Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Written evidence submitted by Lobby for Cyprus


  1.  Lobby for Cyprus ("Lobby") welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons ("the FAC") and would further welcome the opportunity to be heard at any oral evidence sessions.

  2.  Lobby is the voice of Greek Cypriot refugees in the United Kingdom ("UK") and is well known to decision makers in London and Brussels. It is a non-party political organisation drawing its membership from the refugee municipality and village associations based in the UK. In addition Lobby has hundreds of individual members. Amongst the refugee associations are those of Akanthou, Ayios Amvrosios, Famagusta, Lapithos and Karavas, Leonarisso, Mandres, Rizokarpasso, Ayia Triada, Eftakomi, Lefkoniko and many more.

  3.  Lobby also has close links with the academic community both in the UK and Cyprus and has organised many conferences and seminars on the Cyprus issue during the last 10 years. One such conference, on the Annan Plan, took place in London on 18 March 2004 and the discussions were printed in a book entitled "the case against the Annan Plan." Copies of this book have already been sent at the request of the Chairman of the FAC to its members. For further details relating to the Annan Plan, please refer to this book.

  4.  Individual members of Lobby have also been involved in bringing legal proceedings against the government of the Republic of Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") and Lobby worked with the legal team of Titina Loizidou in bringing, and winning, these significant proceedings.

  5.  More information about Lobby can be downloaded from its web site at

The Three R's

  6.  Lobby was set up to campaign for the restoration of the basic human rights of its members and in direct response to a forerunner of the Annan Plan, the 1992 Ghali Set of Ideas. Since 1992 it has argued against any solution to the Cyprus issue based on apartheid and ethnic separation whether this is characterised as a federation, confederation or even a partition.

  7.  Early in its campaigning, Lobby adopted the objective of seeking the re-unification of Cyprus and the restoration of the human rights of its members. The cornerstones of this campaign strategy are the now well-known "three R's". These are the:—

    —  Removal of all occupying Turkish troops from Cyprus

    —  Repatriation (humanely but compulsorily) of all Turkish colonists

    —  Return of all refugees to their homes without restriction or pre-condition.

  8.  Lobby's demands as will be explained later in this submission, are all based on sound legal principles and fully reflect the basic human rights of our members. Lobby seeks nothing more, and nothing less than that.

  9.  Over the years the logic of these arguments has come to be recognised. It will not have escaped the notice of the FAC that all three of the 3R's are to some extent contained within the final version of the Annan Plan. Regrettably these basic human rights were very heavily qualified and watered down rendering the rights conferred almost meaningless. This resulted in Lobby firmly opposing the Annan Plan.

  10.  Lobby and its members wish to make it clear that they earnestly wish to see Cyprus re-united. However it was felt that the Annan Plan was far more likely to cement the partition of the island along ethnic lines rather than re-unify it, and that it had been deliberately drafted to achieve this. 76% of Greek Cypriot voters agreed with Lobby's analysis.

Rejection of the Annan Plan

  11.  Since 1992 a series of attempts to produce a solution to the Cyprus issue on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation have been put forward. The Annan Plan was simply the most recent version. However, crucially, on this occasion the United Nations ("UN") arrogated to itself the right to produce the final version of the Plan and this was then to be submitted to separate and simultaneous referenda in both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.

  12.  As the FAC knows in these referenda Turkish Cypriots voted in support of the Annan Plan, whilst Greek Cypriots voted heavily against it. During the negotiations on the Annan Plan and in the run up to the referenda Lobby undertook a leading role in co-ordinating the Greek Cypriot refugee opposition to the Annan Plan, in the UK. Representatives from Lobby also visited Cyprus to support the campaign against the Plan, there. Yet it must not be forgotten that it is primarily the Greek Cypriot refugees, that stand to gain the most from the re-unification of the island and they fervently desire a just solution to the division of Cyprus. Clearly therefore, their decision to reject the Annan Plan must have come as a surprise to some and the reasons for this overwhelming rejection need to be explained.

