Part 1 – A Beginners Guide
Greetings to the Saker community and readers.
In the past few months there has been a flurry of international activity in an effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. While to most people the problem is either unknown or a passing note, it does pose a bit of a headache for the southern flank of NATO as it is a constant point of friction between Greece and Turkey.
With this article I will try to present the problem in brief and establish historical context; a second article will follow analyzing the latest developments in the area.
First, let us consider early Cyprus history in a brief. Throughout the ages, Cyprus was conquered / administered one way or another by every single major power of the time.
Greeks came to Cyprus around the 13th century BC, followed by the Phoenicians around the 9th century BC. Then Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire (30 BC), followed by the Byzantines (330 AD). After a relatively long period King Richard the Lionheart of England ruled for a year (1191 – 1192) followed by the Lusignans (Franks) until 1489 and the Venetians until 1571.
The Ottomans came in 1571 and until 1878 ruled over the island. The Ottoman Empire, having been weakened by that time agreed as part of the Treaty of Berlin in 1878 to hand over the administration of Cyprus to the British Empire in exchange for protection against Russia. The British annexed Cyprus in 1914 after the Ottomans joined WW I on the side of Germany, formally acquired Cyprus as part of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and declared the island a Crown Colony in 1925.
After an unsuccessful uprising in 1931 with the aim of unification with Greece, the British promised Cypriots that they will consent to unification with Greece should the Cypriots volunteer to fight for them during WW II; that promise was duly broken once the war ended. To give an idea of the hatred for the British, at the early stages of WW II Cypriots working for the British were engaging in active sabotage as the Germans looked to their eyes as fighting the oppressors (the British). All that changed once the Axis powers invaded Greece.
After WW II the British seeing the tendency of Crown colonies to break from the Empire begun to take measures to hold on to Cyprus as it was deemed too strategic; an example being the relocation of the Middle East Land Forces HQ to the island. The pivoting point came in 1955 when, despite the fact that colonialism was collapsing all around the world in Cyprus Georgios Grivas (a Cypriot born Colonel of the Greek Army) formed a guerrilla organisation (EOKA) with the aim to unify Cyprus with Greece. According to a character profile by MI5’s head in Cyprus, Grivas was a “ferocious anticommunist” (Original archives here and here). Indeed, in a manifesto of EMAK (the organisation preceding EOKA) discovered on a boat loaded with weapons by the British which prohibited Cypriot communists from joining the struggle against the British (http://euacademic.org/UploadArticle/872.pdf page 17)
“EMAK demands from them and their party not only to be opposed to EMAK but also not to get involved in the armed conflict, just like the population will. We will not accept communists at EMAK, mainly for purposes of feasibility and if the communists are really interested in the Enosis, they will not desire to get involved in the battle for liberation… The best patriotic action they can do is not to participate and one day this action will be recognized as wise and patriotic.”
According to records, EOKA in its 4 years of action is accountable for the deaths of 371 British servicemen, 14 Greek-Cypriot policemen, 198 Greek-Cypriot citizens (full list of Greek-Cypriot names, dates and conditions of death here – in Greek). Note to readers – I am unable to find accurate numbers for Turkish-Cypriot victims – if one has such sources I would be very grateful if a link is provided.
Up until then Cypriots lived in mixed villages; they were predominantly either Greek or Turkish but mixed none the less. In 1958, the first major inter-communal riots erupted. The starting point was the predominantly Turkish-Cypriot town of Lefka and the cause appeared to be rumours that EOKA murdered two Turkish- Cypriots. It took some time for the British to restore order; however these events lead to the first round of physical segregation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots and to the creation of TMT, the Turkish-Cypriot equivalent of EOKA.
EOKA also made another strategic error by effectively giving an ultimatum to Greek-Cypriot policemen to either resign from their posts or be treated as traitors and summarily executed. The British took advantage of this to replace Greek-Cypriot policemen with Turkish-Cypriots, thus further seeding discord among the populace along racial lines.
At the end of the conflict, the Republic of Cyprus was established; a total of four documents were signed that are valid to this day and constitute the foundation of Cyprus as an independent state. The signatories for all documents are The United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and The Republic of Cyprus. This is an important detail as to this date any agreement to change the current status of Cyprus must have the approval of all original signatories. These documents are:
Treaty of Establishment: This is the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus. From the very first Article the sovereignty of the British military bases still present in Cyprus is established.
Treaty of Guarantee: While a two page document, this treaty is the basis which Turkey used in 1964 skirmishes and 1974 during its invasion of Cyprus. Effectively, this treaty states that The UK, Greece and Turkey guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, that Cyprus cannot be partitioned nor be part of any political or economic union with any other State. Finally, this treaty allows for any of the guarantors to unilaterally take action when this Treaty is breached.
Treaty of Alliance: The least known of the four documents, it states that Cyprus, Greece and Turkey are to be allied for the defence of Cyprus and that a Tripartite HQ will be established in Cyprus commanded by a Cypriot, Greek and Turkish general on a one year rotation basis. Most importantly, it grants the right for Greece and Turkey to staff the Tripartite HQ with a contingent numbering 950 personnel for Greece and 650 personnel for Turkey.
