Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by the National Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom


  The Federation of Greek Cypriots is an organisation representing almost all Greek Cypriot community associations in the UK, many of which are themselves "special purpose federations". Whilst a Cypriot descent is common amongst these members, they are, with very few exceptions, British citizens with an inherent right to a voice in policy-making at a national level.


  The Federation welcomes the Select Committee's Inquiry into UK policy towards Cyprus and appreciates the chance to formally contribute to the political debate around a subject so close to our hearts. In responding to the invitation to submit our views about HMG's handling of the Cyprus issue we do so publicly.

  The Federation would welcome an opportunity to give oral evidence to the Committee. As the sole organisation representing a collection of Cypriot views nationwide, we feel that we are in a unique position to give a balanced view of the British Cypriot.

  In this response we endeavour to address the bulleted points issued in the press statement from the launch of the inquiry but would be happy to expand further on any parts either in oral evidence or by supporting written evidence as the Committee sees fit.


  HMG failure: We consider UK policy towards Cyprus, before and during the recent referendum on the Annan Plan, to have proven ineffective. Furthermore, it is evident that the reason for such a fruitless approach stems from the fact that policy was actually aimed not at solving the problem but at wider geostrategic goals.

  Essentially, the proposals put before the Greek and Turkish Cypriots failed to address their valid concerns. Consequently, Greek Cypriots studied the detailed plans and debated them both in Cyprus and in the UK but found that it failed to address the injustices and crimes committed by Turkey, leaving them with no other choice but to oppose it.

  Regrettably, HMG failed to grasp and support the real concerns that led the Greek Cypriots rejection of the Plan, so the UK's policy served neither the goal of reaching a settlement on the island nor the UK's stated objectives of promoting peace.

  Support for UN: The Federation has, since the invasion of 1974, been a strong supporter of the efforts of successive UN Secretaries General to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions and the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, which called for the introduction in Cyprus of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

  Rejecting Annan V: We have long accepted that concessions were necessary if a settlement was to be achieved. However, we have two major concerns in principle to the proposals of April 2004:

    —  The proposal acquitted Turkey, granting absolution of all the unquestionable wrong doings of the last thirty years and of illegal military occupation following the invasion of the northern part of Cyprus, as condemned by numerous UN resolutions and successive British governments.

    —  It also failed to provide for a viable and functional bi-communal, bi-zonal Federation.

  Beyond these key concerns lie yet more incongruities in terms of implementation.

    —  A serious and inequitable aspect of Annan V was that benefits to the Turkish side would be applicable and cashable immediately upon the agreement coming into force, but Turkey's obligations concerning the implementation of the Plan were phased in, over an 18-year period.

    —  In addition, the Plan provided no safeguards—despite continual demands by the Greek Cypriots—to ensure that Turkey would actually honour its obligations.

  Claims by many, including HMG, that Turkey would have to honour its obligations offered little assurance. Turkey's history of violating prior agreements cannot possibly inspire confidence as a satisfactory guarantee to the Cypriots who have suffered an invasion and a 30-year occupation.

  Unbalanced support by HMG: In light of the above, we are astonished that such a Plan has had the full backing and support of our Government here in the UK. There is a feeling of betrayal and disappointment that HMG insisted that any outcome of the referendum would be respected yet has seemingly promoted a policy since that poll which admonishes Greek Cypriots for rejecting the flawed Plan and rewards and praises the Turkish Cypriots for supporting it.

  There is also widespread dismay within our membership that the party of Government should alter its policy on Cyprus after so many years of basing its views along lines of social justice and within the principles of existing International Law and the general will of the international community.

  Federation support for Turkish Cypriots: Turkish Cypriots, having shown goodwill in reaching a settlement, should be encouraged and supported, however the reasons for the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Plan need to be respected within the context of the unacceptable proposals.

  This purpose can be sewed without nullifying the existence of the Republic of Cyprus and can be promoted in a way consistent with UN Security Council Resolutions that safeguard the territorial integrity and sovereignty of a fellow European country, for whose independence the UK is a guarantor.

  The government of the Republic of Cyprus itself recognises the acute need to assist the Turkish Cypriots to emerge from a desperate situation inflicted upon them by the 30 year Turkish occupation, and pays full regard to the need to maintain their good spirit towards finding a solution. To that end, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has announced an extensive package of measures.

  Fully conscious of the responsibility placed upon us, the Federation decided not to support the Plan, and to carry on the struggle with the hope of finding a better settlement that will both address our concerns and be consistent with International Law and European norms and regulations. We strongly believe that, 88 European Union citizens, all Cypriots deserve and have a right to a better future than that prescribed in the recent plans.