  13.  Greek Cypriots believe that the overriding philosophy behind the drafting and the reason for imposing the fifth and final version of the Annan Plan in this way arose from the wishes of the United States ("US") and the UK to facilitate Turkey's entry into the European Union ("EU"). In doing so it was necessary to solve the Cyprus issue once and for all but a way had to be found to secure domestic Turkish support for this. US and UK objectives were therefore focussed on appeasing Turkey and in ensuring that any solution achieved most of the objectives demanded by Turkey's negotiators, even if in doing so the basic tenets of human rights and international law were trampled upon. A positive vote by Turkish Cypriots with the encouragement of Turkey would obviously improve Turkey's international standing at a time when it is desperate to achieve international credibility as a suitable member of the EU. Of course in December 2004 the EU will decide whether accession discussions should begin with Turkey at all.

  14.  In pandering in this way to Turkey those pushing for the Annan Plan as the preferred solution to the Cyprus issue chose to trample upon the fundamental human rights of Greek Cypriots, human rights, which have been vindicated before the ECHR time and time again. They also completely disregarded the fact that an EU candidate country, Turkey, had been in illegal occupation of 37% of the territory of a country about to join the EU. As will be made clear later the legal basis for Turkey's invasion in 1974 was very spurious and there is absolutely no justification for the ethnic cleansing carried out in 1974 nor the subsequent campaigns of cultural destruction, ethnic re-engineering and continuing occupation of the north of Cyprus ("the Occupied Area"), all of which have been well documented by the UN, EU and the Council of Europe.

  15.  Those pushing for acceptance of the Annan Plan chose to turn a blind eye to the continuing levels of bitterness and pain still felt by Greek Cypriots regarding the events of 1974. They failed to understand that any agreement by Greek Cypriots to compromise their human rights within the give and take of a negotiation could only go so far. Quite simply those seeking Greek Cypriot complicity in the Annan Plan completely miscalculated (not for the first time) and assumed incorrectly that Greek Cypriots would be prepared to sign anything. Greek Cypriots have however learnt the lessons of the 1960 settlement and also the 1959 Zurich/London agreements, upon which it was based. They understood that a bad solution would be far worse than no solution at all.

  16.  Lobby has repeatedly pointed out to the UK Government directly and also via its previous special representative on Cyprus, Lord Hannay, that there were basic fundamental deficiencies in the philosophy and drafting of the Annan Plan. Had these warnings been heeded the rejection by the Greek Cypriot voters on April 24, 2004 could have been avoided. Unfortunately the UK Government pursued a policy of hearing only that which it wanted to hear and in the circumstances the results in the referenda are hardly surprising.

  17.  There are many deficiencies with the Annan Plan. There are set out below just a few of the more serious ones:

    —  The Turkish Cypriot minority of 18% of the population was to be allowed to retain 30% of the territory of the island. Only seven% of territory was to be returned to the Greek Cypriots thus apparently legitimising the occupation of the remaining 30% of the island and rewarding the military invasion and ethnic cleansing committed by Turkey in 1974.

    —  Fundamental freedoms of movement, residence and ownership were to be denied. This was notwithstanding Cyprus' status as an EU member state and that these are fundamental freedoms of the EU. As a consequence of these restrictions Greek Cypriots were denied owning property in the Occupied Area or living within certain ethnically pure zones of their own country. By contrast all other EU citizens would have these freedoms in the Occupied Area. Such discrimination on grounds of race would effectively have created a legalised apartheid system and the UK Government, as a representative of a multi-cultural society in the UK, should be ashamed to support apartheid within another EU member state.

    —  The fundamental human rights of the Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their stolen homes were to be abrogated forever. More than 100,000 refugees would not have been allowed to return to their homes. Those allowed to return would have been subjected to severe restrictions, controls and lengthy timescales—in some cases up to 19 years, which would make their return as troublesome as possible. Furthermore their return would be largely dependant on the staged withdrawal of Turkish occupying forces, with no guarantee that these forces would ever leave. Given Turkey's appalling record in adhering to its treaty obligations it is hardly surprising that Greek Cypriots felt the need for further re-assurance.

