Cyprus’s joining the European Union has been overshadowed by the country’s unresolved political division that has existed since 1956. The island has been divided into a Turkish sector and a Greek sector as far back as 1956 under the British colonial government. First the capital Nicosia was divided by barbed wire, to be followed later by other towns and rather large villages.
The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) landed on the island after heated inter-communal clashes took place in 1964 according to UN Resolution No. 186, dated March 4, 1964, and not after the 1974 intervention. Most people think the UNFICYP was deployed on the island after the 1974 intervention. This, of course, is not the truth.
The Cyprus problem, originating from the Greek Megalo Idea dat-ing from 1796, has existed on the island since 1878.
After the lease of the island to the British by the Ottomans, Greeks of mainland Greece and the local Greeks living on the island started dreaming of “enosis” — annexation to Greece.
A colossal total of 36 proposals, plans, constitutions and solutions submitted by the British, the UN, the US and by similar powers since 1947, for a sustainable and just solution on the island were all rejected by the Greek side. The simple reason was that they all did not include a clear passage to enosis.
Only the 1960 treaties for the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus were reluctantly signed by Makarios, which he was forced to put his seal on by Greece. After signing the documents, he wrote his famous sentence, “I too spoke of enosis after Zürich,” which clearly exposes his ambitions.
Greek Archbishop then President Makarios rejected the 1947 Lord Winster Plan, the 1948 Edward Jackson Constitution, the 1955 John Harding Proposals, the 1956 Lord Radcliffe Plan, the 1957 Paul Henry Spaak Plan, the 1957 Selwyn Lloyd Proposals and the 1958 Macmillan Plan, etc. Mr. Pappadopulos recently rejected the well known Annan plan, which aimed to establish the Federal Republic of Cyprus on the island.
If Makarios had said yes to any of these plans or proposals and forgotten about enosis, then there would never have been a problem on the island, which stands at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and has a strong export orientation.
For most of the last 12 countries to accede to the EU on May 1, 2004 and Jan 1, 2007, membership has been very positive and benefi-cial, meaning improved economic opportunity and free movement across 27 European countries.
Ankara has grown increasingly ambivalent to a settlement de-spite its EU ambitions and the fact that Brussels has linked its appli-cation for membership to a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Dark clouds are being blown by the EU, berthed on the island of Cyprus since May 1, 2004.
Three years after the April 24, 2004 Annan plan referendum, it is now clear that the side being punished by the international community is the Turkish Cypriot side, who voted “yes,” rather than the Greek Cypriots, who rejected the peace plan.
It can be observed that the international isolation and embargo of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) and of the Turkish Cypriots is still ongoing with the hope for finding a solution to the Cy-prus problem becoming increasingly slim.
The contrary and ambitious attitude of the Greek Cypriot admin-istration, with the assurance of being a full member and sitting on the decision-making side of Turkey’s EU accession talks — currently going off track – is gradually eroding the hopes for a solution on the island.
The Greek settlers issue and the Greek soldiers are further com-plicating the Cyprus problem. The existence of 230,000 Greek settlers in the south and 5,000 soldiers from Greece, in particular, definitely have overshadowed the accession and the talks for a substantial solu-tion in the island.
However, for most Cypriots, EU accession is overshadowed by the island’s continuing division. Recent public polls held in the northern Turkish area and southern Greek area reveal the stunning fact that 45 percent of Greek Cypriots and 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots are willing to live in two separate states located side-by-side rather then together under a unilateral single state.