Long-Term Turkish Strategy on Cyprus as Recorded in the British National Archives – Interview with Mrs. Fanoulla Argyrou October 6, 2015
Long-Term Turkish Strategy on Cyprus as Recorded in the British National Archives
Interview with Mrs. Fanoulla Argyrou.
October 6, 2015
Christodoulos Pelaghias (C.P.).: Good afternoon, and welcome again to an afternoon interview. This is part of our ongoing program on Democracy and the Rule of Law. This afternoon we are very happy to have with us Mrs Fanoulla Argyrou, a journalist and researcher based in London. We also have Dr Klearchos Kyriakides, who heads up our Democracy and Rule of Law Program. The topic tonight is “Turkish Long-term Strategy on Cyprus as Recorded in the British National Archives”, as researched by Mrs Fanoulla Argyrou. Before we start, I need to remind you that the views expressed tonight are personal views of the discussants. Mrs Argyrou, people in Cyprus know you from the interesting revelations you bring from studying the British archives. Aren’t such archives ever censored, at least as far as the really interesting parts? Is there a chance of being misled by the material?
Fanoulla Argyrou (F.A.): First of all, thank you for the invitation, and I will answer your question. The National Archives, the British National Archives have uniqueness. They have a continuation… They do not mislead, unless you want to be misled yourself. I’ll explain why. If you do not research the documents, say, if you go to the archives today and you pull out a file of 1985, and you haven’t read what was written in nineteen eighty-four, you will probably be misled. In that you have to be very careful into researching and knowing the continuation of the documents, because the British foreign policy is consistent, has a continuation, is a state policy, and is based on safeguarding the British interests. We are talking about different departments: Foreign Office, Ministry of Defense, Cabinet files, Prime Minister’s files, Home Office, Intelligence, and every aspect of political, military, and whatever is involved in every day governance in Britain. So I don’t believe they mislead, if you know how to research.
C.P.: But after all, you are identifying the views of several individuals in the British Foreign Office. How confident are you that, first of all, their valuations are correct, and secondly, that you have a full picture of the evaluations?
F.A: In answering this I should say that the documents that are censored are estimated to be roughly 1%, so the rest of the documents are there. And as I said before, if your research and you study the documents carefully, they give you the very right picture. As far as the Turkish policies are concerned, I believe Turkish track record speaks for itself. And the documents that are there are confirmed by every day, year by year, every-day actions of Turkey, and the documents are hundred per cent correct in their description of Turkish policy.
C.P.: And what is the description of Turkish policy as far as Cyprus is concerned?
F.A.: A lot. For instance, we can start from 1955, when Britain with the Tripartite Conference brought in Turkey. Turkey decided, embarked on a policy of recapturing Cyprus, and that was the title of the constitutionalist Dr Nihat Erim, who was commissioned by Prime Minister Menderes, the Turkish Prime Minister at the time, to prepare a plan how to re-capture Cyprus. Ever since that policy has been carried to the latter, to this very day. And to this I will confirm you this opinion of mine, which is held by many. In 2014 there was a study by Turkish Hihmet Zeki Kapci, in the Journal of Modern Turkish History Studies, titled: “The Nihat Erim Report for the Solution of Cyprus Problem”. The result of this study, according to the Turkish writer said: after the Tripartite Conference in London in 1955, Turkey changed policy and asked for the partition of Cyprus. That report was given to the Turkish Prime Minister of the 24th November 1956 and it is estimated that Turkey has been following that report of Nihat Erim to this very day. Now, we go back to 1955and following that, in 1956. There had been a lot of exchanges between the British and Turkish governments. And in November ‘56 a delegation headed by the Prime Minister Menderes came to London and they had talks with the British government. At the same time the British government had appointed Lord Radcliffe to prepare constitutional proposals for Cyprus. On the 16th of December 1956 the then Colonial Secretary went to Turkey and had a very secret and historical important meeting with Turkish Prime Minister in Constantinople, where it was agreed that the whole policy of Turkey was in fact concentrated in one statement, which was read by the British Colonial Secretary three days later on the 19th of December 1956, and I will read it.
Klearchos Kyriakides (K.K.): This is the statement read by the Colonial Secretary of United Kingdom in the House of Commons on the 19th December 1956.