Constitution of The Republic of Cyprus: The basis of Cyprus laws, it sets the foundation for the separation of power between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. It grants the right of veto on government decisions to both the Greek-Cypriot president and the Turkish-Cypriot vice-president. Importantly Article 130 states:
“The security forces of the Republic shall be composed as to seventy per centum of Greeks and as to thirty per centum of Turks:
Provided that for an initial period and in order not to discharge those Turks serving in the police on the 11th February, 1959, except those serving in the auxiliary police, the percentage of Turks may be kept up to a maximum of forty per centum and consequently that of the Greeks may be reduced to sixty per centum.”
Note that at the time the population of Cyprus was about 80% Greek-Cypriots, 18% Turkish-Cypriots and 2% other nationalities.
In 1963 the first president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III citing “constitutional deadlocks” put forward a document with 13 points suggesting constitutional amendments:
- The right of veto of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be abolished.
- The Vice-President of the Republic to deputise for or replace the President of the Republic in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties. In consequence, therefore, all the constitutional provisions in respect of joint action by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be modified accordingly.
- The Greek President of the House of Representatives and its Turkish Vice-President to be elected by the House as a whole and not as at present the President by the Greek Members of the House and the Vice-President by the Turkish Members of the House.
- The Vice-President of the House of Representatives to deputise for or replace the President of the House in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties.
- The constitutional provisions regarding separate majority for enactment of Laws by the House of Representatives to be abolished.
- The constitutional provision regarding the establishment of separate Municipalities in the five main towns to be abolished. Provision should be made so that: (a) The Municipal Council in each of the aforesaid five towns shall consist of Greek and Turkish Councillors in proportion to the number of the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of such town by whom they shall be elected respectively. (b) In the Budget of each of such aforesaid towns, after deducting any expenditure required for common services, a percentage of the balance proportionate to the number of the Turkish inhabitants of such town shall be earmarked and disposed of in accordance with the wishes of the Turkish Councillors.
- The constitutional provision regarding Courts consisting of Greek Judges to try Greeks and of Turkish Judges to try Turks and of mixed Courts consisting of Greek and Turkish Judges to try cases where the litigants are Greeks and Turks to be abolished.
- The division of the Security Forces into Police and Gendarmerie to be abolished, (Provision to be made in case the Head of the Police is a Greek the Deputy Head to be a Turk and vice versa).
- The numerical strength of the Security Forces and of the Army to be determined by Law and not by agreement between the President and the Vice-President of the Republic.
- The proportion of the participation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the composition of the Public Service and of the Forces of the Republic, i.e. the Police and the Army, to be modified in proportion to the ratio of the population of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
- The number of the members of the Public Service Commission to be reduced from ten to either five or seven.
- All the decisions of the Public Service Commission to be taken by simple majority. If there is an allegation of discrimination on the unanimous request either of the Greek or of the Turkish members of the Commission, its Chairman to be bound to refer the matter to the Supreme Constitutional Court.
- The Greek Communal Chamber to be abolished.
These amendments were duly rejected by the Turkish-Cypriots. Further inter-communal violence erupted just before Christmas in 1963 forcing an even deeper physical segregation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. In 1964 and as clashes continued between militias from both sides and the newly founded Cyprus National Guard the UN passed resolution 186 (1964) which established the UN peace keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) which remains active to this date. Community segregation was so bad that many roads had roadblocks and the only way to travel between the capital Nicosia and the northern sea city of Kyrenia was by being part of regular UNFICYP-organised and escorted convoys.
In 1967 and as clashes once against climaxed, Turkey made its first use of the Treaty of Guarantees to launch an air campaign against Cyprus. This forced Greece to recall Georgios Grivas (then acting commander of Cyprus NG) in an attempt to defuse tension. Grivas returned in 1971 forming EOKA B in an attempt to unite Cyprus with Greece by force. The coup of 1974 against Makarios provided the final pretext for Turkey which invaded Cyprus and to this date occupies the north of the island.
This is the end of Part 1. In Part 2, I will provide more information on what is the basis being discussed for a solution and what are the key points of contention between the two sides.
Part 2 – Trying for a solution
Since 1974 the UN has been trying in vain to solve the Cyprus problem.
In 1977, the basis for the talks between the two communities was set: the new Cyprus will be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation consisting of two states – Turkish-controlled north and Greek-controlled South – with a single international representation. Let’s call this United States of Cyprus. Since then, the discussions focus on the following key points:
Property: After the war in 1974, tens of thousands on both sides were displaced from their homes and land. Should all of them be allowed to return? If not, how and who will compensate those who will be left behind? What happens to the properties which were used for public infrastructure? Unfortunately the Cyprus government in 1974 in its efforts to recover from the war made some crucial mistakes which add to the complexity of the problem:
- It recognised as refugees only those people whose father had a house in the occupied part of Cyprus (the people whose mother had a house were recognised as refugees a few years ago). As an example of the paradox this created, consider this scenario: There was one 20 year old builder born in Kyrenia working at Paphos. You also have another 20 year old builder born at Paphos and working in Kyrenia. The second builder liked Kyrenia much so he bought land to settle there, but did not build a house yet. The war comes, Kyrenia is occupied. The first builder is considered a refugee and gets government help, the second is an unlucky person who gets nothing.
