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The Search for a solution

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The Search for a solution

Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:39 am

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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:41 am



The Historical Background: 1960-1 996
The Players
The Issues
1996:Getting a Show on the Road
1997:Missiles and Missed Opportunities
1998: Damage Limitation
1999: Getting the Show on the Road Again
2000: Proximity, Equality, Walk-Out
2001: Trench Warfare
2002: Countdown to Copenhagen
2003: Extra Time
Epilogue: The Curtain Falls
What Went Wrong; and Will It Ever Go Right?
The Historical Background: 1960-1 996
The Players
The Issues
1996:Getting a Show on the Road
1997:Missiles and Missed Opportunities
1998: Damage Limitation
1999: Getting the Show on the Road Again
2000: Proximity, Equality, Walk-Out
2001: Trench Warfare
2002: Countdown to Copenhagen
2003: Extra Time
Epilogue: The Curtain Falls
What Went Wrong; and Will It Ever Go Right?

To my wife, my children and my grandchildren
who uncomplainingly put up with my absences
even after I was meant to have retired.


hen I was first approached in February 1996 to ask whether I
would be prepared to take on a new, part-time job as the
British government's Special Representative for Cyprus, I had
some idea of what I was being let in for, but not that it would last for
seven years. Although I had never actually set foot on the island, I had,
like many other British diplomats, bumped into the Cyprus problem from
time to time during the 36 years of my professional career in the Diplo-
matic Service, which had ended the year before with my retirement from
the post of UN ambassador in New York. I had been involved in the
negotiations for a trade agreement between the European Community
and Cyprus when Britain joined the EC in 1973; I had subsequently
participated in the negotiations that developed this agreement into a
customs union and, more relevant than either of these two experiences, I
had a ringside seat for the last major attempt by the United Nations to
negotiate a comprehensive settlement in 1992 and the subsequent, equally
abortive, effort to agree a major package of Confidence-Building Measures
on the island which had finally run into the sands in 1994.

So I could not be said to be unaware of the singular intractability of
the problem, nor of the capacity of the main players to spin out any
negotiation until the Greek Kalends, nor of their preference for playing
the blame game over making any serious effort to get to grips with the
core issues in an attempt to reach a settlement. Why did I say yes? Partly,
I suspect, out of a reluctance to quit entirely the scene of international
diplomacy in which I had spent the whole of my professional life. Partly
also, like a mountain climber drawn towards an unclimbed peak, simply
because it was there. The Cyprus problem was certainly an unclimbed
peak, said by many -particularly by those who had tried to climb it and
failed -to be un-climbable; so there was an element of irresistible chal-
lenge. And then there were less personal reasons. The commitment given
by the European Union in 1995 to open accession negotiations with

. . .


Cyprus, divided or not, within six months of the end of the Inter-
Governmental Conference which was drawing up the Amsterdam Treaty
(in 1997), meant that we were sliding towards a parting of the ways which
might either consolidate the division of the island or lead to its entering
reunited into the European Union. It also had the potential to lead to a
serious crisis in the relations between Turkey and the European Union
and thus to a threat to the peace and stability of the Eastern Mediterra-
nean. So the case for making a further determined attempt to reach a
settlement was a serious one.

Seven years later, after two failed attempts to reach the summit, the
second of which, at least, got agonizingly close, it was time to recognize
that even if that peak was going, one day, to be climbed -and I do not
join the ranks of those others whose efforts failed, in saying that it cannot
be -it was not going to be climbed by me and almost certainly not for
some considerable time to come. A secondary question then arose. Did it
make sense to write down, while events were reasonably fresh in the
memory, the story of the negotiations? Would anyone be interested in an
account of a negotiation that failed, itself only the latest in a whole series
of failed negotiations to settle the Cyprus problem? But there were argu-
ments that pointed the other way. Cyprus may well be a place, like other
scenes of long-running disputes -Northern Ireland springs to mind -that
suffers from a surfeit of history. It does not, however, suffer from a surfeit
of properly recorded and reasonably objective historical works. Indeed it
is almost entirely lacking in them. Most of what has been written about
Cyprus has been the work of members of one or other of the two embat-
tled communities -or peoples (but that is part of the story that belongs to
a later stage). As such they are at best distorted by that prism, at worst
little better than polemic and propaganda. And the non-Cypriots who
have ventured into the field seem to have fallen prey to the same distor-
tions, often appearing as little more than apologists for one side or the
other. So, for someone who has always been a student of history, it was
tempting to try to redress this balance a little. Not that I have any illu-
sions that what I write will be regarded by many on the island or in the
region as objective. It is an occupational hazard for anyone who gets
involved in attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem to be considered by
both sides as being irremediably prejudiced against them and in the
pocket of the other side. The same is all too likely to be the fate of any
such person who tries subsequently to set out the record.

There is another reason for setting all this down. The Cyprus negotia-
tions between 1996 and 2003 were complex enough in themselves, but
they were made even more complex by the inter-relationships between
two other entities, the United Nations, which was centre stage through-
out the efforts to get a settlement, and the European Union, accession to
which was an important motivating factor for the two parts of Cyprus and
Turkey. So this was far from being a classical, bilateral international
dispute, to be addressed within the framework of the relations between a
limited number of nation states. It was rather a very modern negotiation,
a kind of three-dimensional game of chess. Since neither United Nations
diplomacy nor that involving the European Union is particularly well or
widely understood, I believe that it could be useful to examine the anat-
omy of this negotiation from that point of view and not just as another
chapter in the weary saga of attempts to settle the Cyprus problem.

So much for the author's motives; now some more practical points.
This book is not, nor does it attempt to be, a history of Cyprus, even
during the period described, although a chapter on the historical back-
ground is included to situate the negotiations that took place within their
context. That chapter is neither an original product, nor is it the fruit of
deep historical research, but the minimum needed to assist comprehen-
sion of the negotiation itself. So the book describes the anatomy of a
negotiation, not the history of Cyprus. Being written very shortly after
the events described, the author has had no access to any classified docu-
ments from the archives of governments or other parties. The documents
referred to or cited in the book are all either formally in the public domain
or else so widely and fully described in the press as to amount to the same
thing. The opinions and judgement in the book are the author's own and
no one else's, least of all those of the British government.

As often where two cultures and two languages are present there is a
problem over the spelling of the names of people and places. I have opted
for the versions most commonly used in the language in which the book is
written, English. Since the two chief Cypriot protagonists, Glafcos
Clerides and Rauf Denktash, both often used anglicized versions of their
own names I feel in good company.

I have decided, for obvious reasons and despite the risk of appearing
ungrateful, not to mention by name all those with whom I worked during
this negotiation and without whose wisdom and advice it would not have
got even as far as it did and this book would not have existed. It goes
without saying that my thanks to them are profound.

CYPRUS: Adjustments to the status quo in the island proposed
in the second revision of the Annan Plan tabled in February 2003

KyreniaNICOSIA Famagusta
AgialoussaYeni Erenkoy
PergamosBeyarmuduAchnaDüzceAcheritouGüvercinlik VaroshaLysiAkdoganˆ
Agia MarinaGürpinarZodhiaBostanciMorphouGüzelyurtLarnakasKozanAgia IriniAkdeniz(Yeni Güzelyurt)
LefkaLefkeSoliKato PyrgosGünebakanGaliniOmerli
Upon entry into force ofFoundation Agreement:
Turkish Cypriot constituent stateGreek Cypriot constituent StateAreas of Territorial AdjustmentAfter entry into force of the protocol to theTreaty of EstablishmentTurkish Cypriot constituent stateGreek Cypriot constituent StateParts of SBAs to become part ofThe United Cyprus Republic- per <component State>: 10%
- per village or municipality: 20% except
in Agialousa/Yeni Erenköy,
Agia Trias/Sipahi, Melangara/Adacayand Rizokarpaso/Dipkarpazcorresponding maximum level ofproperty reinstatement:
PeristeronaAlanici¸ LimniaMormenekse¸
Agios AndronikosYesilköy¸
Refer to pages 207-11

The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this mapdo not imply any official endorsement or acceptance.

The Historical Background:

he historical background to any international dispute is invariably
an integral part of the dispute itself, and understanding that
background and its implications for the present and for the main
protagonists in negotiations for a settlement is essential to the search for a
solution. Nowhere are these propositions more true than in Cyprus,
whose peoples often seem weighed down by the accumulation of histori-
cal folk memories and by the received, but far from accurate, accounts of
their past experiences. This chapter does not pretend to be a full, aca-
demically researched account of the modern history of Cyprus. It is more
a series of snapshots taken, mainly over the last 50 years, of the principal
milestones and turning points in what has been an often kaught and
unhappy process. The focus is on events and developments that directly
or indirectly influenced the present situation and the attitudes of the two
sides when they returned to the negotiating table, first in 1997, then in
1999 and for the third time in 2002.

The story of Cyprus, from classical times down to its independence in
1960, was one of domination by outside powers. The mainly ethnically
Greek population often enjoyed a fair degree of autonomy in the man-
agement of their own domestic affairs, and this was the case even when
Cyprus was part of the Ottoman Empire from the sixteenth to the late
nineteenth century, but for most of the time Cyprus fell under the
broader sway of outsiders, whether Greeks in classical times, or Romans
or the Byzantine Empire or the Latin crusaders or the Venetian Republic
or the Ottonlan Empire or, most recently, Britain. This history of exter-
nal domination has left its mark on a11 Cypriots; it has contributed to the
feeling, widely prevalent on both sides of the island, that Cypriots are not
masters of their own destiny, that their fate will inevitably be decided by
forces situated outside the island. This long sequence of external masters



left a population less mixed and multicultural than might have been
expected. So, while there are various small minorities, Latins (essentially
Catholic descendants of the Crusaders), Armenians and Maronites, the
population of the island emerged at the time of independence as roughly
80 per cent Greek and 18 per cent Turkish. The two communities lived
scattered all over the island and inter-mingled geographically, with no
substantial mono-ethnic enclaves; but socially and politically they were
separate (with almost no evidence, for example, of inter-communal mar-
riage) and gradually became more so under the pressure of events.

The last decade of colonial Cyprus (1950-60) was a period of turmoil
and violence on the island. Many of the dragons' teeth of the subsequent
dispute were sown during that period. The Greek Cypriots prosecuted a
guerrilla war, both in the Troodos Mountains and in the towns, against
the Rritish colonial power and the police (many of whom were Turkish
Cypriots, appointed by the British colonial authorities once the troubles
had started). While casualties were not high by the standards of other
similar struggles, the residue of bitterness on all sides was considerable.
The objective pursued by the Greek Cypriots and by their unchallenged
leader, tfic head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the island, Archbishop
Makarios, was at the outset enosis, union with Greece, but gradually, as it
became clear that this was unattainable in the light of the attitudes of both
Greece and Turkey, it switched grudgingly to independence. However,
the military leader of the armed struggle, General George Grivas, a
former Greek army officer, never made that switch. The Turkish Cypri-
ots began by putting their faith in the British colonial power, both to
resist the political pretensions of the Greek Cypriots and to protect them
against the attacks and harassment of their Greek Cypriot neighbours.
But, as they became steadily more aware of British inadequacies in both
respects, the Turkish Cypriots turned towards a reliance on Turkey as
their ultimate protector and towards a willingness to use force themselves.
Thus relationships between the two communities steadily deteriorated
during this period. The British, for their part, zigzagged between the
options of keeping the island under colonial tutelage in perpetuity for geo-
strategic reasons and a traditional gradualist approach to self-government,
finally dumping the whole problem in the laps of the Greeks and Turks,
in return for the establishment of two Sovereign Base Areas to meet their
strategic needs in an otherwise independent Cyprus. This legacy would
haunt British policy in the future, as all in the region convinced them-
selves that Britain's involvement was solely intended to preserve its hold

on the Bases. The Greek and Turkish governments were gradually drawn
deeper and deeper into this morass. At various times the options of enosis
and of taksin~(partition or 'double enosis', with the northern part of the
island becoming a part of Turkey) had some attraction to each of them.
But once they realized the risk that they could be drawn into open hos-
tilities or at least into a proxy war between them in Cyprus, they drew
back, and effectively imposed an independence settlement on the two
distinctly unenthusiastic Cypriot communities.

The longer-term consequences of this troubled decade were complex
and highly destabilizing. The British ended up distrusted and disliked by
both sides. Unlike in many other post-colonial situations they did not
benefit from a post-independence honeymoon with the Greek Cypriots.
The Turkish Cypriots considered that the British had let them down and
never again fully trusted them. Surprisingly, given that the main charac-
teristics of British policy in that period were muddle, fudge and
indecisiveness, both sides credited the British with incredible deviousness
and subtlety. Neither the Greek nor the Turkish Cypriots much liked the
situation they found themselves in following the settlement, and neither
felt any sense of ownership of or loyalty towards it. (Indeed throughout
the 1960s President Makarios openly described the creation of the state of
Cyprus as a step on the road to enosis.) It was something imposed on
them by Greece and Turkey and by the indifference of Britain. Greece
and Turkey in the short term drew a deep sigh of relief at having escaped
from a dangerous corner but they did little to help make the newly inde-
pendent bi-communal Cyprus work; and, in the case of Greece, once the
military regime of the colonels took over in 1967, they actively set about
undermining the settlement and once more promoting enosis. A further
development from that period was that the United States began to take an
interest in Cyprus, but largely from the point of view of avoiding an open
conflict between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, and the conse-
quent weakening of NATO's southern flank. Predictably the Soviet
Union became interested too, with the precise aim of weakening that
southern flank, an objective it pursued by lending largely unquestioning
support to Makarios.

Three international treaties, the Treaty of Guarantee, the Treaty of
Alliance and the Treaty of Establishment, between them effectively
limited and constrained the exercise of Cyprus's sovereignty. The 1960
Cyprus constitution is difficult to categorize in any of the commonly
known definitions; it was neither federal nor confederal; it was perhaps


closer to a unitary structure, but it contained elaborate checks and bal-
ances between the powers exercised by the leaders of the two
communities as president and vice-president and between the other
representatives of the two communities. It could only ever have worked
smoothly with a high degree of cooperation between the two sides; in the
hands of people who were in no way motivated to try to make it work, it
provided a recipe for deadlock and frustration. The Treaty of Guarantee
forbade secession or the union of Cyprus with any other state; it gave to
the three guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom)
the duty to consult together to preserve the territory and the constitu-
tional order of the newly established state of Cyprus and, if such
consultation did not lead to agreement on the steps that needed to be
taken, it permitted each of the guarantor powers to intervene unilaterally
with a view to restoring the status quo ante. The Treaty of Alliance
provided for a small military force composed of a specified number of
Greek and Turkish troops, with a tripartite headquarters, to be stationed
on the island. This treaty was never implemented. The Treaty of Estab-
lishment was the basis for the United Ihgdom's retention of sovereignty
over 99 square miles of Cyprus in the two Sovereign Base Areas of Ak-
rotiri and Dhekelia.

This potentially dysfunctional set of arrangements lasted for only
three years before a major crisis derailed it. In 1963 the Turkish Cypriots
withdrew from participation in the institutional structures of the state.
The proximate cause of this withdrawal was a dispute over fiscal matters.
But disagreements between the two communities went deeper than that.
The Greek Cypriots believed that ths was part of a systematic campaign
by the Turkish Cypriots to frustrate the proper working of the state and
so lead to partition. In response they threatened to push through (uncon-
stitutionally) a number of constitutional amendments that would have
removed the Turkish Cypriot veto. From this time on the security situa-
tion deteriorated steadily, with extensive harassment, particularly of
Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots and of Greek Cypriots by paramili-
tary nationalists, with numerous atrocities committed by both sides and
with the much less numerous Turkish Cypriots tending to abandon their
houses scattered in villages and towns where Greek Cypriots were in a
majority and to group themselves together in enclaves where they could
better defend themselves. Both sides formed militia forces, the Greek
Cypriots EOIU B, the Turkish Cypriots TMT. The Cyprus National
Guard, the Republic's army, was entirely Greek Cypriot in composition


and accordingly partisan. It was at this time that the United Nations first
became directly involved in Cyprus, with the deployment in 1964 of a
small UN military force which, however, was unable to do much to
improve the security situation. The Security Council continued, follow-
ing the breakdown of the 1960 constitution, to treat what was now
effectively a Greek Cypriot administration as the properly constituted
government of the Republic of Cyprus. A number of appeals were made
to the guarantor powers to intervene but, prior to 1974, no such interven-
tion took place, although in 1967 the Turks were only dissuaded from
intervening militarily at the very last moment by a brutally forceful
demarche from the then president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson.

This time of troubles, from 1963 to 1974, marked all the players in the
Cyprus problem and profoundly influenced the attitude of those who
participated in the subsequent attempts to reach a settlement. Through-
out that period, and even more so after 1974, the Turkish Cypriots
believed that the constitution had simply been hijacked in 1963 by the
Greek Cypriots and that it therefore no longer had any validity. They
bitterly resented the fact that the United Nations (and other international
organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe which followed
suit) continued to treat the Creek Cypriots as the sole government of
Cyprus. Denktash in particular was prone to argue that until that recog-
nition was reversed, either by recognizing the Turkish Cypriots on an
equal but separate basis or by derecognizing the Greek Cypriots, there
could be no solution to the Cyprus problem. The refusal of the UN to do
this led both Turks and Turkish Cypriots to suspect the Security Council
and the whole international community of being biased against them, and
it also caused them to take a restrictive view of the use of the UN secre-
tary-general's good offices. In addition the Turkish Cypriots acquired a
conviction that UN peacekeepers could not protect them from Greek
Cypriot harassment. The Greek Cypriots for their part regarded their
recognition as the sole government of Cyprus as the jewel in their crown
and used their position in the various international organizations to out-
manoeuvre the Turks and Turkish Cypriots and to build up defences
against the latter's secession and attempts to achieve international recog-
nition. They came to believe that the Turks had always wanted to annex
Cyprus for its strategic value and that the Turkish Cypriots' complaints
about their plight was merely special pleading to provide cover for this
policy. The British, disinclined from the outset to allow themselves to be


dragged back into Cyprus, came to see the United Nations as a preferable
instrument for conflict prevention and resolution than the Treaty of

The Greek Cypriot coup d'e'tat in July 1974 triggered off a series of
events that profoundly altered all the parameters of the Cyprus problem.
The coup, which was actively encouraged by the military regime in
Athens, then in an advanced state of decay, resulted in the forcible over-
throw of Makarios and the installation as president of Nikos Sampson, a
former guerrilla fighter with an unsavoury reputation. It was followed by
a short but bloody civil war with his Greek Cypriot political opponents,
particularly members of AKEL, the Greek Cypriot communist party, and
by some high-profile attacks on Turkish Cypriot enclaves. Within days
the Turks invaded Cyprus and in two stages occupied about one-third of
the island, finally stopping their operations along the present Green 1,ine
which crosses Cyprus from east to west. During this military phase the
outside powers, the US and the UK in particular, avoided intervening and
did little more than wring their hands, calling for restraint on all sides.
Sampson's regime had collapsed (as did that of the military in Athens)
and, after some delay, during which Glafcos Clerides as president of the
National Assembly was acting president, Makarios returned. Many Greek
Cypriots from the north of the island fled south and many Turkish Cyp-
riots from the south fled north or took refuge in the British Sovereign
Base Areas. In 1975 this ethnic cleansing was regularized by an agreement
that enabled the practical arrangements for the population exchange to be
completed but did not legally recognize the exchange. Only a few Greek
Cypriots and some Maronites, the former mainly living in villages in the
Karpas Peninsula (the 'pan-handle') in the north-east, remained in the
north and even fewer Turkish Cypriots remained in the south. Thus in
1975 the geo-political configuration of Cyprus as we now know it came
into being, with two virtually mono-ethnic states separated by a buffer
zone guarded by UN peacekeeping troops.

These traumatic events scarred all parties in the dispute. The Greek
Cypriots had lost control of one-third of what they regarded as their
country, and the part most agriculturally fertile and developed for com-
mercial and tourist purposes at that. They were determined to recover at
least some of the territory lost. Moreover many tens of thousands of
Greek Cypriot refugees had abandoned their property in the north and
were left destitute; they and successive Greek Cypriot governments were
determined to get this property back in any settlement and regarded

getting compensation for its loss as an unacceptable alternative. These
property claims were eventually taken up in a series of private cases
brought before the Council of Europe's European Court of Human
Rights, where the first case was won in 1998. The Greeks had discovered
just how disastrous meddling in Cyprus's internal politics could prove for
them and for the Greek Cypriots. They had also discovered that if Tur-
key did intervene militarily, there was no way in which they could
effectively resupply their own and Greek Cypriot National Guard forces
in Cyprus and thus withstand the superior military might of Turkey.
Turkish aircraft could be over Cyprus within a few minutes of takeoff; by
contrast, by the time they had made the long trip from Rhodes or Crete,
Greek aircraft had only about 30 minutes' endurance over the island
before needing to refuel.

The Turkish Cypriots saw their view that only Turkey could be relied
upon when the chips were down vindicated. They were also confirmed in
their prejudices towards the Greek Cypriots as people who were deter-
mined at least to dominate Cyprus by force and at worst to expel all
Turkish Cypriots from the island. The Turks, whose military operations
had gone rather less smoothly than had appeared to the outside world,
were determined never again to be put in the position of having to mount
an opposed, amphibious landing in order to protect the Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish military now had a massive troop presence (even today
numbering about 35,000) in the north and, as the Greek Cypriots recov-
ered from their defeat and began to acquire ever more sophisticated
equipment, found themselves having to deal not only with Turkish Cyp-
riot security concerns but with their own too. They also became
convinced that the British Sovereign Base Areas (of which the key airport
at Akrotiri was now embedded in the Greek Cypriot part of the island)
meant that Britain would always take the side of the Greek Cypriots in
any dispute. The outsiders had seen that a smouldering ethnic dispute
could burst into flames, which only narrowly avoided spreading into
hostilities between two NATO members; they were all the more con-
vinced of the need to work under the aegis of the UN for a settlement to
the Cyprus problem; but their alarm was not sufficient to incline them to
overcome their reluctance to get drawn into direct involvement.