F.A.: It was when they officiated the Radcliffe Proposals, and at the same time this was a promise given to the Turkish Prime Minister, and in fact the most important element is that Menderes actually dictated that statement to the British Colonial Office Secretary. And it read: “When the international and strategic situation permits, and when self-government is working satisfactorily, Her Majesty’s Government would be ready to review the question of the application of self-determination. When the time comes for this review, that is when the conditions have been fulfilled, it will be that purpose of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure that any exercise of self-determination will be affected in such a manner, that the Turkish Cypriot community, no less than the Greek Cypriot community shall have freedom to decide for themselves their future status. This would mean that in the event of the exercise of self-determination resulting in a choice in favor of a change of the international status of the island, then the Turkish Cypriots will be given the option of electing for partition”. That was the promise for self-determination to a minority of 18% and the Turks after that they put, you know, forward their full demands on Cyprus.
K.K.: Just a jump in if I may. So what you’re saying Fanoulla is that the statement delivered by (…….) on the floor of the House of Commons was primarily based upon guidance given to him by the Turkish Government in talks prior to the delivery of that statement.
C.P.: A lot of people in Cyprus have a feeling the British were behind stirring up Turkish interest for Cyprus. Is that true? I can’t envision that a country as large as Turkey would not have a latent policy on Cyprus. Now, whether they brought it to the surface and when they brought it to the surface is a different question. But I think the impression here is that Turkey had written Cyprus off, but for British pressure sometime after the ’55, ’56, in that period, and that was what brought Turkey back into the picture. Is that correct, or is that a misunderstanding?
F.A.: It’s roughly correct. It’s roughly correct, because we have evidence that in 1955, for instance, the British were asking for advising the Turks to start bringing in the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. And we have one reference for this that says: “This hasn’t happened yet. Now you have to wake up and do it”. And even so it goes on to say that: “If you don’t know how to do it, you should employ public relations companies to do it for you”. That’s one reference that there is there. But the Turks always had Cyprus in mind and they didn’t want it to go to Greek hands if the British left so but it was with the help of the British Foreign Office and Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, one of the officials, who actually admitted that he was the first one to air the idea of partition…
K.K.: Which was in ’56…
F.A.: …’56. And he was the person who initiated the tripartite conference to bring in Turkey. And from there on the Turks carried on, you know, they carried on their plans. That’s how they had Nihat Erim’ report, and after the 19th of December ‘56 statement, when they secured the promise and the pledge for partition, early 1957, they moved on, and they said: you know, we don’t want partition now, we want federation. And they explained that they wanted two zones, and that’s how the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation was evolved. It was in 1957, having had the partition pledge they moved on to federation, and they said: no, we want federation. And not even the British could believe that they could achieve it.
K.K.: I just want to reinforce the point here. What the British documents reveal, and I had the privilege of looking at some of them as well, in my studies in the past… What the British documents reveal is that in this critical period from 1955 to 1966 the Turks in tandem with the British developed the idea that the people of Cyprus should be subdivided strictly into Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. And on the other hand, the territory of Cyprus could in certain circumstances be partitioned into Greek and Turkish zones. So when one talks about partition, it’s important to bear in mind that
there are two types of partition at play here: there is the constitutional and demographic partition between Greek Cypriots in one camp, and Turkish Cypriots in the other camp, and the territorial partition, with the Greek zone on one side of the island and the Turkish zone on the other side, with two British zones further the south. So that’s the importance of ’55 – ‘56 origins of the idea of two communities and two zones.
C.P.: What is presented is that federation, or the move towards federation is a compromise on the part of Turkey that originally wanted partition, and now is settling for a constitutional arrangement, or settlement if you will, that has elements of bizonality, etc. Is this what it is, or am I hearing something else, is that in fact the federation an advanced on the petition demands, it’s more a progression rather than a regression.
F.A.: Originally in 1955 at the tripartite conference the then Foreign Secretary Fatin Zorlu, he said that partition was a sacrifice for Turkey because they wanted the whole of Cyprus. But it was sacrificing, they would have had half of it. Now after having that pledge as I said, and they moved on and they decided, to go for two zones and Federation, the British said: but this is not federation, this is confederation. And if one decides to abandon the federation, then the federation breaks. Anyway, they carried on, and gradually they sold, in the meantime there were a lot of plans, partition plans prepared by the British and different lines, and this and that. But the Turks carried on on federation. And they knew, because with Federation they could control both sides of Cyprus with partition they would only have one. So they were very clever in progressing step by step, and gaining step in holding on to that game to this very day. And we find in 1957 studies for federation started being prepared in the Foreign Office.
