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Cyprus: Turkish Objectives

The Turkish Cypriot Pseudostate and Turkey's Objectives.

Published by the Press and Information Office, Republic of Cyprus, 1994.

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The "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" is an unrecognized and illegal "state". It forms the part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus which was occupied in 1974 when the Turkish army invaded the island, and which then declared itself "independent", on 15 November 1983. It owes its existence to the military and economic support it receives from Turkey, the aggressor in Cyprus.

The Turkish invasion and occupation forcibly divided the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a sovereign and independent state, with a mixed population of nearly three quarters of a million consisting of 82% Greek Cypriots (including Maronites, Armenians and Latins) and 18% Turkish Cypriots, and forcibly segregated its people. Previously the two communities had lived together harmoniously for more than 400 years. In a blatant policy of ethnic cleansing, the invading troops forced the local Greek Cypriots out of their homes, turning a third of the population into refugees. The occupation regime then gave these homes to the Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers illegally transferred from the mainland.

Thus a minority community of 18% came to control almost 40% of the territory of the island. The dividing line which cuts across the country not only divides the land but its people.

Old Plan

The unilateral declaration of independence of the occupied part of Cyprus is part of Turkey's long held expansionist designs with regard to the island. It is in line with a series of steps aimed at establishing a Turkish state on the island. creating a homogeneous foothold under Turkey's control.

This was a policy that had been planned beforehand and dates back to the 1950's, as evidenced by public statements of Turkish politicians at the time.

 

The Republic of Cyprus

After a four year liberation struggle against the British, Cyprus became an independent Republic in 1960. The Zurich and London Agreements gave Cyprus a constitution which eventually proved to be inoperative. Its basic flaw was that rather than promoting unity, it contained a recipe for infinite deadlock by granting extensive powers of veto to the Turkish Cypriots. In November 1963 President Makarios proposed a revision of the constitution aiming at strengthening cohesion and functionality. The Turkish side promptly rejected it, refusing any consideration or discussion of constitutional change. It then began to implement and impose on the members of the Turkish Cypriot community a policy of withdrawal from the institutions of government and self-imposed isolation.

The aim of this long-standing policy was the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and the creation of a separate Turkish Cypriot "state" which would ultimately be absorbed by Turkey.

 

Pretext for invasion

By 1973 considerable progress had been achieved in a series of intercommunal talks. However, on 15 July 1974 a coup d'etat was staged by the military junta then ruling Athens. Using the coup as a pretext Turkey invaded the island on 20 July 1974 thereby putting into operation Turkey's long standing plan to partition Cyprus. Eight days later the coupist administration collapsed along with the Greek junta.

Despite the swift collapse of the coup and the return of the legitimate government of Cyprus. Turkish forces undertook a second operation twenty days later.

The advance halted on a line which was almost precisely the one proposed by Turkey as the demarcation of partition in 1965.

This disproves the Turkish claim that the invasion of Cyprus was undertaken in compliance with the 1960 treaties as an operation to restore constitutional order.

 

Steps to secession

Turkey's further moves were also indicative of its intentions.

It got rid of the Greek Cypriots in the north. Through a deliberate means of terror and indiscriminate cruelty it made the civilian population run away. It wanted territory without people, a 20th century example of ethnic cleansing. Out of 20.000 Greek Cypriots and Maronites who remained in the occupied area after the cessation of hostilities, mainly in the Karpass peninsula, an area that escaped the Turkish army's push to split the island, today only 715 mostly elderly people remain. Harassed and intimidated over the years, most eventually left.

It moved the Turkish Cypriots in the south to the north, giving them the homes and property abandoned by the Greek Cypriots.

It increased the numbers by bringing in Turkish settlers from Turkey, thereby attempting to change the demographic character and population ratio on the island.

Over the years the regime set up in the occupied area, gradually erased all things Christian or Hellenistic. Greek place names that had survived Ottoman rule, were given Turkish substitutes. Churches were destroyed or turned into mosques or stables. Ancient monuments were left unprotected, while works of art were illegally removed and sold on the international black art market.

 

A Turkish Province

Nowadays the occupied area has increasingly taken on the character of a province in Turkey. The occupied area's economy depends totally on Turkey and the Turkish lira has become legal tender. It is indicative that the postal code for the occupied area is "Mersin, Turkey". Turkish troops are seldom out of sight. A statue of Kemal Ataturk stands in most squares.

As for the Turkish Cypriots they are a dying breed. Unemployment and unbearable living conditions has forced many of them to leave the island. It is estimated that since 1974 at least a quarter of the Turkish Cypriot community has emigrated. A report in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeniduzen on 30 August 1994, puts the present number of Turkish Cypriots at 64.000 out of an original 103.000, and says that a further 44.000 Turkish Cypriots have applied to emigrate. Turkish Cypriots are now outnumbered by the approximately 85.000 Turkish settlers and the additional 35.000 Turkish occupation troops.

 

A Dangerous Precedent

The declaration of the occupied territories as an "independent state" was condemned by the UN Security Council (Resolutions 541 and 550), which declared it legally invalid, called for its immediate withdrawal and urged all states not to recognize it. No country in the world except Turkey has recognized it.

It seems however, that recognition is the Turkish side's next objective. Turkey's policy on Cyprus is primarily aimed at prolonging and legitimizing the status quo. With that in mind any proposals made at the negotiating table are approached by the Turkish side not from the point of view of assisting in a solution but from the point of view of whether they secure the political recognition of the status quo.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mumtaz Cecil himself said during an interview on Turkish television on 26 September 1994: "A two state system already exists in Cyprus. The existence of such a system should be accepted."

This cannot be allowed to happen. If it were, it would set a dangerous precedent for other countries with minority communities. Cyprus, the size of a large borough in a metropolis, is too small to be divided.

In an age when barriers elsewhere in Europe are being dismantled, the division of Cyprus is an anachronism maintained by Turkey for purely expansionist reasons to the detriment of the people of the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots. These people have lived peacefully together for centuries. They should be allowed to do so again. Their future lies in a united, independent, bicommunal federal republic, as stipulated by all relevant UN resolutions.

FACTS:

Cypriots cannot move freely throughout their country, nor can they settle down or own property wherever they choose.

The land and property in the occupied area belonging to Greek Cypriots was confiscated from them.

A large number of the people who live in the occupied area are not the rightful inhabitants of the island. They have been illegally imported to colonize the land.

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