The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had the right and duty to inter-vene in 1974 under the Treaty of Guarantee and whatever the legal arguments about the limits of those treaty rights, they have at least as much humanitarian justification for being there today as NATO troops in the former Yugoslavia.
They are in no sense an occupying force and the UN Security Council has never accused them of invasion or occupation. The “state of affairs established by the basic articles of the 1960 Constitution” was one in which the Turkish Cypriots had at the very least the right to life, and this can be guaranteed today only by the presence of the TSK.
If Turkey had not taken decisive action in 1974, Cyprus would today be a Greek military base with no Turkish Cypriots left alive on the island.
For the past couple of decades Turkish Cypriots have been asked to believe that Greek Cypriots have changed, but they see no evidence of that. Since 1963 Greek Cypriots have maintained unjust local and international political, economic, cultural, social, sporting and trade embargoes on Turkish Cypriots in an attempt to strangle their economy and basic human rights.
This creates tension and animosity, and is clear evidence that the Greek Cypriots have no genuine wish for reconciliation with the Tur-kish Cypriots. Moreover their embargo has no authority under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Those in the EU and the US who express concern for the living standards of Turkish Cypriots should start by refusing to participate in the embargoes any longer. Turkish Cypriots do not want handouts, but they do want a fair chance to earn their own living in the world.
Concerning the Cyprus issue, both sides of every case must be given a fair hearing. But for 38 years the Turkish Cypriots have been excluded from all channels of normal international communication. All too often they have had to sit at the back of the meeting room (or even outside) watching a Greek Cypriot occupying the Cyprus chair. It is rare to hear both points of view in any debate on Cyprus in the EU committees, EU Parliament, British Parliament or the US Congress, or to see the Turkish Cypriot point of view in the international press. The imbalance is particularly noticeable in the European Union, where the key committees are packed with Greek members and their supporters. There are, of course, no Turkish members.
In Washington, London, and Brussels the Greek Cypriot repre-sentatives have their official access to everyone, but the Turkish Cy-priot representatives have access to hardly anyone. This really has to change. It is therefore not surprising that the world has had a rather one-sided perception of Cyprus for more than half a century.
The UN has disabled itself as an impartial interlocutor by taking the side of the Greek Cypriots on the fundamental question which di-vides the two peoples — namely whether the Greek Cypriot administra-tion is entitled to be treated as the government of Cyprus.
Because of the one-sided international perception of Cyprus, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots are always seen as being in the wrong and pressure is constantly applied to them to accommodate Greek Cypriot wishes — something they will not do and cannot reasonably be expected to do by anyone who understands how the present situation in Cyprus has arisen.
The two peoples of Cyprus have negotiated for many years under the auspices of the UN and in March 1986 and May 2004 the Turkish Cypriots twice accepted the UN plans for a settlement. However the Turkish Cypriots eventually realized that the UN talks go nowhere and that the UN could not be relied upon as an impartial interlocutor.
The Greeks are very good indeed at law and public relations and they have spared no effort or resource to put Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots at a serious disadvantage, particularly in the EU and UN and at the US Senate. This is important because Turkey could not join the EU without the approval of parliament. The very effective Greek and Greek Cypriot lobbies have also damaged, and are continuing to dam-age, Turkey’s relations with Britain and the United States.
The Greek Cypriot desire to join the EU had nothing to do with economics as they are already one of the richest countries. Their policy was to become a member because they believed they could use the EU’s political and perhaps even military pressure to push Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots out of Cyprus.