From 1974 onwards a UN peacemaking process of some kind or
another was under way, with successive special representatives of the UN
secretary-general working with the two sides on the elements of a com-
prehensive settlement or, during some periods, on confidence-building


measures designed to reduce the tension on the Green Line and to pave
the way for a settlement.

In 1977 and 1979 I-Iigh-Level Agreements were reached, the first
between Makarios and Rauf Denktash, the second, following Makarios's
death, between Denktash and Spyros Kyprianou. These agreements were
only thin skeletons of a settlement, not the real thing. But they did estab-
lish a framework for a solution based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal
federation. The demand for a federation was a Turkish Cypriot one (they
had in 1975 named their own part of the island the Turkish Federated
State of Cyprus, i.e. not at this stage claiming independence from the state
of Cyprus). By conceding federation the Greek Cypriots effectively
recognized that the bi-communal unitary state of 1960 had gone beyond
recall and that in the future Cyprus would need to consist of two units,
with the Turkish Cypriots having a considerable range of responsibilities.
But attempts to move beyond this conceptual breakthrough were system-
atically frustrated by the obstinacy and hesitations of both sides when it
came to fleshing out the agreed framework.

In November 1983 Denktash and the Turks proclaimed, through a
unilateral declaration of independence, that the north of the island was
the Turlush Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The United Nations
Security Council condemned this move and called on UN members not
to recognize the new state. None did; and, to this day, only Turkey
recognizes the TRNC. The 1983 declaration considerably complicated
the search for a settlement. By giving Denktash, backed by Turkey, a
status that was unnegotiable with the Greek Cypriots and with the whole
of the international community, it introduced a new, potentially insolu-
ble, element. And over time it also led directly to the further isolation of
the Turkish Cypriots, as their unrecognized claim gave rise to problems
ranging from the trade with the European Union to participation in
international sporting competitions and to international arrangements for
civil aviation. It therefore contributed to the widening prosperity gap
between north and south and to the increasing dependence of the north-
ern economy on Turkish subsidies.

In 1992 Boutros Boutros-Ghali's Set of Ideas brought together the
elements of a comprehensive settlement. This document, which was
negotiated at a series of meetings in New York between George Vassiliou
and Denktash, went far beyond the 1977 and 1979 High-Level Agree-
ments, on whch it was based, but still fell short of a comprehensive, self-
executing settlement. In any case it was never agreed, both sides still

having difficulties with it when negotiations were suspended for the
Greek Cypriot presidential elections in early 1991. The narrow victory of
Glafcos Clerides, who campaigned against the Set of Ideas, meant that the
negotiations for a settlement then lapsed. Instead the UN tried, through
1991 and 1994, to get agreement on a major package of Confidence-
Building Measures, the most significant of which would have led to the
return of the tourist ghost town of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots and to
the reopening of Nicosia Airport to trade and passenger transport with
both sides of the island (the airport, being in the UN buffer zone, was
contiguous to both north md south). These negotiations also failed to
come to fruition; as ever in Cyprus, having swallowed the elephant, the
two sides strained at the gnat, agreeing to the principle but failing to agree
on the practical arrangements necessary to implement a deal.

Before we reach the period covered by the present book, one furthcr
development needs to be noted. In 1990 the Greek Cypriots applied for
Cyprus to become ;I member of the European Union; in 1995 this appli-
cation was, in principle, accepted as being valid by the European Union, a
date for opening negotiations being set at six months after the EU's Inter-
Governnlent,d Conference which met in Amsterdam in June 1997. The
Turkish Cypriots challenged the legality both of the application and of
the European Union's acceptance of it and refused point-blank Clerides's
invitation to join a common Cypriot negotiating team.

The Players

ny diplomat facing a complex and extremely long-running inter-

national dispute such as the Cyprus problem and hoping to help

-move it towards solution needs to recognize and take account of
the importance of personalities and of the interaction between them for
any such effort. But he or she also needs to recognize that personalities are
not all-important, that even the strongest and most dominant characters
are not entirely free agents, and that national and sectoral interests, the
weight of history, the flow of events outside those directly related to the
problem, will influence the outcome every bit as much and sometimes
more than the actions and views of the individual players. This was
certainly the case with the Cyprus problem, which from the outset had
never anywhere near made it into the first league of world problems
demanding a solution and which remained for everyone except the in-
habitants of the island a second-order problem -one which it was
desirable to solve but which failure to solve would not be a life or death

As I made my way around the Cyprus circuit, two other things struck
me about the personalities involved. The first was the unevenness of the
importance of personality in the different capitals. On the island the two
leaders were precisely that, the virtually unchallenged determinants of
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot policy and the real players in nego-
tiations if negotiations ever could be got under way. In Athens the
significance of the foreign minister's role in the determination of Cyprus
policy was considerable, but, given its history in Greece as a national
issue, far from absolute. In Ankara opacity was invariably the order of the
day. It was never at all clear where Turkey's Cyprus policy was being
decided or who was at any one time playing the key role in deciding it. It
was often tempting to believe that the answers were nowhere and no one,
and that policy was largely being decided by default, falling back, for lack
of agreement on any new policy, on the old one. Certainly personality

played some role -Bulent Ecevit's sincerely held belief that he had solved
the Cyprus problem in 1974 weighed like a dead hand on the policy-
making process so long as he was prime minister -but not, it seemed, a
crucially important one compared with the institutional and historical

The second impression was how tiny and how hermetically sealed was
the circle of those in each of the four capitals who had any real say in the
making of Cyprus policy. All four were democracies, but the public
debate on Cyprus in each of them was ill-informed, formulaic and chau-
vinistic. Negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem had been going on
for so long and so fruitlessly that most commentators, journalists and
their readers had become bored and cynical, unwilling to look at the
issues with a fresh eye or to challenge conventional wisdom. Indeed many
journalists, especially on the island, seemed to consider it their patriotic
duty to follow the long-established partisan line and to denounce any
politician who dared to suggest that any aspect of it might be re-
examined. Within the bureaucracies, and in particular within the foreign
ministries in Athens and Ankara, Cyprus was an important and sensitive
subject but not an attractive one, not one to be chosen from a career
development point of view. Most officials kept their distance and concen-
trated on less static, less entrenched mew of policy. In Cyprus itself the
problem was an all-consuming obsession but far too politically charged
for officials or diplomats to have much say in the matter.

Two sets of inter-relationships between the principal players were of
critical importance -those between Greeks and Greek Cypriots on the
one hand and those between 'I'urks and Turkish Cypriots on the other -
but they were, by their nature, singularly difficult for an outsider to
penetrate or to comprehend fully. None of the players was prepared to
discuss these inter-relationships freely, and much effort was devoted by
all concerned to concealing from prying eyes and ears, including from
their own public, the content of their mutual discussions and the view
each took of the other. Both pairs also devoted a considerable effort to
sustaining what was often a fiction, or at least only a half-truth, namely
that their views at any given time and on any given issue were identical.
The relationship of thc Greek government and the Greek Cypriots was
burdened by history -by the perception that in the 1950s the Greek
government had traded in the aspirations of the Greek Cypriots for better
Greek-Turkish relations and that in 1974 the military regime in Athens
had overthrown the democratically elected president of Cyprus by force


and thus precipitated the events that led to over one-third of the island
being controlled by Turkey and to the ethnic cleansing of 1975. Any
suggestion that the Greek government was giving less than wholehearted
support to the Greek Cypriots or was meddling in Greek Cypriot internal
politics was therefore dynamite, both in Athens and in Nicosia. Indeed
the official mantra quoted often by both Greek and Greek Cypriot politi-
cians and journalists was 'Cyprus decides; Greece supports'. Add to this
that throughout the period of negotiations the government in Nicosia was
on the right of the political spectrum while the Greek government was a
socialist one and there was plenty of scope for friction and submerged

The relationship between the Turkish government and the Turkish
Cypriots was rather different, although not entirely devoid of similar
tensions. The primacy of Denktash in determining not only Turkish
Cypriot but Turkey's policy on the Cyprus problem was longstanding.
Any challenge to it, as there had been when Prime Minister (and subse-
quent President) Turgut 0zal tried to settle the Cyprus problem, brought
about an immediate sharp rise in the temperature but had, hitherto at
least, always ended in victory for Denktash, who at any point in time had
as high, if not higher, opinion-poll ratings on the mainland as any Turkish

Strangely enough the personal relationships between the Greek Cyp-
riots and the Turkish Cypriots, and between their two leaders, Clerides
and Denktash, were of less significance than those other two symbiotic
pairs of relationships. It was true that Clerides and Denktash personally
got on well together, respected each other, reminisced about their time
practising law in colonial Cyprus and rather wistfully looked at each other
as the only ones from that period left standing. But that did not translate
into any beneficial effects at the negotiating table. Denktash was no more
flexible dealing with Clerides than he had been in the 1992 negotiations
with his predecessor Vassiliou, whom he disliked and distrusted. And
while Clerides initially thought that face-to-face negotiations with Denk-
tash were the key to unlocking a deal, he came to believe, once they had
started, that there was little point in negotiating directly with Denktash,
as the ultimate decisions would be taken in Ankara. So neither the ups
and downs in Clerides's and Denktash's view of each other, nor the fact
that, almost alone of Cypriot politicians on either side, they never made
personally offensive remarks about each other, played much of a role in
determining the outcome of the efforts to get a settlement.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:43 am


The Greek Cypriots

The 1960 constitution of Cyprus was full of checks and balances between
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, in particular between the Greek
Cypriot president and the Turkish Cypriot vice-president; but once, after
1963, the Turkish Cypriot dimension and participation had been re-
moved, what remained was an executive presidency whose powers and
influence were greater than in almost any other democratic state in the
world. The president was elected for five years; there was no limit on the
number of times he could be re-elected; he had no vice-president (the
president of the National Assembly stood in if the president was absent or
incapacitated); he had no prime minister and appointed all the ministers
(who did not need to be elected members of the legislature); it was the
norm to rule without a majority in the Assembly; he was the negotiator
for the Cyprus problem.

The holder of this powerful office for all but the last two weeks of the
period covered by the present book was Glafcos Clerides. He had been a
prominent figure in Greek Cypriot politics from before the establishment
of an independent Cyprus; he had been president of the National Assem-
bly at the time of the 1974 coup and had stood in for the first president,
Archbishop Makarios, until the latter returned to the island and resumed
office; he had been the Greek Cypriot negotiator for the Cyprus problem
when that post had been separate from the presidency; he had been
elected president for a first time in 1993 and for a second time in 1998, on
both occasions by a tiny majority of around 1 per cent; he was the leader
of the Democratic Rally, a centre-right, nationalist party, which through-
out his presidency was either the largest or the second largest in Greek
Cypriot politics; he was in his late 70s, passing his 80th birthday about
half way through his second term of office. He was short, rotund, bandy-
legged, with a twinkle in his eye, an infectious laugh and a complexion
that bore witness to his love of the sea and swimming. He was not much
interested in the day-to-day minutiae of government, which he left to his
ministers, and not at all in economic matters, and he found everything to
do with the European Union puzzling and not particularly enthralling.

His passion was the Cyprus problem, about which he was subtly and
encyclopaedically knowledgeable, reflected in his multi-volume autobiog-
raphy, My Deposition.He understood very well that the Greek Cypriots
had made major mistakes, with disastrous consequences, when they had
hijacked the Republic in 1963 and when they had precipitated the hostili-
ties in 1974. He was determined to learn and to apply the lessons from


those mistakes. As time wore on, as the residue of his second term of
office grew shorter, and as the negotiations intensified, he became ever
more committed to achieving a positive outcome, although never at any
price. The Clerides one met in his office, invariably over a working
breakfast, could be tetchy and irritable if he thought things were not
going well or that he was being put under pressure, but generally he was a
fluent and flexible interlocutor, abreast of every twist and turn of the
negotiations. The Clerides one met on his boat on a swimming expedi-
tion, with none of his ministers or officials present, was a perfect host, full
of stories drawn from his time in the RAF during the war, when the
bomber of which he was a crew member was shot down over Germany
(an MKI scan in the last months of his presidency picked up only one
piece of Second World War shrapnel, much to his doctor's relief), and
from his long political career, loving to gossip about personalities and
addressing the negotiations only in a tangential and non-specific way.

Clerides's negotiating team was small, the inner core consisting of his
attorney-general Alecos Markides and his under-secretary and eminence
grise Pantelis Kouros. Markides was a skilled and assiduous lawyer who
was equally capable of using his legal knowledge to frustrate or to facili-
tate progress in the negotiations; during the proximity talks the accent
was on the former, during the final year of negotiations very much on the
latter. Behind a gruff and often glowering exterior, he nursed a burning
ambition to be president himself. There were also three semi-detached
figures: Ioannis Kasoulides, who was the president's spokesman at the
outset and then his foreign minister, George Vassiliou, Clerides's prede-
cessor as president and later Cyprus's chief negotiator with the European
Union, and Michalis Papapetrou who was spokesman during the crucial
phases of the negotiation. Kasoulides (who also nursed presidential ambi-
tions), Vassiliou and Papapetrou were a good deal more outward-looking
and cosmopolitan than the normal run of Greek Cypriot politicians and
realized how tight a rope the Greek Cypriot politicians were walking if
they were to be accepted into the European Union even without a settle-
ment of the Cyprus problem. Kasoulides was capable of wearing either
hawkish or doveish plumage; Vassiliou was an imaginative and commit-
ted dove and was a close confidant of Clerides; Papapetrou, an
enthusiastic participant in bi-communal meetings with Turkish Cypriots,
was also a dove -even if compelled by his role as spokesman to appear
hawkish in public -although much less close to Clerides than the other
two and a less experienced politician.


For the last two weeks before the negotiations ended in March 2003
Clerides gave way to Tassos Papadopoulos, the incoming president, who
had handsomely won the presidential election in mid-February. Papado-
poulos, another lawyer, had also figured prominently in most phases of
Greek Cypriot history pre- and post-independence. He had at one stage
served as Clerides's deputy negotiator on the Cyprus problem before
taking the role over from him. He had a reputation as a hardline rejec-
tionist, a reputation that he did everything possible to live down once he
had reached agreement with the communist party (AKEL) to support his
presidential candidature and during the campaign itself. In my own
dealings with him, both over the years when he was deputy leader, then
leader of DIKO (a centre-right natinnalist party formerly led by Spyros
Kyprianou), and in the short period after he was elected president, Papa-
dopoulos was always exceptionally careful to avoid saying anything
which would enable him to be categorized as a rejectionist. But he was
less careful in his public comments aimed at a domestic audience and it
was not too difficult to gauge that he was less committed to making the
compromises necessary to achieve a successful outcome than Clerides.

To the extent that the Greek Cypriot president was accountable to
anyone it was not to his parliament but rather to the National Council,
which grouped together the leaders of the political parties represented in
the Assembly and past presidents of Cyprus (i.e. Spyros Kyprianou, until
his death in 2002, and George Vassiliou). This peculiar body (set up
outside the constitution) had no other function than to advise the presi-
dent on the conduct of negotiations on the Cyprus problem and did not
have powers of decision unless it was unanimous. And given that Clerides
could normally rely on the leader of his own political party (Nikos
Anastasiades) and on Vassiliou to back him up, the chances of his ever
being overruled were minimal. But since any settlement reached would
need to be endorsed subsequently in a referendum, the views and in-
volvement of the party leaders, even those politically opposed to Clerides,
were important and could not easily be ignored. The National Council
was also remarkably leaky, with the result that, however hard Kofi Annan
and Alvaro de Soto might work to keep a news blackout over the details of
the negotiations and however well Clerides might try to cooperate with
this policy, it never worked; and, within minutes of Clerides briefing the
National Council, some version of the briefing, usually several versions,
spun this way and that to suit the views of the leaker, was in the hands of
the media. In theory Clerides could leave the National Council behind


when the negotiations took place outside Cyprus (this option obviously
did not exist when they were in Nicosia) but in practice it was not an
attractive course to take; the members of the National Council left behind
in Nicosia were all too likely to spend their time sniping at the president
on the basis of inaccurate press reports. On most occasions, therefore,
they went along, a handicap but a necessary one.

The key players in the National Council, apart from the president
himself and his team and the leader of his own party, were the leaders of
the three biggest parties, Dimitris Christofias of AKEL, the communist
party, Spyros Kyprianou (later Tassos Papadopoulos) of DIKO, and
Vasos Lyssarides (later Yannakis Omirou) of the socialist party KISOS,
formerly EDEK. Of these, Christofias was by a long way the most im-
portant politically. The reason was simple. Come wind, come rain, AKEL
clocked in approximately one-third of the vote in any Cyprus election,
and it voted as their leader told it to, like the unreconstructed Marxist-
Leninist party that it was. So, if AKEL opposed a settlement, it would not
be easy to muster a majority in a referendum (an integral part of all set-
tlement plans from the 1992 Set of Ideas onwards) in favour of one.
Traditionally AKEL had been the most doveish of the Greek Cypriot
parties, with links to a Turkish Cypriot sister party (Talat's CTP). But
the party had been out of office and deprived of the perquisites of office
since 1993, and gradually the determination to reverse that came to pre-
vail over any spirit of moderation on the Cyprus problem. Christofias, the
architect of the alliance with Papadopoulos (which brought him, along the
way, the presidency of the National Assembly), gradually hardened his
position in the settlement negotiations, resisting Clerides's efforts to enlist
his support. Papadopoulos's views have already been described. As to
Lyssarides, who had been Makarios's doctor, he was a flamboyant and
quixotic rejectionist, the strength of his views only tempered by his close
links with the Greek governing party, PASOK, which was, of course,
throughout the latter part of this period far from rejectionist. Once Omi-
rou took over the leadership and particularly during the period up to
December 2002 when he was being promoted as a coalition candidate to
succeed Clerides with the electoral support of the latter's party, there
ceased to be problems in the National Council from that quarter.

Outside the president, his negotiating team and the National Council,
there were really no other significant players on the Greek Cypriot side.
The ministers were completely cut out of the action. The foreign ministry
and the diplomatic service (apart from Kasoulides and his private secre-

tary) were told little of what was going on and were left to wage the
endless worldwide campaign to resist Turkish and Turkish Cypriot
efforts to enhance the TRNC's status. 'l'here was one other important
factor, the media, most definitely part of the problem, not part of the
solution. It is a safe bet to say that no place on earth has a greater concen-
tration of newspapers and of television and radio stations than the
southern part of the island of Cyprus -six daily newspapers, five national
television stations and about 50 radio stations, all serving 600,000 people.
And all of them were writing and broadcasting almost exclusively about
only one subject, the Cyprus problem. Given the paucity of news on that
topic, the media were driven to making most of it up as they went along.
Issuing rebuttals of their latest fictional extravagances was grist to their
mill. To some extent such saturation coverage and such an unprofessional
attitude to reporting were self-defeating. Anyone who handled the Cy-
prus problem just had to grow an extra skin, preferably several. But,
watching from the depths of one of Denktash's sofas as a gaggle of Greek
Cypriot journalists called in to cover one's call on Denktash, put offen-
sively worded questions to him and then scribbled out feverishly the
equally offensively worded replies, was to feel that one was in the pres-
ence of two of the most prominent obstacles to reaching a settlement.

The Turkish Cypriots
The powers of the Turkish Cypriot president were, on paper at least, less
than those of his Creek Cypriot counterpart, but in practice his position
was even more dominant and less constrained. The Turkish Cypriot
constitution, which bore some superficial resemblance to that of Turkey
itself, in fact, largely due to the personalities involved, operated quite
differently. So what appeared on the surface to be a parliamentary sys-
tem, with a prime minister and a government based on a coalition
enjoying majority support in the legislature, in reality operated as a
presidential system, with all decisions relating to the Cyprus problem in
the hands of Ilenktash who, like Clerides, was the negotiator. If one
added to that the unwritten code by which Denktash was the main and
often the sole Turkish Cypriot interlocutor of both the Turkish govern-
ment and the Turkish military, one ended up with a situation in which
Iknktash called all the shots. And although, when he wanted to play for
time or to avoid responsibility, he would often say that he would have to
consult his government or parliament, or that the matter in question was
for the government and not for him to decide, this was no more than a


fa~ade: when an important matter arose on which he wished to take a
position no such procedures were invoked or applied.

Rauf Denktash had been president throughout the nearly 20-year
existence of the TRNC and before that he had been president of the
Turkish Cypriot federated state. IIe bestrode north Cyprus like a colos-
sus, and indeed, despite his modest stature, he did embody that image. A
massive torso was topped by an expressive and dominant face with a large
nose (about which he was capable of making jokes, particularly when
comparing it to that of Papadopoulos whose nose had been likened to
Cyrano de Bergerac's). Like Clerides, although some years after him, he
had been trained as a lawyer in Britain and had practised in colonial
Cyprus, with the interesting distinction that whereas Clerides tended to
defend Greek Cypriot guerrilla fighters, Denktash prosecuted them on
behalf of the British authorities. He had an almost unstoppable flow of
idiomatic and forceful English which he would unleash on any new
visitor in the form of a lengthy history lesson retailing all the sufferings of
the Turkish Cypriots and all the iniquities of the Greek Cypriots. With
those who had progressed beyond that opening salvo (which tended to be
repeated for several visits before it was accepted that something closer to a
dialogue might be more useful) he would launch himself with enthusiasm
into a rumbustious and aggressively conducted debate during which,
however, he always remained polite, correct and controlled, with bursts of
humour often breaking through. As a host at his residence near Snake
Island, a few miles west of Kyrenia, he could be extremely hospitable,
though relaxed was hardly a word one would use even there, except when
he was talking about photography or was conducting a guided tour of his
collection of budgerigars, parrots and small animals, kept in a menagerie
behind the house. Like Clerides he had a remarkable supply of engaging
personal reminiscences -of being in Trafalgar Square on VE Day, of his
escape from house arrest in Ankara in the 1960s (when the Turks re-
garded him as a dangerous firebrand), of his return to Cyprus in a small
boat, leading to his arrest and deportation by the Makarios government.
There was, however, a darker side to Denktash: his isolation from anyone
who might have stood up to him, his vindictiveness towards anyone
among his own people who criticized him and towards Greek Cypriots,
both collectively and individually.

