NO HEGEMONIC PEACE IN CYPRUS
By Marios L. Evriviades
VOLTAIRE NETWORK | ATHENS (GREECE) | 5 APRIL 2014
If NATO today trots out the principle of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty to condemn Russia, how come it doesn’t condemn Turkey when it comes to the territorial integrity and sovereignty that Cyprus is equally entitled to? Professor Marios L. Evriviades revisits the Turkish plan and analyzes where it went wrong.
Almost forty years to the date, the Turks finally figured out that they had invaded the wrong geographic region of Cyprus. Cyprus’s power wealth, its hydrocarbons, have been found to be located in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off its southern shores and not in its northern ones, where the NATO-trained and US-supplied Turkish army attacked massively in 1974. Since then and for decades the Turks persistently and stubbornly insisted that whatever the Cyprus problem, it was permanently solved in 1974. These days they are not so sure. And they have turned peace advocates. Or so it seems.
The double irony is that if one were to believe Ankara’s 1974 propaganda, namely that they were not “invading” but that they were merely launching a “peacekeeping operation” to secure the safety of their coreligionists, who were allegedly under threat of instant massacre by their blood thirsty compatriots, then it was the southern part that they should have attacked in the first place! For it was in the southern districts of Limassol and Paphos that the vast majority of the allegedly threatened 100,000 or so Turkish Cypriots lived. They did not live in the Kyrenia district and the Karpass or Morphou regions, that were the targets of the 1974 attack by Turkey.
In fact the autochthonous Greek Cypriot population in the presently Turkish-army occupied part of Cyprus numbered close to 200,000 souls. This is a figure that is twice as large as the total number of Turkish Cypriots who, prior the 1974 invasion, were intermingled with the Greek Cypriots throughout the island but, significantly, constituting nowhere a regional majority (except in a very few villages) . And in July 1974, when the Athens junta- organised coup occurred against the legitimate government of the Republic, they were hardly under any threat, lest one of massacre (“genocide” is Ankara’s favorite term).
Actual inter-communal violence in post-independence Cyprus occurred in 1963/64-65 and in 1967 and it was sporadic. Greek Cypriots are misleadingly cast as the villains of this period. And maybe they were. But those who do cast them as such should at least consult the posthumously published PhD thesis, “Political Geography and the Cyprus Conflict, 1963-1971” of Richard A. Patrick, a Canadian UN peacekeeper in Cyprus turned scholar. Patrick had done meticulous field research on the death toll, especially within the Turkish Cypriot community from 1963-1971 which he complemented with UN documentation, international reports and local police and death records. Space does not allow me to go into details except to say than on the basis of Patrick’s figures the “massacre” and genocide” narratives are upended. And Patrick was no friend of the Greek Cypriots.
My more relevant point is that from 1968 until 20th July 1974, the day of the Turkish invasion, there is no record of any inter-communal fighting in Cyprus and of deaths on either side (except for an accidental one in the early 1970s) and I challenge anyone to document otherwise. And who was it that said that the coup was an internal affair among Greek Cypriots and it was of no concern to the Turkish Cypriots ? No other than the late Rauf Denktash. His comments were recorded on July 15th by the CIA run Foreign Broadcast Information Service stations, operating in Cyprus since 1947.
The 1974 invasion was an act of war against the Republic of Cyprus that had a twin objective. It was designed to establish a non-existent pro-Turkish political argument that the facts on the ground and geography denied. The Turkish Cypriots, spread throughout the island, constituted nowhere and in none of the six districts of Cyprus a majority. That ethnographic and geographic fact produced a dead end for Ankara’s principal argument that Cyprus should be split geographically for partitionist ends. So the invasion was politically designed to conquer the northern part and establish there the geographic basis for partition.
Still the conquest was a necessary but not a sufficient condition towards that objective. The sufficient condition was what followed the Turkish conquest and it was so planned. That was the organised ethnic cleansing of the autochthonous Greek Cypriot population that constituted the majority in the region, and the “gathering”there of the Turkish Cypriots from all over Cyprus. In other words the indigenous Greek Cypriots of the region did not become refugees because of the tragedy of war but because of the design of the invasion. Were they not forced out of their homes they would still have outnumbered the Turkish Cypriots by a 2 to 1 ratio, thus defeating Ankara’s objective in spite of the conquest and forced relocation of Turkish Cypriots to the occupied areas.