K.K.: As well as studies for partition.
F.A.: As well as studies for partition. And we come to January ‘58 when they started really talking about federation with Nihad Erim in London demanding a lot of things, but because at the time the Americans and NATO, and the world public opinion wouldn’t accept partition of Cyprus, at the time when the colonies were being liberated and having independence and everything, the British stirred the Turks into accepting the independence of Cyprus eventually, but consenting to evolving constitutional devices. And Nihat Erim was a clever man, so not being able to achieve in full what they wanted, he consented to that, and that’s why he imposed a lot of the articles and a lot of elements in the Zurich Constitution are based on Nihat Erim’s demands. And thus they accepted the London and Zurich Agreements with knowledge, both the British and the Turks, that it wouldn’t last, it would soon break. And they were estimating three to four years.
K.K.: Just to recap: as the 1950s unfolded, or the early1950s unfolded, Turkish strategy was based on either preserving the British rule on the island, all recovering the island, and it was in that context that we had “Cyprus is Turkish” movement evolve.
K.K.: They then from 1955 onwards came into the picture diplomatically with the Tripartite Conference, which the British and Greece had effectively acknowledged that Turkey had a stake in the future of Cyprus, in spite of the Treaty of Lausanne. And then in 1956 we have the emergence of the idea of partition and the carve-up of the island into two communities and two zones.
C.P.: So partition was a compromise to total control, which in fact the federation… is this what you are saying, that federation has more to do with total control…
C.P.: …than as a retreat from partition.
K.K.: Well, I’m going to referrer to Fanoulla’s expertise on the emergence of federation. But what I will say at this point, is it’s terribly important to understand the essence of Turkish strategy. Fanoulla put a finger on it earlier. Turkey’s strategy originally sought to recapture the whole of Cyprus. I have in front of me here a statement given by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on the floor of the House of Commons, on the 26th of June 1958 in which he said – Mr McMillan: “The Turks—I am putting their view—regard Cyprus as an extension of the Anatolian Plain, a kind of offshore island with vital significance for their defence and their security. They say—this has been their argument up to now—that the Turkish-Cypriot community must not be ruled by a Greek-Cypriot community and they have advocated the physical separation of the two communities by means of a territorial partition”. So the importance of this period, and this is why we’re dwelling on the importance of this period from ’54, ’55, ’56,’57, ’58, is that it gives us the historical foundation for what we are seeing today, which is the attempt to cement, and to purportedly legitimize the constitutional division of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and the territorial division of Cyprus into Greek zone and the Turkish zone.
F.A.: And in addition to this, in order to separate and segregate the communities, and to advance the federation idea, we find that on 15th of March 1957 it was recorded in the Foreign Office, from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office, that the Turks demanded that the word “minority” covering the Turkish Cypriots be replaced by the word “community”. So that is most important, because they actually separated the population of Cyprus into two communities, and we find that they insist on two communities, even if I just make a little parenthesis. On the 10th of August 1974 at the Geneva Conference the Turkish Foreign Minister of the time, Güneş, he was asking for two autonomous federal states, and he was underlining the fact: only two communities. So I close the parenthesis here and I can give you some more examples. For instance, in another point is that in January and February 1958 exchanges between the British and the Turks on the Federation and constitutional equality in Cyprus, its written that the Prime Minister Menderes said that in his view the following the main point which needed clarification, and one of them was that the federal basis of that regime in Cyprus, it should be in a form, which gave equal rights to the Turkish and Greek communities since then. And ironically, there is another reference on the 1st of January 1956, at six months after the Tripartite Conference, the Department of the Foreign Office was quoting that if the British come to the point and the Turks, you know, press them, they should tell them that in a democratic constitution, it is impossible to give equal rights of voting to two communities with such a big difference in numbers.
K.K.: And what were those numbers?
F.A.: 18% and 82%. But still, it was the same British government that consented to every single demand the Turks made.