Most of those who had dealt with Denktash in the past had reached
the conclusion that he simply did not particularly want a settlement of the
Cyprus problem or at least not one short of a wholesale capitulation by


the Greek Cypriots. I came to share that view. The basic case that he
made for a completely new start, with genuine political equality for the
Turkish Cypriots, was a compelling one. But the language he used to
describe it and the proposals he put forward to bring it about were not
even remotely negotiable, and his forthright condemnation and misrepre-
sentation of proposals designed to achieve these objectives by less direct
methods than he favoured suggested that he did not really believe them to
be attainable. Moreover the Greek Cypriot fear that his ultimate aim was
secession and permanent partition of the island was no mere figment of
their imagination. It often seemed to me that Denktash's own preferred
solution was that north Cyprus should become part of Turkey. He clearly
did not trust his successors, whoever they might be, to hold to the firm
line he had established, and he certainly did not trust Turkish govern-
ments, either present or future, to do so either. So the only way to lock
the door and throw away the key was through annexation. Unfortunately
for him this was the one solution that no Turkish government with a
concern for its international standing and aspirations to join the European
Union could contemplate. So he was forced to make do with what he
regarded as second best, although that did not stop him hankering after
his ideal solution or trying to edge his way towards it.

Another feature of Denktash's handling of the Cyprus problem, which
it took me longer to understand, was his fundamental unwillingness to
negotiate at all with the UN or with those backing its efforts. There was
never any question of his responding with some flexibility to private
probing about where areas of common ground with the Greek Cypriots
might exist. It gradually dawned on me that the only people he ever
negotiated with were the Turks themselves. With them he showed great
agility and manipulative skills. His objective was to enlist in advance the
backing of the Turkish state for whatever position he was going to take in
the negotiations and, once he had it, to camp on that position and refuse
to budge. He thus validated the views of those who said that it was only
in Ankara that a solution to the Cyprus problem could be found.

Denktash's negotiating team was as exiguous as that of Clerides but it
lacked the bureaucratic underpinning which the Greek Cypriots un-
doubtedly had and which enabled them to produce large amounts of
material for the legislation in a new Cyprus at short notice when the final
stage of the negotiations got under way. Denktash's main adviser was
Mumtaz Soysal, a Turkish academic and politician who had briefly
served as foreign minister in the early 1990s. Soysal was about as hard a



liner as you could get on the Cyprus issue, and was viscerally opposed to
Turkey joining the European Union, and so reinforced Denktash's preju-
dices on both these matters. In addition he was inclined to inject his own
particular brand of vitriol into joint negotiating sessions with the Greek
Cypriots. The other member of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team
was Ergun Olgun, Denktash's under-secretary. His background was in
business and not in politics, and a spell at a university in the United States
had somewhat widened his horizons. But he was still very much his
master's voice, at least until a very late stage in the negotiations when his
involvement in the joint working group drawing up the international
obligations and domestic legislation for a reunited Cyprus began to open
his eyes to the benefits that the Turkish Cypriots could get under the
Annan Plan. Apart from those three and because of Denktash's refusal to
countenance any hint of opposition to his policies from those around him,
there was really little else that could be described as a negotiating team, as
became all too apparent when Denktash went into hospital in New York
in October 2002. Olgun remained with him and Soysal retired to Ankara,
thus leaving effectively a vacuum where the Turkish Cypriot pillar of the
negotiations was supposed to be.

Denktash had no National Council of party leaders to hobble him as
Clerides did. The prime minister, Dervish Eroglu, and his UBP party,
which had the largest number of seats in the Turkish Cypriot Assembly
but not a majority, had even more negative views on the Cyprus problem
than Denktash. Their coalition partners in the early stages of the negotia-
tion were the centre-left TKP led by the doveish Mustafa Akinci, a
former mayor of Turkish Cypriot Nicosia and a man determined to work
for a compromise settlement. But he had little influence on the govern-
ment's policy and none at all on Denktash's. When the TKP was removed
from the government following disagreement over Denktash's decision to
walk out of the negotiations in November 2000, it was replaced as junior
partner in the coalition by Denktash's party, the DP, led initially, and
again at the end of 2002, by his son Serdar. The main Turkish Cypriot
critic of Denktash's intransigence was Mehmet Ali Talat, whose centre-
left CTP was in opposition throughout the period of negotiations, and
who kept up a drum-beat of well-directed comments, but for a long time
with little impact, not least because of his uneasy relationship with An-
kara. It was only in 2002, when the establishment of a non-political
movement under the leadership of Ali Ere1 of the Turkish Cypriot
Chamber of Commerce, designed to rally support for a settlement and for


joining the European Union, provided a focus and an umbrella for the
opposition's activity, that serious pressure on Denktash began to mount.
The centre-left parties did particularly well in the municipal elections that
year, winning the mayoralties in three of the largest towns in the north,
Nicosia, Famagusta and Kyrenia. This was followed at the end of the year
and early in 2003 by a series of huge (by Turkish Cypriot standards and
numbers) public demonstrations in support of the Annan Plan and mem-
bership of the European Union. For the first time in the history of the
TRNC Denktash found himself faced with a serious opposition.

This pattern was to some extent reflected in the Turkish Cypriot
media, who were in any case a good deal more deferential and submissive
than their colleagues in the south. For a long time support for Denktash's
policies in the press was general and unquestioning, with only one notable
dissenter, AVRUPA (later renamed AFRIlSA after attempts to close it
down), a courageous voice crying in the wilderness and subjected to
continuous harassment by the authorities. But, as opposition to Denk-
tash's rejectionist policies mounted in Turkish Cypriot society in general
during 2002, so too did criticism in the press, with the main daily paper
KIBRIS coming out in support of the Annan Plan, and with the whole
tone of the media becoming more critical of Denktash and Turkey.


The Greek corner of the quadrilateral was the one where the players were
the least directly and the least intensively engaged in the process of the
Cyprus negotiations. This partly reflected the desire of the Greek Cypri-
ots to avoid the impression that they were other than fully masters of
their own fate, and of the more mature nature of Greek Cypriot democ-
racy. Also, historical experience had made both Greeks and Greek
Cypriots wary of too close a Greek involvement in Cyprus affairs. But
this detachment at times reflected a calculation that Turkey was interna-
tionally at a disadvantage in a whole number of ways as long as the
Cyprus problem was unresolved, so that it was no skin off Greece's nose
if it remained that way, and that continuing deadlock would be easier to
handle than the awkward compromises that a settlement would require.
Those who took a pessimistic view of the chances of getting a settlement
tended to be in that camp. Against that view, and in complete contrast to
it, were those who believed that it was in Greece's interest to bring about
a strategic shift in the relationship with Turkey and to achieve a lasting
and solidly based rapprochement with that country. This school of


thought was all too well aware that without a settlement of the Cyprus
problem any such rapprochement was bound to remain incomplete,
limited in scope and fragile.

The Greek prime minister throughout the period of these negotiations
was Constantinos Simitis. Very early on in his premiership, at the begin-
ning of 1996, the Imia crisis between Greece and Turkey over conflicting
claims to an uninhabited islet in the Aegean had jeopardized his hold on
power. This had reinforced his natural caution about any high-risk moves
involving Turkey, but it had also reminded him of the capacity of the
disputes between Greece and Turkey to blow off course his own prime
objective of making Greece into a modern, prosperous European state
with sound finances. His tendency, therefore, was to stand well back from
the Cyprus problem, waiting and watching to see how others fared in
their efforts towards a solution, neither hindering nor greatly helping
them. Insofar as he could, he avoided giving prominence to Cyprus in his
dealings with other European leaders and he avoided also getting too
personally involved in the rapprochement with Turkey. He deliberately
left these issues to his two successive foreign ministers who held diamet-
rically opposite views both on Cyprus and on the relationship with

At the beginning of the period covered by this book the Creek foreign
minister was Theodoros Pangalos. For him Cyprus was not so much a
problem to be solved as a piece on the larger chessboard of Greek-Turk-
is11 relations to be manoeuvred for tactical advantage in this wider game
and deployed as a grievance when necessary. This approach very much
cut with the grain of traditional Greek foreign policy and the views of the
majority of Greek diplomats. Pangalos's deputy, Ioannis Ihanidiotis,
himself of Greek Cypriot origin, who continued in that position when
George Papandreou took over as foreign minister, had less clearcut views
and gradually came to appreciate that a settlement might be achievable on
terms consistent with Greek and Greek Cypriot interests. How far this
dawning support for settlement negotiations might have carried him we
shall never know, since he died tragically in a freak aeroplane accident in
1999, but he would have been a key player in the tricky interface between
Greece and the Greek Cypriots.

Papandreou, who took over as foreign minister following Pangalos's
resignation in early 1999, was no Cyprus expert at the outset, but he had
clear views about the strategic interest for Greece to have a better rela-
tionship with Turkey, and he well understood that Cyprus could be

either an obstacle or a source of momentum towards achieving that ob-
jective. Immediately he immersed himself in the subject and went to
considerable trouble to ensure that he saw all those on the Cyprus circuit
whenever they visited Athens, on one occasion even breaking into a hectic
round of electioneering in the midst of a general election to find an hour
to talk things over with me. Meetings with Papandreou were invariably
both agreeable and valuable. He would concentrate hard on what his
visitor had to say and engaged directly with any suggestions he might
make. His own softly spoken contributions set out Greek positions in
firm, clear but conciliatory terms. There was never any doubt that he saw
a Cyprus settlement as being in Greece's interest and that he would do
what he reasonably could to bring one about. His handling of his frequent
contacts with his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, and of his visits to
Cyprus both bore witness to his determination to play an active and
positive role.

Fortunately, and somewhat surprisingly given the historical record,
Cyprus remained a largely bi-partisan issue in Greece throughout this
period. I used to see either the opposition New Democracy foreign affairs
spokesperson, Dora Bakoyanni (until she became mayor of Athens), or
the leader of the opposition, Costas Karamanlis, whenever I visited Ath-
ens, to brief them on what was going on. They too were supportive of the
UN's efforts to get a solution and wary, but not critical, of the Annan
Plan as it gradually emerged and evolved. It was clear that they would
have been only too happy if the Cyprus problem had been resolved before
the next opportunity for them to regain power arose at the general elec-
tion of 2004.

In none of the four key capitals was it more difficult for an outsider to
discover how and where the real decisions on Cyprus policy were taken
than in Ankara, and in none was it more difficult to be sure who was a
real player, who an adviser and who merely a spectator. Even well-
informed Turks had difficulty reading the runes. For much of the period
(1996-2002) the government of Turkey was in the hands of a succession
of fractious, fractured coalitions whose component parties had differing
views on almost every subject under the sun and thus had the greatest
difficulty formulating policy on any of them. In many cases, of which
Cyprus was one, this difficulty in formulating policy led to paralysis and
to falling back by default on existing policy, however inadequate that


might be to the needs of the current situation. Right at the end of the
period (from November 2002 until March 2003) and during the crucial
phase of the negotiations, the new AK party, following its crushing gen-
eral election victory, was in office as a single-party government, albeit
with two successive prime ministers, Abdullah Gul and Recep Tayyip
Erdogan. But the attitude and behaviour of the Turkish 'establishment' (a
word which I think better and more neutrally conveys the complex and
interconnected structure of the military, the bureaucracy, the diplomatic
service, opinion formers in the academic and journalistic world and big
business than does the phrase 'the deep state' which is often used) was not
welcoming to the new government and this led to considerable tension
and a disconnect between what the politicians were saying and what was
actually happening in the decision-making machinery of the state.

Of the Turkish prime ministers during this period, none was at ease
with the Cyprus problem and none was prepared to engage in serious and
detailed discussion of it with their foreign visitors to Ankara or on their
own visits overseas. Necmettin Erbakan took a straight nationalist line,
Mesut Yilmaz was taciturn in the extreme, and Ecevit's view that he had
settled Cyprus in 1974 hardly offered an easy entry into a serious discus-
sion. Gul and Erdogan were different (and Gul actually had a good deal
of practical experience of grappling with the Cyprus problem from his
time as minister responsible for Cyprus in the ErbakanICiller govern-
ment). Their public posture 'no solution is no solution' and their readiness
to approach the Annan Plan with an open mind were strongly positive
developments. But they had the greatest difficulty, and received little help
from the establishment, in grappling with the complexities of the settle-
ment negotiations in the short time allowed to them after their election
victory. Every one of these prime ministers had to take account of Denk-
tash's views, which reached them both directly and through the
establishment and which were unfailingly negative and a complicating

The successive foreign ministers, Tansu Ciller, Ismail Cem, Sukru
Sina Giirel, Yasar Yakis and Abdullah Gul, were a good deal closer to the
everyday action on the Cyprus problem than were the prime ministers,
and it was their officials in the foreign ministry who provided the infor-
mation and the advice. But they too showed considerable reluctance to
engage in serious discussion with outsiders on the subject. It was just too
difficult politically, too sensitive and too complex to be easy or attractive
to handle. In the seven years I spent dealing with Cyprus, during which I


frequently saw each of these ministers (with the exception of Yakis,
whom I did not meet in his brief tenure), I can count the occasions on
which discussion really got to grips with the essentials on the fingers of
one hand. Cem's reluctance to involve himself in the Cyprus problem
extended even to his frequent and often fruitful dealings with the Greek
foreign minister. Papandreou tried again and again to address the issues,
including those which directly concerned Greece and Turkey -for exam-
ple the number of Greek and Turkish troops that should remain in
Cyprus after a settlement -only to be systematically fended off or treated
to generalities. Giirel's brief tenure was particularly unproductive since
his views on Cyprus were those of Denktash, only more so.

So that left as interlocutors (once the military became completely
incommunicado to overseas, non-military visitors on this or any other
subject in 1997) the small group of senior officials in the foreign ministry
who dealt directly with Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations. Through-
out the period the under-secretary at the ministry (whom in the British
system we would call the permanent under-secretary and who, in the
absence of any junior ministers, came directly underneath the foreign
minister) became more and more expected to handle Cyprus in a hands-
on, detailed way. So an intensive dialogue developed with successive
holders of that office, Onur Oymen, Korkmaz Haktanir, Faruk Logoglu
and Ugur Ziyal. Of these, the dealings with Ziyal, who was there during
the most intensive phase of the negotiations, were particularly useful. He
was hard-hitting but straightforward and ready to look for solutions as
well as problems, but always had what was best for Turkey at the fore-
front of his mind. He was for the UN and for all those supporting its
efforts a crucial point of contact and often the only fully authoritative
exponent of Turkish policy on Cyprus. Carrying the burden of the run-
up to the war in Iraq at the same time as the Cyprus endgame, he was
under tremendous pressure.

Below the under-secretary there was a departmental team headed by
officials at the equivalents of British deputy secretary and under-secretary
rank. Many of those who held these jobs had spent a substantial propor-
tion of their professional lives dealing with Cyprus issues, often shuttling
between postings to the Turkish embassy in north Nicosia (a massive
establishment, given the scale of the Turkish financial support pro-
gramme and military presence in the north of the island, but one cut off
from all normal diplomatic intercourse by the fact that Turkey did not
recognize the Greek Cypriot government and no one else recognized the


TRNC to whom the Turkish embassy was accredited) and the Cyprus
section of the foreign ministry. They tended either to be faithful mouth-
pieces for Denktash's views or to have a rather short tenure of their jobs.

For a long time Cyprus was something of a non-subject in both Turk-
ish politics and the media. As a national issue government parties and the
opposition both tended to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in defence of the
status quo and of whatever formulation of it Denktash was putting for-
ward at the time. The media had concluded that nothing much was going
to come of the UN's efforts to get a solution on Cyprus and that this need
not worry Turkey too much. After earlier decades in which Cyprus had
been a prominent issue for the Turkish media they were slow to recognize
that it was about to become so again. All that changed considerably
during 2002 when the negotiations moved into a higher gear and aware-
ness began to dawn of the problematic inter-relationship between
Turkey's EU aspirations and its Cyprus policy, and even more so with
the advent of the new AKP government which seemed genuinely com-
mitted to working for a solution in Cyprus. The only parliamentary
opposition following the November 2002 elections, the CHP, who re-
garded themselves as the true heirs to the Atatiirkist tradition,
immediately became hardline critics of the government's attempts to
negotiate a solution and of the Annan Plan. The media, on the other hand,
broke out into a thoroughly pluralist debate on Turkey's interests in
Cyprus and on how best to protect and forward them, with views chal-
lenging the conventional wisdom surfacing for the first time for many

The Issues

hroughout the period covered by this negotiation, and indeed for
more than 20 years prior to it, there had been little dispute that
four core issues would need to be resolved if there was to be a
comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. These issues -govern-
ance, security, territory and property -were at the heart of each of the
successive negotiations that took place under the aegis of the United
Nations in the period after the Greek Cypriot coup of 1974, the Turkish
military intervention that followed it, the division of the island along a
ceasefire line (the Green Line) and the subsequent transfer of populations,
with almost all the Greek Cypriots living north of the line being trans-
ferred to the south and almost all the Turkish Cypriots living south of the
line being transferred to the north. These events fundamentally changed
the parameters within which any negotiation would take place. In place of
an island where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had lived mingled
in close proximity in some 300 towns and villages, there was now an
island divided into two zones, each with a largely mono-ethnic popula-

In addition to these four core issues there were others to which one or
the other side attached the greatest importance and insisted they too
would need to be resolved if there was to be a settlement. For the Greek
Cypriots these included what was to be done about those Turkish citizens
who had come to the north of the island since 1974 (often referred to
disobligingly as 'settlers'), many of whom had meanwhile been granted
Turkish Cypriot citizenship. For the Turkish Cypriots the issues of the
status of their state (the TRNC), which had been unilaterally proclaimed
an independent sovereign state in 1983 but not recognized as such by any
country other than Turkey, and sovereignty were of fundamental impor-
tance. And for both, the question of continuity between any new Cyprus
and the state of affairs that had preceded it, both in the south and the
north of the island, were of extreme significance and sensitivity, the


Greek Cypriots insisting at the outset on a simple amendment of the 1960
constitution, the Turkish Cypriots demanding a legally new entity. To
these other issues came to be added that of the accession to the European
Union of a reunited Cyprus which was clearly going to require specific
provisions going beyond the usual transitional arrangements and temporal
adjustments, if any settlement of the Cyprus problem (which would, of
necessity, contain provisions not easily reconcilable with EU law and
practice) was not going to be undermined by accession and the applica-
tion of the accluis communautaire (the body of exisiting EU legislation
which a new member state has to accept on its accession).

No review of the main issues would, however, be complete without
reference to two intangible but nevertheless real fears, which can be
thought of as the twin nightmares of the two peoples of the island. For the
Greek Cypriots the nightmare was of a settlement that somehow enabled
the Turkish Cypriots subsequently to secede from the new Cyprus and
achieve the international recognition that had hitherto eluded them. For
the Turkish Cypriots, the nightmare was that, however carefully political
equality and balance was nailed down in the settlement itself, the Greek
Cypriots would somehow succeed in dominating the institutions of a new
Cyprus and would in effect hijack them, as the Turkish Cypriots believed
they had done successfully in 1963. No solutions to the core issues and to
the additional problems referred to above were going to be sufficient
unless it also proved possible to banish or at least to diminish these twin


The Cyprus that gained independence in 1960 was endowed with a
system of governance that virtually defies categorization. It could perhaps
be described as a bi-communal but unitary state, which required a high
degree of consensus to work because of the extensive veto powers given to
the minority Turkish Cypriot community. The system rapidly became
deadlocked over a fiscal issue in 1963, prompting the Greek Cypriots to
move to amend the constitution unilaterally, at which point the bi-
communal system as such ceased to operate. One of the few points about
which both sides agreed was that it made no sense to revert to this 1960
system. Two successive High-Level Agreements reached between the
two sides in the late 1970s planned to replace that system by a bi-zonal,
bi-communal federation, but the subsequent negotiations in the 1980s and


early 1990s never enabled agreement to be reached on the specifics of how
that should be done.

Despite the fact that the switch from a unitary to a federal state had
originally been a reluctant concession by the Greek Cypriots to the
Turkish Cypriots, the former stood by the concept even when the Turk-
ish Cypriots in 1998 upped their demands and insisted on a confederation.
This difference over a federal v. a confederal system was a constant
feature of the negotiations that began in 1999, with all Turkish Cypriot
proposals after that date being based on a confederal model and all Greek
Cypriot proposals rejecting that and continuing to be based on a federal
model. The terminology is arcane but important. In the language of the
Cyprus problem 'federal' came to signify a single recognized state, de-
volving a high level of autonomy to two subordinate entities, whereas
'confederal' meant two recognized states pooling 'their' sovereignty on a
limited range of issues, mainly foreign policy related. In the event this
was a less significant aspect of the negotiations than it might have been
following the tacit acceptance of the United Nations' suggestion in July
2000 that the whole question of labels be set on one side, to be addressed
only at thr end of the negotiations. In reality, while there were major
differences in the approach to governance of the two sides, there was a
strong element of semantics about the argument over labels. The 1992 Set
of Ideas, while labelled a federation, contained a number of confederal
elements in it, and the same was true of the proposals that emerged dur-
ing the 1999-2003 negotiations (the Swiss precedents, which played some
role in shaping these latter proposals, are equally ambiguous, Switzerland
having a federal government but being entitled a confederation).

