France hoped to obtain the use of a key air base somewhere in the Middle East to facilitate its ambition of playing a major role in the eastern Mediterranean after Jan. 16, 1991, or the US’s Operation Desert Storm.
In plain terms, after this operation, the French influence, existing in the Middle East since the late 1800s, was successfully wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, and full control of the area moved into their hands.
France had to find an ally to creep into the area; there were no other options. She had to find a country with which the benefits of an alliance would be mutual. After a comprehensive search, Cyprus, hav-ing problems with Turkey, was chosen as the ideal partner.
The Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, were in a state of unrest due to the existence of the Turkish army on the northern part of the island. The Turkish army, embraced by the Turkish Cypriots, inter-vened in 1974 to protect the lives of the Turkish Cypriots, who had been suffering from attacks by the Greek Cypriots since 1963.
The Turkish Cypriots had lost hundreds of innocent compatriots, mostly women and children who were forced to leave their homes, be-longings and memories and flee for their lives to the liberated parts in the northern territories during attacks in 1963, 1964 and 1967.
After 1974, they formed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Greek Cypriots, aiming high to get control of the island again and form a unitary Greek government in which they planned to treat the Turkish Cypriots as a minority, were seeking an ally who would back them in the UN and EU loyally under any circumstances, preferably a strong one as well.
France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an outstanding country in the EU, was chosen to be the ideal candidate for an alliance against Turkey.
And so started the tale.
During EU-Turkey accession proceedings, France played her role perfectly, satisfying the demands of the Greek Cypriots by pressing Turkey to open up its seaports and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels and planes. A report by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, drafted after a referendum held in Cyprus on April 24, 2004, was vetoed by France in the UN Security Council. The report clearly blamed the Greek Cypriots for blocking efforts leading to a sustainable and comprehen-sive solution on the island acceptable to the international community.
The Greek Cypriots, pleased with the efforts of France, made the first move by offering sea and air military bases, aiming to accomplish several objectives with a single stroke. Their first objective was to se-cure France’s crucial support against Turkey in both the UN and EU.
And the second important objective was to call on France for help if one day Turkey were to attack to them or if they decided to attack the Turkish Cypriots and take over the northern territories, relying on French support, as they did on 1919, which ended in catastrophe.
Of course, this alliance, France’s signing of a military agreement with the southern Cypriot Greek administration, is a worrying devel-opment. It will definitely block the way and weaken the initiatives for a comprehensive solution on the island.
As a matter of fact, the cracks already existing between the two communities of the island, namely Greek and Turkish, will only deepen, leading to a stable separation, and one with no hope of getting together again in the future.