K.K.: I have to make again the connection with the present. If we read the joint declaration that was issued by Mr Anastasiades wearing his hat in the House of Commons as the Greek Cypriot leader, and Dr Eroglou, the then Turkish Cypriot leader, on the 11th of February 2014, one sees the following phrase: the objective of the settlement processes is the formation of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, consisting of two politically equal communities. So what Fanoulla has effectively told us is that the origins of that phrase: two politically equal communities, go back to this period in the late 1950s. It’s an integral part of Turkish strategy, its objective is to undermine the principle of majoritarian democracy, to elevate the status of a minority into a community, and thereby set the scene for constitutional partition. There is of course a problem here, because the Armenians, the Latins, the Maronites, and others who live on the island are compelled to be swept up into one of the two communities. Because the Turkish strategy rests on what I call the Turkish “two people it one island thesis”. They keep on saying there are two communities, only two communities and they sometimes vary by saying there are two peoples. So you are compressed, irrespective of your background: you can be Jewish, you can be Buddhist, you can be Hindu, you are compressed, compelled to go into one of those two communities.
C.P.: Which is not what happened in Lebanon, where they have at the end of the day constitutionally recognized seventeen or eighteen communities.
K.K.: Eighteen I think it was.
C.P.: So theoretically it could have been done. But there was a political reason I guess in Cyprus not to do it.
K.K.: Yes. Fanoulla, take us to the Zurich-London Agreements – how did they come about, and what was their significance to the evolution of the concept of the two communities and two zones.
F.A.: Well, they put the foundation, actually, for Turkey to continue its policy and gradually, because of the veto of the Turkish Cypriots, that veto, you know, safeguarded the unworkability of the constitution and a lot of elements were unworkable, for instance 70%-30% in the civil service. The Turkish community or minority, they didn’t have so many people…
C.P.:… it was too small.
F.A.: … it was too small to fill up all these places. And Nihat Erim was the instigator of the separate municipalities – that didn’t work. And at the end we find that Archbishop Makarios was compelled to draft that 13-point report, you know, to try and make some changes and make it workable – well, that didn’t work either. And we see that the Turks continued their policy of demanding federation. They got prepared, they armed the Turkish Cypriots, the TMT and everything, and in December 1963 they attacked us and that’s how we have at the end the United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 in March, which established peacekeeping force United Nations in Cyprus. The Turks moved into their enclaves, and they stayed there until 1974, and that was according to the Turkish plan of establishing a foothold in Cyprus with federation, which they did in 1974 with the invasion. But I go back to 1960s. In 1963 after the events on the 16th of January 1964, Britain convened a conference in London and Rauf Denktash, the then Turkish Cypriot leader demanded geographical separation, geographical federation with the population exchanges, with compensation with people moving from one side to the other and being compensated for their properties, and they wanted a whole area, the northern area of Cyprus for themselves. That was in line with the Turkish policy of federation, of two zones. Then in April-May or June of 1964, again, the Turkish Cypriots continued to demand this, and they issued documents for a federal Cyprus with Greek Cypriot government and the Turkish Cypriot government. And that was again a continuation of the Turkish policy. And these are quite explicit in the British documents.
K.K.: Can I just make a couple of observations here? So in this period from 1960-64 we see the emergence, or the re-emergence, or the evolution of the concept of two communities and two zones: first of all with the Zurich-London Agreements and the 1960 Constitution, that was constitutional partition. Greek Cypriots were herded into the Greek community, which was defined with reference to Greek culture and the Greek Orthodox Church, on the other side – the Turkish community was defined with reference to Turkish culture and Islam. So you had an ethno-religious constitutional partition in 1960. We always hear from some people in Cyprus, understandably, that the Cyprus question is purely a matter of invasion and occupation, and the partition is a product of the invasion and occupation. In my view the partition of Cyprus began in 1960, with the constitutional partition, and what happened in 1964 – 63, ‘64 – and in ‘74 was the staged territorial partition of Cyprus. I do want the viewers to appreciate this distinction between the constitutional partition on the one hand, and a territorial partition on the other.
C.P.: Also, if Fanoulla will allow me, I think there was a certain degree of blame on our part. Because I think, I know that was not your intention from what you said before, the suggestion is that the Turkish side really initiated the problem and started this unfortunate series of events. But there was a tendency, and I remember, I was a young person in those days, but I do remember it, that it was with the sense of relief on the Greek side to see the Turkish Cypriots leave the institutions that were part of the 1960 Constitution. So you know, I think there was, if not complicity, than certainly a certain degree of synergy from our part into what led to be the situation in 1964.
