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The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

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The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

Postby Get Real! » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:50 pm

The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

3 March 2010

After decades of botched interferences, the EU should practise what it preaches and ensure that Turkey withdraws its troops

Last week at a House of Commons event on Cyprus, Europe minister Chris Bryant called the fact that within the EU we have a divided capital and a divided island "a scandal and a tragedy". It is difficult to disagree.

But as Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias has pointed out, Britain bears much of the blame. When Britain refused to grant self-determination to Cyprus in the 1950s, the Greek Cypriot demand for enosis (union with Greece) led to the campaign and threatened British control of this strategically important island.

The British countermove was to invite both Greece and Turkey to a conference in London in 1955, ostensibly to discuss political and defence matters affecting the eastern Mediterranean. However, as defence minister Selwyn Lloyd explained to the cabinet before the conference: "Throughout the negotiations our aim would be to bring the Greeks up against the Turkish refusal to accept enosis and so condition them to accept a solution which would leave sovereignty in our hands."

According to the 1923 treaty of Lausanne Turkey had renounced all claim to Cyprus, so it had to manufacture a series of arguments – historical, geographical and above all strategic – to justify its interest in the island. In 1956 Nihat Erim submitted a report to prime minister Adnan Menderes, which can be considered the blueprint for Turkey's strategy over the last 50 years. The Erim report clearly states that the only solution for Cyprus consists of partition under Turkish control and mentions population exchange and settlement by mainland Turks as means to this end. The following year the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dr Fazil Küçük, proposed a division of the island that corresponds to the final line of the Turkish advance, the Atilla Line, in 1974.

The 1960 constitution, underpinned by a treaty of guarantee between Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK, was regarded as provisional by both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. According to the secret Akritas plan, which was first revealed in 1966, the Greek Cypriots under archbishop Makarios intended to amend the constitution in their favour, suppress Turkish Cypriot resistance "immediately and forcefully" and finally declare enosis.

When the first stage of the plan was put into operation at the end of 1963, fighting broke out, but the Turkish Cypriots had prepared for this. Already in 1955, Turkish Cypriots were ordered by their leaders to cut social and financial ties with their Greek Cypriot neighbours. Nine years later they were forced into enclaves all over the island – all with the aim to demonstrate that peaceful coexistence was impossible and that partition was the only solution.

The tragedy consists not only of the thousands of lives that have been lost because of intercommunal strife and Turkey's invasion but also, among others, the lawyers, journalists and trade unionists who have been murdered because of their opposition to enosis and partition. The consequences can also be seen at a laboratory established by the CMP (Committee on Missing Persons) in the buffer zone, where a dedicated team of Greek and Turkish Cypriots work to establish the identity of victims of the conflict.

The US ranks high among the villains. After fighting broke out in 1964 the Acheson plan proposed partition as a solution, but this was not achieved until the Greek junta's coup against Makarios and Turkey's intervention in 1974 – both with the covert support of Henry Kissinger.

The Annan plan of 2004 was, in fact, a British and American plan to secure the reunification of Cyprus and the strategic goal of Turkey's membership of the EU, but the final version was rejected by the Greek Cypriots because it was heavily weighted in Turkey's favour.

Three weeks ago the European parliament passed a resolution on Turkey, calling on Turkey to immediately start withdrawing its troops from Cyprus, address the issue of Turkish settlers on the island and enable the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants. The Turkish response was predictable. Prime Minister Erdogan called the resolution "baseless and unacceptable" and his chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said Turkey shouldn't take it seriously.

However, Britain sits on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, it is committed to support the US's strategic objective of Turkey's EU membership. But on the other hand, it cannot ignore the continued occupation of 37% of an EU member state.

At the EU general affairs council meeting in Brussels in December, Britain tried to dodge the issue, supporting the Swedish proposal to reduce the Cyprus question to the level of the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. When this failed, it issued a counter declaration a fortnight later, stating that it was in the EU's strategic interest not to let "bilateral issues" hold up the accession process.

The court of appeal's judgment in Apostolides v Orams has also put a spanner in the works. It confirmed last year's landmark legal decision by the European court of justice that, although the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control in the occupied areas, the judgment of its courts can still be enforced. In this case, it concerned property purchased in northern Cyprus, which belonged to a dispossessed Greek Cypriot owner.

