Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

The Turkish Cypriot Political Regime and the Role of Turkey

By Ahmet Djavit An


March 2004

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 in Cyprus.

© Ahmed Cavit An, and the European Movement—Cyprus

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 in Cyprus.

  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 Cyprus Problem.

  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, 92 p.

8.  Quo Vadis Cyprus, Istanbul, June 2002, 348 p.

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 destinations.

  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 media reports.

  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.



March 2004

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