The failure to reach agreement on the specifics of a bi-zonal, bi-
communal federation during the 1992 negotiations led by Boutros-Ghali
masked the fact that there was much common ground established at that
time which it was possible to carry forward into the subsequent negotia-
tions. It was not seriously disputed that the central government would
have responsibility for a rather limited number of subjects, some of which
would in any case, after EU accession, be a matter for decision at the
European rather than the national level, nor that all matters not specifi-
cally allocated to the central government in the settlement would fall to be
decided by the separate governments of the two zones, nor that any future
change in that allocation would need to be made by common agreement
of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Nor was there wide
disagreement over the actual powers to be given to the central govern-


ment. It was also not seriously disputed that the executive would need to
be made up of an appropriate balance of Greek and Turkish Cypriots,
which would ensure that the representatives of one community could not
force decisions through against the wishes of those of the other; that there
should be a bi-camera1 legislature with an upper house split equally
between the two communities and a lower house which reflected at least
to some extent the difference in population size of the two communities;
and that there should be a supreme court on which both communities
would be equally represented.

But, apart from these areas of potential convergence, there were plenty
of others in the field of governance where the positions were sharply
divided. The Turkish Cypriots wanted an explicit veto in every institu-
tion of government -executive, legislative and judicial -and only paid lip
service to the need to reflect in some institutions the greater population of
the Greek Cypriots; the fact that the 1960 constitution had, at least in
part, been shipwrecked by excessive rigidity did not seem to concern
them. The Greek Cypriots wanted to ensure that deadlocks would not
occur, crippling the central government, and pushed for a strong reflec-
tion of their numerical superiority. The Greek Cypriots would have liked
to have had electoral arrangements that involved some cross-voting of
Greek Cypriots for Turkish Cypriot candidates and vice-versa in an
attempt to get away from a two-states mentality after a settlement. This
idea was anathema to the Turkish Cypriots who feared it could lead to
effective domination of Turkish Cypriot elections by Greek Cypriots.
The Turkish Cypriots wanted a rotating presidency in which they would
have had an equal share or alternatively a co-presidency, between their
leader and that of the Greek Cypriots. The latter considered that their
numerical superiority entitled them to the presidency, if not all the time,
at least for the greater part of it. Both sides were extremely reluctant to
envisage any non-Cypriot judges (and certainly not British ones) on the
Supreme Court, while recognizing that the equal number of Greek and
Turkish Cypriot judges which was common to all approaches was only
too likely to lead to deadlock and thus to render the Supreme Court
nugatory as a potential tie-breaking instrument when there had been
deadlock elsewhere in the system.

All these and many other issues of governance arose during the nego-
tiations and were hotly contested. But of the four core issues this was
probably the least contentious and the one over which there was the most
obvious potential for compromise. In particular, discussion of the rotating


presidency brought out into the open the undesirability of having a strong
executive president (and vice-president) as had been the case in the 1960
constitution. One possible solution was to have a purely honorific presi-
dent (and vice-president) with no executive authority at all, as was the
case in constitutions as diverse as those of Ireland, Israel and Germany,
but that risked replicating the problems one level down, if you then
vested strong executive authority in a prime minister (and deputy prime
minister). Another possibility was to have a collective executive with a
frequently rotating honorific presidency, as was the case in Switzerland.
On other issues, the possibility of cross-voting, theoretically attractive
though it was in breaking down the barriers between the two sides,
gradually faded away. And the recognition of the need for non-Cypriot
judges on the Supreme Court, thus enabling that institution to work as a
tie-breaker, gained ground. In every case and in every institution the
crucial issue was the decision-making process and in particular the scope
for one or other side to block a decision it did not like. This tension be-
tween equality and rigidity ran through every discussion and was
predictably hard to resolve.

One specific decision-making process came to bulk larger as the nego-
tiations continued, that of determining the position the new reunited
Cyprus would take in European Union discussions and decisions. It was
clear that a mechanism would be needed to prepare such positions on a
daily basis and that it would need to cover matters falling under the
responsibility both of the central and of the component state govern-
ments. The possibility of disagreements over such cluestions had to be
provided for, with abstention in Brussels being a conceivable approach for
all except the very few European Union decisions that required a positive
vote from all member states. On this issue a constructive contribution was
made by the Turkish Cypriots, advised by a group of Belgian academics
of ethnic Turkish origin, who were able to draw on the mechanisms
applied in the Belgian federal system.

The special nature of the security problems of Cyprus was recognized
from the outset of its existence as an independent state. It was reflected in
the 1960 Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance. The Treaty of Guarantee
was signed by the three guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the
United Kingdom) and committed them to uphold the independence,
security and constitutional order of Cyprus, to consult together about any


threats to these objectives and to act together if they could agree on a
course of action; if not, each of the three had a unilateral right of inter-
vention. The Treaty of Alliance provided for the establishment of a joint
military headquarters of Cypriots, Greeks and 'l'urks and provided for set
numbers of Greek and Turkish troops to be permitted to remain on the
island. It also established a Cypriot National Guard with provisions for
Turkish Cypriot participation. The Treaty of Guarantee was invoked by
Turkey in 1974 when it intervened militarily following the Greek Cypriot
coup against Archbishop Makarios. The Treaty of Alliance remained a
dead letter, in that the joint headquarters was never established. 1;ollow-
ing the 1963 withdrawal by the Turkish Cypriots from the government,
the National Guard became mono-ethnically Greek Cypriot. Although
the Greeks and Greek Cypriots from time to time argued that the Treaty
of Guarantee was no longer in force, since Turkey had in their view
exceeded and abused the limited right of unilateral intervention, the
general opinion was that, neither treaty being time limited, both remained
in effect.

Clerides had made proposals, before and during the period covered by
this book, for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus. Under these
proposals all Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot armed forces would
have been disbanded, all Greek and Turkish troops would have been
withdrawn from the island and Cyprus's security would have been guar-
anteed either by the UN Security Council or, in some versions, by the
European Union. These proposals had been rejected both by the Turkish
Cypriots and the 'I'urks, who made it clear that any solution must include
the maintenance of the Treaty of Guarantee, including Turkey's right of
unilateral intervention, and of the Treaty of Alliance, which permitted
Turkish troops to remain in Cyprus. For the Turks and Turkish Cypriots
these treaties were a sine qua non of any settlement, the only bankable
guarantee of its political provisions. While Clerides continued for public
and political purposes to maintain his own proposals, he had, by the time
the negotiations began in 1999 (and even more so by the time they re-
sumed in earnest at the beginning of 2002), recognized that they could not
provide the basis for a solution. He was reluctant, however, to give up
entirely the possibility of diluting or time limiting the Treaty of Guaran-
tee in some way or another, and he did not want to see any Greek or
Turkish troops on the island, being as insistent on the withdrawal of the
former as of the latter in the light of his experience of the involvement of
the Greek military in the 1974 coup.


Although security was a critical issue for the Turkish Cypriots -their
basic guarantee that the numerically superior Greek Cypriots would not
overturn the political balance contained in a settlement -it soon became
clear that this was an issue principally to be negotiated by the Turks.
Turkey had a substantial military force on the island (usually reckoned at
about 37,000, although it fluctuated around that number from time to
time). Turkish officers commanded the modest number of Turkish Cyp-
riot troops. And, while protecting the security of the Turkish Cypriots
was certainly part of their mission, it was by no means the whole of it.
Their greatest concern was the threat Cyprus could represent to Turkey's
own security if the island was ever to fall into the hands of an unfriendly
power (and for these purposes not only the Greek Cypriots but the
Greeks fell into that category). Turkish rhetoric frequently described
Cyprus as a 'floating aircraft carrier' or a 'dagger pointing at Turkey's
heart'. This Turkish sensitivity about their own security tended to grow
rather than diminish with time as the geo-political significance of Ceyhan,
the oil terminal which already exported oil from northern Iraq and which
was destined to export oil and possibly in due course gas from the Cas-
pian region, increased. While the Turks could almost certainly
contemplate a considerable reduction in their troop strength on the island
in the context of an otherwise satisfactory political settlement to the
Cyprus problem, they would not accept complete withdrawal, and they
were adamant that the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance had to remain,
undiluted in any way. They recognized the advantage to them of the
disbandment of all Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot armed forces (the
former being much more numerous and better equipped -the Greek
Cypriot National Guard, for example, having more tanks than the British
army, although not all of them fully operational), and of a mandatory
arms embargo on military supplies to the island. One further dimension
of the security question lay in the obscure but important politico-military
nexus of relationships in Turkey. The Turkish armed forces regarded
themselves as the saviours of the Turkish Cypriots. They were certainly
not prepared to be cast at some future date in the role of having 'lost north

The firmness of the Turkish attitude on the security issue did not
leave much scope for negotiation -a fact recognized by all concerned,
including the Greek Cypriots. That left one major element of the security
equation, the question of an international military presence on the island,
its provenance, size and mandate. It had always been emphasized by the


Greek Cypriots that if they were to make major concessions to the Turks
and Turkish Cypriots on this issue of security (as the Turks and Turkish
Cypriots would have to do over territory and property), it was essential
that there should be a robust international military presence on the island.
At first they had flirted with the idea of a NATO force (which had the
advantage of including as members all three guarantor powers) but this
became politically impracticable for them following NA'l'O's interven-
tion in I<owvo which was deeply unpopular with the Greek Cypriots in
general and in particular with AKEL, the Greek Cypriot communist
party whose support (as it had a rock-solid 33 per cent of the electorate)
was important for the endorsement of any deal in a referendum. They
had also flirted with the idea of an EU force but no such force yet existed
and in any case the rapid reaction capability being earmarked by the EU
was not intended for the territorial defence of a member state. Neither of
these two options was even remotely likely to be acceptable to Turkey.
That left no alternative to the UN, but even that was not likely to be

The small existing UN force was strung out across the island along the
Green Line. However, following a settlement, including as it would have
to a territorial adjustment to the line dividing the two parts of the island,
that would no longer be appropriate. A UN force would have to be de-
ployed island-wide, able to underpin a settlement wherever and whenever
necessary. This would certainly require a larger force with a quite differ-
ent mandate from the present one. The Greek Cypriot demand was for a
much larger force with a strong mandate; the Turkish Cypriots and
Turks wanted a smaller one with a weaker mandate. Although in reality
in no circumstances could such a force be expected to take a confronta-
tional role towards either Greek or Turkish troops, there are still many
gradations in even a fairly classical peacekeeping mandate. In this case, as
the mandate would be an integral part of a negotiated settlement agreed
by the parties, such gradations would need to be negotiated in detail in
advance by all concerned, not just promulgated by the Security Council.
There was also the question of a civilian police element to any
peacekeeping force which was highly desirable if, as seemed likely, there
was to be no central police force but merely two separate Greek Cypriot
and Turkish Cypriot forces operating in the two component states, per-
haps with a central 'FBI'.



When hostilities ceased in 1974 and the situation was stabilized along a
ceasefire line that divided the island from east to west into two zones
(with one tiny Turkish Cypriot enclave at Kokkina in the far west), the
proportion of territory under Turkish Cypriot control was a little more
than 36 per cent of the territory of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus, and the
proportion of territory under Greek Cypriot control was a little over 63
per cent of that territory. The proportions of coastline controlled by the
two sides was 57 per cent by the Turkish Cypriots against 41 per cent by
the Greek Cypriots. These figures contrasted with population figures
drawn from an earlier British census of broadly 80 per cent Greek Cypri-
ots against 18 per cent Turkish Cypriots (the remaining 2 per cent being
accounted for by minorities such as Armenians, Maronites and Latins).
Not surprisingly, in the light of these figures, it was accepted as axiomatic
by all concerned, including the Turkish Cypriots, that any settlement
would have to include a territorial adjustment to the benefit of the Greek

During the negotiations for a settlement that took place in 1992 under
the aegis of the UN Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, the UN proposed a
map setting out an adjustment that would have divided the territory in
the rough proportions of a little over 28 per cent to the Turkish Cypriots
and a little under 72 per cent to the Greek Cypriots. Neither side accepted
that map, but the United Nations Security Council endorsed it, and it
was a reasonable supposition that in any subsequent negotiations the
overall proportions would not vary significantly. The proposed 1992
boundary, like the ceasefire line itself, was an extremely irregular one,
with considerable scope for minor adjustments to take account of geo-
graphical features and pre-1974 population patterns. However, any major
shift, for example in the name of greater simplicity, risked throwing out of
kilter the overall equation. The Routros-Ghali map involved the return to
the Greek Cypriots of the town of Morphou in the west (but not of the
main part of the citrus orchards around it, which would have remained
Turkish Cypriot), and the return of the tourist ghost town of Varosha in
the east, but not of the contiguous old city of Famagusta. Those were the
only major centres of population involved in any adjustment.

The Greek Cypriot position was to push for a substantial territorial
adjustment in their favour but not to be too specific about the geographi-
cal details until the matter came to the negotiating table. They spoke of
eventual figures for the Turkish Cypriot zone as low as 25 per cent,

knowing that this was unnegotiable. ?hey let it be known that a key
parameter for them in any territorial settlement was the proportion of the
Greek Cypriot refugees expelled from the north who could be returned to
the adjusted territory, and that this would affect their attitude both to the
territorial proposals and to the property issue. They attached great im-
portance to including in the Greek Cypriot zone at least some part of the
Icarpas Peninsula, the unicorn's horn or 'pan-handle' in the north-east
corner of the island, which contained both a religious site of significance
in the monastery of Apostolos Andreas at the tip of the peninsula and also
a residual Greek Cypriot population which had remained behind after the
population transfer of the 1970s. So the Greek Cypriots very deliberately
sought to link the three related issues of territory, property and rhe right
to settle in the north, realizing that only if their people were satisfied
overall with this package would they be willing to accept any one part of

As to the Turkish Cypriots they refused to contemplate even the most
informal discussion of the territorial issue until the very last stage of the
negotiations and until their preconditions on recognition and sovereignty
had been met. For Denktash the equation was simple. He knew that he
would gain substantially from the governance and security aspects of a
settlement, both of which would be resolved on a basis which met most of the Turkish Cypriots' longstanding demands. On each of the other core
issues, territory, property and the linked issue of the right of Creek Cyp-
riots to reside in the Turkish Cypriot component state, he knew he would
have to make concessions. These concessions would make it clear that the
new Cyprus would not only be bi-zonal but also, to some modest extent,
hi-communal, whereas his own ideal outcome was to pocket gains on
governance and security while not conceding anything inconsistent with
his preferred two-state solution. Ilence his approach was to de-couple the three issues dnd present unyielding positions on each (such as his proposal for settling all property claims by compensation and allowing no Greek Cypriot returns to the north). It was the exact opposite of, and irreconcilable with, the Greek Cypriot approach. And, in his unending negotiations with Ankara, he was able to depict any concession in the worst possible light, as likely to lead to Greek Cypriot dominance or to weaken the Turkish military position or both.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:49 am

So on territory the Turkish Cypriots did put forward some vague and
rather complex criteria for determining a territorial adjustment, but the
trouble about these criteria was that they could mean either quite a lot or


nothing at all, depending on how they were interpreted and applied on
the ground; so this was not likely to prove a very useful path to pursue,
and in any case, the Greek Cypriots refused from the outset to pursue it.

There was one wild card in the territorial equation, of which all con-
cerned were in practice unaware until a very late stage in the negotiations,
and that was the British Sovereign Base Areas. These two areas, which
had been excluded under international law from the 1960 Republic of
Cyprus, occupied 99 square miles of the island. They were effectively in
the south of the island, and thus embedded in any Greek Cypriot zone,
although the Eastern Sovereign Rase Area was in fact also contiguous
with the Turkish Cypriot side of the Green Line. Should the United
Kingdom be ready to cede some of its territory, this would, modestly but
significantly, affect the overall equation and could bring some increase of
territory to both constituent states.

The proposition that the territorial issue could only be settled right at
the end of the negotiation was broadly shared by all concerned, but the
refusal of the Turkish Cypriots even to discuss the matter cast some
doubt on whether they intended ever to allow that moment to arrive. And
no one involved was in any doubt as to the difficulties of reaching agree-
ment peacefully at the negotiating table on an adjustment to boundaries
that had been established on the battlefield. This last concern was, how-
ever, considerably alleviated when the Turkish general who had
commanded the Turkish troops during the military operations in 1974
and who had gone on to become president of Turkey, General Kenan
Evren, said publicly in 2002 that it had always been clear to the Turks
that they had taken more of the island than they needed in 1974 and that
now was the time to think of giving some of it back.


None of the four core issues was more complex and none was more
sensitive than the question of property -what was to be done about the
property rights and claims of Greek Cypriots displaced from the north of
the island and of Turkish Cypriots from the south. According to UN
assessments almost half of the population of Cyprus lost properties as a
result of the intercommunal strife or military action between 1963 and
1974; roughly three times as many Greek Cypriots as Turkish Cypriots
were affected. The solution to the problem had been made infinitely more
difficult by the extreme positions staked out by the politicians on either
side, with the Greek Cypriots asserting that every single Greek Cypriot


with a valid claim to property in the north should have the right to return
to it, and the I'urkish Cypriots asserting that no such right would be
recognized, that no returns would take place and that all claims should be
settled by global property exchange and/or financial compensation.

The technical complexity of the property issues was such that both
sides did agree on one thing, namely that individual clairns could not be
settled in the negotiations themselves and that details could not, in this
field, be spelled out. There would have to be a property board or commis-
sion to implement whatever terms were agreed in the settlement. Both
sides also recognized that part of the problem would be resolved as a
result of the territorial adjustment, since Greek Cypriots who wished to
return to their property in the area adjusted should be able to do so in ;t
reasonably straightforward manner, it being assumed that Turkish Cyp-
riots would not wish to remain in territory coming under Greek Cypriot
administration but would choose to move to the territory of the Turkish
Cypriot component state. But there was, of course, no agreement on the
size of the territorial adjustment and thus also no agreement on how much
of the property problem would be solved in this relatively painless way.

Beyond that point there was nothing but fundamental disagreement.


?I he Greek Cypriots did recognize that the idea of all those Greek Cypri-
ots displaced returning to the north was unrealistic and, given the large
number of Greek Cypriots who had lived in the north prior to 1974, not
really compatible with a bi-zonal solution in which the Turkish Cypriots
were masters in their own house for a wide range of policies. They be-
lieved that, in any case, relatively few Greek Cypriots from the north,
many of whom had completely rebuilt their lives over the past 30 years
and who were now reasonably prosperous and well established in their
new homes, would choose to go off and live in what would be a Turkish-
Cypriot-administered component state. They were also prepared to
contemplate a range of tight quantitative and transitional arrangements,
including a moratorium on returns in the early years after a settlement,
which would limit the number of Greek Cypriots who would be permit-
ted to return to their properties in the north. Such an approach had begun
to be discussed in the 1992 negotiations when it had been known as the
'fishing net' and they were prepared to resume that discussion. What they
would not accept was an approach that extinguished any right of return
from the outset and offered only one option, financial compensation. That
was precisely the position of the Turkish Cypriots who stated flatly that
all property claims must be settled by compensation and refused to con-

template any right of return, however tightly circumscribed. They placed
great weight on the precedent of the population transfer between Greece
and Turkey in 192 3-24 which had been conducted on this basis and were
unwilling to recognize that both the political climate and international
jurisprudence had moved on since then and that legitimizing ethnic
cleansing by force was not an approach likely to commend itself to the
international community, let alone to the Greek Cypriots. And because
the 'l'urkish Cypriots were only prepared to discuss the details of com-
pensation mecl~anislns if it was agreed in advance that this would be the
sole method of resolving all property claims, it was not even possible to
address these highly technical issues, despite both sides being in agree-
ment that such mechanisms would be required.

There was a wild card in the property core issue too. This took the
form of a test case brought by a Greek Cypriot refugee from the north,
Mrs Titina Loizidou, before the Council of Europe's European Court of
Human Rights. Mrs 1,oizidou won her case in 1996 when the court found
that she had been wrongfully dispossessed of her property in the north by
Turkey (not by the Turkish Cypriots whom the ECHK did not recog-
nize) and in 1998 awarded her a large sum in damages with interest. As
soon as this case, in which Mrs Loizidou had had the support of the Greek
Cypriot governnlent, was won, a large number of similar cases were
instituted before the KCHK. The case had important and damaging
implications for Turkey and was also relevant to the settlement negotia-
tions. If the Turks, as for a long time they did, refused to pay damages,
they risked eventual suspension from the Council of Europe on human
rights grounds with serious collateral damage to any hope they might
have of convincing the European Union that they had fulfilled the Co-
penhagen criteria for membership. The implications for a Cyprus
settlement were less direct but no less important. It was in effect crucial
that any property settlement negotiated should be accepted by the Euro-
pean Court of Human Rights as invalidating the base for bringing
individual legal proceedings before the Court. It was a great deal less
likely that they would do this if the settlement sin~ply extinguished any
right of return and offered compensation rather than providing alternative
remedies for those who had lost their property.


No issue was raised more frequently by Denktash than that of status, and
he never made any secret of the fact that he regarded getting satisfaction


on this matter a precondition for negotiating on the four core issues. He
continued to take this line despite the call in Security Council Resolution
1250, on which the negotiations were based, for there to be no precondi-
tions, and he continued to take it even after receiving at least partial
satisfaction in Annan's clarificatory statement of 12 September 2000.