As the court of appeal noted: "Quite apart from security council resolutions, the United Kingdom has an obligation under the Treaty of Guarantee to recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus." It is paradoxical that Turkey invokes this same treaty to justify its continued presence on the island.

Talks between the two Cypriot leaders, Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat, are sluggish, and the fear is that Turkey will use a breakdown to reinforce its claim that the recognition of an independent Turkish state in northern Cyprus is the only viable solution. If Chris Bryant would like to break the deadlock, he could urge Turkey to abide by the European parliament's resolution and withdraw its troops.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... rkey-eu-uk
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Postby RichardB » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:01 pm

A straightforward and pretty fair assesment I'd say
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Postby bill cobbett » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:23 pm

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Liberation Struggle....

Here is a small paragraph from the above .......

"According to the 1923 treaty of Lausanne Turkey had renounced all claim to Cyprus, so it had to manufacture a series of arguments – historical, geographical and above all strategic – to justify its interest in the island. In 1956 Nihat Erim submitted a report to prime minister Adnan Menderes, which can be considered the blueprint for Turkey's strategy over the last 50 years. The Erim report clearly states that the only solution for Cyprus consists of partition under Turkish control and mentions population exchange and settlement by mainland Turks as means to this end. The following year the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dr Fazil Küçük, proposed a division of the island that corresponds to the final line of the Turkish advance, the Atilla Line, in 1974. "

One that should show beyond any reasonable doubt that there is only one logically consistent argument stretching back sixty-five years, through every single day since the mid-'50s, of the machinations by GB and Turkey that have led to the present impasse... Turkish ambitions to control CY helped by the Former Colonial Power.

.... and despite the good intentions of some in the EU in recent years, there has been sod all real concrete help from that quarter. Prepare and brace yourselves for the last throw of the Turkish and GB dice...... Plan B ....... Partition.
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Re: The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

Postby Oracle » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:02 pm

Get Real! wrote:The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

3 March 2010

[i]After decades of botched interferences, the EU should practise what it preaches and ensure that Turkey withdraws its troops
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... rkey-eu-uk

You're a tad slow! :D

http://www.cyprus-forum.com/viewtopic.p ... 94&start=0

Following in Oracle's footsteps again "Get Real!" ... :lol:
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Re: The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

Postby Get Real! » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:55 pm

Oracle wrote:
Get Real! wrote:The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

3 March 2010

[i]After decades of botched interferences, the EU should practise what it preaches and ensure that Turkey withdraws its troops
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... rkey-eu-uk

You're a tad slow! :D

http://www.cyprus-forum.com/viewtopic.p ... 94&start=0

Following in Oracle's footsteps again "Get Real!" ... :lol:

Sorry, I looked around but didn't see anything.... :?
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Re: The scandalous history of Cyprus - Robert Ellis

Postby Oracle » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:05 pm

Get Real! wrote:Sorry, I looked around but didn't see anything.... :?


Yup! That just about sums you up these days, GR! :roll:
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Postby grokked » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:10 pm

Has this item by Robert Ellis been mentioned elsewhere?

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_ar ... 010_115323

COMMENTARIES
EU, Turkey on collision course


Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses parliament in Ankara yesterday. At a recent lunch with EU ambassadors, the Turkish premier called a European resolution on Cyprus ‘baseless and unacceptable.’

By Robert Ellis (1)

The European Parliament has with a resounding majority called on Turkey to immediately start to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and address the issue of the settlement of Turkish citizens on the island. It has also called on Turkey to enable the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.

The Turkish reaction was predictable. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a lunch for EU ambassadors called the resolution “baseless and unacceptable” and his chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said Turkey shouldn’t take it seriously.

According to Turkish columnist Semih Idiz, the EU has painted itself into a corner over Cyprus but the boot is on the other foot.

Turkey, in holding Cyprus hostage to its own prospects for EU membership, has played for high stakes but lost. The beginning of the end was the European Council meeting in Helsinki in 1999, which, while agreeing to Turkey’s candidacy, stressed that if no Cyprus settlement had been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council’s decision on accession would be made without this being a precondition.