- The status of refugee is hereditary to this day and government funds are still allocated to the “relief of refugees”. Since the war happened 43 years ago, we are now in the fourth generation of refugees, the majority of which were born after the war. A colleague of mine offered me her experience on the subject: Her grandparents owned a plot with a house which they lost in the war. They also had 5 children. After the war, the government provided them with a hastily build house to live in. Once their children became adults, they each received about 75,000 euros as government help because they could not mortgage their occupied property (for every one the whole of the property was used in the calculation, not the 20% they would inherit from their parents). Then each had 2-3 children which they also got government help when they were building their houses, using the same calculation method. While the government of Cyprus did limit the amount of help and has introduced financial criteria, until today the grants for refugees are considerable if one takes into account the financial state of the country (details here, in Greek).
- Gross misuse of Turkish Cypriot properties. After the war the Cyprus Government formed a body to manage all the property left behind by Turkish Cypriots. At first, the land was used to either build infrastructure (schools, hospitals etc.) and government settlements to house the Greek Cypriot refugees. As the years passed though, the people living in the government settlements got title deeds for their apartments. Worse, the managing body started renting out the land for commercial purposes (especially high-valued land in tourist areas). Coupled with the hereditary nature of the refugee status, there are cases today where the children of the children of the refugees rent plots for a couple of hundred euros per month which in turn they sublet for over 5,000 euros per month.
A characteristic case highlighting the complexity of the property issue is the case of Dr. Mike Tymvios. Dr Tymvios filed a lawsuit against Turkey in the ECHR on the grounds of inability to use his property due to the occupation. His property in question is an area of 8,640,000 square feet in which part of the Tymbou airport has been build and the value was estimated at 60 million euros. He won the case in 2003. In the meantime, Turkey established a committee in the occupied Cyprus to facilitate property exchanges as a way to resolve the property issue. In its decision, ECHR requested the use of this committee on a trial basis. Turkey was quick to act and offered Dr Tymvios an exchange of property; his property in the North with the property of a state organisation in the South, valued at the time at 30 million euros, which Dr Tymvios accepted. A key point is that both parties in this deal were the legal owners of their respective properties; the title deeds issued by the land registry of the Republic of Cyprus. However when Dr Tymvios approached the Cyprus government asking how to proceed with the land transfer (parts of the land were used for building schools), he was practically accused as a traitor and told he should have waited for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Dr Tymvios in one of his interviews in 2009 (here – in Greek) claimed that he did not want to evict anyone nor demolish the schools, however the government refused to answer his letters on the issue. In the end, after threatening the Cyprus government with a lawsuit in ECHR, in 2012 the council of ministers agreed to buy the land from Dr. Tymvios for 13 million euros, a decision which raised a small political storm.
Security: While Greece and the UK have no objection in abolishing the Treaty of Guarantees and the Treaty of Alliance, Turkey insists on keeping its right to militarily intervene when they deem it necessary (Responsibility to Protect, 1960s style). This is a red line for the Greek side; Russia and France also made clear statements that having third parties guaranteeing the security of an independent state is ridiculous in the 21st century. Still, the fear exists in both communities. There are voices saying that perhaps EU can guarantee the safety of the new Cyprus; how this can be accomplished though since EU does not have an army is a mystery. What is being proposed is upon agreement for a solution a big percentage of Turkish troops (50%+) be repatriated to Turkey and the rest to gradually leave within 5 years. Recent visits by Victoria Nuland probably have something to do with this issue. While guarantees by NATO will not be easily accepted, both for ideological reasons plus the oxymoron of removing Turkey as a guarantor and bringing it back as a NATO member, a formula can be found for “neutral” NATO members like Germany to help with the security. Basically, the US is trying to avoid Russia establishing yet another base in the Mediterranean.
Power Sharing: The provisions inside the Constitution of 1960 made it unworkable. To this effect the Greek side wants to remove the veto powers from the constitution; however the Turkish side wants to have rotational presidency in return. The Greek side has for the most part accepted the rotational presidency and discussions are under way to build a framework for this.
Settlers: Since 1974 Turkey has encouraged a great number of people to immigrate from its eastern provinces to Cyprus altering the demographics to such extend that it is estimated that settlers and their descendants make up 45% of the population of the north part of Cyprus. These people were given homes and land that belonged to displaced Greek Cypriots. What will happen to those people should a solution to the problem becomes a reality? Should a person born from settler parents in 2000 be forced to move to another country? While a possible peace plan will allow for a number of settlers to remain (number are estimated between 40,000 and 50,000), it will still require massive population movement to Turkey (over 100,000 people). This is hard to stomach for the Turkish government, as it will portray Erdogan to be weak.
Territory: What percentage of Cyprus should each state control? At the moment, Turkey controls roughly 36% of Cyprus territory; how much shall be returned to the Greek state to make the deal work? Currently on the table is the transfer of about 7% under Greek state control. The issue here is that the Turkish side is reluctant to return a major town.
Finally, one has to consider the geopolitics involving the three signatories to the original agreements (Greece, UK and Turkey).
Greece is the weakest party of the three. Under the IMF boot and facing an endless influx of migrants, Greece would like nothing more than to settle this issue and remove a permanent problem. This being said, Greece is not set to selling out Cyprus; it is assisting diplomatically the best they can although the options are limited.
