It is now exactly 1,327 days, or three years, seven months and 17 days, since the referendum on the Annan plan, held on April 24, 2004, and still there is no peace on the island nor a sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue due to the 75 percent majority of “No” votes from the Greek Cypriots.
Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos — irrespective of his assurances to EU officials of the “Yes” votes of Greek Cypriots to open up the gates for the annexation to the EU prior to the referendum — unexpectedly changed the direction of the vote by addressing Greek Cypriots on local TV stations a few days before the referendum, oppos-ing the Annan plan and urging Greek Cypriots to vote “No” on the refe-rendum while reinforcing this with genuine tears in his eyes.
The result of the referendum was that 65 percent of the Turkish Cypriots voted in favor of the Annan plan for the formation of a bi-communal, bi-zonal “United Cyprus Republic,” which meant a sus-tainable solution to the Cyprus problem, and 75 percent of the Greek Cypriots voted against.
What if the Greek Cypriots had voted in favor of the Annan plan in the 2004 referendum?
1. The bi-zonal, bi-communal “United Cyprus Republic” would have been officially declared and internationally recognized.
2. In June 13, 2004, the members of the federal parliament, senators representing the people and the members of the European Parlia-ment from both founding states would have been elected.
3. The federal parliament would be formed.
4. Four Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots with full voting rights, together with two Greek Cypriots and one Turkish Cypriot without voting rights, would form the federal presidential council.
5. The president of the “United Cyprus Republic” would be the Greek Cypriot member of the presidential cabinet until June 2, 2008, the last day of the fifth alternation period, comprising 300 days each. Alternatively, in each odd-numbered period, a Greek Cypriot mem-ber of the presidential cabinet would become president and a Tur-kish Cypriot would take the post in each even-numbered period.
6. The disposition of immovable property would have already been started, and the Turkish Cypriot founding state would have handed over at least 25 villages to the Greek Cypriot founding state in the areas agreed and defined in the Annan plan.
7. Some 25,000 Greek Cypriots would have vacated their pre-1974-owned condominiums and the progressive return of a further 60,000 Greek Cypriots choosing to live in the territories of the Tur-kish Cypriot founding state would be completed. A total of 85,000 Greek Cypriots would now be residing in the north.
8. Turkish visitors from Turkey would need an EU entry visa to visit Cyprus.
9. Some 36,500 Turkish troops would already have left the island ac-cording to the “Progressive Return Plan” as defined in the plan, and the remaining troops would need permission to leave from the UN.
10. The Greek Cypriot pre-1974 land owners would have regained pos-session of one-third of their lands before the end of 2008.
11. The Greek Cypriot pre-1974 land owners would start receiving monetary compensation for the remaining two-thirds of their lands at the beginning of 2009.
12. An “autonomous Greek Cypriot region” consisting of four villages on the Karpaz Peninsula would already be established and all the pre-1974 residents of these villages and their descendants would be living there under their own rule.
13. Demilitarization of both founding states would be completed and the local armed forces of both states, the Greek National Guards and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), would be demobilized.
14. Some 12,000 Turkish Cypriot civil servants would lose their jobs due to the adaptation of EU rules and regulations.
15. Greek Cypriot bureaucrats would be occupying all the higher offices in the government structure of the United Cyprus Republic, until the necessary training of the Turkish Cypriots was fully completed, taking a minimum of four years.
16. The most important offices in civil aviation, airports, the central bank, land registry, telecommunications, customs, immigration, coast guard and maritime would be administered by the federal government, in which almost 90 percent of the high level bureau-crats would be Greek Cypriots.
These are only some of the benefits the Greek Cypriots would have received if they had voted “Yes” on the referendum. Unfortunately the 1796 “Megalo Idea” of the Hellenic world caused Papadopoulos to dream of establishing a “Unitary Greek State” in Cyprus since 1960 and accordingly led him to reject all proposals paving the way to a sus-tainable peace in Cyprus.