F.A.: Well I believe it wasn’t that much, but I have something else I want to say, is that in a document found in the office of the Turkish Cypriot Ministry of Agriculture, if I’m not wrong, Mr Fazil Plumer, you know when events took place in December 63, all the Turkish Cypriots in the civil service were ordered to abandon their places and concentrate in the Turkish Cypriot enclaves. Mr Fazil Plumer apparently left, or forgot, that documents for whatever reason in his office and the authorities of the Republic found it. And that was signed 14 September 1963, and was signed by the vice president Dr Fazıl Küçük, and the then President of the Communal Chamber, Rauf Denktash. Now that document is quite a revelation in detailing all the plans for a takeover, say, to topple the Republic of Cyprus and create two federal states in its place. Mr (Christodoulos Veniamin) the ex -minister of interior, if you know, he wrote a book and he published the whole of that document as an annex in this book. And I go back to 1964, and to a report from Major General W. H. A. Bishop, who was in the Common Relations Office, and he was appointed as an acting High Commissioner here at the time for a few months.
F.A.: Yes, only for a few months, in putting aside Arthur Clarke, they said he was ill or something… Anyway. He (W. H. A. Bishop) said that the Communal Chamber, the Turkish Communal Chamber published a pamphlet entitled “Federation and the Cyprus Economy”, which set out a stake to a claim in North Cyprus, bounded by a line from Yialia to Famagusta – Yialia is in Paphos – covering 37 % of total area of Cyprus and purported to prove that it would be feasible economically. Pamphlet was in fact full of the usual polemics and muddled thinking and contained few, if any valid economic arguments in favour of federation. And that was written by a man, who was supporting, in actual fact, the Turkish positions, because back in the Foreign Office following that December ‘63 events we find that the Foreign Office on the 3rd of January 1964 had already started memorandums and plans for a federal Cyprus.
K.K.: This is very interesting and I have to go for a comment here with reference to democracy and the rule of law. In the liberal democratic tradition we have the principle of equality under the law: everybody is equal and treated equally under the law, irrespective of their race, religion or other background. In Cyprus in 1960 we didn’t have a problem with liberal democracy established, we had what was called a “bi-communal partnership state”, to use the jargon Turkey enjoys using, with communal chambers! And the allocation of places in the government not according to ability, or qualifications, or credibility, but according to whether one was a Greek or Turk, or whether the quota of 70% – 30% needed to be reached, and in some cases it was a 60:40 ratio, so the whole system was built around the opposite of meritocracy, and the opposite of equality. That’s the first thing that people need to realize. We are going to have a perpetuation of that, if we have a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, because people will be appointed to positions in government or in Parliament, or the judiciary not necessarily because they’re the best or because they’re qualified, but because they happen to be a Greek Cypriot, or a Turkish Cypriot.
F.A.: They have to fill the place.
K.K.: They have to fill the place. The second thing that I wanted to comment on is the importance of 1960, is that it established the bi-communal state. In other words, it was a constitution that was a product of bi-communalism. I’m a law lecturer by profession and I way I was taught, and I now teach mu students, to search for the origins and the meaning of a particular word that is significant to us. And I’ve gone in search for the meaning of the word bi-communalism. And “bi-communism” is a variation of “communalism”. What is communalism? The Oxford English Dictionary gives us the answer: communalism refers to the organization of society at the level of the community rather than the individual. Western liberal democracy rests on the individual! Communalism rests on the community. And the Oxford Dictionary goes on to tell us that communalism has a tendency to engender strong allegiance to one’s own ethnic or religious group rather than to a society or nation as a whole. It is also likely to engender religious factionalism, and ethno-centrism. So to the bloodshed and the destruction, and the murders that took place in Cyprus in 1963-64 and afterwards, which I condemn unreservedly irrespective of who committed the murders, those murders, and that bloodshed, and that inter-communal turmoil was a product, and a reflection of communalism.
C.P.: Which dates back to the previous concept of millet of the Ottoman period. It’s interesting that you identified that it’s not a Western concept. Communalism is more an Oriental concept; it’s an Oriental, imperial method of keeping peace among ethnic groups who are part of the empire, or part of the (unclear). The British didn’t use that, or did they? They used an adaptation of that in Cyprus, but hid it under Western concept. I think there is communalism masquerading as “group rights”, where “group rights” are accepted under Western concept. Especially in the United States you have an affirmative action. What is it: you find a group of citizens that are in a weaker economic or other position, and you try to improve their lot. So you could sell that on a Western conceptual basis, but not the real essence of communalism, which is exactly based on a perpetuation of racial, ethnic and religious differences. This is what happened in Cyprus.