For the UK, as long as its military bases are left alone it will agree to any plan. This also presents an opportunity for British diplomacy to show that is still relevant and can play in the big league after Brexit. It will be a big plus for the current British government to be able to claim they helped solve this issue. The UK though in its efforts to build business relationships after Brexit is not very choosing with whom it makes deals; recently Theresa May travelled to Turkey and signed a 100 million pounds deal for BAE to assist Turkey in developing an indigenous stealth fighter jet, while the EU is blocking companies from providing engines for the Atlay tank. It is reasonable to conclude that the UK will not be applying much pressure to Turkey for concessions in the upcoming negotiations.
Turkey is the most complicated and unpredictable of the three. It has always seen North Cyprus as some sort of province and has a habit of issuing orders to the local “government”. For example this year they were forced to keep their time zone the same as Turkey’s resulting in Nicosia being perhaps the only city globally having two time zones on the same street. Erdogan does not want to appear weak for any reason; the recent bleeding Turkish army received in Al Bab in Syria resulting in joint operations with the Russian air force to help the Turkish army needs to be eclipsed by a success somewhere else. This also poses a dilemma for Russia; while traditionally were very supportive of Cyprus, joint military operations and shedding of blood with a country tend to realign diplomatic priorities. Erdogan also tries to use a united Cyprus as a backdoor for Turkish citizens to be allowed free movement in the EU (taking into advantage the confirmation by the EU that Cyprus will still be a member after any form of resolution), something the EU is vehemently against. It is telling that in the latest round of negotiations at Mont Pelerin the EU was represented as an observer by its ambassador to Geneva plus the special envoy of Commission President Pete van Nuffel; their instructions were to assist the Turkish Cypriot side with preparing for EU regulations, plus intervene if deemed necessary.
While not as close to a solution as in 2004 with the plan proposed by Kofi Annan (full text here – interesting read if one is interested in seeing a UN peace plan), there are good prospects for a solutions this time. What I see on the Greek side though does not leave me with much optimism. Apart from the main two political parties, I would dare say that everyone else knows they will become politically extinct once the Cyprus issue is resolved. The Church also wants to revive its role as the nation’s leader above the government (role bestowed to it by the Ottoman Empire along with the role of the tax collector). It is telling that in a recent public appearance, the current Archbishop told the Cyprus President that “the next President of Cyprus will be the one chosen by me”. Unfortunately the Church in Cyprus is in favour of an ethnically and religiously clean Cyprus, meaning only Greek Orthodox Christians to stay.
I still recall the events preceding the 2004 referendum for the proposed solution. The fact that the published plan was 192 pages long and written in advanced legal language enabled various parties to interpret it at will and push that interpretation to the people. There were politicians going on public record with the words “whoever voted yes is a traitor and should be hanged in the main square” – after 24% of the Greek side population voted yes (something similar to the “deplorables” speech by Hillary). There were students in the streets protesting against the plan, before it was even published. Meetings were organised for the members of the armed forces and the police telling them that if the plan passes, they will be out of a job – my military commander actually celebrated the night the result came out once it was clear the plan was rejected, and made sure the whole unit knew of his sentiment. All of these took place due to the continuous indoctrination of people at schools; for the past 40 years students in Greek side only hear that we are victims, Turkey is not to be trusted ever and always to be feared, that we did nothing wrong etc. And no one dares question why our history books jump from 1960 to 1974.
Still, if both sides decide to become adults and realise that hard decisions have to be made, followed by harder work then there is hope. Oh, and focusing on the single national identity of Cypriot instead of prefixing with Greek or Turkish (of course one should be able to speak their language and follow whichever religion they one sees fit) will be a good place to start. Otherwise, identity politics will do what they do best; permanently destroy the country.
the first balanced take on cyprus issue I ever saw in English, and written by a Greek Cypriot, wow!
For me, the simplest solution would be division of the island into two, creating two separate states, and then making calculations for the financial damages with some monetary exchange, and expelling all foreign soldiers, including British ones. But, I suppose that would never happen
Dividing the island in two would not work for most Greek Cypriots, considering Turks only made up 18% of the inhabitants during the invasion. If anything the northern territory would need to be drastically reduced, but even that to me seems like an inferior solution over the one the author is proposing.
There is only one legal state, the republic of Cyprus . The northern part is occupied by Turkey and is not recognized by the international community. A recognition of the northern occupied part as a legal state is against international law and it will be a diplomatic disaster for Cyprus.
What should be done is for Turkish military and colonists to leave the island, and the remaining 18% of Turkish Cypriots to have autonomy , send governance and rights in an equivalent to their population size of territory. But most lands and property should be returned to the rightful owners, Greek Cypriots.
If south cyprus is the only legal state as you claim, it should respect the law under which it is was created ie the treaties cited by the author and its own constitution.
If Turkey leaves, will Cyprus reverse its usurpation in 63 of the rights granted to the Turkish Cypriots?
As the author says: “And no one dares question why our history books jump from 1960 to 1974.”
No one dares question why the history books jump from 1960 to 1974 since that period was the time where it was free to slaughter Turkish Cypriots.
The Republic of Cyprus today is like the abusive husband that preaches the sanctity of marriage and laments the fact its “crazy aggressive” brother-in-law burst into his house for no reason and beat his ass silly.
