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Media Watch 2005

21 April 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author: Alex Efthyvoulos
Comment: The following editorial appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 21 April 2005.
Message to Talat: Act like a European, if you want to join the EU
"...what Talat and those who voted for him in the occupied north mean by "rights'' is completely different from what the Greek Cypriots mean, or what the judgements of the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe, the EU acquis, International Law and the UN Security Council resolutions lay down... Greek Cypriots, as the victims of the ethnic-cleansing war crime carried out by Turkey, are even more anxious for a "just solution" and the protection of their "rights," than the Turkish Cypriots and the tens of thousands of illegal Turkish mainland settlers introduced to the occupied north who voted for the Annan Plan because it legitimises the expulsion of the Greek Cypriots and the usurpation of their homes and properties."

Following his election victory last Sunday and his replacement of Rauf Denktash as Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat donned a more conciliatory tone compared to his rabble rousing anti-Greek Cypriot speeches during the electioneering. His theme was that he wants the island reunified so that the benefits of EU membership may extend to all the people, Greek and Turkish Cypriot alike.

"I am extending my hand for peace and this hand will be there until it is held. I sincerely believe that one day this hand will be held," Talat proclaimed in a victory speech Sunday evening.

What lovely sounding words, how wonderful, what a wise leader, one might exclaim!

But then the next day Talat appeared more like his old self, when he clarified what he means by extending a hand of peace to the Greek Cypriots.

"I think that the message that the Turkish Cypriot people have given me is clear. It wants its rights to be protected...it wants a just solution," he declared.

What a pity

What a pity, for what Talat and those who voted for him in the occupied north mean by ``rights'' is completely different from what the Greek Cypriots mean, or what the judgements of the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe, the EU acquis, International Law and the UN Security Council resolutions lay down.

In this respect it is so unfair, not to say deliberately misleading, for those foreign powers that hastened to hail Talat's victory to present him as the champion of reunification for Cyprus, and President Tassos Papadopoulos as the main obstacle.

For what Talat and those who voted for him mean by "a just solution" that protects their "rights" is the legitimisation of the consequences of the Turkish invasion and occupation of north Cyprus as provided by the controversial Annan Plan, which has been so overwhelmingly rejected by the Greek Cypriots precisely for this reason.

Greek Cypriots, as the victims of the ethnic-cleansing war crime carried out by Turkey, are even more anxious for a "just solution" and the protection of their "rights," than the Turkish Cypriots and the tens of thousands of illegal Turkish mainland settlers introduced to the occupied north who voted for the Annan Plan because it legitimises the expulsion of the Greek Cypriots and the usurpation of their homes and properties.

Rights Court supreme arbiter

The European Court of Human Rights, as the supreme European judicial arbiter in this field, has repeatedly made abundantly clear that the dispossessed Greek Cypriot refugees have every right to return, and to the full restitution of their properties, rejecting the provisions of the Annan Plan.

Talat and those who voted for him claim on the other hand that they have every right to prevent the Greek Cypriots from returning and to hold on to the usurped refugee properties.

If this is what THEY mean by "a just solution that protects their rights,'' is there any hope left for a settlement??

The Annan Plan has a multitude of other provisions that violate not only fundamental human rights but numerous other basic provisions of the EU acquis.

In conclusion, since as Talat himself proclaims he is so anxious for a united Cyprus to join the EU, it surely follows that the EU acquis should apply throughout the island without any derogations.

Equal EU citizens

This would ensure that basic "rights'' are enjoyed by all Cypriots as equal EU citizens. Such an approach would practically solve the Cyprus problem overnight, except for the necessary transition arrangements.

So, Mr Talat, if you are truly sincere in wanting the whole of Cyprus to join the EU, is it not time that you started behaving like a true European yourself.

You can prove this by beginning to uphold and protect the most basic EU principles, like the right of all citizens to move, own property and seek employment anywhere within the EU, instead of insisting on the restriction of such rights in the case of Cyprus.

Greek Cypriots would then be overjoyed and rush to grasp your extended hand of friendship.

Are you up to it?"