In the eyes of Denktash, and on this point he had full Turkish support,
a fundamental error and a grievous wrong had been perpetrated when the
United Nations, and in particular its Security Council, had continued
after 1963 to recognize the Greek Cypriot government of Cyprus as the
properly constituted representative of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus
despite the absence of any Turkish Cypriots from its counsels. And the
fact that other international organizations such as the Council of Europe
and the European Union and every member of the United Nations apart
from Turkey did likewise merely rubbed salt in the wound and com-
pounded the original error. In this view the error had to be corrected in
one way or another before there could be an even-handed negotiation on
the future of Cyprus and a settlement. Since Denktash was certainly not
offering to return the Turkish Cypriots to the positions they had held
under the 1960 constitution, there were, in theory, two ways this could
come about. Either the international community could recognize the
TRNC as an independent sovereign state, which was Denktash's and
Turkey's strong preference, or it could, as it were, derecognize the Greek
Cypriots. Neither course was even remotely likely to occur. The Turkish
government had been trying for nearly 20 years to get recognition for the
TRNC and had so far failed to find a single country ready to do so. And
although Denktash sometimes spoke of intermediate options, some form
of 'acknowledgement' of the TRNC's status stopping short of formal
recognition, or recognition for a brief moment -half an hour was some-
times mentioned -before a new reunited Cyprus came into being, his
subsequent public statements invariably undermined any confidence that
he was really seeking to find an acceptable way round the problem and
that there was any real distinction between the intermediate options and
going the whole hog.

This was in any case ground on to which neither the Greek Cypriots
nor the international community was prepared to venture, and with good
reason. For the Greek Cypriots their title to the leadership of the 1960
Republic was quite simply an existential issue on which they believed
they could not afford to compromise. For others the Turkish Cypriot case
seemed less than compelling, whatever thoughts they might have about


the rights and wrongs of what had happened in 1963. It ignored the fact
that the problem of recognition had been precipitated in the first place by
the Turkish Cypriots absenting themselves from the institutions of the
1960 Republic and subsequently by their decision to abandon in 1983 the
status of Turkish Cypriot Federated State (of Cyprus) and to opt for full
independence. It glossed over the fact that the TRNC, which did not have
its own currency, could not assure its own security and depended on large
subsidies from Turkey to pay its public servants, fell some way short of
the normal criteria for recognition, even if the Security Council had not
formally closed off that option which was also inconsistent with the 1960
Treaty of Guarantee. And above all, it, rightly or wrongly, conveyed
more than a suspicion that the ultimate aim was not that of preparing for
a new reunited Cyprus but rather for the subsequent secession of the
northern part of it.

That status was an issue in the negotiations could not be denied. Rut it
was one which could only be resolved in the context, and within the
framework, of a comprehensive settlement. Such a settlement would need
to anchor the political equality of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots
in practical constitutional provisions within an indissolubly reunited
Cyprus, including measures that would ensure that its two component
states could handle internationally those areas of policy for which they
were responsible.


In a number of ways the question of sovereignty was one that overlapped
with that of status. The attitudes of the two sides were similarly in stark
contradiction and deeply entrenched, and for some of the same reasons.

For the Greek Cypriots sovereignty resided in the new federal state of
Cyprus alone (and before it in the 1960 Republic of Cyprus whose con-
stitution they were, however, prepared to see abrogated and replaced by a
completely different, federal one). They were not ready to contemplate
any explicit division of sovereignty between the federal state and the two
constituent states (such as can be found in the Swiss constitution where it
is stated that the cantons are sovereign insofar as their sovereignty is not
limited by the Federal Constitution) although they recognized that a
constitution that was silent on the issue of sovereignty would actually
amount to that. And they recoiled in horror from phrases such as that
sovereignty 'emaqated' from the component states to the federal state.
Their reasoning was similar to their concerns over recognition and over


any use of the word 'peoples' as opposed to 'communities' to describe
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, namely that the door was being
opened to secession by the north of Cyprus from a reunited Cyprus. The
Turkish Cypriot position on the sovereignty issue was the mirror image
of the Greek Cypriot one; it was absolutely essential that the sovereignty
of the two component states be explicitly stated and that it be made clear
that any sovereignty possessed by the federal state should come from the
component states.

One possibility was to avoid any reference to sovereignty at all in the
settlement and the new constitution for a federal Cyprus (and also, neces-
sarily, in the constitutions of the component states) but that was not easy
to envisage given the importance that both sides attached to it, albeit in an
entirely contradictory manner.


The question of continuity ran like a thread between the other two issues
of status and sovereignty and contained scope for meeting and reconciling
some, but by no means all, the positions put forward by the two sides on
those other issues. During the nearly 40 years since the original break-
down of the 1960 constitution and even more so since the hostilities in
1974, the subsequent transfer of populations and the Turkish Cypriot
unilateral declaration of independence in 1983, the two sides had lived
quite separate existences, legislating, taking executive decisions and
negotiating (in the Turkish Cypriot case almost exclusively with Turkey)
international agreements. There could be no question of simply foisting
the corpus of legislation, decisions and agreements of one side on to the
other but nor did it make sense to think of starting from scratch for the
new Cyprus. Some way had to be found of legitimizing the past acts of
both sides and of deciding what needed to be the dowry in the form of
legislation and international agreements for the new reunited Cyprus.
About the need for this there was no real disagreement between the two
sides, particularly between those on each side who understood the legal
technicalities (and both Clerides and Denktash were trained lawyers). But
even a largely technical operation of this sort was fraught with all sorts of
wider implications. Such an approach did involve a degree of recognition
(post facto only, after any settlement was agreed and ratified by referen-
dum) of the existence and legitimacy of the institutions of the TRNC, and
it also involved a recognition of the genuine equality of the two sides.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:50 am


Both the technical aspects of the continuity issue and its wider impli-
cations were present in the minds of all concerned and, in particular, of
the UN team trying to assemble the elements for a comprehensive settle-
ment. It was for this reason that they rightly attached such importance to
the effort to mount a joint negotiation in a working group or groups of the
raw material needed to achieve continuity, and why they and others drew
such negative conclusions when this effort was frustrated (until October
2002), delayed (until December 2002) and eventually aborted (in March
2001) by action on the Turkish Cypriot side.

Turkish citizens in north Cyprus

In 1974 the Turkish Cypriots, roughly 18 per cent of the population of
Cyprus, found themselves in control of 17 per cent of the territory of the
1960 Republic. In the years that followed, this partial vacuum was filled
by a substantial inflow of immigrants from mainland Turkey, many of
whom were subsequently given Turkish Cypriot nationality; both ten-
dencies were actively encouraged by the Turkish Cypriot administration.
Given that the newcomers were frequently moving into property that had
previously belonged to Greek Cypriots, that they came to represent a
quite substantial demographic shift in the make-up of the population of
north Cyprus, and that those who obtained Turkish Cypriot nationality
also influenced the politics of the north, this issue, although never for-
mally categorized as one of the four core issues, was an emotional and
sensitive one on both sides, a kind of time bomb ticking away among the
other, more openly recognized issues.

On the Greek Cypriot side, where these immigrants were pejoratively
referred to as 'settlers', the political discourse of all the main parties
encouraged an extreme approach. Most Greek Cypriot politicians would
publicly take the line that all the 'settlers' should simply be sent back,
lock, stock and barrel to Turkey. Privately they would recognize that
many of the immigrants having married Turkish Cypriot wives, now
having families born and brought up in Cyprus and having spent quite as
long in Cyprus as a normal European country would require before
naturalization could be granted, could not, in human rights terms, simply
be shipped back to Turkey. On the Turkish Cypriot side the view taken
was that this was none of the Greek Cypriots' business; the Turkish
Cypriots should control their own nationality and citizenship laws with-
out let or hindrance. But this view masked considerable differences within
northern Cyprus, where the scale of the immigration and the social and


cultural contrasts between the immigrants and the indigenous Turkish
Cypriots gave rise to considerable tensions.

This issue was not only the object of fundamental disagreement be-
tween the two sides; its actual scope was hotly disputed. The Greek
Cypriots habitually quoted extremely high figures for the scale of immi-
gration and of the grants of Turkish Cypriot nationality, without being in
a position to validate them. Figures in excess of 100,000 immigrants, a
large proportion when it is recalled that the figure for the indigenous
Turkish Cypriot population was in the region of 180,000, were bandied
about. The Turkish Cypriots, insofar as they were prepared to discuss the
matter at all, tended to play down the problem. Denktash asserted in the
negotiations that Turkish Cypriot citizenship had been granted to only
30-35,000 immigrants, a figure that was soon admitted, even by its
author, as a substantial underestimate.

For all these reasons it was unlikely that a settlement would be
reached without this issue being addressed in some way or another, but
equally unlikely that it would be resolved in a scientific and objective
fashion. More likely was the establishment of a fairly arbitrary figure for
those who could be regarded as Turkish Cypriots and who could remain
as citizens of the new Turkish Cypriot constituent state, and some rather
tough rules about the Turkish citizens above that figure and about future
immigration from Turkey.

The European Union dimension
During the 1992 negotiations over the UN's Set of Ideas the European
Union dimension did not loom large. Although the Greek Cypriots had
by then submitted an application to join the European Union, the Com-
mission had not yet delivered its formal opinion on it, and accession
negotiations had therefore not started. The whole enlargement timetable
was still obscure. It was therefore simply assumed that it would be a
reunited Cyprus that would in due course conduct accession negotiations,
and that the outcome, if successful, would be ratified by referendums in
the two component states. Any EU problems would be ironed out in the
accession negotiations. Like every other aspect of the 1992 negotiations
none of this was ever actually agreed by the two sides.
By the time settlement negotiations resumed at the end of 1999, the
whole situation had changed quite dramatically. The Greek Cypriot
application had been endorsed by the Commission, accession negotiations
had been opened with them in 1998, and the Turkish Cypriots had re-

jected all attempts to persuade them to associate themselves with these
negotiations. Moreover the Greek Cypriots were rattling through the
accession negotiations at a steady pace; it was already clear that no serious
technical obstacles were going to arise that would impede or delay their
conclusion, and that Cyprus would be in he first wave of any accession
package or packages. And the Helsinki European Council had stated
categorically that a settlement was not a precondition for membership,
having previously fended off attempts by the Turks and Turkish Cypriots
to argue that accession by a divided island was either illegal or should be
stopped until there was a settlement. The timetable for enlargement was
also by then much clearer and any analyst could see that an end-2002 date
for the conclusion of EU accession negotiations was likely.

It was becoming evident therefore that the settlement and EU acces-
sion negotiations were no longer going to be sequential but were far more
likely to be simultaneous. This prospect posed all sorts of unprecedented
problems, both technical and political. The technical problems related to
the fact that the Commission had not had the chance to do all the prelimi-
nary work in the north of Cyprus that was necessary to prepare for actual
negotiations and for the adaptation of Turkish Cypriot legislation to the
acquis communautaire. Numerous attempts were made by the Commis-
sion to put such work in hand informally but all were rebuffed by
Denktash who would not allow European experts access to his admini-
stration without prior recognition. He persisted in believing that this gave
him a lever to secure formal recognition and refused to recognize that this
was a serious miscalculation. So the technical work in the north remained
as a kind of over-hang to the settlement negotiations which might, and
probably would, need to be completed after any agreement was reached.

The political problems were more serious. Some, including those
related to the very different levels of economic development between the
north and the south (per capita GNP in the north being somewhere
around 20-25 per cent of that in the south) were susceptible of fairly
straightforward treatment with existing European Union policies and
instruments. It was clear that north Cyprus would have to be classified
differently from the south under the structural funds and thus would
receive much higher subsidies from the EU budget. But, beyond these
relatively straightforward issues, were much trickier ones arising from the
fact that a number of the necessary elements of any negotiable settlement
package would not be in conformity with the acquis communautaire.
Measures to allay Turkish Cypriot concerns about an immediate and


irresistible influx of Greek Cypriots buying property and businesses in
the north would be necessary and would not be in conformity with full
freedom of movement of people, capital and establishment. Would the
concerns require long EU transitional periods or would they perhaps
require full derogations (much more difficult for the EU to swallow)?

One thing gradually became clear. Neither the UN nor the EU could
afford to allow these issues to be settled in one set of negotiations and
then reopened in the other. For the UN to permit that was to open itself
to accusations of bad faith, for the EU to do so was to run the risk of
being saddled with the blame for wrecking a UN settlement that had
been agreed. So the stage was set for an unprecedented level of coopera-
tion and concertation between the two organizations and the two
negotiations; but achieving that was less easy than asserting the need for
it. The handling of these issues was further complicated by a Greek
Cypriot tendency to try to use the acquis communautaire as a kind of
battering ram with which to demolish attempts to find ingenious and
flexible solutions to Turkish Cypriot concerns in the settlement negotia-
tions and have them accepted by the EU. Fortunately the Commission,
the ultimate guardians of the acquis communautaire, were alert to this
threat and proved well capable of heading it off.

In addition to all these practical aspects the European Union dimen-
sion also affected the political climate on both sides of the island quite
fundamentally and to an increasing extent as time wore on and as actual
enlargement came closer. For the Greek Cypriots, while Clerides's quite
genuine desire to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem before he quit
the political scene in February 2003 played an important role in ensuring
some flexibility in their negotiating position, an even stronger incentive
was the need to avoid being seen as the awkward or obstructive party in
the settlement negotiations. As the European Union and its member
states signalled ever more clearly and insistently their preference for the
accession of a reunited Cyprus rather than a divided one, this factor
became more prominent. (These causal links are hard to prove, because
they are so hotly denied by those most directly concerned, but it is diffi-
cult to see why else, during the last year before their terms of accession
were settled by the European Union, the Greek Cypriots showed more
flexibility on a wider range of issues than at any previous stage of the 10
years of negotiation.) Sadly the Turks and Denktash chose to ignore all
this and even to deny it, asserting that the EU had handed the Greek

Cypriots their EU accession on a plate. They thus, yet again, passed up an
important opportunity.

On the Turkish Cypriot side, what had always been a widespread but
vague feeling in favour of joining the European Union as part of a re-
united island and following a settlement, came gradually into sharper
focus as a high proportion of Turkish Cypriots, but not unfortunately
their leaders, came to realize that the simultaneous denouements of the
settlement and the EU accession negotiations presented a once-and-for-all
opportunity to get a settlement on terms favourable to them and at the
same time to find a way out of their dead end of impoverishment, isola-
tion and economic stagnation. This was the background to the massive
Turkish Cypriot public demonstrations at the end of 2002 and early in
2003 in favour of acceptance of the Annan Plan and of joining the Euro-
pean Union.

1996: Getting a Show on the Road

he beginning of 1996 marked one of the lowest points in the
international effort to find a comprehensive solution to the Cy-
prus problem, which stretched back to 1963 when the post-
colonial constitutional settlement first broke down and when the drift
towards inter-communal violence, and eventually open hostilities, began.
A UN-led attempt to negotiate a comprehensive settlement -Boutros-
Ghali's 1992 Set of Ideas -had run into a brick wall when Clerides had
won the February 1993 presidential election in the south of the island on a
platform rejecting Boutros-Ghali's proposals. A subsequent UN-led
attempt to find an oblique approach to a settlement through a number of
major Confidence-Building Measures -the most significant of which
would have led to the reopening of Nicosia Airport, stranded unused
since 1974 in the buffer zone between the ceasefire lines, and the return to
its Greek Cypriot owners of the ghost town of Varosha, a holiday resort
just south of Famagusta -had also run into the sands, wrecked by a
combination of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot obsession with the minutiae
of the policing of the areas in question and Greek Cypriot lack of enthusi-
asm for measures that they saw as giving more benefits to the other side
than to themselves and in particular as undermining the barriers to trade
between the north and the European Union.

In parallel with these two major setbacks, Cyprus's application to join
the European Union was making steady progress. Not only had the
application itself been accepted by the European Union, despite the
continuing division of the island, but the Commission had given a positive
formal opinion opening the way to accession negotiations, and the Euro-
pean Union had committed itself in 1995 to engaging in such negotiations
no later than six months after the conclusion of the Inter-Governmental
Conference then under way to prepare the European Union's institutions
for enlargement, a formula which pointed towards a date somewhere
between late 1997 and early 1998. The EU dimension of the Cyprus


problem was thus becoming more prominent than it had ever been in the
past. And, while it was possible to hope that it would act as a catalyst
towards a comprehensive settlement, it was equally feared that it would
lead towards the definitive partition of the island, to a major crisis in the
relations between the European Union and Turkey, itself another appli-
cant for accession, albeit on a much slower track than Cyprus, and to a
sharp rise in tension in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Faced with this unpromising scene, none of the main players seemed
inclined to make much of an effort. The two Cypriot leaders, Clerides and
Denktash, had reverted, with some relief, from grappling with issues of
substance to the tactical nlanoeuvring they knew so well and which
avoided the need to make any hard choices or to reach and defend com-
promise solutions. The United States, after a failed attempt in 1995 by
Richard Beattie, the Presidential Special Representative, to broker secret
talks between the two sides and to find a formula which would park
Ilenktash's status demands and enable the EU accession negotiations to
proceed on a joint basis, had lapsed into a passive mode. The United
Nations, deeply discouraged by several years of hard slog with nothing at
the end to show for it, was extremely hesitant about undertaking any new
initiative; and in any case the UN Secretary-General's then Special
Representative, Joe Clark (former Canadian foreign and prime minister),
who had put an impressive effort into the 1991-94 negotiations over
Confidence-Building Measures, was in the process of bowing out.

In addition to these strictly Cyprus-related matters, the relationship
between the two mother countries, Greece and Turkey, was going
through a particularly rough patch. Actual hostilities had only narrowly
been avoided during a dispute in January 1996 over an uninhabited islet
(known in the different languages as Imia or Kardak), situated between
Greece's Dodecanese archipelago and the Aegean coast of Turkey. The
dispute, which had shown every sign of slipping out of the control of the
two countries and their prime ministers (in Greece the newly installed
Constantinos Simitis and in Turkey Tansu Ciller) was damped down
after some active diplomacy by outside powers, in particular by the
United States in the person of Richard I-Iolbrooke, the Assistant Secre-
tary of State for Europe; but it had demonstrated yet again how fragile
the relationship between these two NATO partners was and how real
were the threats to international peace and security in the Eastern Medi-
terranean. Moreover it led to Greece unilaterally blocking implementation
of the European Union's financial commitment to Turkey, part of the


March 1995 agreement establishing an EUITurkey Customs Union. By
thus forcing the EU collectively to renege on its commitment, the Greek
government both exacerbated its own relationship with Turkey and
seriously complicated the handling of the important links between the EU
and Turkey.

This was the picture when I was approached at the end of February
1996 by Jeremy Greenstock, the Political Director in the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office (and subsequently, from 1998 to 2003, the United
Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New
York) on behalf of Malcolm Rifkind, then foreign secretary, to ask
whether I would be prepared to take on a new part-time post as British
Special Representative for Cyprus. We talked the idea through at a num-
ber of meetings subsequently and I agreed to take on the appointment,
which was publicly announced by Rifkind at a press conference on 2 3
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:51 am

The mission

The fashion for mission statements was by then getting into its swing,
although it was only to reach its full development when the Blair gov-
ernment came to power the following year. We managed to avoid one on
this occasion. But we did not duck the need to agree in advance the pa-
rameters of what I was setting out to do.

The first point firmly established was that although the decision to
appoint a British Special Representative for Cyprus marked a distinct
raising of our national profile in attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem,
there was to be no question at any stage of initiating or pursuing a solo
British or even a UK/US approach to the problem. The task was to put
more clout into the United Nations efforts. We agreed that Britain's
significant but historically fraught relationships with all concerned over
the Cyprus problem meant that any initiative with a British label on it
would be doomed from the outset, and that, in any case, only the United
Nations was likely to be acceptable to all concerned as a vehicle for set-
tlement negotiations.

Secondly, the enlargement of the European Union, the modalities of
which were not at that stage clear, was a major objective of British foreign
policy and must in no way be delayed or damaged by developments over
Cyprus. It was already obvious that, whatever approach was eventually
chosen by the Euqopean Union, Cyprus would be in the first wave of
acceding countries.

Thirdly, while getting a settleme~lt in Cyprus before it joilled the
European Union was a clear objective, indeed the basic raiso~l d'ttre of
my appointment, it was not to be pursued in such a way as to put at risk
Britain's close and steadily developing relationships with the countries in
the region most directly involved (Cyprus, Greece and Turkey).

Apart from these three clear guidelines, which were all constraints on
the handling of the job, I was not given, nor did I at that stage seek, much
guidance. It was evident that the best way to proceed and the most
promising basis for making progress would be largely dictated by the
views of other players. It made no sense for Britain to draw up blueprints
or design negotiating fixes on its own. As to the constraints, at no stage
did I feel uncomfortable with them and on no occasion did I seek to have
them varied. I was naturally aware that both what they prescribed and
what they did not prescribe had implications for the ~legotiation of a
settlement and were in different ways unsatisfactory to one or other or
several of the regional players. The 'Turks and l'urkish Cypriots would
have preferred us to agree that it was legally and politically impossible for
a divided Cyprus to enter the European Union; the Greeks and Greek
Cypriots would have wished us to be bound to the precise letter of
whichever of the many Security Council resolutions most faithfully
reflected their own position at a given point in time. But either of those
approaches would quite simply have brought the whole attempt to get a
negotiated settlement to a standstill, so the temptation to contest the
constraints or to accept additional ones was not very compelling.

First reflections

While it certainly made no sense to settle down at the outset to devise
blueprints for a settlement or negotiating fixes, it inade equally little sense
to set off OJI a voyage of discovery to the region without having done a
good deal of background reading and reflected carefully on previous
attempts to get a settlement, the lessons to learn from them and the traps
to be avoided. The historical background was, unusually, the most diffi-
cult to grapple with. There is astonishingly little published material about
Cyprus that is not distorted by the views of the author, who tends to be
on one side or the other of a deeply conte~ltious and embittered argument.
Even the British, the foreigners with probably the largest and deepest
experience of Cyprus and not usually short of well-trained historians,
seemed to have shied away from a scene where their experience had
perhaps been too painful and too recent to encourage objective research.