Since metaphors and similes seem to be all the rage now…
It seems that the brother in law beat up his sister quite regularly and used the bruises as an excuse to burst into the couple’s house (which had a better view than his), propped up by an old tenant who was squatting and didn’t want to be kicked out by the couple, and who promised the brother in law a bedroom and part of the garden.
I wouldn’t call the brother in law “crazy-aggressive”… Psycopathic, yes, but very, very rational.
“If south cyprus is the only legal state as you claim”
Kfeto, learn to read… The only legal state is not “south cyprus”, but the Republic of Cyprus as a whole. The Northern part is under foreign occupation.
The Greeks are weak right now, they have no cards left to play, country has been destroyed economically, lots of young Greeks have left, the potential soldiers work abroad. A country of 10.5 million with a weak economy cannot challenge a country with 75-80 millions and a strong economy in recent times. Especially one that was its former master for centuries, the Ottomans. This is like saying Lithuania, Belarus or Estonia negotiate with Russia to get more of the cake. Cyprus should be surrendered to Turkey, makes more sense. Greece was relevant 2,500 years ago, no more. Turkey is a more relevant global player and Russia needs strong ally in Erdogan.
Greece may be down, but she’s not out. In case of war between Greece and Turkey, it’s Greece that has the advantage. Just look at the map, almost the entire Aegean Sea and almost all its islands are under Greek control. This is a horrifying prospect for Turkey in an age of fighter jets etc. Also, in terms of land invasion (through Thrace) while Turkey has the numerical superiority, they cannot concentrate their forces against Greece. There’s Syria, Iraq, Armenia to worry about for the Turks, let alone the Kurds internally. Moreover, Russia & Iran are in the background and would be willing to exploit such a situation against Turkey through their proxies in Syria/Iraq and maybe even also directly.
In terms of equipment, both Greece & Turkey have the same systems more or less.
In any case, my point is that due to geography and Turkey’s many enemies around its perimeter, it’s Greece that has the advantage in the case of war between the two.
Moreover, the last thing that Russia would like to see in Cyprus right now, is a solution that would give Turkey preeminence in Cyprus. Russia is not in the business of making Turkey more powerful. Russia wants Turkey weakened and contained and also wants to maintain her interests in the Greek part of Cyprus, which are considerable. The reason why Nuland (and even the EU) lobbied so hard (and are still lobbying, well, not Nuland anymore) for a solution to the Cyprus problem is because this would drastically reduce any Russian influence over the island and foreclose over any possibility for this influence to increase in the future. I can easily envision Russia being the main external influence over the island well before 2030. In matter of fact, as soon as the EU inevitably implodes, the Greek part of Cyprus will immediately pass under Russia’s influence and protection. BTW, this is what many Greek-Cypriots wish for, including myself.
During the past few days in Cyprus, there has been a crescendo of distressed voices by sections of the liberal, treasonous, pro-EU, pro-NATO circles in Cyprus (embodied in the current, pathetic administration, as well as the “Politis” newspaper) accusing Russia (via influence over the Greek FM) of sabotaging the talks for a solution to the Cyprus Dispute. These may be to a certain extent true, and myself, as a patriotic Greek-Cypriot I am once again grateful to Russia (really, how many times?) for saving the Greeks of Cyprus from the combined evil of NATO, the EU, Turkey and our very own and very treasonous “elites”.
The basis on which the Cyprus Dispute is being discussed and its solution is attempted will simply hand over Cyprus to Turkey and by extension NATO. This is against both Greek and Russian interests. Moreover, the Greeks of Cyprus, are an excellent potential future protectorate for Russia (imagine Serbia of the East Med) due to the strategic location (close to Israel, Syria, Turkey, the Suez canal and the Mid-East at large)
As for Erdogan and Turkey being allies to Russia. Well, will Turkey get out of the EU Customs Union? Will they get out of NATO? Will they kick NATO out of Incirlick and allow Russian presence there? Will they at least move ahead with the highly lucrative Turk Stream and abandon all the other idiotic pipeline projects that are not remotely as cost-effective? I don’t think that the current Russian leadership is so naive as to trust the Turks in the slightest. They will try and get what concessions they can get out of Turkey during the coming period (Turk Stream, NPP, some cooperation Syria, putting EU off-balance) but the prospect of a Russia-Turkey Alliance is in my view very slim. There is no precedent for it in history.
In my student days my supervisor, an Englishman, was pro-Makarios while I myself, of Greek descent, was anti. I see the present author seems to agree: “Unfortunately the Church in Cyprus is in favour of an ethnically and religiously clean Cyprus, meaning only Greek Orthodox Christians to stay.” The Cyprus problem is a non-problem, Like all problems which arise from artificial division of the human race, people will simply wake one day to find it has vanished – like a bad dream. This is what happened in South Africa.
I am told there is a 2000 year old stone in Syria which reads: “Passer by, if you are a Syrian I say Shalom; if Greek I say Cheirite; we are all citizens of the same city – and that city is the world”.
Interesting article on the background of this conflict. The close proximity of seabed oil and gas deposits and Cypriot relations with israel will complicate any solution to the internal divide.
