Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Media Watch 2006

22 September 2006
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following editorial article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 22 September 2006.
No room for military doctrines, Tassos tells Ankara
"…a problem of invasion and continuing occupation, by Turkish military forces, of 37% of the territory of my country for more than thirty-two years now. The Cyprus problem essentially epitomises the inability of the international community to redress this set of massive violations of international legality"

"PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos has said that the Cyprus problem epitomises the inability of the international community to redress the massive violations of international legality, adding that the Greek Cypriots remain committed to reunification through a functional bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

The Annan Plan, he said, was rejected by the Greek Cypriot community precisely because it did not provide for the reunification of the country nor did it address core issues and key concerns in a satisfactory manner.

Addressing the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Papadopoulos said Cyprus had hoped that by now the accession course of Turkey to the European Union would have taken its catalytic effect, but unfortunately there has been no change in Ankara’s negative attitude.

He invited Ankara to recognise that there is no room for military doctrines with regard to the Cyprus question, to normalise relations with Cyprus and, as partner and ally in the European Union, to seek a lasting solution for the benefit of all Cypriots, Turkey and of the region.

President Papadopoulos stressed that the Cyprus question is ''a problem of invasion and continuing occupation, by Turkish military forces, of 37% of the territory of my country for more than thirty-two years now.

''The Cyprus problem essentially epitomises the inability of the international community to redress this set of massive violations of international legality,'' he added.

He referred to Turkish efforts towards the recognition of the occupation regime and remarked: ''The political agenda of projecting a separate political entity in Cyprus has been in recent years pursued under the pretext of a campaign to lift the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

"However, with the per capita income in the occupied areas of Cyprus currently standing at approximately $11,000, it is clearly acknowledgeable that the argument for economic development is exploited for political reasons and is a manifestly unsubstantiated allegation,'' he pointed out.

Refusal

A recent example of this kind of behaviour was Turkey’s refusal to consider Cyprus’ proposal to increase trading activity by reopening Famagusta port for exports to other EU states, in cooperation with the European Commission, following the return of the fenced off and derelict city of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.

He noted that ''in seeking a fair and viable resolution of the core and substantive issues comprising the Cyprus problem, we should avoid inherent shortcomings which flawed the last negotiating effort undertaken by the UN and which diverted attention from basic principles that must be upheld.''

Troops out

Such principles were the withdrawal of foreign troops and settlers, the restitution of property to its lawful ownership, the achievement of real unification (including integration of the economy), territorial adjustments based on "proportionality principles", genuinely federal institutions and structure, effective implementation of the acquis communautaire throughout the territory of the country, the effective application of human rights and of the principles on which the European Union is founded.

President Papadopoulos assured that ''the Greek Cypriots remain committed to reunification through a functional bi-zonal, bi-communal federation'' and noted that ''the failure of the last initiative did not alter our commitment, nor our willingness to work resolutely towards the reunification of our country.''

He also said that the UN solution blueprint , known as the Annan plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot community in a referendum, ''was not accepted precisely because it did not provide for the reunification of our divided country nor addressed core issues and key concerns in a satisfactory manner'' and that ''the search for a settlement firmly remains for us in the UN framework, within the context of the good offices mission mandated to the Secretary General by the Security Council.''

Referring to developments of a political nature that have taken place over the past few months, President Papadopoulos said it was agreed that bicommunal discussions at the technical level would commence to address substantive aspects of the Cyprus problem as well as issues that affect the everyday life of all Cypriots as long as the status quo persists, a process that would be complemented by parallel confidence building.

''This expert level process is a sine qua non for the preparation and presentation of issues before the two leaders for purposes of meaningful negotiation,'' he said, adding ''while sharing the assessment of the Secretary General that a cautious and step-by-step approach is the appropriate way forward given the fragility of the process, we also hold that an effort to avoid another failure with potentially lasting catastrophic consequences demands laying the necessary groundwork.''

Complex

President Papadopoulos said that ''for us this imperatively includes some of the core and more complex dimensions of the Cyprus problem such as determining the lawful population of the island, bringing an end to the unlawful exploitation of properties of Greek Cypriot refugees in the occupied area in accordance with case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and ensuring the integral and viable character of the economy of the Cypriot state in line with the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact of the EU.''

He added that the solution of the Cyprus problem should provide for the establishment of a bi-communal and bi-zonal federal state of Cyprus with a single sovereignty, international personality and citizenship, and guarantee the independence of Cyprus and its territorial integrity without any foreign troops on its soil and the possibility of foreign interventions.

''We had hoped that by now, the accession course of Turkey to the EU would have taken its catalytic effect producing the necessary political will on her behalf and changing their perception of Cyprus from that of an adversary to that of a partner, a valuable neighbour and a potential ally in the EU,'' he said. This change in attitude would render completely anachronistic those considerations that led Turkey to maintain an occupation army in Cyprus.

President Papadopoulos added: ''We maintain our expectation of Turkey to at least proceed with the implementation of its legally binding obligations vis-a-vis the EU. This is a unique opportunity for them to prove their willingness to turn the page by meeting obligations that they undertook years ago.''

''Unfortunately they have so far persistently refused to adhere to them. Instead, our generous attitude towards Turkey's accession to the EU is met with a blockade against my country in its bid to join several international and regional organisations and with a refusal to open their ports and airports to Cypriot vessels as required"

The President continued: "We still believe that in our relations with Turkey there is only one way forward, that is creating a future of peace and cooperation and building bridges and mutual understanding, normalising our relations and working hand in hand to achieve the goals of the EU in our region.''

''I once again invite Turkey to recognise that there is no room for military doctrines with regards to the Cyprus question and to join us in seeking a lasting solution for the benefit of all Cypriots, Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike, of Turkey and of our entire region,'' he concluded.

Referring to the Middle East and the recent crisis in Lebanon, he said ''Cyprus had from the very first moment of the outbreak of violence supported the calls for an immediate ceasefire and joined in the effort to provide assistance both to the Lebanese people and to evacuees.''

''Unfortunately it took almost a month for the Security Council to discharge its responsibilities effectively towards the peoples of the region, causing disappointment and frustration,'' he said, adding that ''in parallel to the Lebanese crisis, the world continues to witness the deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a heavy civilian toll and worsening humanitarian conditions.''

President Papadopoulos said: ''It is imperative to urgently revert to the implementation of international agreements, including the Road Map, providing for the creation of a viable Palestinian State that will peacefully coexist side by side with Israel within agreed borders.''"