The Cyprus Problem (21st Congress of AKEL – 2010)
The Cyprus problem is an international problem: a problem of invasion, occupation, the presence of settlers, foreign interventions and flagrant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as of the human rights and basic freedoms of the Cypriot people as a whole. More than thirty-six years after its invasion in Cyprus, Turkey is continuing its flagrant violation of the independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. Violating fundamental principles of International Law, the Constitutional Charter of the United Nations, a whole number of resolutions and decisions, principles and values the European Union is founded, Turkey persists in its intransigent stand.
At the same time, the Cyprus problem also concerns the reformationof the structure of the Cypriot state, as well as the normalisation of the relations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot community. It is not correct that the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem displaces the issue of the invasion and occupation, but neither should this aspect itself be underestimated. It has its own great significance.
In the years following 1974, a series of initiatives were undertaken, aiming at the solution of the Cyprus problem. Unfortunately, all the efforts came up against the refusal of Ankara for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem based on the principles of International Law. Turkey in reality has never ceased projecting the demand for a solution of two separate state entities and asserting rights of sovereignty over Cyprus.
The devotion of AKEL and the President of the Republic towards finding a just under the circumstances, workable and viable solution that will terminate the occupation and reverse partitionist faits accomplis, ensure the reunification of our country and people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as well as the right of all the refugees to return, is given. Also given is our insistence on finding a solution within the agreed framework of a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality, as set out by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations; a solution in line with International and European Law, based on the High-Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979 and providing for the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus from a unitary to a federal state, with a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international personality.
Regretfully, within the framework of the so-called new world order and the gradual continuing deviation of international relations from the basis of International Law, the Turkish positions continue to draw support due mainly to the web of geo-strategic, economic and other interests. The perpetuation of the problem is not all unrelated to the contemporary antagonisms in our wider region for geo-political and economic control, the safeguarding of the access to energy resources and the control of the natural gas pipelines.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the community of socialist states in Europe, as well as the decline of the Non-Aligned Movement, an even greater opportunity was given to the USA and its close allies in NATO to shape an international environment based on force and the “right of the mighty”. This fact also affected the course of our own problem since within this specific international relation environment, Turkey is being promoted as an even more significant force in world affairs. This also largely explains the difficulties we are encountering today on the international arena and within the European Union, despite the fact that since 2004 and thereafter the Republic of Cyprus is a full member-state of the EU, which it joined with all its entire territory. All this, despite the general recognition of the creative role the Greek Cypriot side, and more specifically the President of the Republic, is playing.
After the rejection of the 2004 Annan Plan, the difficulties the Greek Cypriot side was called upon to tackle for a long time grew. Up to the Presidential elections of 2008, some of our partners in the European Union opted to blame us for the non-progress of the Cyprus problem, indeed with a disposition to punish due to the rejection of the proposed Plan for a solution.
The election of Demetris Christofias to the Presidency of the Republic gave a new impetus to the course of the Cyprus problem and rejuvenated, through the constant assumption of substantive initiatives, the procedure of the talks and the prospect for a solution. D. Christofias implemented and developed the 8th of July Agreement of 2006. Working Groups and Technical Committees, as the 8th of July Agreement provided for, were established, functioned and produced work. The common statements of the two leaders of the two communities – on the 23rd May and 1st July 2008 – formed the basis for the beginning of direct talks. For the first time, the Turkish Cypriot side explicitly accepted that the bizonal bicommunal federal Republic of Cyprus will have a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship.
On the initiative and insistence of the President of the Republic, it was clarified and agreed from the beginning that the procedure of the talks would be of Cypriot ownership and that there would not be suffocating timetables and arbitration.
Aiming at the achievement of the solution, which represents the only real option for the future of our country and people, President Christofias with his negotiating team submitted a number of proposals, based on principles and the long-standing positions of the Greek Cypriot community at the talks. During the talks, convergences, particularly on the chapters on Governance, the Economy and the European Union, were recorded. Big divergences, mainly concerning the chapters on property, the territorial issue, security and guarantees, remain, as well as on the issue of the settlers. In view of these facts, AKEL assesses that progress was registered during the talks that should not be nullified; however, this progress is still not satisfactory.
More specifically, on the chapter regarding executive power, we assess that the proposals the President of the Republic submitted overcome the negative legacy of the 1960 Zurich Agreement and of the Annan Plan. These proposals are correct, unifying, logical and democratic that can become mutually acceptable. They are proposals that are in line with the principles of the solution of the Cyprus problem and the unanimous decisions of the National Council of 1989 and serve the efforts to find a bizonal bicommunal federal solution, as the two communities have committed themselves to also towards the international community since 1977.