Greece is under the colonial administration of EU. It has ceded any sovereignty concerning it’s financial, internal or external affairs. A traitorous oligarchical political elite clings to power and It is no surprise that those “Greek” politicians have agreed to sell out Cyprus as they follow orders from their masters.
Another interesting fact is that Greece has signed a SOFA agreement with Israel , and Israeli troops and Mossad personnel are free to be stationed in bases around Greece. Israel and Zionist have increased their influence in Greek government . This is unprecedented as Greece traditionally sided with Arabs and Palestinians and Israel was recognized at 1991 ( by the hated neoliberal “Thatcherite” Prime Minister konstantinos Mitsotakis whose son Kiriakos will be the next prime minister ).
Arafat visited Greece many times and was supported by the 1980s socialist (?)- leaning prime minister Andreas Papandreou ( whose son George Papandreou was the late 2000s prime minister who established the Israeli Greek contact and at 2009 voted the disastrous EU IMF austerity agreements that devastated the Greek economy).
Cyprus is also in very bad shape economically as Cypriot economy was battered by EU. The introduction of euro ( and the abolishment of the strong nationdl currency of Cypriot lira ) was a grave mistake . Cypriot politicians are traitorous too, they only care for their business interests.
The fact is that Cyprus is highly important in geopolitical and strategic terms. Despite what mistakes Greek and Cypriots did, it was the
USA who planned and gave to the Turks the green light so as to invade and divide Cyprus.
Divide and conquer strategy by the American empire.
A pseudo reunion of the island will be a disaster to the Greek Cypriot population. They will lose their statehood , and will be a community in a federated colonial non entity with a Turkish military and Turkish colonists remaining . As for the Turkish Cypriots , most of them have fled Cyprus by emigrating to.Britain etc and now they are a minority to the northern part as numerous colonists have overrun them.
The Israelis and the various multinational oil corporations are also looking forward to exploit the vast mineral wealth of the area .
You touch upon a very pertinent fact. Greece, due to a variety of reasons has always been difficult to digest for the AZ empire.
Its Orthodox faith and ties to its Arab coreligionists and thus traditional anti-Zionist stand, the Church and its dominant role in society protecting the family and traditional values and thus resisting the atheist sodomite promiscuous agenda prevailing in the West …
This economic situation seems to me more like warfare to destroy Greek society once and for all and rebuild it in a more ‘amenable’ manner.
The recent improving ties between Greece, Cyprus and Israel only strengthen my belief.
Up until late 1980s, Greek people and society were very different to western / northern european.
Greek National identity was very strong in people’s minds, and the culture was still traditional, very hellenic and influenced by the orthodox religious traditions (even though there was still influence from USA and western Europe). At early 1980s, the majority of greeks were opposed to entry into the European Economic Community. The 1980s Greeks didn’t feel “European” at all but greeks above all.
The greek economy was also in large parts state owned, state regulated, with a very big public sector and numerous small size family businesses. Home ownership was very large too. Drugs, crime and homelessness were non-existent.
With the 1990s many changes started to shape the country as it slowly became integrated into the neoliberal globalised world economy and there was erosion of the greek sovereignty ( because of the EU membership , Maastricht Treaty, adoption of euro, etc). Large multinationals entered the greek market. Flexible working conditions became the norm, and the somewhat stable jobs at public sector became less and less. Large numbers of undocumented illegal immigrants (from the Balkans and then Asia) entered the greek black market doing various menial jobs.
The economy was “growing” but in reality there was stagnation at all levels and unemployment and insecurity were rising.
Then came the staged debt crisis that started at 2009 and has decimated the country. It was a matter of time for this crisis to erupt, as the Greek industrial base was slowly disintegrated by globalisation and the country had abolished its national currency and borrowed money from the financial markets.
The elites found their chance to privatise and liquidate what remained of the vast state property.
Unemployment is now unprecedented. Wages are similar to Bulgarian ones but prices similar to London’s. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have emigrated to other destinations.
The constant propaganda changed people’s sentiments. Similar to “white” guilt, there was “greek” guilt and the media portrayed greeks as racists that should accept millions of foreigners. Greece became a huge camp for illegal migrants with Soros NGOs. Drugs and crime are rife around the country.
People started to believe that they are “europeans” and without EU and Euro there is no future. Even after 8 years of economic occupation, there is no popular movement to demand an end to this disgusting situation. No protests against the status quo.
The country has transformed into something degenerate and disgusting.
It no longer has any connection to how I (nostalgically) remember the Greece of my childhood times.
It seems that the zionists have managed to destroy greeks (as a nation), to degenerate greek culture, and now proceed at fast pace with their plans of enslaving Greece (with the help and support of the greek traitorous oligarchic and political class).
During Greek history, the country was in trouble many times. But the current crisis is unprecedented.
Will greeks survive as a nation ? Will they manage to liberate their country ? Will they regain their national consciousness ? With the current trends, I doubt it.
Only time will tell, but greeks no longer have a lot of time left to reverse their decline …..
your well written nostalgic description reminds me 1:1 of my good childhood in East-Germany.
And yes, the Zionists are destroying and eradicating national identity.
In Russia’s mainstream population I sadly notice the same development.
Not only remotely but also during my visits.
In the past China learned a lot from the Soviet Union.
