Turkey

Not only the brand new Greek Cypriot provocation (probably planned through the “Sarkozy-Merkel FM waves”) jeopardises the ongoing negotiations between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but also those between Turkey and the EU.

I wish I suggested as a new post an exchange that I had last Thursday with Alister, who commented “Cyprus: a little more salt?“. I’d like to underline that there are also a few former comments of some readers of the Hürriyet Daily News in my response to my friend Alister.

“Comment by Alister Flower | 2011/09/22 at 07:55:37

In response to the above.

Firstly let me clarify that I am not politically or religiously motivated. I have not voted in the election of my local government officers in England for some twenty years as they do not truly represent my interests but the political party to which they are affiliated. I was christened Church of England as a chIld but only attend church for weddings and funerals. And Whilst I do not believe that there is a God, I respect that others may feel different and in many ways I wish that there were a God so that he/she/it could help us through these troubled times.
My recent interest in the Cyprus issue was prompted by the news of the offshore drilling works and how the evolving situation is being reported in the press. This caused me to look at the recent history of events, which has only been an overview of the past 50 years and been saddened, yet not surprised, by how things have become such a complicated mess. It seems to me that when you have centuries of history which tends to shape public opinion and mix political will and different religious beliefs then there can never be a easy answer.
Was Turkey the aggressor in 1974? The answer to that would appear to be yes and yet what prompted the military action appears to have been some stupidness on the part of the Greeks. Did it warrant an invasion, I do not know enough to pass judgement.
So we have an awkward standoff that has existed 37 years and which has little chance of being resolved mainly because the solution rests with politicians and therein lies the true problem. Is there a need to resolve the situation? Well the answer would appear to be yes for everyone concerned. Cyprus is still in a state of uncomfortable ceasefire that is expensive to maintain and which prevents so many other issues to be resolved. If all else could be resolved, can the Turkish and Greek Cypriots live peacefully together? Well the answer to this has to be yes otherwise there is no point in moving forward.
To cut to the chase I can only suggest what I would do if I were able to, and it would be;
1. Withdraw the Turkish military forces back to the mainland. This would remove the financial burden of maintaining them on Turkey. This single act would dramatically change the dynamics of the situation and demonstrate peaceful intent. Would this action expose the Turkish Cypriot population to any form of unwarranted control, I do not think so, if not only because the EU would not permit a member nation to act anything other than properly to it’s public and believe me Human Rights are top of the political agenda.
2. I would dismantle the Green Line and allow the UN to remove it’s troops and thereby move the whole matter to a political issue rather than one influenced by military might.
3. I would organise a truly proportional government that represents the interests of the entire population of Cyprus as one country.
4. I would ensure that Turkey, if it wants to, to become a full member of the EU.
5. I would encourage the exploration of offshore drilling within the internationally recognised waters for the access to gas and oil reserves and for the revenues of this action to help build a better Cyprus for all concerned. I would also use the income generated to settle all financial disputes over land that has come about by the events of 1974. The use of these funds removes Greece and Turkey from this whole matter and returns it to a local issue which is where it should be handled and for this process to be governed by EU Law to ensure fairness for everyone.
With Greece, Turkey and Cyprus all being members of the EU, trade would flourish and this has to be in everyones best interest. Political stability would improve the region and we can all move on to another problem.
What is the downside? Actually very little and I see it as a win win result for all concerned. Will it every happen, I don’t know. Can it happen, yes it can, it just takes a first bold step to break the deadlock. And as an objective viewer I think it should Turkey that takes that step and show true strength and belief in a better world.”

“Comment by Cem | 2011/09/22 at 11:42:30

Good afternoon Alister,

To begin with, I am of Muslim religion but I don’t go to the mosquee and I don’t make the Ramadan (I made it several times when I was a teenager).

I respect the people who don’t believe in God. Nevertheless I do think that it is pretentious not to believe in God. I am not pretentious. I am not judging you or trying to make you feel uncomfortable, not at all, I only introduce my point of view. It’s a friendly message!

I quote you:

Was Turkey the aggressor in 1974? The answer to that would appear to be yes and yet what prompted the military action appears to have been some stupidness on the part of the Greeks. Did it warrant an invasion, I do not know enough to pass judgement.

