Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been labeled as grave yard of international as well as diplomacy due to many complicated socio-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic reasons. TRNC has also been remained unfinished agenda of European Union (EU). Its solution is still a far cry. But hopes have been again recharged after recently held Presidential Elections in the TRNC.
Cyprus: Still an ongoing Conflict
The Cyprus dispute is still an ongoing conflict between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots. Since 1974, when the violence started, the green line separated the two areas on the island. Till today, over 100 negotiations have been presented to Greek and Turkish Cypriots in hopes of coming to an agreement, but every time one is proposed, one of the sides refuses the deal. The Cyprus dispute is still, to this day, unresolved.
Struggle of TRNC
It has been struggle against communal domination since 1950. It has been struggle against political domination and cultural & ethnic discrimination of the Greek and Greek Cypriot since 1964. It has been denial of equal rights and just sharing in the system and governance. Ultimately, it has been firm resolve of Turkish Cypriot’s people, societies/communities to stand against all Greek state meekness. Siege and sanctions could not produce any dint in the inspirations of enclaved people of TRNC. Now they are more focused and resolved.
Conflict of Cyprus has many dimensions. During 1950’s in the Cyprus, Turkish and Greek bilateral relations remained on the high tensions. Subsequently, two sides and their respective societies/communities took different positions in the Law of UN. First of all, two sides acquired the equivalent status on the UN, and later the Greek society obtained more advantage against the Turkish society, through political manipulations, Turkish society status was shifted as secondary.
Role of UN
Turkish Cypriot’s status took its last shape in the UN frame by the wrong written declaration of freedom of the NCRT and this phase still maintained the status of Turkish Cypriot in the UN’s Law. It was against all practices of international law and established techniques and strategies of modern “conflict resolution” discipline. Moreover, UNSC’s recommendations (541 & 550) were also not welcomed due to its basic flaws and functionalities.
Declaring its independence from the British colonial rule in 1960, the Republic of Cyprus had a constitutional system based on the political equality of Turks and Greeks. The issue acquired a new dimension when Greek Cypriots expelled Turks from the political and governance system by violating their constitutional rights.
During 1964-74, the Greek Cypriot administration forced Turks to migrate from the island through oppressive policies, and started preparations to unite Cyprus with Greece.
Coup d’état of Nikos Sampson
The coup d’état of Nikos Sampson aiming to unite Cyprus with Greece was the first major step towards the domination of Greece. Turkey made a military intervention in the island under her title of ‘guarantor state’ indicated in the constitution of Cyprus. Thus, Turkey secured the lives of Turkish Cypriots. In addition, the intervention of Turkey in Cyprus resulted in the association of the existence of Turkish community with a territory there. After 1974, Turkish Cypriots made up majority in a part of the island for the first time.
Indifferent Position of EU
The European Economic Community (EEC) now European Union (EU) took indifferent position on violation of the constitutional rights of Turkish Cypriots between1964-74. The Turkish Federated State of Cyprus was declared in 1975 which was not approved by Greek Cypriots as a co-partner, Turkish Cypriots declared the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983 based on self-determination. TRNC has continued its existence so far by gaining more and more strength. Although the solution plan suggested by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2004 was approved by the Turkish Cypriots, it was rejected by Greek Cypriots. Annan Plan showed to the world that the party not desiring solution in Cyprus issue was the Greeks, but not the Turks.
Annan Plan 2004
Negotiations for a final solution to the Cyprus issue appeared to take a dramatic and positive step forward when on November 11, 2002, then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a draft of “The Basis for Agreement on a Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem,” commonly referred to as the Annan Plan. The plan called for, among many provisions, a “common state” government with a single international legal personality that would participate in foreign and European Union relations. Two politically equal component states would address much of the daily responsibilities of government in their respective communities. The Annan Plan was a comprehensive approach and of necessity addressed highly controversial issues for both sides. On April 24, 2004 the hope to resolve the issue of Cyprus was dashed as 76 percent of Greek Cypriot voters rejected the plan, while 65 percent of Turkish Cypriot voters accepted it.
Greek Cypriots Thinking
Ironically, Greek Cypriots do not consider Turkish Cypriots as equal partners to themselves, and do not want to share the state of Cyprus with the Turks. The wish of Greek Cypriots is for Turkish Cypriots to be contended with minority rights alone, and give up the idea of co-partnership which is still not acceptable to TRNC. Even newly elected President of TRNC clearly demonstrated the will to live with dignity having equal rights.
Turkish Cypriots want to enjoy the title of equal community granted by the 1960 constitution to them. They consider themselves politically equal to Greek Cypriots, and reject to be defined as minority. Turkish Cypriots gained a territory-based sovereignty, besides communal equality in the post-1974 era. Now, Turkish Cypriots propose a federative solution in which Northern Cyprus has a broad autonomy in addition to communal equality with Greek Cypriots. Thus, no peace proposal will be realistic in the post-1974 era, unless it takes into consideration the fact that Turkish Cypriots have founded their own state in the Northern Cyprus.
Unjust Verdict of the Court of Justice of the EU
The role of European Union in the resolution of Cyprus has been remained unfriendly and negative. Moreover, the Court of Justice of the EU preferred to punish Turkish Cypriots without any valid and reasonable ground by imposing an embargo on the Northern Cyprus origin products in 1994. In 2004, Southern Cyprus was accepted as a member to the EU though it rejected the Annan Plan. In this way, EU fully supported the theses of the Greek Cypriots rejecting to consider Turkish Cypriots as an equal community.
Launch four-party Talks
The government of Pakistan has been true supporter and friend of TRNC. Pakistan was among the first countries that showed willingness to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkish Cypriot people have great love and affection for Pakistani people, which is growing with the each passing day.
TRNC and Pakistan enjoy deep rooted brotherly bilateral relations since the commencement of the relations. Pakistan shares many historical and religious commonalities with TRNC. TRNC is a historical and enriched in cultural connections and resource rich country located with a significant potential in the field of economy and human resource.
Pakistan has always stood with TRNC government and its people in every international forum. Pakistan wants a quick and just solution of TRNC.
TRNC wants a settlement that respects democratic principles, human rights, fundamental freedoms, respecting different cultures and ethnicities, respecting both sides and that Cyprus is aligned with the European Union in the future. The settlement may be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality. The TRNC is doing whatever necessary to work on a new partnership based on a two-state solution and political equality.
TRNC has proposed to the Greek side that they should sit on the negotiating table without the joint statement in order to seek a solution but their proposal have not been entertained by the Greek side. Annan Plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side by saying no to referendum held in 2004 under the aegis of the United Nations.
The Mediterranean Island of Cyprus has suffered a long history of foreign domination, violence and civil strife. Now it is the high time to resolve this issue according to the ground realities beyond the realms of power-politics and wishes of imperialistic forces. The will of people of TRNC must be supreme.