The conflict in Cyprus has been ongoing for the past 44 years. Yet, there still seems to be no sign of a settlement, whether in the form of a federation or a confederation. Nothing at all. Partition is now in the scope of things. The current situation in Cyprus is the result of years of hostilities between Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and the Greek and Turkish governments.
The Greek Cypriots and the Greek government have seen the so-lution to the problem as enosis — unification with Greece for the whole of the island of Cyprus — since 1796. Beginning in 1947 with the Lord Winster Plan, almost 33 plans, proposals, constitutions, initiatives and similar solutions have been put on the table to settle the Cyprus issue. All of these were rejected by the Greek Cypriots, as they did not pave the way to enosis.
Greek Cypriots deserve all the shame and blame for the current situation on the island. The pre-British owners of the island, the Tur-kish Cypriots and the Turkish government, now see the solution as partition — independence for the northern part of Cyprus, known to Turks and Turkish Cypriots as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cy-prus (KKTC) — after all the bitter experiences of the past 44 years and non-fruitful negotiations, which most of the time were dragged to a dead end by the Greek Cypriots and their enosis ideal.
The inhabitants of Cyprus share no common language except English, no common history or literature, no common schools or sport-ing clubs and no common religion. Nor do they, except superficially, share any common culture. Under the Ottoman Turkish administra-tion, the Turks and Greeks living in Cyprus coexisted peacefully. It wasn’t until the takeover of the island by Britain that their relationship began to deteriorate.
The 1959 London and Zurich agreements and the 1960 Republic of Cyprus Constitution that were signed by Britain, Greece, Turkey, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, were based on equality and partnership between the two communities and the independence and sovereignty of the island.
There had to be joint presence and effective participation by both sides in all the organs of the state in order to legitimize the 1960 Con-stitution. Neither community had the right to rule the other, nor could one of the communities claim to be the government of the other. The aim of the basic articles of both the constitution and the treaties were to safeguard the rights of two equal peoples. The treaties also created an external balance between the two “motherlands.” Turkey and Greece were not able to obtain a more favorable political or economic position than the other with respect to Cyprus.
The 1960 agreements prohibited the membership of Cyprus in any international organization or pacts of alliance in which both Turkey and Greece were not members, but they were unfortunately overruled by the EU, accepting the Cyprus (Greek) Government as a member state.
The hopes of a peaceful life under this new political partnership were crashed by Greek Cypriots on the road to enosis. It became ob-vious that this peace was not going to be possible because Greece and the Greek Cypriots did not intend to abide by the constitution. They did not give up their ambition for annexation of the island to Greece and the Greek Cypriot leadership sought to unlawfully bring about constitutional change.
In effect, this would negate the “partnership” status of the Turkish Cypriots and clear the way for annexation with a Turkish minority. The only way that the Greek Cypriots could achieve their aims was to destroy the legitimate order, by the use of brute force, to overtake the joint state. The rule of law collapsed on the island in 1963 as a result of a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus.
Greeks tried to get 13 basic articles of the 1960 Agreement ab-olished. These articles were there to protect the Turkish Cypriots and by removing them the Turkish Cypriots would be reduced to a minority subject to Greek Cypriot control. Christmas of 1963 saw Greek Cypriot militia attacks on Turkish Cypriot communities across the island, kill-ing many men, women and children. Two-hundred and seventy mos-ques, shrines and other places of worship were desecrated; 103 Turkish villages were leveled. The constitution became unworkable because of the refusal on the part of the Greek Cypriots to fulfill the obligations they had agreed to. The bi-national republic that was imagined by the treaties ceased to exist in December 1963.
The Greek Cypriot wing of the “partnership” state later took the title “Government of Cyprus” and the Turkish Cypriots, who never ac-cepted the seizure of power, began to set up a Turkish administration to run their own affairs. Britain has in effect washed its hands of Cyprus, despite many opinions that they are partly responsible for the division in the island. Cyprus is a former colony and despite Britain’s having guarantor powers over the island, they refused to intervene when it was most needed.
Britain should have taken the lead over other countries and done what they said in 1960 that they would — which was to guarantee the rights of all those living on the island. They, along with most countries, refuse to recognize the KKTC as being independent and see it as an illegitimate state. The Turkish Cypriots saw their declaration of inde-pendence as the only way to guarantee the rights of Turkish Cypriots, the citizens of the KKTC.
Now it is obvious that nothing short of symmetry between the two communities of “Cyprus” will bring peace to the island, except partition and the recognition of the both states on the island.