It is the Greek Cypriots (and the Greek military with their coup attempt) who were the aggressors. The Turkish Cypriots were being killed and Turkey intervened in order to stop the massacres. Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carld Bildt answered to some Greek politicians last year at the EU parliament that Turkey intervened in Cyprus because the Turkish Cypriots were being killed. That was not an invasion but a legal military intervention since Turkey is a guarantor power of Cyprus.

So we have an awkward standoff that has existed 37 years and which has little chance of being resolved mainly because the solution rests with politicians and therein lies the true problem.

Turkey (for instance its Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, ….) and the Turkish Cypriots have often expressed their wish and hope for a solution at Cyprus. And above in my article we can note it. But as far as I’m concerned I have never read any news that dealt with the support or wish of the Greek Cypriots for the reunification of Cyprus. Never. In fact, have they ever stated that they want to reach a solution with the Turkish side? Or have they ever stated anything positive? On the contrary, Yorgo Papandreou made a very aggressive statement about the Cypriot issue at Erzurum earlier this year whereas he was invited by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan for the opening of the 25th World Olympic University Winter Games.

Is there a need to resolve the situation? Well the answer would appear to be yes for everyone concerned.

No, there is not a need for the Greek Cypriots. Since they became (illegally) EU members in 2004 they do not care of a solution. If there was a need for the Greek Cypriots to resolve the situation, they would not have sabotaged the lifting of the embargoes against the Turkish Cypriots, that lifting that was promised by the EU in 2004. I wish I suggested two comments of two commentators of the Hürriyet Daily News about the vote of the EU against the lifting of the embargoes:

Murat wrote:

Wow, this is pretty harsh. Maybe should not be surprising, but still a most tangible sign that TRNC and Turks will never get a fair shake, no matter what. As many have claimed, final solution was reached at 74 and that is where it will stay. I am most interested to know though what the motivation for the members voting to perpetuate the isolation of TRNC was, what drove all the non-Greeks to vote in this manner and sink one chance to correct a colossal mistake EU was responsible for to begin with. More bizzare is the notion that Greeks seem to have that if cornered, threatened, deprived and bullied, eventually TCs will give up their rights and freedoms and buckle and wonderful things will happen as a result. This is the kind of stuff that gives birth to future wars, one would think Europeans above all would know better.

And Eric wrote:

I have said it before and I’ll say it again….The embargo and isolation of Turkish part of Cyprus, is the ONLY cause for an impasse to the Cyprus problem. There is no incentive on the part of the Greek side of the island, to try and reach a settlement. On the contrary, for as long as the embargo is in effect, the Greeks will stretch out the negotiations, on the “hope” that the Turkish Cypriots will capitulate, to their demands. They want the whole island be “hellenic-Greek”. This is pure extreme nationalism…. If the EU , and UN do not see that the Embargo is the primary culprit, in the continuing stalemate, then they will continue to be the parties directly responsible for avoidance of the Greek side to negotiate in good faith….why should they? For as long as the embargo is in place, it give them a one-sided advantage to prolong the problem, until the Turkish side “loses” and the Greek side “wins”..This impasse is going to cause a much bigger problem between Turkey and Greece!

Another comment about the EU-Turkey relations:

Sevil Akgün wrote:

By holding Turkey-EU relations hostage to Greek Cypriots the EU is the one who is acting with hostility and outdated rhetoric. It is time for the EU and Greek Cypriots to stop holding EU-Turkey relations hostage if they are sincere which they are not.

I quote you Alister:

If all else could be resolved, can the Turkish and Greek Cypriots live peacefully together? Well the answer to this has to be yes otherwise there is no point in moving forward.

Yes, they can. But do the Greek Cypriots want to live together with the Turkish Cypriots? Let’s recall the results of the referendum of 2004 in Southern Cyprus. The powerful Greek Church objects to live with the Turkish Cypriots.

Chris Green Worcester/Kyrenia posted this comment on the Hürriyet Daily News:

In the final analysis, the Greeks will take their orders from the Greek Orthodox church whose starting point was 100% since 1879. Tough one.