'I3ose who did tackle the issue had all too often gone the other way and
became hopelessly subjective apologists for one view or the other.

'I-lle negotiating background was a good deal easier to come to terms
with, largely thanks to the admirable reporting practices followed by the
United Nations Secretariat in their reports to the Security Council on the
different attempts they had led to achieve a settlement; large slabs of
carefully marshalled factual material, interspersed with brief and succinct
but unemotional sections of judgement, were precisely what was needed.
And of course I had actually experienced in New York as British Perma-
nent Representative to the UN, though more as a bystander than as a
participant, the two most recent rounds of negotiations on the Set of Ideas
and the Confidence-Huilding Measures, and had got to know some, but
by no means all, the principal actors with whom I would have to deal.

This preparatory phase, which lasted from March to May of 1996, left
me with some clear impressions to be tested on the ground when I began
my travels. The first of these was the high quality and continuing value of
Boutros-Ghali's 1992 Set of Ideas, painstakingly pieced together over the
preceding years by his Special Representative on the island, Oscar
Camilion, and the leading official in the UN Secretariat responsible for
Cyprus, Gustave Feissel.

The proposals had been endorsed by the Security Council soon after
the negotiations had been suspended in 1992, and established a bi-zonal,
bi-communal federation with extensive autonomy for the two component
parts, with a substantial territorial adjustment to the benefit of the Greek
Cypriots set out in a map attached to the proposals, with limited returns
of Greek Cypriot property owners to the north, and with security resting
on a continuation of the Treaty of Guarantee, a reduced Greek and
Turkish troop presence and an international peacekeeping force. Those
proposals were no mere skeleton, having been fleshed out in quite a
detailed way. While Clerides had rejected the Set of Ideas as such in his
1993 election campaign, he seemed to have fewer objections to its indi-
vidual parts. And Denktash's position was that he could accept 90 per
cent of what had been proposed, even if he was a bit coy about corning
clean 011 what matters made up the remaining 10 per cent. So the case for
ensuring that any new initiative did not just start from scratch, but rather
sought to build on what was already on the table, seemed very strong.

At the same time, the Set of Ideas appeared to have some serious
shortcomi~lgs.Its treatment of the important issue of the reunited island's
membership of the EU was, not unnaturally, since it had been put to-


gether at a very early stage in Cyprus's candidature, rather sketchy and
increasingly inadequate as time passed and this issue came to bulk larger
both in complexity and political sensitivity. Also the Set of Ideas, al-
though it went well beyond a skeleton or framework agreement, still fell
well short of a fully operative, self-executing and comprehensive settle-
ment. Given the genesis of the breakdown of the 1960 constitution in a
dispute over the implementation of fiscal provisions, the propensity of
both parties in Cyprus to contest even the tiniest detail in an agreement or
piece of legislation and to see an unrequited benefit to the other side and
loss to themselves in the most arcane of provisions, and given also their
tendency to prevaricate and to spin out any negotiations on such points, it
did seem to me that a more comprehensive approach would be needed on
the next occasion.

Another salient point seemed equally clear and that was the impor-
tance of some external impetus and also external expertise if any progress
was to be made. That was not to suggest that a reversion to the methods
used in the late 1950s, when the original independence settlement was
effectively stitched up by the two motherlands, Greece and Turkey, and
imposed on the two Cypriot parties, was either practicable or desirable.
Time had moved on; neither motherland was prepared to play that role,
nor was either party in Cyprus prepared to accept it. But the attitudes of
the motherlands towards any settlement negotiations remained impor-
tant. Long and bitter experience, however, had shown that the two
Cypriot parties, left to themselves, would get nowhere. Their preference
for tactical manoeuvre over substantive engagement on the core issues
was longstanding. Neither had been willing, in putting forward its own
proposals, to take any real account of the interests and sensitivities of the
other side; both sides had a pathological fear of making substantive con-
cessions, which they believed would be pocketed by the other side and
then become the starting point for future negotiations and yet more
concessions. And then there was another less tangible but no less real
factor. This was the deeply held belief of most Cypriots that in the end
the outcome would not be determined by the Cypriots themselves but by
various outside forces. It was this factor that went some way towards
explaining the degree of irresponsibility that often imbued policy making
on the island. All this pointed towards the need for the United Nations to
resume the central role it had played in previous attempts to reach a
settlement, but also for the UN to be backed up by the main external
actors with experience of Cyprus and a stake in the prospects for a settle-

ment -the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and
Russia being the most obvious but not the only ones -and for those
external actors not to allow themselves to be played off against each other,
as had often occurred in the past.

These thoughts led on to another -the need at some stage to find a
time frame that would genuinely constrain and compel the decision
mal<ing of all the main parties to the negotiation. One, but only one, of the
reasons why negotiations had already continued off and on for more than
30 years without any outcome was that they had been conducted in an
open-ended time frame. Not only was the current situation of each of the
Cypriot parties too comfortable to push them towards the difficult com-
promises required -the Greek Cypriots with their internationally
recognized position as the sole representative of the Republic of Cyprus,
their prosperity and their gradually advancing EU candidature; the
Turkish Cypriots with the overwhelming military superiority and secu-
rity derived from the presence of Turkish armed forces and the flow of
subsidies provided by Turkey to palliate the deficiencies of the economy
in the north of the island and the negative effect on it of the impediments
to exports to the EU -but the absence of any time line, let alone a dead-
line, meant that it was always easier to call for more time to negotiate and
to put off indefinitely tough choices or compromises. And on this point, if
none other, there had invariably in the past been an unholy alliance
between the two Cypriot parties. There was no immediate answer to this
deadline problem in 1996, although, well down the road, it was already
clear that there could be one in the form of the conclusion of the EU'b
enlargement negotiations.

All these considerations did not take account of arguably an even more
important dimension, the personal one. Was there a real prospect of
getting the two Cypriot leaders to the negotiating table; and, once there,
could they reasonably be expected to negotiate with some flexibility and
in a spirit of give and take? In neither case could a positive answer be
assumed. Clerides had won office campaigning against the Set of Ideas,
and he had, at the end of the road, played his part in ensuring that the
Confidence-Building Measures got nowhere. But since then, in a series of
informal meetings with Denktash, under the aegis of the UN Deputy
Special Representative, Feissel, in the autumn of 1995 he had pushed hard
for a framework approach based on reaching trade-offs on the most sensi-
tive core issues, leaving the detail to be filled in later. While the method
was unlikely to work, the signal was at least encouraging. From Denktash

no such encouragement had emerged. Successive UN negotiators, in-
cluding two UN secretaries-general -Pe'rez de Cue'llar, who had himself
done a stint as Special Representative for Cyprus before becoming secre-
tary-general, and Boutros-Ghali -had despaired at Denktash's
inflexibility and had effectively concluded that he was not interested in a
settlement, from which he had decided that he had more to lose than to
gain. There was no reason to hope for a fundamental change or help from
that quarter. This meant that, as so often in the past, the key was likely to
be in Ankara and not in the north of the island.

A f~stround of contacts
Within a month of my appointment I was able to make visits to Cyprus
and then to Athens and Ankara and thus to begin to build up at first hand
a picture of the challenges and opportunities that accompanied any effort
to mount a new negotiation for a settlement. 'l'he challenges comfortably
outnumbered the opportunities.
As my Cyprus Airways flight came in to land at Larnaca, I realized,
with some trepidation, that the waiting press, about whose cannibalistic
tendencies I had been liberally warned in advance, might latch on to the
fact that I had never previously set foot in the island. I decided I was
certainly not going to start off by obfuscating. I need not have worried.
The Cyprus press accused me of any number of crimes and conspiracies
over the next seven years, but they missed this glorious opportunity to
suggest that here was another in a string of ignorant foreigners set on
telling them how to handle their affairs. Driving up through the some-
what lunar landscape that separates Larnaca from Nicosia I was able to
grasp the division of the island, with the northern Kyrenia Range,
adorned with Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags and the obligatory
quotation from Mustafa Kemal Atatiirk, looming out of the heat haze on
the right and on the left, less easily visible, the Troodos Mountains and
the ugly but burgeoning sprawl of Creek Cypriot Nicosia. A later walk
along the Green Ihe, where it runs through Nicosia, with the ruined
shops and caf& left as they were when the shooting stopped in 1974,
made the point even more cogently.
My arrival was greeted with two auguries. It rained. That, on a day
celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Church as the anniversary of Noah's
flood, was apparently an auspicious sign. The second was a good deal less
so. A Greek Cypriot conscript was shot dead by a Turkish sentry in the
dried-up river bed that formed the ceasefire line between the two sides,


quite near the offices of the British High Commission. Later in the sum-
mer there were some ugly incidents at the Famagusta end of the ceasefire
line when Greek Cypriot protesters broke through their own police
cordon and brushed aside the UN troops in the buffer zone, leading to
some shooting by Turkish Cypriots and two Greek Cypriot fatalities. All
this was a timely reminder, if one was needed, that the situation was not
quite as comfortably stable as it was often depicted. And the incidents
were of course grist to the mill of the extremists on both sides who were
quick to point out how foolish it was even to contemplate a settlement.

My meetings in Nicosia fell into what was to become a scarcely vary-
ing pattern of my visits there. A working breakfast with Glafcos Clerides
and his close advisers at the presidential palace (formerly the British
colonial governor's residence but hardly recognizable from those days as a
result of the damage done to it in 1974 by the tanks of the Greek Cypriot
National Guard in support of the coup against President Makarios), then
a meeting with the foreign minister, then a call on the president of the
National Assembly, and contacts with other party leaders, who together
made up the National Council, which advised the president on the con-
duct of negotiations on the Cyprus problem. On the Turkish Cypriot
side, after crossing the Green Line at the old Ledra Palace Hotel check-
point, there was a meeting and working lunch with Rauf Denktash in his
presidential palace (formerly the residence of the British district commis-
sioner for colonial Nicosia, also hardly recognizable, although not for the
same reason, having been greatly extended to accommodate the centre of
Turkish Cypriot governance). This was followed by contacts, either social
or working, with party leaders, some in government, some in opposition,
and with civil society and activists on both sides. This required some
fairly careful navigation round a complex protocol course reflecting the
fact that while the British government recognized and dealt with Denk-
tash as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community (but not as president
of the TRNC), we did not have official dealings with his government and
ministers, and could not therefore call on them in their offices. This
caused irritation but no major problems. The routine programme was
usually completed by a bi-communal press conference at the Ledra Palace
Hotel until a much later stage, when the UN's news blackout on the
settlement negotiations made that undesirable.

South Nicosia

Rather as I had expected, I found no great enthusiasm anywhere in the
south for initiating a new effort to reach a negotiated settlement. Clerides
argued that there must first be a greater degree of common ground estab-
lished on the main issues before it made sense to launch any serious
negotiations, and he was not prepared to respond positively to Denktash's
current objective, the holding of a face-to-face meeting between the two
of them, clearly designed to boost his own status. (In the years ahead
these two negotiating ploys, the prior establishment of 'common ground'
and the holding of face-to-face talks, emerged several times and then
faded away, and they were swapped between the two sides in a discon-
certing way that did much to justify the cynicism of outside observers -
in the period 2001-3 it was Denktash who was calling for common
ground as a precondition to negotiation and Clerides who wanted face-to-
face talks.) But Clerides was quite flexible in private on many of the
component parts of what had been in 1992 the UN Set of Ideas. He was
prepared to go a considerable way to meet Turkish and Turkish Cypriot
security concerns and in particular did not contest the need to preserve
the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee which had been the basis of the Turkish
military intervention in 1974. In those early contacts I floated past him,
without provoking much of a reaction either positive or negative, the
possibility that the rotation between Greek Cypriots and 'Turkish Cypri-
ots of the posts of president and vice-president in a reunited Cyprus -one
of the issues that had remained unresolved and hotly contested at the end
of the 1992 negotiations -might be easier to handle if one worked within
the framework of a parliamentary rather than a presidential system, with
the posts of president and vice-president being purely honorific and
possessing no substantial executive powers, as was the case in countries
such as Ireland and Israel (but not in the 1960 Cyprus constitution).

In a theme that would become familiar over the years, Clerides argued
that Denktash's approach was fundamentally negative and that the key to
any negotiation lay in Ankara and a shift in the Turkish government's
attitude. I could not, and never tried to, fault that analysis, which I shared
anyway. But I noticed that it was accompanied by a deliberately pessi-
mistic and not terribly well-informed view of the prospects for bringing
about a shift in Turkish policy. Over the years it was brought home to me
what a major handicap it was that the main Greek Cypriot players and
their Turkish counterparts never met (other than the occasional content-
free handshake at a multilateral meeting such as an OSCE Summit or,

later, at EU meetings) and that there was therefore no opportunity to
break down the barriers of suspicion and mutual misunderstanding, let
alone to discuss the core issues of a Cyprus settlement. And neither had a
diplomatic mission in the other's capital. So instead each side appeared to
rely on an interpretation of the other's position based on reading press
summaries and speeches, with the most extreme and populist expression
of the situation being invariably assumed to be true. Worse still, all four of
the main regional players (Greece, Turkey, Creek Cyprus and Turkish
Cyprus) spent the largest part of almost any meeting telling you about the
defects of the other side's position and explaining why these ruled out any
chance of a successful negotiation, and tended to avoid to the maximum
degree possible any discussion of their own position.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:51 am

North Nicosia
A mere ten-minute drive across the city, through the zigzag barbed wire
barriers of the Green Line, past pictures of Greek Cypriot martyrs, past
too the bullet-pocked fasade of the 1,edra Palace Hotel, now adorned with
the drying underwear of British UNFICYP troops quartered there, I
settled down to what was to be the unvarying fare of my early meetings
with Iknktash: the history lesson. (After a few years I must have been
considered an old enough hand to have graduated from this, although,
when accompanying a new visitor, for example Joyce Q~lin when she was
minister for Europe at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there was
no escaping it. In her case I timed it at 49 minutes before Denktash drew
breath and allowed his visitor to speak for the first time.)
The history lesson usually began in about 1878 when Cyprus ex-
changed Ottoman for British rule. It was filled with bitter complaints of
British betrayals, leaving the minority Turkish Cypriot community to the
tender mercies of the Greek Cypriots. It continued with a long history of
Greek Cypriot perfidy, focusing in particular on Archbishop Makarios's
hijacking of the 1960 constitution when the Turkish Cypriots walked out
of the government in 1963, and on the folly of the international commu-
nity thereafter in accepting the Greek Cypriots as the sole representatives
of the Kepublic of Cyprus. There would be some vivid passages on the
atrocities committed against the Turkish Cypriots from 1963 to 1974 and
a rather insistent invitation to visit the mass graves outside Famagusta.
The inner circle of the inferno was then completed with an onslaught on
the European Union and the illegality and iniquity of its decision to treat
as valid the Greek Cypriot application for membership. The purpose of

the history lesson was not just to let off steam, though it certainly had that
effect, but it was also designed to bring home to the visitor the view that
the Turkish Cypriots had been the victims of an unparalleled series of
historic blunders and that there was not the slightest chance of a settle-
ment to the Cyprus problem until those blunders were reversed and the
wrongs righted. Only when the Turkish Cypriot state was recognized as
such (a slightly softer version used the word 'acknowledged', but probing
tended to reveal that there was no real difference between the two for-
mulae), when all property claims on either side had been eliminated and
handled through compensation alone, and when a new Cyprus based on
the absolute equality of the two communities reflected in a right of veto
over every decision, however minor, had been agreed, would it be possi-
ble to address such issues as a territorial adjnstment and the question of

I did my best, without making much of a dent on my interlocutor, to
explain that whatever one's view of the historic rights and wrongs -and
not all of Denktash's analysis was wide of the mark; for example his
strictures on the way Turkish Cypriots had been treated in the first
decade of Cypriot independence -it was not within my power or my
remit to reverse decisions taken by the international community over the
recognition of the continuing legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus, and
anyway, as it was simply not going to happen, waiting for it to do so
meant never finding a solution that would improve the Turkish Cypriots'
lot. On a more positive note I tried to get it across to him that Cyprus's
EU application offered a real opportunity to negotiate a comprehensive
settlement that would fill in the disagreed parts of the 1992 Set of Ideas in
ways consistent with the Turkish Cypriots' vital interests and that the
very strong desire of the EU member states to see a reunited rather than a
divided Cyprus join the Union offered considerable possibilities if only
the Turkish Cypriots would come to the negotiating table and, once
there, show some degree of flexibility.


My early visits to Athens were to some extent handicapped by the deci-
sion of the Greek foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, to have nothing
to do with me. This decision was rooted in some rather sharp disagree-
ments between us over Europe's relationships with Turkey and Cyprus
during the period (1985-90) when I had been Permanent Representative
to the European Union and thus often, towards the end of Council meet-


ings, left by the foreign secretary to hold the fort. As a result my talks in
Athens were with the secretary-general of the foreign ministry, an old
friend, Alecos Filon, and with the able and very experienced junior min-
ister Ioannis Kranidiotis. Ihanidiotis was in fact of Cypriot origin, his
father having been the first Cypriot ambassador to Athens following
independence. Not surprisingly his knowledge of the Cyprus problem
was encyclopaedic, and, while at the outset he was far from convinced of
the case for making another serious attempt to reach a settlement, as time
passed he became more and more committed to such an effort.

The Greek position at this stage was to pay lip service to the need to
resume negotiations for a Cyprus settlement and to the central role of the
United Nations, but to avoid making any major effort to bring that about
and, above all, to avoid getting at cross-purposes with Clerides who, as we
have seen, was similarly unenthusiastic. They too cast doubt on the
readiness of Denktash and the Turks to engage in good faith in such a
negotiation or to be ready to make the necessary compromises if they did
so. Greek-Turkish relations were in poor shape following the crisis at the
beginning of the year over Imia, and there was absolutely no give in the
Greek blockage of the funds which the EU had committed itself to dis-
bursing to Turkey as part of the deal over a customs union reached in
1995. Pangalos himself was much given to periodic intemperate rhetorical
onslaughts on Turkey which poisoned the atmosphere, and he clearly
preferred to have Cyprus as an additional grievance to nurse rather than
to put any effort into having its problems resolved.


My first visit to Ankara in late June coincided with the latest in a series of
governmental crises that had arisen since the leaders of the two centre-
right parties, Mesut Yilmaz and Tansu Ciller, had decided to take turns as
prime minister. While the deal had not quite yet been stitched up, Ciller
was known to be contemplating what the whole of the Ankara establish-
ment regarded as a diabolical alliance with the leader of the then largest
Islamist party, Necmettin Erbakan. It was hardly the best moment to get
the Turks to concentrate on the problem of Cyprus, a subject which in
any case invariably caused them a great deal of difficulty if there was to
be any question of moving away from a stalwart defence of the status quo.

It nevertheless proved possible to have some useful and interesting
contacts. The top official in the foreign ministry dealing with Cyprus and
Greece, Inal Batu, had been Turkish ambassador to the UN when I had


been in New York and we knew each other well. Over a private dinner he
expressed extreme pessimism about the prospect of getting any likely
government in Ankara to negotiate a settlement on Cyprus, and he clearly
had the greatest doubts about Denktash's willingness to do so. He asked
whether there was any chance of trading a unilateral Turkish Cypriot
ceding of territory in return for international recognition of the Turkish
Cypriot state. I said I did not really think so. The idea was just the old
scheme for partition that had been rejected so often in the past and which
was in any case not consistent with Security Council resolutions and the
1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Moreover any attempt to achieve such a trade-
off would inevitably lead into a discussion of other issues such as property
claims and the return of refugees. Would it not make more sense to deal
with all this in a comprehensive settlement, which would in addition
support rather than undermine Turkey's ambition to become a member
of the EU?

When I saw the foreign minister, Imre Gonensay (destined in fact to
be out of office within a week), we discussed Cyprus's application to join
the European Union, which the Turks argued was illegal under the terms
of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee (a view not shared by us or other mem-
bers of the European Union). I decided that if I was not to be accused
later of misleading them, I needed to be frank about Cyprus's EU pros-
pects. So I said that, in my view, if Denktash and the Turks continued to
take a negative attitude towards negotiating a Cyprus settlement, then it
was pretty well certain that a divided Cyprus would in due course be
admitted to the Union. This caused some turmoil at the meeting. No one
else in Europe had told them that. I emphasized in reply that this was not
an outcome that the British government favoured. Quite the reverse.
Indeed my appointment had been made precisely with the objective of
trying to ensure that a reunited not a divided Cyprus entered the Union.
But the commitment given by the member states in 1995, at the time the
EUITurkey Customs Union Agreement was sealed, had been pretty
unambiguous. And, if the blame for failing to negotiate a Cyprus settle-
ment was seen to lie principally with Denktash and the Turks, then I
believed, on the basis of a good deal of experience of Brussels and in the
knowledge that enlargement of the European Union mattered more to
most member states than the question of Cyprus, that a divided island
would be accepted. We left it there. They were not happy. But an impor-
tant penny had been left to drop. It was to take a long time to do so.