Now it is up to Russia to learn from China.
As for Greece, Germany and most other countries I gave up already.
As long as the so called “far-right populists” keep advertising Israel as a role model and the so called “left”, even extreme branches, never ever dare to criticize the Zionist FIAT currency system, which hope for humanity is still a potential remaining possibility? Today’s leftovers of the left brand you an “Antisemite” if you simply quote Marx or Lenin.
We can give up on Zionist owned Moscow either, see http://thesaker.is/high-risk-of-imminent-large-scale-military-operations-in-the-donbass/#comment-319632
Who can care more about Cyprus, given that the rest of the world is in the same or worse rotten shape?
A friend once told me of an old Iraqi saying:
If two fish are fighting in the sea, be sure that the British fueled it.
The British are one of the founders of the Anglo-Zionist Empire. They work directly for the Anti-Christ.
Their Godless barbaric origins make them one of the most evil and corrupt humans that have ever walked this Earth.
They gave birth to Zionist Jewish Anti-Christ State of Israel and wherever there is conflict, corruption and wars, be sure they will do their best to have a hand in it.
Cyprus is peanuts for the Godless Barbaric British.
The “Godless Barbaric British” did their best to give virtually all the former countries of the British Empire including Cyprus their Independence (their own control of their own countries) by 1960. Sure there have been many screw ups – including Palestine and the USA.
But since 1960 until the neocon (largely of Russian and Eastern European origin) infiltration and infestation of Western civilization took place, there were virtually no wars that the British were involved in for over 30 years – apart from the defense of the Falkland Islands.
What has happened in Territory formerly controlled by The British, can hardly be blamed on them since they relinquished control.
The wars that the British Government have been involved in over the last 20 years, have not been done with the consent of the British people.
I am planning to visit Cyprus later this year as a tourist, and would much prefer it, if you guys, whatever your differences, continue to live in peace, and don’t start shooting each other.
It seems to me the Belgium solution (or Swiss) is the best one. Home rule in both halves (once the borders are determined) and a Federal Government overall.
Cyprus has belonged to the Hellenes for at least 2,500 years – give it all back to them (Constantinople too!)!
You find us a so called “Hellene” and we’ll consider it.
There’s no historical continuity between classical and contemporary Greece.
It’s a fiction born out of 19th century Romanticism and British Imperial real-politik.
Being occupied 400 years by the Ottomans didn’t turn the Hellenes in to Turks.
Yes there is. We speak the same language.
There is a historical continuity between ancient Greece and modern Greece. The language is in essence the same (with all the changes accumulated over time) and many ethnic, cultural and other elements remain somewhat similar. But 2,500 years have passed from classical times, what did you expect ?
Of course there are many changes, but all peoples, nations and states in various geographical territories have changed. And other nations have become far more different to the greeks. For example, the modern Brits speak a completely different language to the ancient Britons/Scots etc. North and South America has changed culturally, demographically and linguistically in a radical way.
Classical Greece was composed of various and numerous city states that were never united. Greek city states were conquered and became part of Roman Empire and continued to be so up until the Ottoman Turkish conquest of 1453 (even though there were previous periods that some parts of modern Greece were under Slavic, Bulgarian, Arab and Latin control).
Roman Empire continued to exist in Eastern Lands and was the most powerful state of the middle ages. As western Roman lands were gradually lost to Goths and other Barbarians, Roman Empire became hellenized as greek was the lingua franca of the Middle East (because of the conquests of Alexander and the states that his successors created in Syria, Egypt and Minor Asia etc). Greeks were called and sometimes still call themselves as “Romioi”, namely Romans. The Ottomans also called them as such, Rum Millet (the nation of Romans)
The greek geographical area became the heart of the (Eastern) Roman Empire, falsely called by modern historians as “Byzantine Empire”. Constantinople was the capital, and other greek cities such as Salonica and Athens retained their importance for some periods. During Turkish conquest, Constantinople was in severe decline and the center of the (then very small) Empire was Mystras at Southern Peloponesse (nearby Ancient Sparta).
With the turkish conquest of Peloponesse, numerous greek scholars left Mystras and moved to Italy. They re-introduced to the west, numerous ancient greek works of science, philosophy and literature and the knowledge of greek became important again. In essence, all these scholars started the renaissance
Ancient and Modern Greek are the *same* language.
The Greek-Cypriot dialect is even closer to Ancient Greek than Modern Greek spoken on the mainland.
Don’t write entire essays trying to disprove an unsubstantiated (and quite incendiary) claim. Probably ask dear Kfeto instead, to prove this claim (if he/she can).
Until then, do some basic reading:
dear author, why are you wasting your time writing about the Cyprus Problem? Everything has been said, everything is known, with one exception: the top secrets of the Powers that neither you nor me are able to reveal. I know both Turkey and Greece very well and studied the Cyprus Problem in detail, but came to the conclusion that the Turkish and Greek people are like water and oil, two substances that never can be mixed. (An excellent overview of the cyprus problem you can find at angloinfo.com).