    —  Property issues were to be administered in a manner that was utterly at odds with the existing decisions of the ECHR. For example, cases brought by Greek Cypriots against Turkey and pending before the ECHR were to be struck out and the new United Cyprus Republic would instead become the responsible State party. This created the ludicrous situation that the Greek Cypriot tax-payers in Cyprus would therefore be forced to compensate themselves for Turkey's human rights violations! The ECHR has found Turkey guilty of numerous breaches of human rights in several cases and has specifically declared that the Greek Cypriots remain the only legitimate owners of their title deeds to properties in the north (Loizidou v Turkey (1998)). This attempt to disregard and ignore the clear case law of the ECHR represents a massive embarrassment to those representatives of the British Government involved in lobbying for the Annan Plan.

    —  The Greek Cypriot National Guard was to be disbanded but 6,000 Turkish troops were to be permitted to remain on the island until at least 2011, and 3,000 were to remain until 2018 or Turkey's accession to the EU. This in itself was an infringement of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and a major security concern. As is well known Turkey possesses one of the best equipped armies in the world, although it has usually been deployed against ethnic minorities within its own borders or the comparatively tiny Greek Cypriot population in Cyprus. Cyprus would have become the only country in the EU with foreign non-EU troops on her soil with a right to intervene in her affairs. In addition the provisions of the Treaty of Alliance 1960, permitting a Turkish military presence on Cyprus, would continue indefinitely. As it is, Turkey is now in the invidious position of seeking membership of the EU whilst simultaneously being in illegal occupation of 37% of the territory of an existing EU member state! In 1974, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the then Foreign Secretary Jim Callaghan stated that "Cyprus is for the moment the prisoner of Turkey but one day Turkey will become the prisoner of Cyprus". His words may yet prove prophetic.

    —  The vast majority of the 120,000 Turkish colonists (illegal settlers) sent to Cyprus to engineer a change in the ethnic balance on the island would remain. There are already serious tensions between them and the indigenous Turkish Cypriots on the island and it is hard to see how if they are unable to co-exist harmoniously with Turkish Cypriots, they will be able to do so with Greek Cypriots.

    —  The proposed constitution created a very loose confederation in the guise of power sharing in the form of a federation. The sovereignty of the government of the Republic of Cyprus would be further eroded both by allowing foreign intervention in its affairs by Turkey (the former invading and occupying power) and by providing for mandatory places on the Supreme Court and in the Central Bank for non-Cypriots. What other EU member state would accept such provisions? As UK citizens the members of Lobby are sure that Parliament would never sanction foreign representation in the highest court of the land for example.

    —  Notwithstanding the continued occupation of Cyprus by Turkey during the last 30 years and the human rights abuses committed by Turkey against Greek Cypriots, Cyprus would have been obliged to support Turkey's accession to the EU. This represents a fetter on the power of a sovereign state to decide for itself how it wishes to exercise its authority. No other EU member state would accept being told that it had to support Turkey's accession. Why should Cyprus be any different?

    —  Cyprus would have had to agree to a protocol to the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960 (which Turkey used as a pretext for its invasion and occupation of 1974) by which Turkey would be granted "enhanced" (as stated by the US Ambassador in Nicosia) rights of military intervention in the affairs of Cyprus. The Treaty of Guarantee was already an anathema to Greek Cypriots; under the Annan Plan it was strengthened, something hardly likely to win support amongst Greek Cypriots.

  18.  United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated in a television address to all Cypriots on 21 April 2004 that "there was no magic way of accommodating the maximum demands of one side while accommodating the maximum demands of the other." We agree with this view but by accommodating the near maximum demands of Turkey the resulting rejection by the Greek Cypriots should have been expected and anticipated.

  19.  Had the Annan plan been approved then this would have created a very dangerous precedent in international law; a new sovereign state would have been created as a result of an unlawful invasion and subsequent campaign of ethnic cleansing.

  20.  Accordingly the rejection of the Annan Plan was a positive step for supporters of human rights worldwide and sent the message that ethnic cleansing cannot be legitimised. Greek Cypriots have been villified for their refusal to accept the Annan Plan. In the circumstances it would have been national suicide to do anything else and they should be applauded for having the courage to take a principled line.

