Following the recent stalling of negotiations to settle the Cyprus issue in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, Lobby for Cyprus calls for a return to basics in the approach taken by the United Nations, the international community and the Cyprus government.
For all of the misleading talk about ‘re-unification’ and ‘peace’, the facts remain as naked as they have been for decades. It is high time that the policy of bringing pressure to bear on the Cyprus government to make further compromises and succumb to a solution that suits Turkey is abandoned. The root causes of the Turkish occupation need to be addressed with remedies.
Problem 1: Turkey is in unlawful occupation of the northern area of Cyprus because its invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was a violation of international treaties, as well as an abuse of power.
Remedy 1: All Turkish troops must be removed from Cyprus.
Problem 2: The citizens and other lawful residents of the northern area of Cyprus who were forcibly transferred from their homes in 1974 are victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Remedy 2: All of the victims of Turkey’s crimes must be free to return to their homes and properties. Conversely, the perpetrators of unpunished crimes must be held to account in a criminal court.
Problem 3: The colonists in the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus are there illegally; their presence constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law.
Remedy 3: Subject to due process, all illegal colonists must be humanely repatriated from Cyprus.
Problem 4: The proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ is the embodiment of constitutional and territorial apartheid. Not only does it seek to re-divide and re-segregate rather than ‘reunify’, it seeks to legalise the consequences of crimes and to legitimise the division of citizens and territory along crude ethno-religious lines.
Remedy 4: The future of Cyprus must rest on the rule of law; the basic principles of liberal democracy including integration and ‘the 3Rs: removal of Turkish troops, right of return of refugees and removal of Turkey’s colonists’.
Problem 5: President Erdogan has completed the transformation of Turkey into a tyranny, while remaining detached from international law.
Remedy 5: The appeasement of Turkey must end. Sanctions must be imposed on Turkey pending its transformation into a democracy, its compliance with international law in Cyprus and its ratification of major international treaties such as the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions 1977, the UN Law of the Sea Convention 1982 and the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court 1998.
Problem 6: If Cyprus surrenders to the neo-imperial demands of Turkey and the quasi-Ottoman values of Turkey, this means that the remainder of the European Union and the democratic world will surrender to Turkey as well.
Remedy 6: The democratic states of the world need to wake up, stand up to Turkey and uphold the rule of law, the post-1945 legal order, the principles of liberal democracy and the security of the western world.
The absurd, flawed and segregationist policies of ‘bi-communalism’, ‘bi-zonalism’ and ‘political equality’ make a mockery of EU values and the notion of a modern, inclusive, democratic state. These policies should be abandoned. One-sided concessions by the Cyprus government have served to make the intransigence of the Turkish government and its puppet regime more acute, and the likelihood of a viable settlement less likely.
Only when an approach to a settlement is based on democracy and the rule of law can all legitimate Cypriot citizens have any hope of exercising their fundamental individual rights in a truly unitary Cypriot state.