In assessing the latter, we express our unreserved support to the policy and handling of the President of the Republic with regards the Cyprus problem. The President is handling the Cyprus problem based on a coherent strategy, which serves the objective of attaining a solution that will liberate Cyprus from the occupation, colonisation and restore the human rights of our people.
The President is exhibiting political will for a solution of the Cyprus problem, devotion to principles, determination, realism and readiness for a mutually acceptable compromise with the Turkish Cypriot community. In the international arena, he is utilising to the greatest possible degree the international and European factor, following a multifaceted foreign policy. He is enhancing the base of support Cyprus has abroad, continuously utilising the status of Cyprus as a member of the EU, consolidating the relations of the Republic of Cyprus with traditional allies and friends. The credibility of President Christofias among the international and European arena constitutes a powerful weapon, where he is acknowledged everywhere as that leader who sincerely desires and works for a solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework also accepted by the international community.
Undoubtedly, the assumption of the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community by Mr. Eroglou represents a negative development. The positions he expresses through time go against the interests of the Cypriot people as a whole and are outside the agreed framework for a solution and waging of the talks. If Mr. Eroglou continues to come to the talks with these or similar positions, then the prospect of the talks looms ominously. Seen in this light, we assess that the demand of the President for Dervis Eroglou to comply with the agreed framework was correct and imperative.
President Christofias reacted very correctly with letters and other actions directed towards the Secretary-General of the UN, the permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union by promptly pointing out the dangers arising from the positions expressed by Mr. Eroglou and called on the international and European factor to assume their responsibilities. The United Nations, the permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union must exert their influence on the Turkish side, so that it will act within the agreed framework. At the same time when we, but also the international factor, are insisting that the Turkish side must act within this agreed framework, it would be a fatal mistake through our own wrongful actions – such as the withdrawal of proposals – to provide Turkey with the opportunity to dodge and escape from the agreed framework and for us to be held responsible for a possible stalemate.
The declarations of Prime Minister Erdogan that he wants a solution of the Cyprus problem by the end of the year must be translated into political will and in practise at the negotiating table, as the conclusions of the December 2009 European Council also stress. Otherwise, they will merely prove to be communication games that do not help at all. Ankara must understand that the perpetuation of the Cyprus problem is a problem for Turkey itself and its ambitions. The sooner it understands this reality and changes its policy, the quicker will the road for the solution of the Cyprus problem open up. AKEL is following and analyzing carefully the developments underway in Turkey and with concern notes that evaluations of various circles that the Cyprus problem, despite the verbal declarations, is not among the priorities of the Turkish government at this moment. Moreover, the assessment that in the confrontation between Erdogan and the deep state the management of the Cyprus problem is being left to the armed forces and the opponents of the Turkish Prime Minister provokes concern and reflection.
The assumption by Dervis Eroglou of the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community must not lead to disillusion. On the contrary, it is imperative that contacts and coordination of actions are intensified with those forces of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots who genuinely want a solution of the Cyprus problem based on a bizonal bicommunal federation.
In relation to the Cyprus problem, even the possibility of arriving at a solution is provoking reactions that have been lingering for some time on the internal front. It is evident that a section of the political forces – with the backing of the mass media – is increasingly challenging and opposing the solution of a bizonal bicommunal federation. Instead of a bizonal bicommunal federation, a utopian idealist perfect solution is projected which no one has ever specified and even more so, has not said how and with what support from the international arena this kind of a solution will be achieved. In the name of this idealist solution, a culture promoting a non-solution and the acceptance of partition is in essence being cultivated. Those opposing federation, whether they realise it or not are promoting partition with all the disastrous consequences such a development would mean for our people as a whole.
In addition, it is also evident that weariness, but also oppositionist and pre-election expediencies, are leading certain circles to submit proposals which, if implemented, would trap the Greek Cypriot side into suffocating timetables and unacceptable arbitrations, resulting not in the finding of an agreed solution to the benefit of Cyprus and our people, but to the imposition of a solution serving foreign interests.
AKEL, uncompromising fighter against the occupation and partition will continue to struggle for the solution of the Cyprus problem based on the UN resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, the agreed framework of the talks, International and European Law. AKEL is interested in the solution being achieved as soon as possible, but at the same time, we are interested in the solution assuming a content that would ensure a new hopeful beginning for the whole of the Cypriot people.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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