The next nail in Turkey’s coffin was its signature on the Protocol to the Ankara Agreement in July 2005, which extended the customs union to 10 new EU members, including Cyprus. Two days before, Tony Blair had assured Prime Minister Erdogan it was a “legal fact” that Turkey’s signature did not involve the recognition of Cyprus but nevertheless Turkey issued a declaration to this effect.

Two months later, the EU issued a counter-declaration, reminding Ankara that its unilateral declaration “has no legal effect” on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol and that recognition of all member states is a necessary component of the accession process.

This standoff resulted in a decision by the EU Council in December 2006 not to open eight chapters of the acquis relevant to Turkey’s refusal to recognize Cyprus. In addition, Cyprus has announced it will set preconditions for opening a further five in addition to the energy chapter, which it has already blocked. France has also blocked five chapters directly related to full membership, which caused a European diplomat to lament: “There will soon be no more chapters left to open.”

At the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels last December, Britain and Sweden tried to downplay the issue and equate the Cyprus question with the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia.

When this attempt failed, Britain issued a counter-declaration two weeks later, stating that it was in the EU’s strategic interest not to let “bilateral issues” hold up the accession process.

Legal facts

However hard Britain tries to nod and wink at Turkey’s continued occupation of 37 percent of a sovereign European state, there are certain legal facts that cannot be ignored. The European Court of Human Rights has already established that the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is, in fact, a subordinate local administration of Turkey, and last month the British Court of Appeal confirmed the landmark legal decision by the European Court of Justice in Apostolides v. Orams.

Together with several thousand other British citizens, David and Linda Orams bought land belonging to a Greek Cypriot owner, who had been dispossessed by the Turkish invasion in 1974. Although the Republic of Cyprus does not exercise effective control over the occupied areas, the judgments of its courts are still enforceable and therefore the Orams were ordered to demolish their holiday home, pay compensation to Apostolides and return his property. As the Court of Appeal noted: “Quite apart from Security Council Resolutions, the United Kingdom has an obligation under the Treaty of Guarantee to recognize and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus.”

Therefore it is a paradox that Turkey invokes this treaty to justify its presence on the island. The Turkish military has long considered Cyprus to be essential to Turkey’s security and has therefore opposed any withdrawal of its forces. In 2006, the Finnish term presidency proposed to put the “ghost town” of Varosha (suburb of Famagusta), which is guarded by Turkish soldiers, under UN supervision to enable its Greek Cypriot inhabitants to return.

However in a secret letter to then Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Saygun Ergin warned against any form of compromise. General Saygun, who is now retired, is one of the high-ranking officers who have been detained in connection with alleged coup plans against the government.

Game plan

Turkey’s game plan is, and for the last 50 years has been, the establishment of an independent Turkish state in northern Cyprus, which is why confederation rather than federation is the preferred goal. Turkey’s settlement policy, which is in breach of Article 49.6 of the Geneva Convention, is a means to this end and has reduced the original Turkish Cypriots to a minority in their own community.

Turkey has already posited a solution along the lines of Kosovo or Taiwan and there is talk of “a velvet divorce” a la Czechoslovakia. However, Bagis has declared Cyprus “a national cause” and that Turkey has no plan or thought to withdraw its troops.

For this reason, if push comes to shove and Turkey is faced with the breakdown of membership talks, it will be interesting to see what Turkey actually decides to do.

For example, Committee of the Regions (COR), an EU advisory body, plans to urge Turkey to withdraw its forces from Cyprus by the end of 2010.

At the Geneva Conference in 1974, British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan warned: “Today the Republic of Cyprus is the prisoner of the Turkish army: Tomorrow the Turkish army will find itself the prisoner of the Republic of Cyprus.” With the benefit of hindsight, Jim was right.

Robert Ellis is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in Denmark and from 2005-2008 was a frequent contributor to the Turkish Daily News.
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Postby grokked » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:14 pm

Or THIS one (which appeared for a few hours on what used to be Turkish Daily News but is now Hurriyet) until its editor presumably got leant on from a great political height and decided to delete the item entirely !?

http://europenews.dk/en/node/30643

Demopoulos and others v. Turkey (CENSORED)

Robert Ellis 18 March 2010

This is the article by Robert Ellis which appeared in today’s print edition of the Hürriyet Daily News. But for some reason the editor-in-chief, David Judson, found it offensive and removed it from their website.