And Yavuz Baydar wrote through Zaman newspaper:

But the dark horse remains Greek Cyprus. In this sense: Christofias is weak, the Church is fiercely opposed to a solution, and society is to a large extent against unity. The public communications are lacking or, at the best, conducted in an old, venomous rhetoric.

Dear Alister, I quote you:

To cut to the chase I can only suggest what I would do if I were able to, and it would be;

1. Withdraw the Turkish military forces back to the mainland. This would remove the financial burden of maintaining them on Turkey. This single act would dramatically change the dynamics of the situation and demonstrate peaceful intent.

The Annan plan foresaw the departure of the 35 000 Turkish troops, but that plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots in 2004. The Turkish side has shown peaceful intent by providing the Greek Cypriots with electricity. The Turkish side also said several months ago that it can provide the Greek Cypriots with water that will be transfered from Turkey to Northern Cyprus. Turkey acts with peace but the Greek Cypriots act with hostility.

Would this action expose the Turkish Cypriot population to any form of unwarranted control, I do not think so, if not only because the EU would not permit a member nation to act anything other than properly to it’s public and believe me Human Rights are top of the political agenda.

The Greek Cypriot state is deeply racist. It can not be trusted. For instance many Greek Cypriot nationalists attacked and injured many Turkish Cypriots as well as some Turkish basketball players who were in Southern Cyprus, but the Greek Cypriot government didn’t do anything to prevent these events, and it even didn’t condemn the extremists. As for the EU, it wasn’t indignant about these two racist events. The Greek Cypriots see the Turkish Cypriots as second class Cypriot citizens. The last report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) confirms that. The report is available here. I also invite you to read my former articles (about Turkey, the EU and Cyprus) that are mentioned at the end of this response.

2. I would dismantle the Green Line and allow the UN to remove it’s troops and thereby move the whole matter to a political issue rather than one influenced by military might.

I don’t know if it is possible but I think it is dangerous.

3. I would organise a truly proportional government that represents the interests of the entire population of Cyprus as one country.

Former Greek Cypriot president Glafkos Klerides said that they should have accepted the Annan plan.

4. I would ensure that Turkey, if it wants to, to become a full member of the EU.

But Sarkozy and Merkel object to that that’s why they asked the Greek side not to reach a solution with the Turkish side. By sabotaging the Cypriot problem, they sabotage the EU-Turkey negotiations.

5. I would encourage the exploration of offshore drilling within the internationally recognised waters for the access to gas and oil reserves and for the revenues of this action to help build a better Cyprus for all concerned.

But the Greek Cypriots search for oil and gas whereas the Cypriot issue is not resolved. If they hadn’t been made EU members, they would not have dared do that.

I would also use the income generated to settle all financial disputes over land that has come about by the events of 1974.

Good idea.

The use of these funds removes Greece and Turkey from this whole matter and returns it to a local issue which is where it should be handled and for this process to be governed by EU Law to ensure fairness for everyone.

Turkey and Greece (and the UK) are guarantor countries. And if Turkey hadn’t intervened in 1974, we can guess what would have happened to the rest of the Turkish Cypriots. Anyway the EU can’t be fair because the Greek Cypriots are EU members. Let’s recall that according to the EU laws no country can be an EU member if that country has frontier disputes. So the EU membership of the Greek Cypriots is neither legal nor fair. How can we expect the EU to be fair today? Furthermore, neither the Greek side nor the Turkish side can represent internationally Cyprus. The situation is really unhealthy. (And let’s add to that indigestible cocktail the British military bases and soldiers in Southern Cyprus).

With Greece, Turkey and Cyprus all being members of the EU, trade would flourish and this has to be in everyones best interest. Political stability would improve the region and we can all move on to another problem.

It’s true.

Turkey said that it will authorise the Greek Cypriot planes and ships to enter its territory as soon as the EU stands to its commitment of 2004, in other words as soon as the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots are lifted. Thus what is the EU waiting for?

What is the downside? Actually very little and I see it as a win win result for all concerned. Will it every happen, I don’t know. Can it happen, yes it can, it just takes a first bold step to break the deadlock. And as an objective viewer I think it should Turkey that takes that step and show true strength and belief in a better world.