  Annan V provided that foreign troops would remain at the levels of the 1960 Treaty of Alliances in Cyprus in perpetuity. Even though the Third version of the Plan provided that all troops would leave Cyprus in 21 years or when Turkey joined the European Union, whichever came first, at the last minute this was modified at Burgenstock on the instigation of Turkey. Such a provision contradicts principles central to the enduring approach of the international community and would represent a presence of military threat to all citizens of the island.

  Furthermore Annan V did not clarify that the Treaty of Guarantee precludes a repeat of Turkish militarily intervention in Cyprus in violation of the Treaty. Indeed, Turkey interpreted this provision as a right to intervene militarily in Cyprus. Acceptance of the Annan Plan on this basis would have legitimised the presence of foreign troops on the territory of an EU country and sanctioned the fight to military intervention in a foreign country in violation of the UN Charter.

Basic Human Rights

  Settlement: The Plan put to Cypriots in the referenda limited the ability of Greek Cypriots to live wherever they chose in Cyprus in direct and stark violation of the fundamental rights of establishment of the European Union.

  Disenfranchised: Furthermore, those Greek Cypriots who would, under the Plan, decide to permanently resettle in the "Turkish Cypriot constituent state" would have been denied the right to participate in the federal elections for the election of their own state's representatives, ie they would have been effectively disenfranchised. Such disenfranchisement could not be endorsed by any administration that claims to promote and uphold even the most basic of democratic principles.

  Ethnic separation: As well as violating basic political rights, the provisions also promote the permanent ethnic separation in a country member of the European Union, where separation on the basis of ethnicity is clearly abhorrent whether it occurs inside the EU or anywhere else in the world.

  Property rights: In Annan V, provisions on property rights are complex and problematic. Only up to one third of the property of individual Greek Cypriots was to be reinstated and the right of individual recourse before the European Court of Human Rights denied, on questions relating to the loss or the use of their property. This contravenes the currently protected basic rights in both the European Union and the Council of Europe.


Land rights

  In relation to the repatriation of land, the Plan also provided that one third of compensation to legal owners should be guaranteed by the United Cyprus Republic, 90% of whose resources would be derived from Greek Cypriots. This implies that in practice the Greek Cypriots, and not Turkey, was the occupying power and would bear the burden of compensating themselves for the loss of their properties via illegal Turkish actions. There would exist a situation where the victim would be penalised and the culprit, would be in fact, rewarded.

Turkish Settlers

  International Conventions and International Law deems policies aimed at forcibly altering the demographic character of a country as an International crime; the UK subscribes to these basic laws. However, Annan V provides that 45,000 settlers that were illegally transferred by Turkey after 1974, in a systematic effort to alter the character of the Island, will automatically acquire the citizenship of the "United Cyprus Republic". Furthermore, it gives the right to a significant number of settlers estimated at over 100,000 over and above the 45,000 to remain in Cyprus as permanent residents and after a short period to apply for Cypriot Citizenship.

  One of the inexplicable paradoxes of the Plan was that it simultaneously failed to reinstate the rights of the legal inhabitants of the island whilst granting more rights to the illegal settlers.


  The Federation would like the British Government to be supportive to future efforts for reaching a European settlement for Cyprus, on the basis of the Annan Plan, and in accordance with UN Resolutions, especially 541(1983) and 550(1984). We urge HMG to pursue such a course in the context of one friendly EU partner assisting another and without promoting policies that would further enshrine the division of the island and destroy any possibility of ever reunifying it on the basis of a bi-zonal, bicommunal Federation.

  We also urge HMG to not assist Turkey in its attempts to gain EU membership without regard to conformity with international levels of behaviour, to the detriment of a workable solution in Cyprus.

  We further implore HMG not to establish any kind of direct trade with the Turkish occupied area because of the damaging and misleading signals it would send to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership. Commencement of trade would undermine years of efforts by the Cyprus Government and the International Community to persevere and triumph over the illegal and immoral actions of an aggressive invading Country through peaceful and democratic means in the name of human rights, International Law and EU law.


    —  The Federation supports a settlement based on the UN process.

    —  The Federation is seriously concerned about the lack of balance in HMG's policy during and since the referendum.

    —  We look to HMG to proceed in a constructive way to support a renewed process, reflecting the UK's treaty obligations to Cyprus, to International Law and to the standards that the UK expects in other parts of the EU and in the UK itself.

    —  Any refinement of the Annan proposals must address the concerns of Cypriots from both communities.

    —  Any settlement must be balanced in reaching what must inevitably be difficult compromises and not favour one community over the other.

    —  The process of solution development should not mirror the Annan process, which had five attempts at a solution, starting with good will on both sides on the principles but resulting in a text that was seriously at odds with one of the communities.

    —  HMG to clarify its future policy on Cyprus in the event that Turkey, for reasons not emanating from the Republic of Cyprus, does not receive a favourable reply to its request for a date for the start of EU membership negotiations in December 2004.

The National Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom

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