Legal relations with the Occupied Area of Cyprus

  21.  Lobby believes that it would assist the FAC to be reminded of the legal basis upon which the Republic of Cyprus was established. Article 1 of the Treaty of Establishment 1960 provided that "The territory of the Republic of Cyprus shall comprise the Island of Cyprus together with the islands lying off its coast, with the exception of the two areas . . . which shall remain under the sovereignty of the UK."

  22.  A number of important provisions were also contained within Articles I and II of the Treaty of Guarantee.

  23.  Article I provides that "The Republic of Cyprus undertakes to ensure the maintenance of its independence, territorial integrity and security, as well as respect for its Constitution. It undertakes not to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever. It accordingly declares prohibited any activity likely to promote, directly or indirectly, either union with any other State or partition of the Island."

  24.  Article II provides that "Greece, Turkey and the UK, taking note of the undertakings of the Republic of Cyprus set out in Article I of the present Treaty, recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus, and also the state of affairs established by the Basic Articles of its Constitution".

  25.  It further provides that "Greece, Turkey and the UK likewise undertake to prohibit, so far as concerns them, any activity aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, either union of Cyprus with any other State or partition of the Island."

  26.  In Article IV of the Treaty of Guarantee it is stated that "In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present Treaty, Greece, Turkey and the UK undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions. In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three Guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty."

  27.  Notwithstanding the provisions of the Treaty of Establishment, the Treaty of Guarantee and Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, the latter of which prohibits the threat or use of force by states in the conduct of their international relations, Turkey invaded the northern areas of the Republic in 1974 and, since then, has subjected them to military occupation, cultural destruction and ethnic re-engineering.

  28.  By invading the Republic, Turkey not only violated the principles upon which the UN was founded and the Republic was established, Turkey also violated the international laws of armed conflict as Turkish forces targeted civilians by, inter alia, bombing residential homes, schools and hospitals. Turkish military forces ruthlessly ethnically cleansed the northern areas of the Republic, which in common with the Republic as a whole, had been populated by a Greek Cypriot majority and a Turkish Cypriot minority.

  29.  At the same time, the Turkish Cypriots living in the southern areas of the Republic moved to the areas under Turkish military occupation either directly or, with the consent of the then UK government, via the UK Sovereign Base Areas. Contrary to the impression of many people in the UK, and possibly to the members of the FAC, Turkish Cypriots did not constitute a majority in the northern areas of the Republic until 1974, Greeks Cypriots did. Nor did Turkish Cypriots lawfully own a majority of the properties in the Occupied Area prior to 1974; Greeks Cypriots did and under the case law of the ECHR this remains the case.

  30.  Accordingly, the Republic has been partitioned on a de facto basis and along ethnic lines since 1974 and the guarantor powers, including the UK, have self-evidently failed to honour their obligations under the Treaty of Guarantee to "recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus".

  31.  In 1983, the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, following the strategy previously adopted in 1965 by the white minority in Southern Rhodesia, purportedly made a "unilateral declaration of independence". The Turkish Cypriot UDI suffered the same fate as that of Southern Rhodesia and was denounced as illegal. The so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" remains an illegal regime and has become a haven for fugitives from justice and other criminals because of its pariah status.

  32.  In response to this declaration, two UN Resolutions were passed, UN Resolutions 541 and 550 respectively, which deplored the declaration by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and called for the withdrawal of the UDI. The UN also called upon all states "to respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-alignment of the Republic of Cyprus" and called upon all States "not to recognise any Cypriot State other than the Republic of Cyprus." The status quo remains unchanged.

  33.  Turkey is still in illegal occupation of northern Cyprus and 40,000 Turkish troops are stationed on the island. The ECHR in the decision of Loizidou v Turkey [1996] 23 EHRR 513 confirmed that Turkey was in "effective control" of the northern part of the island as its troops were in occupation. It also confirmed that there was a continuing breach of the human right to peaceful enjoyment of one's property under Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The ECHR has recently confirmed this decision in Cyprus v Turkey [2001] 1 BHRC 45 and in Eugenia Michaelidou Developments Ltd and another v Turkey [2003] ECHR 16163/90. The continued denial of access to property was a continuing violation" by virtue of the fact that Greek-Cypriot owners of property in northern Cyprus were being denied access to and control, use and enjoyment of their property as well as any compensation for the interference with their property rights."

