Written evidence submitted by the National
Federation of Cypriots in the United Kingdom
1 ABOUT THE
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.
2 THE INQUIRY
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
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.
3 THE ANNAN
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
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
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
safeguardsdespite continual demands by the Greek Cypriotsto
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
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.
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.
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.
6 THE FUTURE
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,
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
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
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