On the one hand the Turkish side decided to help the Greek Cypriots and has begun to provide them with electricity for a few months. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriots decided to search for oil whereas the negotiations for a solution at Cyprus are not concluded. That is a provocation that can only increase the tensions and destroy a solution. Otherwise, why have the Greek Cypriots decided to search for oil and gas (now)?

Dear Alister, I also support the reunification of Cyprus. But the Greek Cypriots (with Sarkozy and Merkel mainly) do everything so that the reunification is sabotaged. I’m fed up.

Yours sincerely,

Cem

PS. Through these articles you can see the painting of the horrible hidden agenda of the anti-Turkey circles of the EU who work hand in hand with their Greek beggars:

Abstruse. But that’s enough, we are in the 21st century.

A legitimate and legal intervention (1974) – A golden opportunity missed (2004)

An unhealthy situation: the Cypriot issue

Appalling propaganda against Turkey – Episode III

Appalling propaganda against Turkey – Episode II

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Comments

  1. A ‘sidelight’ on this whole vexatious and ultimately rather ridiculous issue:

    While directing the European Human Genome Diversity Project in 1993 Sir Walter Bodmer, an affable German-born British geneticist, set out to investigate the incidence of an inherited blood disorder, thalassaemia, on the island of Cyprus where ‘Greek Cypriots’ and ‘Turkish Cypriots’ cohabit uneasily. His carefully controlled study showed that the disorder was shared equally by both ‘races’, a conclusion that had disturbing socio-political implications for the people concerned. He announced the results to some Cypriot Greek Orthodox clerics in a conversation which, in synthesis, went something like this:

    Sir Walter: “There’s one type of thalassaemia common to Cyprus.”
    First Cypriot: “It’s different from other types in the world?”
    Sir Walter: “Yes, it’s commoner than it is in Greece or Turkey.”
    Second Cypriot: “Couldn’t you prove we descended from ancient Greeks?”
    Sir Walter: “You’re a little different, an older population…”
    Second Cypriot (confused): “So you think we just feel Greek culturally?”
    Sir Walter: “You’re all Cypriots, Greek or Turkish, one people.”
    First Cypriot (even more confused): “It’s very surprising to hear it.”
    Sir Walter: “It is.”

  2. The Cypriot problem and Turkey in the EU are separate problems.

    Let’s be honest Greeks don’t like Turks and vice versa. There has been enmity for a long long time. Therefore the best way to handle the Cypriot situation is to have two separate regions and handle them like a federation. That way you keep them apart and let them get on with their lives which will hopefully eventually lead to a softening of at attitudes. Turkey can take their troops home and save bundles and hopefully the North can be properly opened up to the Tourist trade with direct flights as they will be part of the federation of Cyprus and properly part of the EU.
    The above solution also means that there will be a border control between North & South Cyprus which will help cut down on uncontrolled immigration to the EU.
    Some people feel that Germany and France are happy with the Cyprus problem as it means that Turkey can be kept at arms length regarding its wish to join the EU. This may or may not be true, but I don’t think the Germans or French have hid their views that they don’t want Turkey to join the EU. If Turkey were to join they would then immediately become the most populous nation in the EU and sooner or later we would suffer from mass migration. Maybe Turkey would be better off being independent with trading status with the EU. I know as a UK citizen that is what I would want for my country.

    Events, events dear boy! In view of the current economic problems does Turkey really want to join the EU and will there be an EU to join in a years time? Answers on a post card please.

  3. Hello George Mc,

    I quote you:

    The Cypriot problem and Turkey in the EU are separate problems.

    They should be separate problems, but they are not. On the one hand, the EU didn’t expect the Greek Cypriots to resolve the Cypriot issue before their EU membership of 2004. On the other hand, the EU asks Turkey to resolve the Cypriot issue in order to unblock 8 chapters of the EU-Turkey negotiations. Let’s remind that the EU blocks 8 chapters, and the Greek Cypriots block 6 chapters. As for Sarkozy, he decided to block 5 chapters because these chapters are crucial as far as Turkey’s EU membership is concerned. Appalling double standards based on political reasons.

    Let’s be honest Greeks don’t like Turks and vice versa. There has been enmity for a long long time.