  34.  Additionally, in the recent decision of Demades v Turkey [2003] ECHR 16219/90, the ECHR held that there was a continuing violation of right to respect for one's home under Article 8 of the Convention by way of "the complete denial of the right of Greek-Cypriot displaced persons to respect for their homes in northern Cyprus since1974, . . . as . . . displaced persons they were unable to apply to the authorities to reoccupy their homes which they had left behind." The position has not changed.

  35.  At the present time the EU has approved funding for Turkish Cypriots. There is the very real risk that any EU funding given to the Occupied Area will be used to enhance stolen properties in the hope that if a plan similar to Annan is implemented, the current occupiers will be allowed to keep the properties because they have enhanced them substantially. Given that the Republic of Cyprus is the only legitimate government of the island, Lobby submits that any EU funding should be channelled through that government which is the only legally recognised government of Cyprus. We urge the FAC to recommend to the UK government to act consistently with international law and ensures that trade with Turkish Cypriots and funding be channelled through the Republic of Cyprus official authorities.

  36.  Additionally, decisions of the European Court of Justice, such as R v Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, ex parte S.P.Anastasiou (Pissouri) Ltd and others [1994] ECR I-3087, clearly provide that it is illegal to export goods from the occupied area to Member States without the appropriate certificates issued by the Republic of Cyprus rather than certificates issued by the Turkish community in the Occupied Area. Any policy promoting such export by the Occupied Area would be contrary to EU law.

  37.  The northern part of the island is still illegally occupied territory, which is not recognised by any country other than Turkey. This position has not changed despite Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan Plan. The international community, including the EU, should continue to strive for a workable fair and just settlement, which complies with EU law, international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

  38.  In our view therefore there should be no further support given by the UK government to the illegal regime in the Occupied Area. Indeed the UK government should do more to respect the clear legal position under international law. For example, legal action should be taken against companies seeking to sell Greek Cypriot owned properties to gullible UK based citizens, who are in current danger of being sued for trespass by the legitimate owners or of losing what they consider as their properties in the event a solution. Parliament would not be doing its job in acting in the best interests of the public in the UK if it continues to allow the flagrant advertising for sale and the actual sale by UK based companies of stolen Greek Cypriot property to UK citizens. The UK government should also take a firmer line with Turkey and even at this late stage try to uphold its treaty obligations to the people of Cyprus.

What type of solution would be in UK's interests

  39.  As a UK based organisation and with a membership consisting of UK citizens, Lobby believes it is well placed to offer guidance to the FAC on what the UK government should look for in any Cyprus settlement and what would be in the interests of the UK population. Mistakes have been made in the past, by all sides, but there is an opportunity now to look afresh at what factors should underpin a Cyprus settlement. Lobby looks favourably upon this review by the FAC and believes that the findings of the FAC could enable the UK government to finally work towards an ethical foreign policy on Cyprus based on respect for international law and human rights. This is regrettably something, which successive UK governments have lamentably failed to do since 1974.

  40.  To begin with it is critical to British interests that any solution in Cyprus complies fully with existing international law. This means that the territorial integrity of the Republic must be respected and no steps taken now or as part of any settlement to compromise this by directly or indirectly recognising the pseudo "state" created as a result of military invasion and ethnic cleansing. To do so would set a very unhappy precedent in international law. One wonders whether such a state of affairs would have been permitted in the Balkans or elsewhere in the Middle East. If Greek Cypriot confidence in the UK as an honest broker in any negotiations is to be revived then it will be necessary to respect the legal rights of all concerned.

  41.  It would also not be in UK interests for there to be a settlement which remained open to perpetual legal challenge. Certainty is critical if any Cyprus settlement is to have a realistic chance of success. However, this can only happen if existing fundamental human and legal rights are respected, retained and enforced. So for example Greek Cypriot property ownership in the Occupied Area must be recognised and a clear statement made by the Foreign Office about land ownership in the Occupied Area. One of the main defects in the Annan Plan was the compulsory requirement that in areas not subject to territorial adjustment most Greek Cypriots would be forced into accepting compensation or property exchanges. Any solution in the future must start off with the premise that the pre-1974 property ownership should be respected. Should Greek or Turkish Cypriots then wish to sell or lease their property so be it. But to force upon them property exchanges or compensation without any choice in the matter will lead to continual litigation before courts in Cyprus, the UK and in Europe.