Again if the objective of Ankara was the declared one of safeguarding the Turkish Cypriot population, which along with the Greek Cypriot one began to be collectively victimized after the Turkish invasion of July and not before, the Turkish invaders should have proceeded from north to south in order to secure the Limassol and Paphos districts, where the vast majority of the Turkish Cypriots resided. Instead in their August offensive the Turks proceeded to attack easterly and westerly, splitting the country in two and expelling the indigenous population.
The strategic aim of the Turkish invasion was the destruction of the Cypriot state, whose independence and territorial integrity Turkey had otherwise undertook to guarantee under the 1960 accords. But unlike its successful ethnic cleansing strategy, the forceful attempt to destroy the 1960 Republic failed spectacularly. The Cypriot state not only survived the Turkish onslaught and all subsequent and persistent Turkish efforts to de-legitimize it, it succeeded, in 2004, to become a member of the European Union and even preside over it for six months in 2012, to the chagrin of Ankara. Unable to deal with Cypriot legitimacy, Ankara called off the UN sponsored negotiations. Not unsurprising, certain Western chanceries, including the UN Secretariat, were quick to shift the blame for this away from Ankara and place it, eventually, on their favourite bogey.
But there does exist a serious political problem in Cyprus; it has existed for decades and it needs to be addressed and solved foremost for the sake of Cypriots, who in two generations have suffered through an anti-colonial rebellion, a civil war, a coup and an invasion.
For peace to be established in Cyprus two conditions are necessary. First, Turkey’s western supporters, by which I mean essentially Washington and London, must abandon their cockeyed view of Cyprus and their not so subtle strategy to frogmarch the Greek Cypriot majority population into a “Turkish peace”, as they unsuccessfully attempted to do in 2004 through the cratocidal Annan plan. No amount of western cant, sophistry and hypocrisy (revealed in all its glory with the current Crimea crisis) can do away with the fact that the obstacle to peace in Cyprus is the offensively deployed 40,000 Turkish NATO trained and US supplied occupation army and not the alleged intransigence of the majority population of Cyprus. Concomitantly, Turkey must abandon its zero-sum game and its equally cockeyed vision of Cyprus as a Turkish satrapy.
These conditions may seem surreal to those who have been holding for decades a carpentered view of Cyprus. But are they? Why is it that the Indonesian occupation forces had to withdraw from East Timor, why did the Soviets had to leave Afghanistan and before them the Americans from Vietnam and more recently from Iraq, why did the Israelis withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, but the Turkish elephant is allowed to trample cost free all over Cyprus for decades? Are the Turks some sort of “holy cow” in the western family? Are the West’s leaders onto something about the Turks that they selfishly keep to themselves?
Why is there a consensus that there cannot be a solution to the current Ukrainian-Crimea crisis without the restoration of legitimacy, without the threat or use of force and by respecting Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence? Why those in the lead on this issue, the Anglo-Americans, have convinced themselves and have been unsuccessfully trying to convince the overwhelming majority of Cypriots (who in 1974 lost one percent of their population to Turkey’s “peacekeepers”) of the aberrant view that the Turks have so called “red lines” in Cyprus, namely that they must garrison Cyprus in perpetuity and do so through “international treaties”?
The current Greek Cypriot negotiator in the just “restarted” UN sponsored talks is fond of repeating that at this particular juncture the stars may “just align” for a win-win solution. Apparently the catalyst for his optimism, shared by his President and the so called International Community or INTCOM, are the potentially large hydrocarbon deposits discovered in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the southern cost of Cyprus.
I leave unanswered the legitimate query whether Ankara would suddenly have turned “peacemonger”, were the hydrocarbons discovered off the northern shores of Cyprus, except to repeat that for decades Ankara’s thesis has been that the issue had been resolved by the 1974 “peace operation”. The currently advocated win-win peace scenario, is that with the hydrocarbons as “glue”and the concurrent crises in the Middle East and now in the Ukraine (where the energy issue acquires added security significance) posing unpredictable dangers, a Western sponsored sub-regional security system can be constructed in the Eastern Mediterranean that will partner Cyprus, Israel, Turkey and Greece. Such a development would be most welcomed. But for such a security regime to be viable it must have legitimacy. And as such it can only be based on reciprocity, equality, and respect and must be compatible with the existing European legal, political and civil order. No hegemons need apply. Hic Rhodus, hic salta.