K.K.: And this is what distinguishes Cyprus and Belgium and Switzerland and other consociational models that are often portrayed as if Cyprus was similar to them. The differences is Cyprus has been constitutionally partitioned into Christians and Muslims, which is in my view unacceptable, because I believe in integration and in equality and non-discrimination, and in Cyprus bi-communalism serves the Turkish strategy – it doesn’t serve the interests of democracy; it serves the interests of Turkey.
F.A.: That was initially a Turkish idea.
K.K.: Can we go back to Fanoulla and ask her to explain the development of the idea of the bi-communal, bi-zonal federation in this period from 1964 to 74. So what happened in that period to enable us to understand how this idea of a bi-communal bi-zonal federation evolved.
F.A.: It’s very simple, because after ‘74 when the Turkish Cypriots concentrated in their enclaves…
K.K: …’64, you mean after ‘64…
F.A.: ‘64, yes. They concentrated in their enclaves, and they insisted in demanding federation. They never changed their policy. And we find year-by-year in the British documents that they refer to the Turkish demand. For instance we go to 12th of January 1965, Prime Minister İnönü sent a four-page letter to the British Prime Minister and the same time he applies to the American President and he’s asking: help to establish a Federation in Cyprus, in very clear terms – it’s an official letter, with the Prime Minister’s signature and everything. And we find that in 1967 the Turks in the occupied areas, in their enclaves, say, they even issue so national, in inverted commas, lottery tickets. They have their own lottery. Here is the signature of mister, Prime Minister İnönü. And this carries, and in January 1974 the Turks hardened their line. They started demanding, actually demanding federation and this carries on through 74, until July, when the events happen, the coup happens and the invasion takes place. And before the invasion however there is a very significant, you know, point there, there is a historical point, is that on the 17th of July 1974 when Prime Minister Ecevit arrived in London and had talks, and actually he came with an (entourage) of officials, with military and political officials, and they had a meeting, a very lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Wilson and James (Callaghan) and a lot of other government officials, it went up to midnight, and with lunch and everything, and they agreed to proceed with the Turkish invasion, the British gave them their consent as long as they didn’t touch the bases. And from documents I discovered later Ecevit that night also told them the extent he planned for the Attila. He told them exactly up to where the Attila line would go. Perhaps they didn’t take him that seriously at that time, but he did. And the next day on the 18th of July the American official Sisco, Joseph Sisco arrived in London. He was sent by Foreign Secretary Dr Henry Kissinger and edge of it was very explicit, the documents are very explicit in detailing everything Ecevit told Sisco. In fact they are more explicit in detailing what he told Sisco, than what he told the British. And they say that he asked for 2 autonomous regions and separation of the communities, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot…
K.K.: Under one federal umbrella, federal in inverted commas of course.
F.A.: Yes, under “federal umbrella”.
C.P.: You’ve described when the Turks adopted the idea. When did the Greeks adopt it? When did we adopt it?
F.A.: Well, I’m very sorry to say but the documents say that our side had accepted, consented to a federal system before Geneva, before the second invasion. For the second invasion
F.A.: Yes, ’74. Because although they didn’t accept, they didn’t sign anything, the evidence say that they had accepted some sort… But they were reluctant to accept or sign any geographical separation as such, because James Callaghan was really pushing the Greek Cypriots representation and the Greek representation to accept geographical Federation, separation, saying that if you don’t, you know, the Turks will carry on with the second invasion.
C.P.: But federation or just separation?
F.A.: It is a federation.
C.P.: It could have been a confederation.
F.A.: No, it wasn’t a confederation at the time. It was a geographical separation – two regions.
K.K: Segregated regions, or zones.
F.A.: But very soon after on the 12th of August 1974 the Turkish Foreign Secretary Güneş proposed a plan of six cantons covering roughly between 34 to 37% of the area under Turkish rule and at the same time Rauf Denktash proposed and delivered his plan which covered the same area but under the bi-zonal bi-communal federation.