While the general description tries to be balanced, in some cases the author (a Greek Cypriot) overdoes the Greek-bashing routine, probably to lend more credence to his/her other claims, and obtain an air of impartiality. E.g. “Further inter-communal violence erupted just before Christmas in 1963”. “Erupted”… The passive voice is a notorious grammatical trick for hiding the subject of a phrase, e.g. the perpetrator of an act. Much of this violence was false-flag provocations by the Turks, as the Turkish-Cypriot reporter Sener Levent has often reiterated (e.g. see https://mignatiou.com/2016/10/sener-levent-kanis-apo-emas-den-ine-athoos-kanis-den-tolmai-na-rixi-tin-proti-petra/). And even if (overlooking all the false flags) the Greek side was not entirely innocent of wrong doing, let’s have some perspective: this does not absolve the crimes of invasion and occupation.
But why is such a small island such a hot topic? And I don’t mean for Greeks and Turks, but for other major powers. I suppose it once was the proximity to the trade routes of the former British Empire. Now it may the Five Eyes importance of this “unsinkable carrier” and advanced listening post. Also, probably the hot topic of Exclusive Economic Zones (the Greek-Cypriot-Israeli EEZs are contiguous and totally block that of Turkey, while the Annan plan wanted to establish EEZs for the British bases of the island).
The British were always terrified of the prospect that a unified and independent Cypriot government would give the boot to their TWO mliitary bases (Akrotiri, Dekeleia). Even worse, Cyprus becoming part of Greece? With 82% Greeks, some willing to be sent to the gallows by the British for the dream of union (Enosis), like the 19-yeal old Evagoras Pallikaridis, the British must have come to the speedy conclusion that they could only achieve their goals by weaponising the 18% Turkish minority to provoke a partition. My… interlocutor puts it best here: https://youtu.be/sYjk84yoUNE?t=750.
And such a partitioned state has ever since been the goal, steadfastly pursued by the “Anan plan”. What the author fails to mention is that a whopping 76% rejected the Anan plan which, if successful, would have Cypriot supreme court cases being judged by a Greek, a Turkish and… Bangladeshian, Nigerian and Japanese judges, and in which citizens would not settle freely but based on their ethnicity. The author also fails to mention the media frenzy and vilification that took place in Greece and Cyprus AGAINST the “No” proponents on the MSM media and by major parties. So, don’t vilify the “No” vote: Sener Levent is thankful for it (https://mignatiou.com/2015/12/sener-levent-den-prepi-na-pethani-i-kipriaki-dimokratia-i-tourkia-ine-kolasi/).
So yes, the problem STILL is the Turkish invasion and occupation and the British-US scuttling of any hope of a unified democratic (1 person – 1 vote) state, without Anatolian settlers and foreign armies.
Good and helpful remarks The “Anan plan” is just one of plenty. Here is another plan: Offer one or the two bases of the outdated British Empire to Turkey under the condition that their askers return to Anatolia or move to their new homeland in Syria. It’s just an idea or a plan, that keeps me busy, nothing more.
As a Greek Cypriot I find it deeply offensive that the words above were written by someone who claims to be a compatriot of mine.
As an avid reader of the Saker I am very sad that this article found its way here. I suppose it has to do with the rapprochement between Putin and Erdogan (a rather shameful affair on its own) and the implications for the Eurasian project, should Turkey decide to join someday.
In any case, the twisting of the facts is so pervasive in this article that is almost sickening. And the fact that it tries to present itself as a “balanced” account makes it even more so.
Dear Drinas, I am very sorry, please excuse me if my provocative words did hurt your patriotic feelings. I am neither Greek nor Turk but I know both sides well. I know what they have in common and what separates them, women and men. A very friendly Turkish Cypriot lady was my neighbor in Ankara, and I even fall in love with a very intelligent Greek person from Cyprus when I was in Athens. But that is just romantic feelings and not the bitter reality of the Cyprus problem which I studied quite intensively. As you can see above I came to the conclusion that the Greek and Turkish people are like water and oil. That’s my personal experience and your reaction seems to confirm my judgment. Now let me explain my crazy idea. Remember this: it was the Turkish military that invaded and occupied Cyprus; it was the military Regime of General Evren that recognized the statehood of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; it’s the Turkish army that uphelds and controls the occupied territories. And its the Turkish military (in civilian clothes this time) that will oppose any solution that is against their interests. They must get something big, very big that is flattering their big egos. I agree it’s a crazy idea – but what is the difference between a British airbase and a Turkish one, both being in NATO?
I just realized that your (justified) comment was addressed to the author of the essay and doesn’t concern my proposal. So please excuse me and forget the statement above.
“Greeks and Turks” have been the proverbial example of hereditary enemies for a thousand years.
Cyprus with a Greek population could, by consensus, decide to sever all alliances — consequences obvious.
Cyprus with a Turkish population would expand Turkey’s sphere of influence/control.
But Cyprus with a mixed population will never achieve enough unanimity to do anything. That’s why the Turks were seeded there. And why the Indians were brought to South Africa. And why the orcs so frantically seed the west with unassimilables.
Eliminating the cultural-ethnic solidarity of the target population is job one in the orc’s playbook.
A separation is the best solution for both.
A unified state will NEVER work…too much bad blood btw the two communities.
Turkey obviously has to give some land to the South.
Can it happen?
Not under Erdogan for sure…also many Greek Cypriots still believe they can go back to 1960’s conditions (ie a unified island under G.Cypriot domination)
Not gonna happen either.