Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, President's Office

  I hope the Committee's inquiry and contacts in Cyprus went well. There is of course no substitute for face-to-face contact with the concerned parties. It was nice to meet the Committee members (those who travelled to Cyprus) and you during your visit to President Rauf R. Denktash.

  After reading through the uncorrected transcripts of the questions asked by Committee members and the oral evidence provided by Dr. Christopher Brewin, Dr. Philippos Savvides, Lord Hannay of Chiswick and Mr Ozdem Sanberk, and especially after listening to the questions and comments of the Committee members during the meeting with the President, I thought several points needed further clarification which, due to the lack of time in your meeting with the President, I was not able to express. Let me point out that I have been a member of the Turkish Cypriot negotiating team since 1994, was the Coordinator of the Turkish Cypriot Technical Committees during the negotiation and finalization of the so-called Annan Plan and took part in the four-party "attempt" to finalize the comprehensive settlement plan in Bürgenstock.

  I trust you will bring these clarifications and points to the attention of the Foreign Affairs Committee members.

  1.  According to the uncorrected transcript of the meeting of the FAC of 2 November 2004, Sir John Stanley asked Lord Hannay "We have knocked out of the hands of the UN the single most important negotiation card which was EU membership and why do you believe that somewhere down the line there might come a sufficient combination of pressures on the Greek Cypriot Government to, in your own phrase, engage in a realistic way in negotiations?"

  I do not think Lord Hannay provided a satisfactory answer to this question. Sir John Stanley was trying to explore what the sources of pressure could be to induce the Greek Cypriot Government to ". . . engage in a realistic way in negotiations" after knocking out of the hand of the UN the single most important negotiation card, which was EU membership.

  Based on my experience, I can say with confidence that a "sufficiently strong combination of pressures" on the Greek Cypriot Government would be the following:

    —  Facilitate direct international services and traffic to Turkish Cypriot ports and airports.

    —  Facilitate direct trade between North Cyprus and EU member countries.

    —  In view of the overwhelming public refusal by the Greek Cypriot side of the partnership option, start discussing the recognition of the TRNC as the next possible alternative to a negotiated partnership settlement.

  In the past, the partnership option looked favourable to the Greek Cypriot side when the recognition of the TRNC looked likely. I am sure that the same will happen this time and they will engage, under the new circumstances, in future negotiations in a realistic way.

  In addition to inducing the Greek Cypriot side to engage, the putting into practice of the above-mentioned suggestions would help bridge the economic and political gap between the two sides, help level the playing-field for "fairer" negotiations and, as a consequence, make the realization of a partnership between the two parties more likely.

  2.  Using its weight in Brussels, the Greek Cypriot side is now insisting that Turkey has to recognize the "Republic of Cyprus" if its accession negotiations are to start and if its EU membership process is to go ahead.

  This "insistence" of the Greek Cypriot side is a recipe for disaster and would make the Cyprus question even more insoluble. My reasons in reaching this conclusion are the following:

    —  The 1959 Zurich and London Agreements provided for bi-national independence for Cyprus resting on the political equality and administrative partnership of the two communities who were given full autonomy in what were strictly defined as communal affairs. These guidelines were enshrined in the 1960 Constitution and the state of affairs thus created was guaranteed by Turkey, Greece and Britain under the Treaties of Guarantee and of Alliance.

    —  Since the destruction of the 1960 partnership state in 1963 by the Greek Cypriot partner and the usurpation of its title through violence and through unilateral changes to the unchangeable provisions of its Constitution, the Republic of Cyprus has become a Greek Cypriot state.

    —  The 1959 Agreements, the 1960 Constitution, the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements and all UN initiated plans for Cyprus (including the latest Annan Plan) prohibit any one side to claim or exercise authority or jurisdiction over the other. This has also historically been the reality on the ground in Cyprus.

    —  In translating these facts and legal requirements into the process of coming into being of a possible new partnership state, Secretary-General Kofi Annan concluded that the settlement needed to provide elements of continuity for both sides into the new state of affairs, and also that the settlement needed to be the source of legitimacy for all matters in the future. This approach constituted the foundation of the Annan Plan.

    —  This approach naturally rules out the possibility of the one hundred% Greek Cypriot "Republic of Cyprus" being the sole source of legitimacy and continuity for a possible future partnership.

        All of these facts, together with the fact that in the absence of a legitimate joint authority neither the Greek Cypriot people nor the Turkish Cypriot people can claim authority or jurisdiction over the other, constitute the reasons why the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey have refused to accept the Greek Cypriot-usurped "Republic of Cyprus" as the legitimate authority for the whole island.

    —  The Greek Cypriot ploy now is to use their unjustly acquired advantageous position in Brussels, and through exploitation of the EU preoccupation of the Turkish government, to realize what they have failed to achieve in 1963 and 1974.

        But like the 1963 and 1974 ploys, this cannot succeed and cannot bring peace, stability and settlement to Cyprus because it rests yet again on the forced deprival of the Turkish Cypriot people of their political equality and of what the UN Secretary-General has named the separate and equal "inherent constitutive power" of the two sides.

    —  The Greek Cypriot insistence that Turkey should recognize the "Republic of Cyprus" as the legitimate authority for the whole of Cyprus, therefore, is a challenge to the basis of the 1959 Agreements, the 1960 Constitution, the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements, all UN settlement plans for Cyprus (including the latest Annan Plan) and, most important of all, the historic realities on the ground.

    —  In any case, Turkey cannot recognize the 100% Greek Cypriot "Republic of Cyprus" as the sole legitimate authority for the whole of the island, because this violates its commitment under the Treaty of Guarantee which obliges it to protect the state of affairs of 1960, which, in turn, is based on the equal political rights and "inherent constitutive power" of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    —  The above-stated are the reasons why the said Greek Cypriot insistence is a recipe for disaster and will not serve the purposes of peace, stability and sustainable settlement in Cyprus and in the region.

  3.  No doubt, the Cyprus question needs to be resolved as early as possible for peace and stability on the island and in the region. This is also necessary for the enhanced role of the EU in the Eastern Mediterranean after the latest wave of enlargement, and for the smooth membership process of Turkey.

  To achieve this in a win-win manner, and especially in view of the proven Turkish Cypriot / Turkish commitment to a new bi-zonal partnership settlement based on the political equality of its two constituents, a new game plan is required that will include the new dynamic and catalytically factors outlined in paragraph 1 above.

M. Eru­gn Olgun


12 November 2004

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