Fact # 1: Cyprus is not and has never been a Greek island.
Cyprus was occupied by many ancient empires and peoples ranging from the Hittites to the Venetians. In Hellenic times, the Greeks established trading colonies on the island, but according to British historian George C. Hill, in his authoritative book The History of Cyprus, “Cyprus was never an integral part of Hellenic Greece”( vol. IV; pp. 488-9). In more recent history, Cyprus was a territory of the Ottoman Empire from 1571 to 1878. After being ruled by the Ottoman Turks for more than 300 years, the island was ceded to a short-lived British rule. In 1960, the Republic of Cyprus was established as a partnership state between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Accordingly, both parties would rule the island conjointly; neither side would be able to impose its political will on the other.
Fact # 2: There is no “Cyprus nation”; but rather, there are two distinct peoples that inhabit the island, the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.
The first Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios, was first to admit this fact: “No Greek who knows me can ever believe that I would wish to work for the creation of a Cypriot national awareness. The agreements have created a state, but not a nation” (Archbishop Makarios, in a statement to the Cyprus Mail of March 28, 1963).
Fact # 3: There are no majorities and minorities in Cyprus, but two peoples of equal political and legal status.
The relationship between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots has never been one of “majority and minority”. The U.N. secretary general’s statement of September 12, 2000, among other documents, supports the principle of political equality of the two parties. It refers to a “comprehensive settlement enshrining a new partnership” and stresses that each of the two parties “represents its side and no-one else”. That the Annan Plan was put to separate simultaneous referenda on April 24, 2004 confirmed the fact that there exist two equal sides or peoples on the island, neither of which represents the other.
Fact # 4: The Cyprus problem did not emerge in 1974, but in 1963 when an armed onslaught was launched against the Turkish Cypriots in order to annex the island to Greece.
The arrival to the island of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in 1964 alone confutes the claim that the problem began in 1974.
On June 13, 1965, Lieutenant General George Karayannis, mainland Greek army officer in command of the “Cyprus army” at the time, told the Athens daily Ethnikos Kiryx: “In August 1960… President Makarios decided to proceed with … organizing the Greek Cypriots for battle.”
“When the Turkish Cypriots objected to the amendment of the constitution, Makarios put his plan into effect and the Greek Cypriot attack began in December 1963” (Karayannis, Ethnikps Kiryx, June 15, 1965). The UNFICYP arrived to the island to quell the violence unleashed by the Greek Cypriot side and to provide a buffer between the two communities.
Fact # 5: Turkey did not “invade” nor is she “occupying” Cyprus.
The Turkish intervention of July 20, 1974 did not come about as an “invasion” but in response to a coup organized by the Greek junta on July 15, 1974. It came in the wake of 11 years of bloodshed and agitation perpetrated by the Greek Cypriots with the aim of annexing the island to Greece (ie Enosis). Nikos Sampson openly said: “Had Turkey not intervened I would not only have proclaimed Enosis, I would have annihilated the Turks in Cyprus.” (Eleftherotipia, February 26, 1981).
The Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe concluded that “Turkey exercised its right of intervention in accordance with the article IV of the Guarantee Treaty of 1960” (Resolution No. 573, 29 July 1974).
To portray the Turkish intervention as an “invasion” and “occupation” as is common these days constitutes a grave injustice and distortion of the facts.
Fact # 6: The Greek Cypriot side is not the victim, but the perpetrator of the 40-50 year old Cyprus conflict.
This has been confirmed by international media reports of the time: “In Cyprus terror continues. Right now we are witnessing the exodus of Turks from villages. Thousands of people are abandoning their homes, lands, herds: Greek terrorism is relentless…” (Il Giorno, January 14, 1964, report by Giorgio Bocco).
“Greek Cypriot fanatics appear bent on a policy of genocide…” (The Washington Post, February 17, 1964).
And here is an example from the U.N. Secretary-General’s reports: “The economic restrictions being imposed against the Turkish Cypriot community, which in some instances has been so severe as to amount to veritable siege, indicate that the government of Cyprus seeks to force a potential solution by economic pressure.” (Report of the U.N. Secretary General s/5950 of September 10, 1964).
The real victims of this conflict continue to be the Turkish Cypriots.
Fact # 7: The Turkish Cypriot side is not the intransigent party blocking the solution of the Cyprus question.
Negotiations for a solution have been carried out under the good offices mission of the U.N. Secretary-General since 1968. The Turkish Cypriot side continues to participate in these negotiations in a constructive manner. The aim has always been to establish a new partnership state between the two sides on the basis of well-established U.N. parameters which emerged over the course of long years of negotiations – principles such as the political equality of the two sides, bi-zonality and bi-communality.
After numerous failed attempts to resolve the problem, a unique opportunity to break the stalemate emerged with the UN brokered Annan Plan. The Turkish Cypriot people approved the Plan by 65 percent despite the great sacrifices it entailed for them.
The Greek Cypriot side, however, rejected the Plan by 76 percent. This rejection, once again made clear that neither the Greek Cypriot peoples nor their leaders were ready to share power with the Turkish Cypriots on the basis of equality.
In view of their affirmative vote, the international community made numerous pledges to lift the restrictions on the social, economic and political development of the Turkish Cypriot people. However, seven years have passed since the historic referenda of April 2004 and Turkish Cypriots continue to be kept in isolation due to Greek Cypriot obstructionism and the lack of political will on the part of the international community.
The unilateral membership of the Greek Cypriot side into the E.U. without first reaching a settlement has made the Greek Cypriot leadership even more intransigent vis-à-vis the settlement of the Cyprus problem. Since its accession to the E.U., the Greek Cypriot side has been exploiting its membership in order to block every measure aimed at easing the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
It appears that the goal of the Greek Cypriot leadership is to postpone a settlement in Cyprus with the hope that the passage of time may do away with the established U.N. parameters and consequently the fundamental and legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.