The Turkish Cypriot Political Regime and
the Role of Turkey
By Ahmet Djavit An
EUROPEAN MOVEMENTCYPRUS COUNCIL Nicosia
This Report has been sponsored and published
by the Cyprus Council of the International European Movement in
the context of its program for the development of Civil Society
© Ahmed Cavit An, and the European MovementCyprus
Council, All Rights Reserved.
The Turkish Cypriot Political Regime and
the Role of Turkey
Ahmet Djavit An was born in 1950 in Nicosia.
After completing his elementary and secondary education there,
he pursued medical studies in Turkey. He graduated from the Cerrahpasha
Faculty of Medicine of the University of Istanbul in 1975.
He specialised in Children's Diseases and received
his diploma in 1981 from the University of Leipzig in Germany.
Since 1982 he has been working as a paediatrician at his private
practice in Nicosia.
He was the Turkish-Cypriot Coordinator of the
Bi-communal Movement for an Independent and Federal Cyprus formed
in 1989. After waiting 11 years, in February 2003 Ahmet Djavit-An
won his case against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights
vindicating his right to freedom of assembly which he was denied
because of his advocacy of more contact between the two communities
He was the one of the founders and the Secretary-General
of the Administrative Council of the Turkish-Cypriot Union of
Private Doctors between 1984 and 1996. He also participated as
the Turkish Cypriot coordinator at the Committee for the Cooperation
of Cypriot Medical Professionals, active between 1989 and 1992.
He was the founding Secretary-General of the
Turkish Cypriot Union of Artists and Writers in 1990.
In October-November 1991 he was granted a CASP
scholarship pursuant to which he spent a month at the Washington
Hospital Center and a month at the General Paediatric Ambulatory
of the Children's Medical Center, Washington D.C, where he met
various members of the U.S. Congress and informed them about the
Since 1971 he has been writing articles and
studies on the Cyprus Problem and the history of the island in
newspapers and journals in Istanbul and Nicosia. He has already
published the following books, in which he has brought together
some of his previously published works about the history of the
Turkish Cypriots in the political and cultural fields:
1. The Stormy Years in Cyprus (1942-1962), Nicosia
1996, 175 p.
2. The Rebellions and the Struggle for Constitutional
Representation in Cyprus (157 1-1948), Nicosia 1996, 124 p.
3. The Formation of the Turkish Cypriot Leadership-The
Process of Making a National Community out of a Religious Community
(1900-1942), Nicosia 1997, 286 p.
4. The List of Turkish Language Books Published
in Cyprus (1878-1997), Ankara 1997, lisp.
5. Notes on the Development of Cypriot Awareness,
Nicosia 1998, 151p.
6. Articles on Turkish Cypriot Culture, Nicosia
1999, 263 p.
7. Backstage of the Cyprus problem: The British
bases and the American installations on the island, Istanbul 2000,
8. Quo Vadis Cyprus, Istanbul, June 2002, 348
9. The biographies of celebrated Turkish Cypriot
personalities, Volume I (1782-1899), Ankara 2002, 502 p.
10. Big Games on a Small Island, Cyprus: Separatism,
federal solution and the EU membership, Istanbul 2004, l67p.
Dr. Djavit is a member of the Cyprus Council
of the International European Movement.
The current Turkish Cypriot political regime
traces its origins back to the 1960s. Certainly the core leadership
of the Turkish Cypriot administration of 2004 draws heavily from
the period of intense interethnic conflict of 1963-64 that brought
down the Constitutional structure of 1960.
Mr Rauf Denktashh was a key figure in the militant
nationalist separatist organisation known under the acronym TMT
that was organised equipped and ultimately controlled by the Turkish
government of the day and its military establishment. That same
Mr Denktashh continues today to be the leader of the political
regime of north Cyprus, and his regime is still under the effective
political and economic control of Turkey. Despite the vocal opposition
that was expressed against Mr Denktashh before and during the
elections of December 2003, it soon became clear that Mr Talat
who had given expression to such opposition became co-opted by
the Turkish establishment. Mr Talat's coalition "cabinet"
includes Mr Denktashh's son, Serdar, as "minister of foreign
affairs" and "deputy prime minister," and is sworn
before Mr Denktashh senior, who continues to preside over the
north Cyprus regime. The most troubling characteristic of the
regime however, is still the practice of reserving all important
political and economic decisions to a so called "Coordinating
Council" at least half of which consists of Turkish government
and military officials and appointees stationed in north Cyprus.
The state of affairs in north Cyprus stands
in marked contrast to the developments in the southern part of
the island. Any direct influence and control by Greece over the
Greek Cypriot political establishment drastically decreased in
the late sixties, and was eliminated in the early 70s. An attempt
in July 1974 to re-establish such control failed. The 1974 Greek-government-organized
coup against President Makarios however, did provide the Turkish
Government with the opportunity to intervene in Cyprus. Under
the provisions of a treaty of guarantee that was part of the 1959-1960
London and Zurich agreements that had given birth to the Republic
of Cyprus, Turkey invaded with a force of more than 30,000 troops.
By all objective assessments Turkey carried
its 1974 military intervention beyond any arguably legitimate
rights as a guarantor power, establishing a permanent military
occupation of northern Cyprus and displacing about 250,000 Greek
and Turkish Cypriots from their homes in a previously ethnically
mixed island. The more than 170,000 ousted Greek Cypriots from
the north were replaced with more than 100,000 settlers from mainland
Turkey. Such settlers have little in common with the Turkish Cypriots.
They maintain very different cultural and social habits, and they
often follow a strict Islamic tradition that clashes with the
distinct western style secularism of the Turkish Cypriots.
Turkey's military occupation of north Cyprus
continues to this day with the presence of more that 35,000 Turkish
troops. A further tragedy is the emigration of more than 40,000
Turkish Cypriots who have fled since 1974 to European and other
This profound change in demographics inevitably
forms the background of this and any other study of the politics
of north Cyprus. The continuing influence and control that the
Turkish government and its military intelligence establishment
wields over north Cyprus is illustrated here by reference to data
compiled in many instances by agencies of north Cyprus and documented
in the most part by reliance upon Turkish Cypriot and mainland-Turkish
The first section of this study poses the question
of how many Turkish Cypriots remain on Cyprus. The second section
focuses upon the issue of who governs the Turkish Cypriots. The
third section examines the background and the results of the elections
of 14 December, 2003.
In essence this study confirms the assessment
of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Loizidou
v Turkey that Turkey exercises "effective overall control"
over the internationally unrecognised "Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus" which is nothing other than a "subordinate
local administration" of Turkey (Loizidou v Turkey, Merits,
1996 see paragraphs 44, 52, 56, 56).
This study was made possible by the sustained
support of many individuals and organisations of Cyprus Civil
Society and especially the Cyprus Council of the International
European Movement, all of which continue to work with great dedication
for a just and lasting peace among all the citizens of Cyprus.