  42.  There must also be full respect for the freedoms of movement and ownership within the island. It is a legal nonsense for the United Kingdom to canvass hard for a solution that so severely curtails these freedoms within another member state. The UK Government must respect the fundamental rights of the EU of which it is a member. If the Republic of Cyprus is fit enough to join the EU it deserves the full benefits. Once again any solution lacking these freedoms will be continually legally challenged bringing uncertainty and chaos to the viability of any settlement.

  43.  The procedural steps taken to put the Annan Plan before the respective electorates were wholly inadequate. It is perhaps not known in the UK that the full version of the documents upon which the Greek Cypriots were expected to vote was not made available on the UN website until a few minutes before midnight on 23/24 April, a mere seven hours before the polls opened. The period between the Greek Cypriots being told in the broadest outline what was contained within the final authenticated version of the Annan Plan and the date of the simultaneous referenda was a little over three weeks. The UK government thought this was an acceptable timetable for the Greek Cypriots to consider an extremely complex series of documents having the effect of legitimising the events of 1974 and also dissolving the Republic of Cyprus and putting a new state in its place. One wonders however whether the UK electorate would find such deadlines acceptable on the question of a referendum on the Euro, an issue of far less significance in the day to day lives of the people in the UK than the Annan Plan was to Greek Cypriots. It has to be in line with international law and comply with the United Nations previous resolutions on Cyprus, be properly negotiated and sufficient time allowed for due consideration by the voters.

  44.  One of the tragic consequences of the Turkish invasion was the ethnic re-engineering carried out by Turkey and the consequent change in the demographic structure of the Cypriot communities. Some 130,000 colonists have been sent to Cyprus from Turkey and other countries since 1974 to take over ownership of Greek Cypriot properties. This massive colonisation was well documented in the Cuco report of 1992 commissioned by the Council of Europe (DOC 6589). In paragraph 115 of his report the author of the report, Rapporteur Cuco, states the following. "All the foregoing leads me to the conclusion that the presence and naturalisation of the settlers indubitably constitutes a further barrier to a peaceful negotiated solution of the Cypriot conflict. The more settlers there are, the more difficult it will be to find a solution that is acceptable to both communities and the settlers themselves." Lobby has always taken issue with terming these persons, who in the UK would clearly be considered illegal immigrants, as "settlers." These individuals are not settlers in the traditional sense of the word. They were deliberately and cynically despatched to Cyprus by Turkey to change the demographic composition of the island.

  45.  Under the provisions of the Annan Plan all of these colonists were to be given Cypriot citizenship enabling them to travel and work throughout the EU. What is more, under the Annan Plan the Turkish regional authorities in Cyprus would have been able to determine, who in the future would be granted Cypriot citizenship within the new state of the United Cyprus Republic. At a time when immigration into the UK is a major political issue the risk of uncontrolled and unfettered immigration has the capacity to present serious security and social concerns, especially since all the colonists come from Muslim countries. Indeed there have been sustained reports over many years that terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Chechen separatists have used the Occupied Area as a training base. It cannot be in the interests of the UK to open up its borders to the colonists living in the Occupied Area. Accordingly, the UK government should support a settlement, which ensures that the colonists are removed, humanely from Cyprus.

  46.  There is a further reason why it is in the interests of the UK for the colonists to be repatriated in any settlement in Cyprus. This is the financial cost to the UK taxpayer. The cost of compensating Greek Cypriot refugees for not returning to their properties will be borne by international community funding, in which the UK will be a major contributor. The Greek Cypriots will need to be compensated because the colonists are living in their homes. Lobby suggests that it would be much cheaper, and therefore in UK interests, for international funds to be used to repatriate the colonists to Turkey. There would then be no need to compensate the Greek Cypriots for loss of ownership as they can return to their properties. The FAC will recall that in the Loizidou case the applicant was awarded Cypriot £300,000 (around US $600,000) for loss of USE of her property, not loss of ownership. One can only speculate on how much it would cost to compensate her, and the thousands of other Greek Cypriot property owners, for loss of ownership. Clearly it would have to be in the order of billions of pounds not thousands.