It also proved possible during these early visits to Ankara, although
not later on, after 1997, when a conscious decision was taken somewhere
in the Turkish governmental machine to refuse all meetings between their
military and visiting diplomats, to have some contact with the Turkish
general staff. This was valuable not only because the influence of the
military in Turkey on political decision making remained considerable, if
singularly obscure in its precise significance, but because there were a
number of issues relating to any settlement of the Cyprus problem -the
future of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, the nature and scale of any con-
tinuing Turkish troop presence on the island, the configuration of any
territorial adjustment reducing the Turkish-Cypriot-controlled part of the
island to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots -that directly concerned the
Turkish general staff in its purely military functions. My interlocutor was
General Cevik Bir, the deputy chief of the Turkish general staff, whom I
had met in New York in 1993 when he commanded the ill-fated UN
peacekeeping forces in Somalia. Our discussions, although never even
approaching negotiation, were useful. Bir made it clear that while he
could certainly conceive of circumstances in which Turkey's and the
Turkish Cypriots' vital security interests could be assured with a sub-
stantially reduced Turkish troop presence on the island, the Treaty of
Guarantee must remain in force, undiluted; and a necessary precondition
of even contemplating a reduced troop presence was prior agreement on a
political settlement that gave the Turkish Cypriots proper political equal-

On the Treaty of Guarantee I was able to assure I3ir that in the view of
the British government its continuation was an essential component of
any settlement. And I also assured him that we saw no future in pursuing
a 'security first' approach to the negotiations, which had temporarily
found favour in Washington and London in 1995. But I warned him that
there was equally no future in an approach that envisaged a political
settlement being reached ahead of Turkey making any commitments on
security, including the removal of a substantial proportion of their troops
from the island. All the issues would need to be dealt with in a single,
comprehensive settlement if there was to be the balance required by all
concerned. Clearly, with no actual negotiating process under way at that
stage, there was not much more to be said. But the fact that, when a
negotiating process did get under way, and most particularly in the later
stages of that process in 2002-3 when actual settlement proposals were on
the table, there was absolutely no direct contact between the UN nego-

tiators and the Turkish military, must have undermined the chances of an
agreement. Above all it meant that every aspect of the UN-led negotiation
only reached the Turkish military through a filter controlled by Denktash
or by Turkish foreign ministry officials.

One other meeting during that first visit to Ankara was worthy of
note. On the British ambassador's sunny terrace, I had a long, agreeable
but completely unproductive lunchtime discussion of Cyprus with Bulent
Ecevit, who had been prime minister of Turkey in 1974 when the Turk-
ish military interventions in Cyprus took place. Ecevit at this time was
simply a backbench member of parliament, his party (DSP) being out of
office and thought likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Ecevit's
view, which he continued to repeat when he was catapulted back into the
prime minister's office in 1999, was that the Cyprus problem had been
settled by him in 1974 and that nothing remained to be done except for
the rest of us to come to terms with that. 1 tried to explain why this
approach was a little simplistic: that hecause the best efforts of Turkish
diplomacy over the preceding 15 years had not produced a single country
that recognized the Turkish Cypriot state and because there had mean-
while been a large number of Secririty Council resolutions saying that the
status iluo was unacceptable and contrary to international law, it was a
little unrealistic to argue that the matter was settled, and that a number of
developments over the next few years, particularly in regard to Cyprus's
EU candidature, were likely to evolve in a way that would not be to the
benefit of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots unless a serious effort were
made to reach a settlement. To no avail. Ecevit's own view did not shift
much, if at all, during the period from 1999 to 2002 when he was again
prime minister.

Constructing a network

To stand even the remotest chance of achieving a comprehensive settle-
ment there needed to be a robust and effective network of international
organizations and of the states that counted for something in the regional
capitals (Nicosia, Ankara and Athens). If the UN (both the secretary-
general and his special representative) was not functioning fully there
would simply be no settlement to negotiate, since the two Cypriot parties
never had and were clearly not going to provide the negotiable material
that would be needed. If the United States was not fully on board, there
would be no movement in Ankara; if the EU was not supportive, the
Greek Cypriots were likely to focus exclusively on completing their


accession negotiations before a settlement and there was also the risk of
mismatch between the terms of a Cyprus settlement and those agreed for
Cyprus to join the EU; if the Russians were not at least acquiescent there
would be trouble every time the matter came back to the Security Coun-
cil. While there was apparently no major conflict of interest between all
these parties and while all were signed up in principle to supporting an
effort to get a settlement, their cooperation could certainly not be taken
for granted. It was not long since the EU and the UN had stopped be-
having as if the two of them lived on separate planets. US support in
Ankara had on occasion been lacking in the past. Most EU member states
knew little and cared less about the Cypnis problem and rated it as of low

It was clear from the outset that the UN was not going to be easily
persuaded that the time was approaching for another attempt to get a
comprehensive settlement on Cyprus. The memories of setbacks over the
Set of Ideas (1992) and the package of Confidence-Building Measurea
(1994) were relatively fresh. The secretary-general, Boutros Boutros-
Ghali, had in particular found his dealings with Denktash a bruising
experience (the feeling was mutual) and was convinced that as long as he
was in power there was little if any chance of a solution. Boutros-Ghali
was in any case at that stage deeply preoccupied with his own unavailing
campaign to avoid an American veto and secure a second term of office as

The new UN Special Representative for Cyprus, IIan Sung Joo, a
former foreign minister of South Korea had been appointed about the
same time as I had. He met Denktash's basic requirements of all new
appointees to the office (in view of the fact that this was a Good Offices
Mission, the agreement of both Clerides and Denktash was required
before any appointment could be made) of not being a European and of
having no previous experience of Cyprus. We met in July and again in
December, when he came to London to see the foreign secretary. We met
also in Brussels when I engineered a first contact with Hans van den
Hroek, the comn~issioner responsible for thc enlargement negotiations and
thus for Cyprus. Han was charming, intelligent and knowledgeable but he
had some real handicaps for this particular job, the most serious of which
was being based on the other side of the world in Seoul and only inter-
mittently available for short periods in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
He was also somewhat overawed by the waves of negativism and hostility
habitually purveyed by the parties. I began to doubt whether he would be

able to manage the job if ever we reached the point of launching a new
initiative. Clearly he did too, because he stood down in the spring of 1997
when it was clear that an initiative was in the offing. All this meant that
we could certainly not count on a proactive UN at the outset and that it
would be up to the leading member states to press for action and to con-
vince the UN Secretariat that this time they would put their own backs
into it.

The US was as keen as Britain to get things moving again, not out of
any exaggerated expectations of early results but because a negotiating
vacuum in Cyprus tended to lead to an increase in tension throughout the
region and because it could already see in the EU's enlargement agenda,
which it strongly supported, both an opportunity and a risk of a major
confrontation between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey. So in July,
on the first of many visits I was to make to Washington, I established the
very close working relationship that was essential and was given firm
commitments of high-level interest and support.

That the European Union was an important part of any negotiating
equation was not in doubt but it was not entirely obvious how best its
undoubted influence could be harnessed and deployed. The problem was
complicated by the fact that the attitude of the then Greek foreign minis-
ter, Pangalos, made any calm, sensible, collective EU discussion of either
Cyprus or Turkey impossible. So such collective discussion as did take
place had to be managed in ad hoc groupings of the member states princi-
pally concerned (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK). The
common view in this group was that we all needed to be pressing the
parties to come back to the negotiating table; that we should encourage
the UN to begin shaping up a new initiative; that we should do what we
could to find a way round the Greek veto on the EU's financial commit-
ment to Turkey and try to keep Turkey's relationship with the EU
moving forward; and that we should not be lured down the path of pro-
moting the EU as a mediator in Cyprus, a favourite ploy of both Greeks
and Greek Cypriots, given that, with Greece's membership and with
Cyprus's application accepted, the EU was clearly not acceptable in that
role to either Turkish Cypriots or Turks. At this stage, with the enlarge-
ment negotiations not yet started, there seemed no particular role for the
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:52 am


Enter the foreign secretary

At the time of my appointment in May, Malcolm Rifkind had made it
clear that he would like to get involved personally in the effort to get
negotiations for a comprehensive settlement under way again. Both he
and the prime minister, John Major, had ensured that my appointment
was properly understood and welcomed where it needed to be (in the
region, at the UN, in Washington and in the main EU capitals). Now,
that autumn, after two complete rounds of visits to Nicosia, Athens and
Ankara and numerous contacts with the other main players, it seemed to
me time to take stock and consider how best to take forward the foreign
secretary's offer.

A visit to Cyprus by a British foreign secretary was by no means as
straightforward or as routine a matter as bilateral official visits normally
are in this age of jet travel. Oddly enough there had been no such visits in
the recent past, although Douglas Hurd had visited the island when the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was held there in 1994,
and he had had a working lunch with Clerides and Denktash at the UN
Deputy Special Representative's house in the buffer zone to discuss
progress, or rather the lack of it. Prior to that a whole series of foreign
secretaries had decided that visiting Cyprus was a high-risk, low-gain
venture and had left it to their ministers for Europe.

Among the complications in mounting such a visit was the matter of
seeing Denktash. For the visit to be worthwhile at all there had to be a
proper discussion with him, but this needed to be achieved within the
framework of our (and others') position on recognition, that we regarded
him as the elected leader of the Turkish Cypriot community but not (as
he regarded himself) as the president of the Turkish Republic of North
Cyprus. Then there was the more interesting and risky question of what
we should try to achieve. Should we try to bring Clerides and Denktash
together and, if so, with what desired outcome? Should we try to get
agreement on the broad issue of resuming negotiations for a settlement
and, if so, on what basis? And, if we did neither of the above, how were
we to avoid the visit being just a flash in the pan with no follow up or
influence on events? It was decided that trying to get Clerides and Denk-
tash together was unwise and as likely to set back the process in which we
were engaged (of gradually building up the case for resuming negotia-
tions) as to advance it. Denktash would be delighted by a photo-
opportunity meeting to enhance his status but would set out his case in
unnegotiable terms; Clerides, if he agreed to such a meeting at all, which

he might well not, would push back and not thank us for bringing matters
prematurely to such a point. Reaching agreement with the two sides on a
communique' or statement, however bland, was also judged likely to end
in failure. The capacity of the two leaders, with their training at the
London bar, to haggle over words and formulae until they were ground to
dust was well proven.

So in the end an approach was chosen which would avoid these pit-
falls, but still, we hoped, advance the cause for which we were working.
Following the foreign secretary's meetings with the two leaders, and
assuming their outcome was not totally negative, Rifkind would set nut in
his bi-communal press conference at the end of the visit a number of
points that, together, could be said to indicate that there was a good deal
more common ground than many believed there to be and therefore a
good case for resuming negotiations for a settlement. While no attempt
would be made to agree the wording of these points in advance with the
two leaders, Rilkind would send them the text shortly before the press
conference and would urge each of them to respond positively.

The visit, on 15-16 December, duly went off without a hitch. The
meetings with Clerides and Denktash in fact went rather better than I had
feared. Clerides, no doubt conscious that crucial decisions on Cyprus's
EU candidacy were due to be taken in 1997, made it clear that he still
hoped for a framework negotiation in which he and Denktash could agree
on the key, substantive trade-offs, leaving the detailed legal drafting to
follow. And Denktash, after the obligatory history lesson, managed to
sound as if he regarded the resumption of settlement negotiations as
pretty well inevitable and indeed said that he would enter such negotia-
tions in a spirit of give and take. The reactions to the press conference by
each side were relatively muted and limited to one or two detailed points
of drafting which, since no one intended to use the text for negotiating
purposes, were neither here nor there.

Moreover at separate meetings in London with the Turkish foreign
minister, by now Ciller, (on 5 December) and with the Greek foreign
minister, Pangalos, (on 18 December) the discussion of Cyprus was
relatively positive. Ciller in particular showed a considerable grasp of the
main issues, with which she had had to deal in detail when she had been
prime minister during the negotiations over Confidence-Building Meas-
ures. While her approach was distinctly robust, she also listened carefully
to Rifkind's analysis of why a settlement on Cyprus could be of real
benefit to Turkey and the lurkish Cypriots.


So, as 1996 ended, it seemed as if some progress back to the negotiat-
ing table was being made. The ten points for Rifkind's press conference
indicated a broad framework within which a resumed negotiation could
be situated and were as follows:

(i) The aim should be a comprehensive settlement covering all aspects of
the Cyprus problem which will be based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal fed-
eration in conformity with the High-Level Agreements and Security
Council Resolutions;
(ii) The federation and its constitution will reflect the principle of political
equality of the two communities, as defined by the UN Secretary-
(i) The federation will have a single international personality. Its exis-
tence and powers will derive from separate referenda in the two
(ii) There will be no right of partition or secession, nor will there be
domination of the federation by either side.
(iii) The security of each of the two communities and of the settlement
as a whole will be achieved by means of international guarantees and
by such measures of international collective security as may be agreed
by the parties.
(iv) The boundary of the two federated zones will not conform to the
present ceasefire line. The adjustment should contribute to a solution
of the problem of refugees.
(v) Before the end of the first half of 1997, there should be an open-
ended session of face-to-face negotiations under the aegis of the Unite i
Nations aimed at securing a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus
problem. The further preparation of these face-to-face negotiations by
an intensified process will start early in 1997.
(vi) The success of these negotiations will depend on the creation of
genuine mutual confidence between the two sides. It will therefore be
important for both sides to encourage steps designed to achieve that
and to avoid any actions which will increase tension over the coming
months. In particular they will work to ensure the success of UN ef-
forts on unmanning, unloading and rulcs of military conduct.
(vii) EU membership should be of benefit to all the people of the island
and the terms of accession will need to take account of the basic inter-
ests of each of the two communities.
(viii) The negotiation of the terms of accession of Cyprus to the EU
will, if a political settlement can be reached 111 1997, be conducted on

behalf of the bi-zonal, bi-communal fcderation, taking account of the
European Union's agreement to start such negotiations six months af-
ter the conclusion of its Inter-Governmental Conference.

1997: Missiles and Missed

he year 1997 did not start well. Within a few days of the begin-
ning of the year it was announced that the Greek Cypriots had
signed a contract with Russia to purchase S300 surface-to-air
missiles. This was only the latest in a series of arms purchases by the
government of Cyprus which, together with mounting Turkish deploy-
ments, had resulted in the island being one of the most heavily armed
places on earth. But this latest purchase was qualitatively rather different
from previous ones and potentially more destabilizing. The missiles in
question had a range sufficient to shoot down Turkish aircraft taking off
from their bases in southern Turkey from where the Turks provided air
cover for their troops on the island (neither they nor the Greeks stationed
military aircraft in Cyprus). They therefore represented a challenge to
Turkish air supremacy in the event of hostilities. And so did a further
Greek Cypriot decision to construct a military airbase at Paphos in the
west of the island, with hardened shelters for aircraft, which would enable
Greek planes to be deployed in a time of tension.

The effect of these developments on the prospects for settlement
negotiations were entirely negative and were not much mitigated by an
assurance immediately given to a US envoy by Clerides that the missiles
would not arrive on the island before the end of 1997 at the earliest (this
was in fact no concession at all, since the missiles had not yet begun to be
manufactured). The reaction in the north of the island and in Ankara was
strong, and the Turkish foreign minister in particular made some ex-
tremely bellicose statements which implied, although they did not state it
in terms, that force might be used either to prevent the delivery of the
missiles from Russia or against them once deployed. Whlle there were
some indications that the Turkish general staff, who were no fans of the
Erbakan/Ciller government, were unhappy about the strength and speci-


ficity of the threats made by their government, it was clear that compla-
cency about what might happen if deployment went ahead would not be
justified. Meanwhile one of the centrepieces of the Greek Cypriot negoti-
ating position for a settlement, a proposal that the whole island be
demilitarized, was left looking distinctly forlorn, if not positively hypo-
critical. Other consequences were that the Greek Cypriots lost the moral
high ground on which they had been comfortably encamped and that
many of the diplomatic efforts of the United States, Britain and the other
European countries over the next two years had to be diverted to avoiding
deployment of the missiles rather than being focused on persuading the
Turks and Turkish Cypriots to show more flexibility at the negotiating

Discussion of these unfortunate developments with the Greek Cypri-
ots was not easy, nor, for a long time, particularly fruitful. They argued
with some emotion that they had the right to defend themselves against
the very substantial Turkish military presence in the north of the island
and on the mainland opposite Cyprus. They brushed aside the suggestion
that they were in any way acting in a manner inconsistent with the nu-
merous Security Council resolutions that had urged all parties to avoid a
military build-up on the island. And in private Clerides was prone to
suggest that the missile purchase was a kind of negotiating ploy designed
to bring Denktash and the Turks to the negotiating table. The trouble
was that none of these arguments were either valid or particularly con-
vincing. Acquiring these missiles neither increased the security of the
Greek Cypriots nor did it make the Turks and Turkish Cypriots more
likely to negotiate a settlement. On the first aspect, powerful though the
missiles were, they could not hope to undermine the massive Turkish air
superiority nor did they change the facts of geography. And it was those
facts -the distance of Cyprus from Greece and its proximity to Turkey,
and the consequent impossibility for Greece to resupply or to reinforce
Cyprus in a time of hostilities, which had been amply demonstrated in
1974 -that remained unaltered by the latest arms purchase and meant
that the best form of security for the Greek Cypriots was an internation-
ally guaranteed settlement and not the acquisition of additional weapons
systems. Moreover the nature of the new weapons system ensured that if
there ever was a Greek-Turkish military confrontation, there would be
no hope of avoiding its spilling over into Cyprus, since the Turks would
not be likely to leave such a threat to their mainland airbases untouched.
As to making the Turks more inclined to negotiate with flexibility, the


opposite was the case. Not only did the rather febrile atmosphere in
Ankara mean that there was a premium on an aggressively nationalistic
response, but even cooler Turkish heads were quite capable of working
out that if an arms purchase such as this could be shown or be believed to
have softened up their negotiating position, then there would be no end to
further such purchases.

Nor did attempts by the Americans and the British to persuade the
Kussians to cancel or at least to delay delivery of the missiles bear any
fruit. When I spoke to Vladimir Chizov, the Russian Special Representa-
tive, on a visit to London in February I got no change at all. Chizov was a
well-informed and sophisticated operator and there was no reason to
doubt Russian support for a new UN-led effort to get a settlement. But
that support did not include reining in arms supplies in the meanwhile,
and the argument that these were contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of
Security Council resolutions was met with a degree of obfuscation wor-
thy of Soviet diplomacy at the height of the Cold War. In effect Russia
had a two-track policy -support for settlement negotiations and selling
any weapons the Greek Cypriots would buy -and they pursued both
tracks without admitting any inconsistency between them throughout the
whole period of the negotiations. This was some improvement on their
Cold War policy of using the Cyprus problem politically to stir up trouble
within NATO, but not much.

So there matters stood on the missiles all through 1997, and, with a
presidential election looming in Cyprus in February 1998, it became clear
that the missiles would neither be delivered nor cancelled ahead of that.
But they hung heavily over the first attempt to get a new negotiation
under way.

Another shoe drops

By the end of 1996, and following the Rifkind visit to Nicosia, it had
become relatively clear that a resumption of negotiations was on the cards
in 1997. But the Turkish attitude to this had not yet been clarified and
that was a crucial element. In mid-February I was able to have a long
discussion over a working breakfast in London with Onur Oymen, at that
time the under-secretary (PUS in our parlance) in the Turkish foreign
ministry. It was never very easy to understand precisely where in Ankara
policy on Cyprus was made and where the decision-taking buck stopped.
But it became steadily clearer as the years went by that the under-
secretary was on this issue the focal point where all the threads came


together. Our talk on that occasion over breakfast, although far from a
meeting of minds, went quite well and Oymen said he would do his best
to ensure that the foreign minister (Ciller) cleared her mind on the subject
before I visited Ankara a week later and that she would see me on that
occasion (as she had not done when I had last visited Ankara the previous
October). He was as good as his word on both points.

Getting to see Ciller was no straightforward matter. She did not
transact business at the foreign ministry but from the official residence
that she had occupied when she was prime minister and where she was
still installed. Nor did she see foreign ministry officials to prepare for
meetings with visitors; all that was handled by Oymen, who alone ap-
peared to have access to the residence, thus ensuring a considerable
bottleneck and much delay. So we kicked our heels for some time in the
Ciller anteroom before Oymen finally appeared to say that all was ready.
I-Ie asked rather nervously that I should remember that she was a strong-
willed person who did not like being contradicted. I said that, having
worked for Margaret Thatcher for some 11 years, I did have some experi-
ence of that phenomenon. We were then ushered in, accompanied by a
substantial portion of the Ankara press corps, television cameras and all.
The whole meeting was conducted in their presence. Ciller said straight-
away that Turkey believed that the time had come for Cyprus
negotiations to resume and that it would support a UN initiative to that
effect. She fired off some remarks about the need for the EU to unblock
its financial commitlnents to Turkey and for the Russian missiles not to
be deployed on the island. There was not a great deal for me to do but to
agree on all these points while pointing out that none of them were in our

I was also able to see in Ankara on that occasion the junior minister
responsible for day-to-day relations with north Cyprus and in particular
for the extensive Turkish aid programme there (thought to be running at
about $200 million a year and rising, although no official figures were ever
published and that did not include the cost of military support). Abdullah
Giil (who became prime minister following the November ZOO2 general
election and then deputy prime minister and foreign minister when the
political impediments on his party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were
lifted in March 2003) made an immediately positive impression. Smiling,
intelligent and well informed, he had studied in Britain. He readily ac-
cepted that the status quo in Cyprus was neither ideal nor easily
sustainable in the long term. He set out Turkey's requirements for politi-


cal equality and security guarantees in a firm but conciliatory manner.
And he clearly understood that Denktash was likely to be an obstacle to
reaching a negotiated settlement. The political scene in Ankara, with the
army increasing pressure all the time on the Erbakan/Ciller government
to step down, meant that Giil's views were not, however, likely to be of
much direct relevance in the period immediately ahead.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:55 am

A change of cast at the UN
At the beginning of 1997 Boutros-Ghali stepped down as UN secretary-
general and was succeeded by Kofi Annan. This move had implications
for the handling of the Cyprus problem. Although Boutros-Ghali had
responded positively to representations made to him by the US, Britain
and other European countries the previous year to appoint a new Special
Representative for Cyprus and to explore whether it was time to renew
attempts to negotiate a settlement, it was hard to believe that his heart
was in it. He had put a lot of effort into the two previous negotiations (in
1992 and in 1993-94) and had been left empty handed; and he had no
confidence in Denktash's good faith, even if he did not actually block a
renewed attempt. Moreover Boutros-Ghali had come to be seen by the
Turks and Denktash as in some way prejudiced against them (a familiar
cycle in Cyprus negotiations, which neither the Turks nor Denktash ever
seemed to attribute to Denktash's own behaviour); this meant that he
would not have been well placed for the periods of personal involvement
in the negotiations without which no solutions would be found. Annan,
on the other hand was not so marked. As a long-serving UN official, most
recently as under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations -and
thus responsible for UNFICYP, the UN peacekeeping operation in
Cyprus -he was reasonably familiar with the subject matter at issue, but
he did not have a track record in the eyes of any of the parties.
As Annan moved towards a decision to launch an effort to resume
negotiations for a settlement, he realized that he would need a special
representative somewhat closer to the action and to himself than Seoul. In
place of Han, he chose Diego Cordovez, an Ecuadorian with long experi-
ence at the UN during the 1980s and subsequently foreign minister of
Ecuador in the early 1990s. Cordovez had played an important role in
brokering the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan when he had
acted as a go-between for the Soviet Union, the United States and Paki-
stan. I did not myself know Cordovez well, having only met him briefly
when Ecuador served on the Security Council in 1991-92, but our first

contacts on Cyprus were encouraging. I naturally argued the case for an
early resumption of negotiations, but I cautioned against excessive ex-
pectations of rapid progress, which seemed to me highly unlikely. The
crucial thing, once some kind of process was under way, was not to drop
the thread but rather to keep on following it where it would lead; experi-
ence had shown that when the thread snapped, or when the UN dropped
it, it could take a frustratingly long time to pick it up again.