The non-admissibility decision a fortnight ago by the European Court of Human Rights was welcomed as “historic” by the Turkish press and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, but it might be premature to pop the champagne corks. In fact, it is probably former Turkish Ambassador Tulay Uluçevik who struck the right note when he described the Court’s ruling as “a Pyrrhic victory.”

Apart from the issue of security, that of property can be considered a major stumbling block for a solution to the Cyprus question, and the Annan Plan did little to assuage Greek Cypriot concerns. The right to restitution and return was effectively limited by a number of restrictions so that the majority of displaced Greek Cypriots were faced with compensation in the form of what Tassos Papadopoulos called “dubious paper.”

The Property Board that the Annan Plan envisaged, which would have settled claims from both sides, would for the most part have been funded by the Greek Cypriots, so it would have been the merchant from Kayseri who fed his donkey with its own tail all over again.

However, the Immovable Property Commission, or IPC, which “the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) established in December 2005 to deal with Greek Cypriot property claims, will in effect be funded by Turkey, as the “TRNC” has the status of “a subordinate local administration” under Turkish jurisdiction.

The legal status of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which was proclaimed in 1983, has been a bone of contention for previous property cases appearing before the European court, but it has been established in admissibility decisions (for example, Loizidou v. Turkey in 1995 and Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey in 2005) that Turkey is the respondent state.

In the latter case, an attempt was made to avoid a judgment against Turkey by establishing an “Immovable Property Determination, Evaluation and Compensation Commission” in July 2003, so as to provide a domestic remedy that should be exhausted. Nevertheless, this only provided for compensation but not restitution, and as there were doubts about the impartiality of the Commission, the remedy was found to be neither effective nor adequate.

So, seen in those terms, the IPC must be considered an improved model as its provisions provide for restitution, exchange or compensation in return for rights over the immovable property and compensation for loss of use if claimed. Furthermore, two of the IPC’s five to seven members are independent international members, and persons who occupy Greek-Cypriot property are expressly excluded.

Consequently, on the basis of the 85 cases concluded by last November, the Court found that the IPC provides an accessible and effective framework of redress for property issues “in the current situation of occupation that it is beyond this Court’s competence to resolve.”

In view of the redress offered by the Annan Plan, it must be a disappointment for Greek Cypriots that the Court maintains its view that “it must leave the choice of implementation of redress for breaches of property rights to Contracting States” and that, from a Convention perspective, “property is a material commodity which can be valued and compensated for in monetary terms.” In fact, in more than 70 cases claimants opted for compensation.

A further bone of contention in the current talks between Dimitris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat is whether it is the legal or the current owner of the property who should decide whether redress should be in the form of restitution, exchange or compensation.

On this issue, the Court states, “It is still necessary to ensure that the redress applied to those old injuries does not create disproportionate new wrongs.” Finally, the Court concludes that this decision is not to be interpreted as requiring that applicants make use of the IPC. They may choose not to do so and await a political settlement, but in the meantime the Court’s decision provides a legal basis.

Davutoglu believes the Court’s decision has boosted the international legitimacy of the “TRNC”, in which case he has neglected to read the small print. “The Court maintains its opinion that allowing the respondent State to correct wrongs imputable to it does not amount to an indirect legitimization of a regime unlawful under international law.”

Furthermore, “Accepting the functional reality of remedies is not tantamount to holding that Turkey wields internationally-recognized sovereignty over northern Cyprus.” The European Parliament has, in a resolution, called on Turkey to immediately start to withdraw its troops from Cyprus and address the issue of the settlement of Turkish citizens as well as enable the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated he is willing to withdraw Turkish troops in the event of a solution, but his chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, has boasted that Turkey has not withdrawn a single soldier or given away territory.

Considering that not only the future of Cyprus but also Turkey’s prospects of EU membership hang in the balance, that kind of attitude is singularly unhelpful.

Robert Ellis is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in the Danish and international press.

Posted March 18th, 2010 by hrc
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Postby grokked » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:36 pm

I had liked Robert Ellis's headline, and rather disliked what Britain's Minister for Europe had to say in his Keith Kyle Memorial Lecture to the Association for Cypriot Greek and Turkish Affairs on 25th February - that I used a variation on it as a title for my blog entry.

"Scandalous British duplicity over Cyprus"

http://aspectsofreality.blogspot.com/20 ... -over.html
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