  47.  The FAC may recall that in fact the final version of the Annan Plan did contain a clause in which financial inducements would be given to colonists to return (annex VI Article 5(2)). However this provision only applied to those "current inhabitants" living in those areas, which were to be returned to Greek Cypriot administration. Any settlement must deal with the entire issue of the colonists in a comprehensive manner. In Lobby's view once this issue is properly addressed and property ownership returned to the legal owners then much of the detail of a settlement can be easily dealt with. If the UK government wants a quick and clean settlement in Cyprus it must support the repatriation of the illegal immigrants in Cyprus, the Turkish colonists.

The way forward

  48.  Lobby has campaigned for the 3R's, as set out in paragraph 7 above. None of these represent anything other than the basic human rights of the Greek Cypriots. If the UK government is to pursue an ethical foreign policy on Cyprus and meet its legal and moral obligations it should seek a settlement that respects the right of ownership and return. In addition if the UK wants to assist Turkey to join the EU then it must make it clear to her that it must pull its troops out of Cyprus and cease the occupation of an EU member state. Finally it must send a decisive signal not only to the people of Cyprus but also to those in the UK that it will not tolerate colonisation into the Occupied Area of Cyprus to be used as a stepping stone to illegal immigration into the UK.

  49.  The settlement to be pursued should also not create an apartheid state within the EU. Lobby submits that the idea of having ethnically pure administrative areas in Cyprus is past its sell by date. Federation in the guise of apartheid has no place within the EU. Dangerous precedents would be set within the EU if this were permitted and it is likely that extreme nationalist or religious elements would seek to carve up towns and cities in Europe along ethnic or religious grounds, possibly demanding separate legislative or judicial authorities in these areas.

  50.  Lobby suggests that more effort be made to create areas of co-operation between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. For example the relaxation on trading is welcome and so is EU funding for the Turkish Cypriots, so long as it is done through the appropriate legal channels. The ghost town of Varosha should be returned now to its legal owners and in return the port of Famagusta could be used for trading with the EU. Indeed the UK economy would stand to gain also from the re-opening of Famagusta since the town will need to be re-developed and UK contractors should be in a good position to capitalise given the UK's historical role in Cyprus. As Turkish Cypriots move closer towards reaping EU benefits they will begin to see the virtue of a strong central government in which they would be represented. Loose federation would not provide this. Once confidence has returned between the two communities it will be easier to see the appropriate constitutional framework and to secure agreement.

Specific issues raised by the FAC

  51.  The FAC has raised a number of specific issues. These have in the main been addressed elsewhere in this document but for the sake of completeness we address them here also.

Whether the UK should continue to back the Annan Plan

  Lobby has made it clear that any settlement must comply with international and human rights law. The Annan Plan does not do this. Furthermore the UK has a legal obligation to safeguard the sovereignty, the territorial integrity and constitution of the Republic of Cyprus. The Annan Plan would dissolve the Republic and replace it with a loose federation of two autonomous states with the danger of eventual creation of two independent states. This would not be in the best interest of the UK and it should not be supported.

  The implications for the EU of the admission of a divided country

  It is not the fault of anyone other than Turkey that the EU has been forced to admit a divided country. It is Turkey, which divided the island and has perpetuated the division. It is Turkey, an EU applicant state, which illegally occupies an EU member state. It is Turkey, which has continually flouted EU law and the decisions of the ECHR. Accordingly the continued occupation of Cyprus should be used as a reason to deny Turkey admission to the EU, until it removes its army of occupation from the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

  Trade with the Turkish Cypriots should be encouraged but this must be under the control of the legitimate government of the Republic of Cyprus.

  A divided island certainly does not allow the fulfilment of the true potential that a united island would have brought to the European family and it hinders the development of the whole Eastern Mediterranean region. For this reason a settlement within the European framework must be sought by the EU. The benefits of a united and peaceful island would be enormous both to Cyprus and the EU.