    The Greek and Greek Cypriot politicians and the so-called religious leaders don’t like Turkey and provoke an ugly nationalism within the Greek and Greek Cypriot societies.

    But I don’t know much about the feelings of the Greek and Greek Cypriot citizens (would the Greek Cypriot citizens have voted “Yes” to the Annan plan if they hadn’t been brainwashed by their government and religious readers?).

    But I know that the Turkish Cypriots wanted to live with the Greek Cypriots since they massively approved (more than 70%) the EU/UN Annan plan for the reunification of Cyprus 7 years ago.

    Therefore the best way to handle the Cypriot situation is to have two separate regions and handle them like a federation. That way you keep them apart and let them get on with their lives which will hopefully eventually lead to a softening of at attitudes.

    The Turkish side wants that.

    However, two separate states: that’s what will happen if the Greek Cypriots (actually the EU of Sarkozy and Merkel) persist in sabotaging a solution. In other words, if the reunification of the island fails, Northern Cyprus will be recognised by several countries as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And then the world will be more divided than it is today (guess which countries will first recognise it). That’s why I support the reunification of Cyprus. In fact, it would be a great peace example to many regions of the world which have problems.

    Turkey can take their troops home and save bundles and hopefully the North can be properly opened up to the Tourist trade with direct flights as they will be part of the federation of Cyprus and properly part of the EU.

    That would be great. But that would disturb Sarkozy and Merkel.

    The above solution also means that there will be a border control between North & South Cyprus which will help cut down on uncontrolled immigration to the EU.

    I thought that there was already a border control between the North and the South.

    Some people feel that Germany and France are happy with the Cyprus problem as it means that Turkey can be kept at arms length regarding its wish to join the EU. This may or may not be true, but I don’t think the Germans or French have hid their views that they don’t want Turkey to join the EU.

    Yes, it is not a secret that Sarkozy and the UMP and Merkel and the CDU-CSU are against Turkey’s EU membership. It’s a tune that we are used to hearing through the boring “Sarkozy-Merkel FM”! But let us remember that the PS (Socialists) and the Greens in France, and the SPD in Germany (as well as a few other parties) support Turkey’s EU memberhsip. But have we to wait for the new goverments of France and Germany to remember the signatures of the whole EU of 1963, 1999 and 2004 (the Ankara Agreement that foresaw Turkey‘s EEC/EU membership, Turkey’s EU candidacy status, and the decision to open the EU-Turkey negotiations)?

    If Turkey were to join they would then immediately become the most populous nation in the EU and sooner or later we would suffer from mass migration.

    Once an EU member, Turkey will be the second most populous nation after Germany. But in 2004 it was underlined that Turkey (after its EU membership) will have to wait several years so that its citizens can travel freely within the EU. And former Enlargment Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that to believe that millions of Turks will leave Turkey and invade the EU makes no sense. Anyway, firstly the visas towards the Turkish citizens may be lifted soon. Secondly, owing to its ageing population, the EU will need a new labour force of at least 50 million people! The EU needs Turkey.

    Maybe Turkey would be better off being independent with trading status with the EU. I know as a UK citizen that is what I would want for my country.

    That’s what I think too. Sincerely. But the only reason for which I believe that Turkey ought to be an EU member is that the world needs an EU with Turkey inside. Because Turkey’s EU membership would improve the world and symbolise fraternity.

    Events, events dear boy! In view of the current economic problems does Turkey really want to join the EU and will there be an EU to join in a years time? Answers on a post card please.

    I do agree with you George. That’s why I wish Turkey was an EU member that will not take advantage of the EU budget but at the same time will not contribute to the EU budget (also because above all the anti-Turkey propaganda of many politicians of the EU broke my heart. In fact, why would I want Turkey to contribute to the budget of an union that humiliated and still humiliates Turkey?). As for the euro, the Turkish economy is so interlinked to the EU economy that if/when Turkey is an EU member it will be able to integrate the euro zone immediately. But perhaps that Turkey ought to follow the path of the UK. But unless the EU resolves the euro crisis and reassures me (a few countries have to leave the euro zone), and if the Turkish government supports it, I would not say “No” to the euro.

    Yours sincerely,

    Cem

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