I also argued for a comprehensive approach, seeking to resolve all the
issues definitively, in written texts; again experience had shown that a
partial or interim agreement, even one as elaborate as the 1992 Set of
Ideas, risked becoming stuck in mid-stream, with the well-established
Cypriot proclivity for arguing the toss on even the smallest issues, then
ensuring that the negotiator never actually reached the far bank of the
river. Rut to get to a fully self-executing, comprehensive agreement would
require a major technical input by the UN, including the drafting of a
new constitution, of arrangements on property and security and many
other matters. That would require a UN team of experts of which there
was as yet no trace; and I undertook to see whether we could find a
constitutional lawyer to help in this work, which indeed we did in the
form of Henry Steel, a former member of the Foreign Office's legal staff
who had worked on the constitution of Zimbabwe. And I urged Cordovez
to develop his links with the EU Commission, which was now moving
closer to the centre of the stage as the Union approached a decision to
open accession negotiations with a first group of applicant countries
which was bound to include Cyprus.

Holbrooke ex machina
So far the US contribution to resuming negotiations for a Cyprus settle-
ment had t~een supportive but low key. 'I'he previous Presidential Special
Representative, Richard Beattie, had been much involved in the attempt
to set up confidential talks between the two sides in 1995 but subse-
quently had not had much time to devote to Cyprus, given the demands
of his law firm in New York and of a number of additional tasks in the
State Department given to him by the new secretary of state, Madeleine
Albright. The appoint~nent in June 1997 of Richard Holbrooke as Presi-
dential Special Representative for Cyprus came out of the blue and, given
the reputation IIolbroolte had gained as the architect of the Dayton
agreement ending the Bosnian crisis, it caused plcnty of ripples. Quite by
chance Holbrooke l~appened to be in London immediately after the


announcement of his appointment, holed up in the house of the US
deputy chief of mission which he had comnlandeered to enable him to
finish the book he was writing about Romia and Dayton. So we were able
to spend the better part of two days going over the ground in detail and
discussing the way ahead. I had known Holbrooke from the 1970s and we
had met frequently during the Bosnian crisis, although I had left the scene
before the denouement at Dayton. We did not therefore start from

Most of our lengthy discussions over these two days were taken up by
my briefing him His immediate reactions were interesting, perceptive
and revealing. EIe quickly saw that a key factor in the Turkish position
would be where they stood so far as their own longstanding application to
join the European Union was concerned. If that was showing signs of
making progress, the motivation to focus on Cyprus and to look for ways
of resolving that problem would be powerf~il because it was so obvious
that there was a fundanlental inconsistency between Turkey's ambition to
join the European Union and the status quo in Cyprus. But, if Turkey's
EU candidacy was getting nowhere, then the Turks were likely to camp
on the status quo in Cyprus and to see no reason why they should strike
the difficult compronlises that a Cyprus settlement would require.

I was not able to offer much comfort. The EU Commission's mind
was on other things than Turkey as they put the finishing touches to their
Agenda 2000 proposals for the handling of the enlargement negotiations.
The Greek government was an obstacle to making any progress with
Turkey's candidacy, not even being prepared to release the customs union
funds. And the incoming Luxembourg presidency of the EU was about as
bad as one could get, with no particular motivation to smooth Turkey's
path, and a long tradition of taking an aggressively tough line on 'I'urkey's
human rights record. In that cae, Holbrooke said, we must either change
the EU attitude or recognize that we were getting the component ele-
ments of the negotiation in the wrong order, trying to make progress on
Cyprus itself before the Turks would be ready for it. I could not fault the
reasoning. Holbrooke was also somewhat impatient with my description
of the complexities of the various aspects of the impending negotiation
and of the need to fit various multilateral wheels (the UN and the EU in
particular) together so that they meshed and did not clash, or simply did
not engage. I was, he said, obsessed with process. There must be some
way of cutting through all this, of getting the key players to take the big
decisions and to focus on the politics of the problem, not its technicalities.


I said I doubted if this sort of approach would work for Cyprus. It never
had done in the past. The main protagonists were lawyers who knew
every nook and cranny of every aspect of the problem and they were
deeply distrustful of each other. I did not think there was any alternative
to a painstakingly detailed approach. My private conclusion was that
while Nolbrooke's arrival on the scene could be a major asset in terms of
negotiating clout and imaginative tactical handling, there was not likely to
be a lot of teamwork involved, and keeping the UN centre stage was not
something to which he was deeply committed.

Troutbeck and Glion
The new team at the UN now moved to the first stage of a new negotia-
tion without much preparation and without much consultation with the
main players. There was always a dilemma to be faced. Time spent in
preparatory contacts with the parties and the two motherlands tended to
be frustrating and to yield few results. No one was prepared to show their
cards, as they saw it, prematurely. Instead discussion tended to focus on
extraneous matters (missiles, Cyprus's EU application) and to go round in
circles. Han had shown how going round the circuit, 'in a listening mode'
as he described it, could after a certain time simply undermine the credi-
bility of the whole process. So the decision to move immediately to face-
to-face meetings was entirely justified. What was less so was to do that
without preparing any detailed material for the follow-up to the initial
meetings and without a clear idea of how the negotiations were to be
pursued thereafter. Moreover it began to become evident that Cordovei
was strongly imbued with the UN house culture that it was important to
keep governments, including those like the US and the UK whose pri-
mary role was to give the UN effective diplomatic support, at arms'
length, telling them little of what the UN was up to. In many cases this
UN culture was quite understandable and indeed necessary. But in the
case of Cyprus, where previous UN efforts had tended to falter because of
the lack of strong back-up from member states and where the roles of the
US and the UK had always been an essential factor for all the main
regional players, it did not make sense and it did not produce good results.
Annan therefore invited the two Cypriot leaders to a meeting in mid-
July at Troutbeck, a kind of country club in the rolling hills to the east of
the Hudson River about an hour and a halfs drive north of New York
City. He followed that up with a further meeting in mid-August at Glion,
a small resort perched among the vineyards at the far end of Lake Geneva,


high above Montreux (the proximity of Glion to Montreux and Lausanne,
sacred names in the diplomatic history of modern Turkey, was a source of
some fascination to the Turks at least). The UN encouraged the presence
of Greek and Turkish delegations, which was in any case unavoidable and
therefore wise, but made it as difficult as possible for all others -and they
made no attempt at all to enlist Holbrooke's presence or support.

The Troutbeck meeting started reasonably promisingly. Annan im-
mediately struck up a good working relationship with the two leaders
which he was to maintain through thick and thin over the next seven
years. Clerides and Denktash, whose personal relationship dated back to
their time practising law in colonial Cyprus and had survived all vicissi-
tudes since, appeared relaxed and friendly. But Denktash quickly began
to push his own personal agenda, seeking recognition of his separate and
equal status not only in the negotiations themselves which had been
agreed from the outset of attempts to settle the Cyprus problem many
years earlier (and which was reflected in the fact that the UN negotiations
were, formally, between the leader of the Greek Cypriot community and
the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community) but outside the negotia-
tions too. He asked Clerides to concede that he did not represent the
Turkish Cypriots in any way, which implied that Clerides had no right to
be called the president of Cyprus. Clerides, not surprisingly, declined to
do anything that would undermine his legitimacy, although he made it
clear that within the settlement negotiations he spoke for no one other
than the Greek Cypriots.

The scene was thus set for many weary repetitions of this same dia-
logue of the deaf. And neither side showed any great appetite for getting
to grips with the core issues, although Clerides reiterated his view that the
two principals should focus on the main political trade-offs and should
leave the details to be followed up later by their teams. Into this rather
stagnant pool there dropped news of the publication of the EU Commis-
sion's Agenda 2000 proposals on the opening of EU accession negotiations
with a number of countries including Cyprus and dealing only cursorily
and in a dilatory manner with Turkey's own EU application. Both the
Turks and 'Turkish Cypriots took this development extremely badly,
although the inclusion of Cyprus within the first wave of applicants had
been a foregone conclusion since 1995 when the EU's commitment to that
had formed part of the deal with Turkey to move to a full customs union.
Whether their reaction would have been less negative if Agenda 2000 had
been more constructive about the future handling of Turkey's candidacy


it is impossible to say. What is certain was that the Troutbeck meetings
ended on a sour note, with no reason for optimism about the sequel at

When Cordovez debriefed to a group of special representatives at
Troutbeck at the end of the meeting, he said that he and Annan had been
struck by the fact that since the conclusion of the High-Level Agreements
of 1977 and 1979 and through the whole long series of UN-led negotia-
tions thereafter, the two Cypriot parties had not reached agreement on a
single piece of paper. The UN felt that that sequence must be broken and
that the first priority was to get agreement on a document, however brief
and unsubstantial that might be. That was what they would be trying to
achieve at Glion. I questioned this approach, doubting whether a largely
procedural piece of paper would prove of much value and querying
whether in any case it was likely to be possible to achieve agreement
given the Turkish Cypriots' determination to push the issue of status
before all others. I said, as did the US representative, that the most im-
portant objective in our view, now that the UN had the negotiating
thread again in its hands, was not to let that drop or be broken. So if the
attempt to reach agreement on a piece of paper did not prosper at Glion,
we hoped that at least the UN would ensure that a process of negotiation
would continue and that it would thus prove possible to get to grips with
the core issues in the months ahead. As became clear afterwards, we
might as well have been talking to the wall.

When the same cast assembled at Glion a month later, it soon became
clear that the negotiating climate was not going to match the dazzling
sunlight of a Swiss August. A private dinner with the Turkish delegation
revealed Inal Batu gloomier even than when we had last talked in Ankara
in June. It was evident that the new and fragile Turkish coalition govern-
ment of Mesut Yilmaz, which had been formed after the military had
nudged out the ErbakanICiller government, was in no mood to engage in
a serious negotiation about Cyprus and had effectively given Denktash his
head. Denktash was never a man to miss such an opportunity. From the
outset of the meeting he pressed his points aggressively, in particular
insisting that Cyprus's EU application must be frozen, something to
which Clerides was never going to agree. Clerides himself was by this
time in a very nervous state, being criticized by the Greek Cypriot press
for not responding robustly enough to Denktash's rumbustious press
briefings, which totally ignored Annan's plea for a press blackout while
the meeting was going on. It took some private reassurance from the US


and the UK to avoid a walk-out by Clerides. In the midst of all this the
UN not only failed to get agreement on the piece of paper they had
drafted but also made no serious attempt to salvage a follow-up process to
the two meetings, apparently assuming that the atmosphere was so bad
that there was no point in trying. And they did not put on the table any
material relating to the core issues that might have provided a rationale
for such follow-up meetings, despite considerable prompting, for the
simple reason that Cordovez's team, which consisted of a single lugubri-
ous Belgian official who knew very little about Cyprus, had not prepared
anything. So there we were, back at square one. It was to take more than
two years before tlie negotiating thread was picked up again.
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Postby boomerang » Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:56 am

European manoeuvres

The failure of the Glion meeting and the absence of any attempt to pro-
vide for a follow-up left something of a vacuum in the UN-led effort to
get a settlement, a vacuum that was only partially filled by sporadic visits
to the region by Cordovez. Cordovez was by now based more in Quito
than New York, which meant that for most of the time he was completely
removed from the scene of action, rather as his predecessor Han had been,
based in Seoul. In any case the UN had decided to wait and see how
Turkey's relationship with the European Union developed in the months
ahead before deciding what to do next.

The European Union was faced with two tricky decisions which
would have to be taken at the European Council meeting in 1,uxembourg
in December. The first related to Cyprus. There was never any real
doubt that the Luxembourg meeting would agree to the opening of acces-
sion negotiations with a number of countries and that Cyprus would
figure among that number. 'l'his was not simply, as the 'l'urks believed,
because Greece was blackmailing her EU partners with the threat that
they would block the whole enl'irgement negotiation if Cyprus was
excluded from the first group, although that eventuality was a real possi-
bility which weighed on the minds of EU governments; it was because in
1995 the European Union had, as part of the deal over concluding a
customs union with Turkey, committed itself to opening accession nego-
tiations with Cyprus six months after the conclusion of the Inter-
Governmental Conference set up to agree on the institutional changes to
take account of enlargement and that conference had been concluded in
Amsterdam in June 1996. Much can be said in criticism of the European
Union, but its track record in sticking to commitments of that sort is


good. And the Turks had been unwise to doubt it. Moreover the circum-
stances under which the Cyprus negotiations had collapsed at Glion, with
most of the blame accruing to Denktash and his failed attempt to block
Cyprus's EU accession, were not likely to encourage any EU member
state to reopen the commitment to Cyprus. So the question for Luxem-
bourg was not whether to agree to open accession negotiations with
Cyprus but how to do so in a way that did not preclude the Turkish
Cypriots being brought into the accession negotiations and, above all, in a
way that did not presume already that the Cyprus joining the European
Union would be a divided rather than a united one.

The second issue facing the European Union was what to say at
Luxembourg about the Turkish application. The original preference of
the Luxembourg EU presidency, and perhaps also of the Commission, to
say nothing at all about Turkey, was by October seen to be sheer fantasy.
Not only was the Turkish government itself now, somewhat belatedly,
beating on every door in Europe, but it was not realistic to think that
silence on Turkey's application, when other applicants whose bids for
membership had come in after Turkey's and which were even poorer and
less ready economically than Turkey for membership were being given
preference, would be seen as other than an outright rejection of Turkey.
Unfortunately for Turkey the circumstances were far from propitious. It
was only a few months since the ErbakanICiller government had been
ousted, more by the efforts of the Turkish military than by any demo-
cratic developments in the Turkish parliament, in what was seen by most
observers as a kind of 'soft' coup. Relieved though many European gov-
ernments might be by the departure of a partly Islamist government,
there was no way in which these events could be fitted within what were
called the 'Copenhagen criteria' for EU membership. So the EU was
bound to say something between 'Yes, but ...' and 'Not yet'. Much
thought was also being given to the calling of a European Conference,
originally a French idea but now being backed with some enthusiasm by
Britain too, which would bring together all the applicant countries, in-
cluding those with whom accession negotiations were not going to be
started straightaway, and provide for pan-European discussion of issues
such as the environment, drugs, illegal immigration and security. The
Conference was intended to be a kind of anteroom for EU membership,
but one of its defects was that it was never very clear how easy it was
going to be to use the door from the anteroom to full membership.

The Turkish lobbying campaign did not prosper. As Yilmaz wound
his way round the capitals of the European Union, the traditional Turkish
over-bidding, with requests for the early opening of accession negotia-
tions, was met with increasingly negative responses. Nor did discussion of
the Cyprus problem reveal any inclination by Turkey to press Denktash
to work for a settlement. A heavy-handed attempt by the United States,
led and orchestrated by Holbrooke, to support the campaign did not go
down well. The hostility of the Luxembourg presidency was revealed in a
reference by Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister, at a
press conference during Yilmaz's visit there, to the 'barbarity' of Turkish
police practices. By the time Yilmaz reached London on 9 December
immediately before the meeting of the European Council, his usual taci-
turnity had lapsed into almost complete silence. He had clearly given up
hope of eliciting anything useful from the EU as a whole, and the rela-
tively positive response from Tony Blair, who made it clear that Britain
believed Turkey's place was in Europe and would work to bring that
about, did little to lighten the atmosphere.

The outcome at Luxembourg was a good deal better on the first issue
(Cyprus) than on the second (Turkey). Having agreed to open negotia-
tions with Cyprus in March 1998, the EU said that the objective was to
benefit all communities and help to bring peace and reconciliation and to
contribute positively to the search for a political solution to the Cyprus
problem through the talks under the aegis of the United Nations which
must continue. The European Council requested that the willingness of
the government of Cyprus to include representatives of the Turkish
Cypriot comn~unity in the accession-~legotiating delegation be acted
upon, and mandated the presidency (for the next six months the UK) and
the Comn~ission to undertake the necessary contacts to achieve this.

On Turkey a text was adopted which, while it recognized Turkey's
eligibility for accession and made it clear that it would be judged on the
basis of the same criteria as the other applicants, did nothing at all to
advance its candidature. Moreover it linked progress to the resolution of
the disputes with Greece in the Aegean over the continental shelf and air
and sea boundaries, to Turkey's treatment of its minorities (a coded
reference to the Kurds) and to support for the UN-led negotiations on a
Cyprus settlement. The assumption was that this remarkably 'Greek' text
had been smuggled in by the Luxembourg presidency, and no one had
chosen to take issue with it.


The Turkish reaction was immediate and violently negative. Yilmaz
publicly denounced the European Union as biased and hostile and said
Turkey would freeze its relations with the Union, dealing only with the
individual member states. He had no intention of accepting the invitation
to the European Conference. The Turkish press took up the cry and there
was some talk of withdrawing Turkey's EU application or of reneging on
the provisions of the Customs Union Agreement, but none of that tran-
spired. The only person who looked highly content was Denktash who,
despite the supposed humiliation of his motherland, clearly enjoyed the
opportunity to give full rein to his Euro-scepticism. He rubbished the
offer to associate the Turkish Cypriots with the accession negotiations as
implying their subordination to the Greek Cypriots and their acceptance
of an illegal membership application.

Could this crisis in EUITurkey relations have been avoided? Possibly,
but more likely the unavoidable decision to open accession negotiations
with Cyprus, with which the Turks had not yet begun to come to terms,
and the difficulty of taking any concrete steps forward on Turkey's
candidature, would have meant that, however bland the words the EU
had chosen, there would still have been a row. The formulas employed
simply rubbed salt in some very open wounds. As to Denktash the row
was grist to his mill. He was only too well aware that progress on Tur-
key's EU candidature represented the greatest threat to his own
domination of Turkey's Cyprus policy and to holding that policy to a
hardline defence of the status quo. Anything that damaged Turkey's EU
candidature was good news for him. And there was the added benefit that
the row could help to cool the ardour to join the EU of many ordinary
Turkish Cypriots and of the centre-left opposition parties in north Cy-
prus who were already beginning to scent a popular cause, on which
Denktash was in an increasingly small minority among his people.

1998: Damage Limitation

or the first half of 1998 Britain held the EU presidency under the
rotating arrangements then in force. My own role as the British
Special Representative for Cyprus had had added to it the not very
well defined job of EU Presidency Special Representative for Cyprus,
which then continued for the second half of 1998 when the Austrians,
who followed Rritain in the presidency, asked me to carry on during their
presidency. '1-he prime minister, Tony Blair, also asked me to take on a
temporary mission as his personal envoy to Turkey in an attempt to iron
out some of the misunderstandings that had arisen between the EU and
Turkey following the 1,uxembourg European Council in December 1997.
None of these tasks looked likely to be easy; all were closely inter-linked
and all were likely to affect the prospects for getting settlement negotia-
tions under way.

In Cyprus itself the situation was complicated by two developments.
The first was the latest in the regular quinquennial elections for the
presidency in the south of the island, which was due to take place in
February. The front runners were Clerides, who was standing for a
second term, and George Iacovou, an independent, who had been George
Vassiliou's foreign minister from 1988 to 1993 and who had the support
of the Cypriot communist party (AKEL), which virtually assured him of
a third of the votes even before campaigning began. Fortunately the
Cyprus problem did not figure prominently in the campaign -as it had
done in 1993 when Clerides had beaten Vassiliou by opposing the UN
Set of Ideas -because there was so little happening and thus no obvious
target at which to aim. But enough was said by both candidates about the
determil~ation of each, if elected, to proceed with the deployment of the
S300 missiles to signal that that was not going to be one of the easiest of
matters to deal with later in the year. In the end Clerides won, again by a
whisker as he had done in 1991. One consequence of the presidential
election was that it was not possible immedidtely to take up the sensitive

issue of the offer to be made to the Turkish Cypriots of involvement in
the EU accession negotiations due to begin at the end of March. The
second development was that Denktash, as usual both mimicking and
going one step further than Ankara, announced that he intended to have
nothing further to do with anyone representing the EU, thus ruling out
any contact with me for the whole of the year and also with the EU
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