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Media Watch 2004

22 October 2004
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following leader article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 22 October 2004.
MacShane's bloopers
"But when Cyprus insists that a settlement must be based on respect for the EU acquis, without any derogations, the Annan Plan backers, including the British government counter that the Greek Cypriots are being too legalistic, or are making "unrealistic demands."

DENIS MacShane, the British Minister for Europe, made some interesting, albeit contradictory, remarks during his visit this week.

Speaking on arrival he said he was aware that his government's policy on Cyprus since the referenda, and particularly on the issue of direct trade "has caused concern among Greek Cypriots.''

He added that "Now that the Turkish Cypriots have turned a page on the past, we need to help them continue on the road towards Europe and reunification.'' Such foreign help would indeed be most welcome, provided that the Turkish Cypriots have indeed "turned a page on the past,'' and have decided to take the road to Europe.

Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. If the Turkish Cypriots' "turning a page on the past,'' is seen as a result of their adoption of the Annan Plan, then Mr MacShane, like all those who back this highly contentious plan, is abysmally wrong.

The bitter truth is that instead of really turning such a page on the past, through their acceptance of the divisive provisions of the Annan Plan the Turkish Cypriots have in effect done the opposite.

Their acceptance legitimised all the wrongs, and war crimes, committed by Turkey in the wake of the invasion.

Backers of the Plan bury their heads in the sand when it comes to its scandalous provisions such as the denial of the Greek Cypriot refugees right to restitution, which tends to legitimise the ethnic cleansing war crime committed by Turkey as well as the other war crime of the takeover of the refugee properties by the illegal Turkish mainland settlers, not to mention the permanent stationing of Turkish troops on the island.

Foreigners tend to dismiss these grave issues as immaterial things that must not stand in the way of a settlement, even though they amount to gross violations of human rights.

MacShane said that in effect the acceptance of the fact that the Turkish Cypriots have turned a page on the past "will make a solution much more likely, easier to consolidate and less costly.''

He then went on utter a misleading statement by saying that "this does not mean we ignore legitimate Greek Cypriot concerns on recognition and property rights.''

Begging your pardon Sir, but this is exactly what you do. For the Annan Plan rejects the right of the ethnically cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees to the restitution of their properties, which incidentally is fully backed by the judgements of the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe, where the British government is represented by a judge!

Mr MacShane dropped another clanger when he went to declare that "On the contrary,'' that is to ignoring Greek Cypriot concerns and property rights, "we should ensure that everything that the EU does takes into account of these concerns.'' But when Cyprus insists that a settlement must be based on respect for the EU acquis, without any derogations, the Annan Plan backers, including the British government counter that the Greek Cypriots are being too legalistic, or are making "unrealistic demands.''

Mr MacShane concluded his arrival remarks by saying: "We understand the concerns that made Greek Cypriots vote "no'' to the UN plan and look forward to mseeing Greek Cypriot proposals on moving the process forward. If we believe the proposals are reasonable and have a realistic chance of success, we will encourage the UN Secretary-General to re-engage and put all our resources and influence behind finding a solution that is acceptable to all sides.''

This sounds great, for how can anyone even dare to argue that the Greek Cypriot proposals, nay, insistence, that a settlement must be based on respect for human rights, the rule of law, the EU acquis and the judgements of the Human Rights Court are not "reasonable.''

Mr MacShane, of course, has a point when he says that such proposals need to have "a realistic chance of success.''

The trouble, or the bitter truth with the Cyprus problem, is that such proposals lack a reasonable chance of success precisely because Turkey insists on the legitimisation of its war crimes, and its close friends and allies, primarily Britain and the United States, support it, to become inevitably through their action accomplices to Turkey's continuing and unpunished war crimes.

What these backers of Turkey ignore is that, for the sake of a compromise settlement, the Greek Cypriots have refrained from insisting on Turkey's trial before the International Court as a war criminal. They are prepared to forgive Turkey's crimes, hoping and praying that Cyprus as a full and equal member of the EU will enjoy a peaceful future, where all its citizens will be treated no differently than EU citizens elsewhere, and that Turkey will itself mend its ways so that it may also join this happy united family where respect for human rights is of paramount importance."