Associate Professor, Department of International, European and Regional Studies, Panteion University, Athens. He is the author of The U.S. and Cyprus: The politics of manipulation in the 1985 U.N. Cyprus high level meeting (1992).
THE CYPRIOT PAWN
By Thierry Meyssan
VOLTAIRE NETWORK | MOSCOW (RUSSIA) | 25 MARCH 2013
Washington was quick to use the financial crisis in Cyprus to implement a strategy for capturing capital described three weeks ago in these columns . With the help of the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, US comprador Christine Lagarde, the American leadership challenged the inviolability of private property in the European Union and attempted to confiscate a tenth of bank deposits, supposedly to bail out the Cypriot national bank affected by the Greek crisis.
It goes without saying that the stated purpose is but a pretext and, far from solving the problem, this confiscation, if it were to be implemented, would only make matters worse. Threatened, the remaining capital would flee the island causing the collapse of its economy.
The only real solution would be to cancel the debt, while anticipating revenues from the development of Cypriot gas. It would be all the more logical given that cheap gas would kick-start the European Union’s economy. But Washington has decided otherwise. Europeans are asked to continue to purchase their energy at high prices in the Middle East, while the cheap gas is made available to fuel the Israeli economy.
To hide the decision-making role played by Washington, this bank hold-up is not presented as a requirement of the IMF, but as that of a troika including the EU and the ECB. In this perspective, confiscation would replace devaluation, rendered impossible due to Cyprus’ euro zone membership. Except that the devaluation would not be a policy of Nicosia, but a diktat from the head of the ECB, Mario Draghi, the former European director of Goldman Sachs, which is precisely the main creditor of Cyprus.
Ms Lagarde, former legal adviser to the U.S. military-industrial complex, does not seek to harm Cyprus, but to panic European-based capital and direct it to Wall Street so that it may revive U.S. finances. Why pick on this island? Because it is one of the few tax havens remaining within the European Union and because the deposits there are mainly Russian. Why do it now? Because the Cypriots made the mistake of electing US comprador Nikos Anastasiades for their new president. Thus they followed in the footsteps of the Greeks who, victims of the same American mirage, had elected as Prime Minister the Amercian comprador, Georgios Papandreou.
This little cook-up, however, went wrong. The Cypriot parliament voted unanimously against the confiscatory taxation of bank deposits. There is an apparent paradox there. The Liberal government wants to nationalize one-tenth of capital while the Communist Parliament defends private property. That is because this nationalization would not profit the national community, but rather international finance.
And so friendly advice has been replaced by threats. There is talk of excluding Cyprus from the eurozone if the people’s representatives persist in their refusal. However, this is hardly possible. The treaties were designed so that the eurozone is a one-way journey. It is not possible to leave on one’s own, or to be excluded, unless you leave the European Union.
Moreover, this option, which had not been foreseen by the racketeers, is feared by Washington. If the island left the Union, it would be bought again for ten billion by Moscow. It would be the worst example: a state area of western influence joining the Russian sphere of influence, in every way contrary to what we have seen since the fall of the USSR. It would surely be followed by the other Balkan states, starting with Greece.
For Washington, this doomsday scenario must be avoided at all costs. A few months ago, it was enough for the State Department to raise an eyebrow for Athens to renounce the selling of its energy sector to Moscow. This time, all means, even the most anti-democratic, will be used against Cypriots if they resist.
Russia feigns disinterest. Vladimir Putin has ignored advantageous investment offers that have been made by the Anastasiades government. This is because he does not intend to save the Russian oligarchs who had stashed their money on the island, nor the European Union who had helped them to organize their tax evasion. Behind the scenes, he negotiated a secret agreement with Angela Merkel which should allow a financial solution to the crisis, but which should also lead to a broad challenge to European rules. Incidentally, the Tsar has gleaned astonishing information about the amazing Russian investments in the island during the Medvedev era; information that could be used as a supplementary means to pressure the fickle Russian Prime Minister.
 “The NATO economy, solution to the crisis in the United States,” March 3, 2013.