K.K.: This is important, because Turkey in 1974 was pressing for a cantonal arrangement, so you have that pockets of Turkish Cypriots segregated from Greek Cypriots and others. But Mr Denktash was pressing for two zones, and for two Communities.
F.A.: He was very clear.
K.K.: He was very clear. And in the end it was Mr Denktash who won the day.
C.P.: Most people point to the so called Summit Agreements between Makarios and Denktash as the foundation of the idea federation. Is that (………)
F.A.: No. British documents are very explicit and very clear, and actually topple everything that people knew so far. The 12th February 1977 was not an agreement, was not even a press release. They were minutes taken by Dr Waldheim’s people, secretary, whoever. And because Dr Waldheim had come to Cyprus in 1977 and had a meeting with Archbishop Makarios and Rauf Denktash, trying to bring them together to start negotiations and discussions. And during that meeting minutes were taken. And during that meeting it was agreed with the small “a”, and when we say “agreed” it doesn’t say an agreement with “A”, it was agreed that agreed but whole that 4 guidelines, instructions would be given to the negotiators to start discussions. And those four guidelines, unfortunately, some time later, for some unknown reasons and we don’t know who first started this, were metamorphosed, elevated into the High Level Agreements.
C.P.: Ok but these guys – don’t they suggest there was a meeting of the minds, that there was an understanding, that indeed federation was the way to go forward?
F.A.: It was agreed, one of the guidelines was agreed for a bi-communal federation, the word “bi-zonal” was not included.
C.P.: They were exploratory instructions?
F.A.: Yes, they had no binding…
K.K.: Was there any consultation with the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus?
K.K.: So it was a top-down, secretive…
F.A.: It was a meeting. It was a meeting between Waldheim, Archbishop Makarios and Rauf Denktash, and probably a couple of the United Nations’ people who took the minutes.
K.K.: Did Dr Waldheim, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, disclose, that he had served in the German Wermacht during the World War II?
F.A.: At that time no.
C.P.: Why would he?
K.K.: Did he make a declaration of interest that he’d served in German zones of occupation in war-time Greece and war-time Yugoslavia?
F.A.: No, he didn’t.
C.P.: Moving on a little bit, because time is catching up with us. So, just to follow the thread. Federation was an idea that the Turks had, that served their interests, and in fact served their interests more than partition would do. And therefore they continued and systematically promoted it and so on. Do you see anything has changed today? We are in the phase of, hopefully, negotiations that will be fruitful, and that will bring a negotiated settlement and honorable peace, we are told, and so on. And we all hope that it will be the case. Still federation is on the table. But is it a federation that brings with it the Turkish objectives? The original objectives? Or is it a federation that has been watered down in the minds of the Turks, that they view in a different now? They view it as a way of compromise. Is today’s federation a compromise, or is it a throw-back to the original intentions, the hard-line intentions of Turkey? I think a lot of people in Cyprus are wondering about it. Does this represent an honorable compromise, or no?
F.A.: No, I don’t think it’s an honorable compromise. In fact it brings together the whole of the Turkish policy, which has been consistent. I am not optimistic with the things as they are going. I don’t believe it will be an honorable one. Turkey will achieve everything, almost everything, because their objective is to take over Cyprus, and they haven’t got much left. I believe, if Turkey wants to have an honorable settlement, she has to do few things. First of all she has to remove and take back her army of occupation, take back all the settlers she brought in on purpose to fill in the vacuum of the space the Greek Cypriot refugees left, who were forcibly removed and uprooted from their homes because of Turkey, and allow the Greek Cypriot refugees to go back to their homes, and the Turkish Cypriots, they can come back to theirs. Because the only way to safeguard… I hear a lot of people to stress the fact that we have to secure, we have to respect and safeguard the Republic of Cyprus – I agree absolutely. But you can’t do that, you will not do that with the bi-zonal bi-communal federation. The only way to safeguard and safe the Republic of Cyprus is by a unitary state. And we need leaders to have the courage to stand up, and put forward a different policy and not be afraid of other foreign countries being against us or not taking us seriously, as they say. That I do not believe.
C.P.: The counter-argument is that the Turks don’t want that. The Turkish Cypriots will never agree to that, and that federation is the only way to patch things up. In fact (……) constructive ambiguities are all we are left with. At the end of the day we were always criticizing that, but in some ways at least in one mind frame, I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with it, but that’s all you have, and the end of the day. If the two sided are irreconcilable, and their positions are irreconcilable, the only way you get a settlement is by papering it over.
