.’

Summarising his findings – Patrick wrote: “The general trends of the December 1963 – August 1964 period are clear. . . Decisions were made to implement the conflicting ideas of enosis [union with Greece] and taksim [partition] by various coercive movements. Violence induced a refugee movement which altered existing demographic fields.”

Now in 2017 further attempts at reaching a peaceful settlement are in part blocked by the insistence by the Greek Cypriots that Security Guarantees should be removed and this is countered by the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey that Guarantees should remain even if in a revised form.

Given the past history of a attempts at ethnic cleansing of the island its going to take more than just words build trust so that two communities finally agree to live together again under one flag.

Did the Greek Cypriots divide Cyprus?

Ismail Veli brings us a view of a divided Cyprus with the Greek Cypriots maintaining economic pressure through Embargoes to force the Turkish Cypriots into concessions at the negotiation table. The fact that 60/70.000 Turkish Cypriots, 50% of the population, have also lost their homes in the south of Cyprus but this it seems, is never mentioned when the return of land is discussed at peace meetings.

In a telegram from British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan dated 11 October 1974, he said  “The action which the Cyprus government have taken in removing the three ports in the Turkish controlled area from the list of approved points of entry to the republic is in our view a diversive and undesirable measure.”

To read more of this article, please click here