What role the UK should play in the continuing process of negotiations between the two communities on the island

  The Cyprus issue is now a greater concern to the EU as a whole than the UK since Cyprus is an EU member state under occupation by an EU applicant country. The UK should therefore contribute to settling the Cyprus issue within the context of the EU. It can assist by using its influence over Turkey to seek compliance with the 3R's.

  The UK government should respect the outcome of the referenda of 24 April 2004 and refrain from apportioning blame as this would hinder the recommencement of the negotiating process.

Implications for the Annan Plan's rejection for the northern part of the island

  We cannot comment on this other than to note that there was a good reason why Turkish Cypriots supported the Annan Plan; it legitimised the invasion, occupation and ethnic cleansing carried out by Turkey and gave the Turkish Cypriots far greater rights than they would have been entitled to under international law.

Whether the British Government should seek to alter its relationship with the northern part of the island and if so how

  The least the UK government can do is to avoid taking any steps that would lend the regime in the north legitimacy. It should adhere to its pre-election commitment not to recognise the so called "TRNC", and to facilitate a settlement in line with international law. It should not seek to open trade with the north, as this would cement the division of the island.

Implications for the EU's relationship with Turkey

  Turkey cannot be considered as a credible EU applicant state whilst it continues to illegally occupy a part of the EU and refuses to apply EU fundamental freedoms and rights both in Cyprus and also within Turkey. The EU should make the ending of the occupation of Cyprus one of the criteria for Turkish admission.

In Conclusion

  52.  The Annan Plan, If implemented would have had the inescapable and irreversible effect of inter alia:

  (a)  depriving Cypriot citizens of many rights under the European convention on Human Rights and, furthermore, under EU law;

  (b)  denying the right of return to tens of thousands of displaced persons ethnically cleansed from the northern area of Cyprus during the Turkish invasion of 1974;

  (c)  freezing all applications of Cypriot citizens to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the actions of Turkey in Cyprus since 1974;

  (d)  precluding Cypriot citizens from bringing certain cases before the European Court of Human Rights ;

  (e)  legalizing the presence in the northern area of Cyprus of tens of thousands of foreign settlers and colonists planted there by Turkey;

  (f)  negating the principles of democracy by giving 18% of the population 50% of the seats in the senate together with the power to undermine decision-making within the executive;

  (g)  permitting foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Cyprus via the appointment of three non-Cypriot judges to the Supreme Court who would have held the balance of power in the event of a deadlock between the three Greek Cypriot and three Turkish Cypriot judges;

  (h)  authorising a substantial foreign military presence on the island which would only be reduced substantially (but not totally) in the event of the accession of Turkey to the EU;

  (i)  enhancing the rights of Turkey in accordance with the terms of an Additional Protocol to the Treaty of Guarantee 1960 under which the Turkish government asserts a disputed right of military intervention in Cyprus and;

  (j)  curtailing the sovereignty of Cyprus in other ways by placing an obligation on Cyprus to endorse the application of Turkey to the EU irrespective of whether it improves its dreadful record on human rights.

  From the above its is clear why the Greek Cypriot people had no option but to reject the fundamentally flawed Annan Plan. However it must be stressed that the Greek Cypriots did not vote against a settlement and against the reunification of their island, which they have dreamed of for 30 years following the brutal invasion and occupation by Turkey? They voted `no' because they did not want to endorse the consequences of the Turkish invasion of 1974. They did not want to give democratic legitimacy to so many provisions, which were incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and international law.

  The UK and EU should respect the democratic choice of the Greek Cypriots and intensify efforts to address the issues that let to such an overwhelming rejection of the Plan. They should help find a settlement that adheres to international, human and legal rights, the European aqui communautaire and one that can be acceptable to any other European citizen. Only then can a united Cyprus progress and prosper in the EU and in return for the EU to take full advantage of Cyprus's geographical position, and expand trading routes, eastwards.

Further Contact

  53.  Lobby is anxious to assist the FAC and would welcome the opportunity to supplement this memorandum with the giving of oral evidence. In the meantime should the FAC have any questions about anything set out in this memorandum please contact Nick Kounoupias of Lobby for Cyprus on 07768 201998 or the Lobby office by email

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 22 February 2005