K.: This is what we need to dismantle: the concept that there are two sides. Both of you, though I have respect for you, have fallen into this Turkish trap of using the terminology of division and partition. You referred earlier to the Turkish side. Christodoulos has referred to “our side”. In liberal democracy the “other side” that exists is between the citizens and the states.
C.P.: But nevertheless, we’re in a negotiating posture, and there is one side against the other side.
K.K.: And that’s the essence of what’s wrong.
C.P.: Yeah, but I think that what both sides are asked to do, is a (….) of faith and trust. They need to fall back on as much trust as they can (……) on the other, having to do with the other side, and go forward with faith in the future. Now, what troubles me is the hidden agendas. And if there is a very strong hidden agenda on one of the sides, and I’m not saying which side, it’s very difficult to suggest to the other side to have faith. Now it seems to me that what you are saying is that the hidden agenda of Turkey, in fact it’s not even hidden; it’s a clear agenda, it’s a continuous agenda. But is that true? In the evidence that you’ve seen, have you seen any evidence of change? In this new government, with Erdogan, Davutoglu, with this new sort of air going through, blowing through Turkey – is there any evidence that the Turks have compromised, as far as we are concerned?
F.A.: I can only say with only few words: no, I haven’t. I haven’t, and I believe the Turkish policy continues as it was, they haven’t changed, in fact they may have hardened their line. And we don’t know what will happen in a few months in Turkey. Politics is again… you can never say “no” in politics of course. I hope they’ve changed but it’s something it would take a lot to persuade me that Turkey has changed their policy, once they reached this point. I know there is a difficult dilemma, especially for the Greeks, I will use the “Greek Cypriot” side. But it’s difficult. I believe, if we insist in establishing a bi-zonal bi-communal federation, it will not last very long, it will collapse, and I believe, unfortunately, that will be the end of the Greek people in Cyprus.
P.: Is there any optimistic point that we could end?
K.K.: Yes! We have to go back to the liberal democracy and the rule of law: everybody, irrespective of race or religion should be treated equally. Everybody should be treated with respect, and the democracy should be built from the bottom-up. The secrecy and the procedural unfairness that is on display in Nicosia has to come to an end. We need to have a bottom-up, transparent process, which involves consultation with the citizens and other residents of the Republic of Cyprus, we need to dismantle bi-communalism, and have the principle of equality under the law as the founding principle of the constitution, we must dismantle the concept of two zones, and have a unitary state in which everybody is permitted to live wherever they wish, providing they are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, or the European Union, the settlers and colonists must be returned humanly and according to the principle of due process, so there would be exceptions to the general principle, and the Turkish troops must leave. And the murderers of the past, the criminals of the past must be brought to justice, in accordance with the principle of due process. That’s my view. And it doesn’t matter if alleged perpetrators were Greeks, Greek Cypriots, Turks, or Turkish Cypriots or others. They should be brought to justice. And a war-crime tribunal, an ad hoc war crimes tribunal should be established, or if Turkey ratifies Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, perhaps the ICC might be used, or an ad hoc version of it. So we need to be optimistic here.
K.K.: It is a (……). But changes happen when there is political leadership, when there is drive, and when we learned the lesson of history. And the lessons of history have been played out (….)
C.P.: Fanoulla, the last word?
F.A.: The last word. I hear people saying that “but Turkey will not accept this, but Turkey will not do this”. Why should we continue accepting what Turks say? I mean, haven’t we got a voice of our own to insist? Go to Europe, go to the United Nations. Like the other day – I will say this. The other day the President of the Republic of Cyprus (at the UN) a President of the occupied Cyprus, instead of saying all those things he said, he should have said three clear things: I came in front of you today, in front of the world, and I ask you to do three things: my country is occupied. Help me liberate my country, Turkey to take her troops out, take the settlers out, and allow my people to go back to their homes. What better, clearer massage could the President of the occupied country give to the world, if he had said these three things, and said thank you, and sit down.
C.P.: I hope he is watching.
F.A.: I hope he does.
P.: Thank you dear Fanoulla, thank you for your time.
F.A.: Thank you for inviting me.
C.P.: And all of you, thank you for being with us, I hope to see you next time.