Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Transforming Turkey into a Bizonal Bicommunal Federation with Kurds

Reader Discussion - 10th December to 16th December 2009:

Reader comments (Cyprus-related) about the recent EU Enlargement Committee and Foreign Ministers COREPER Decision about its decision regarding the Assessment of Turkey's Accession Process.

The article itself (link) ads little to enlighten much, but the discussion in the 'reader comments' deserve reading through, and do note that the page is interactive, allowing you to vote in favour of (but not against) comments you like (and if you create an account, can add your own comments to the continuing discussion)

Quoting from one of the latest entries:

"I predict that Turkey will not survive unscathed the most recent Kurdish revolt as a result of the ban of the pro Kurdish party.

"In my mind, if it was possible in Cyprus, then it is certainly possible in Turkey to be speaking of the transformation of the Turkish Republic into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, if only to save it from partition, as the ONLY SOLUTION TO AN EVER INCREASING KURDISH AWARENESS."
Transformation of Turkey / Kurdistan into bi-zonal bi-communal federation | Reader Comments @ Aphrodites troubled island | The Economist -

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Turkey for Thanksgiving and Cyprus problem unresolved

Turkish Cypriot Union protest Turkey's Policies

This blog-post is intended to highlight the discussion held in
the Euro Parliament yesterday 25th November 2009 to debate
the Report submitted by the Commission and EU Enlargement
Commissioner Olli Rehn about the EU's continuing negotiations
regarding Turkey's possible accession to the bloc 5 years after
it has failed to implement the Ankara Agreement which was part
of the terms for its commencing such a process.

View video of the European Parliament's discussion:

This comes during the week when Turkish Cypriot Unions staged
massive demonstrations outside both the Turkish Embassy in 'northern'
Cyprus and outside the 'parliament' of the vassal state it created by its
invasion of the island 35 years ago - as part of the expression of
by indigenous Cypriots against the policies pursued by
the Republic of
Turkey in Cyprus.

In addition to members of the Turkish Cypriot Teacher's Union, other
participants in the ongoing mobilisations against Turkey's policies on
the island include workers in the electricity and telephone unions as
well as those who work for the 'state' and for the 'municipalities', doctors,
nurses -- all the prestige sections of Turkish Cypriot society.

The video immediately below is from the 29th October demonstrations
which saw 19 people arrested:

The video immediately below is from the even larger 23rd November
demonstration during which tear gas was used by 'the authorities'
during which 17 people were arrested.

The section below provides an extensive translation from a particular
episode of the Cyprus Broadcasting Coropration's Biz-Emeis bilingual
Greek-Turkish programme, broadcast on 16th November.

The passage which is most relevant to bring to the attention of the world,
and to members of the European Parliament - as the EU prepares for the
December EU Leader's Summit which is to decide on the future of
accession process in the light of the 'lack of progress in
normalising relations
with the Republic of Cyprus'

... is the following:
"... the message we want to send out through our actions in
the north is directed against Turkey. Because the ones who
impose the policy of assimilation and integration is none
other than the Republic of Turkey. On the one hand it tells
the whole world that it desires a solution on the island yet
on the other it tries to assimilate and integrate the north
of the island."
The entirety of the interview is highly revealing of how educated
indigenous Cypriots who are of Turkish ethnicity feel about Turkey's
on Cyprus, and so the content of the videos embedded
below has been translated
into English and is exclusively available
from this blog. Other publishers are
encouraged to re-print the
content provided below.

Turkish Cypriot Unions protest Turkey's policies 1of3

(Turkish Cypriot Announcer): Good evening dear viewers.
We are with
you again for the first programme of the week
with purely Cypriot
matters. Our programme is proud that
from this first programme we are
closely following current
events. So tonight we will deal with yet
another current
matter, and in order to be better informed about the

problems which are being faced by trade unionists, we
have with us in
the studio the Secretary General of KTÖS,
Mr. Şener Elcil and the
Executive President of the Union,
Mr. Burak Maviş.


(Turkish Cypriot Interviewer): Good evening ladies and
gentlemen -
during recent days we have seen the
intensification of union struggles
in the Turkish Cypriot
community. There are strikes and
demonstrations, and
as always in all the protests KTÖS is to be found
in the
front line. We have with us in the studio the 'General

Secretary' of KTÖS, Mr Sener Ercil and the 'Organising
Secretary' of
the union, Mr Burak Maviş, who will update
us on the aims of the
unions and provide us with a first
assessment on the demonstrations
which are taking place
(in the 'north') ... welcome.

(Greek Cypriot Interviewer): Welcome.

(Turkish Cypriot Interviewer): What are the aims of the
unions and why
have they mobilised and become involved
in such intensive action? Are
the reasons economic ones,
political ones, or are there other reasons?

(Şener Elcil): The reasons for the mobilisation are not
economic ones.
These are political decisions which are
related to economic matters.
As you know, there have
been systematic policies which are intended to
integration of the north part of the island with Turkey, as

well as policies which are aimed at the assimilation of
the Turkish

Within the context of this policy, firstly the names of
Cypriot villages have been changed, forcing
Turkish Cypriots to take
on new names.

Furthermore, all economic activities are directed by
Turkey. A vassal
administration has been created in
the north of the island ... and
because they had no faith
in the Turkish Cypriots they have
transferred a numerically
greater number of people (from Turkey)
making them
'citizens' and have thus undermined the political will of
the Turkish Cypriots. Now there are efforts underway to make
economy in the north of the island similar to that of Turkey.

Within the context of these efforts a law has been prepared.
This law had
been prepared during the period when the
CTP (Republican People's
Party) had been in power. Having
realised they couldn't impose this
'law' on the CTP they
went ahead with 'early elections'. With the
advent to
power of the UBP (Party of National Unity), which,
Turkey's instructions, is trying to enforce this

Now, regarding the provisions of this 'law'- all new employees
public service will start at half the salary. Though a new employee would have started on 1000 euros a month, this
will now be reduced to
about 500 euros. I am talking about
the gross salary. Moreover, the
salaries of existing
employees will be reduced by one third.

In parallel with this however, the salaries of those holding political office will be increased.

We therefore feel that this law is not based on economics
but on
politics. In this way a political elite is created which
implement Turkey's directives. All those will get good
salaries and
will implement Turkey's policies while the rest,
and in particular the
Turkish Cypriots who will not be able
to make ends meet with a low
salary, will be forced to
emigrate from the island.

Consequently this is all about a law intended to create emigration of the Turkish Cypriots from the island.

For those who govern us, the significance is only the size
of the population,
because with the policy of "A Turk leaves,
a Turk arrives" (a Turkish Cypriot
leaves, a Turkish settler arrives) the Turkish Cypriots are of no importance to them.
This is a plan which is intended to destroy, to decimate, our community.

The rights of the unions are also abolished in collective bargaining. This is another way to close the unions because
it is the unions which
resist such anti-democratic practices.

This 'law' consequently has political aims and that is the
reason why we are reacting with demonstrations and other actions.

(Question from Turkish Cypriot interviewer): Mr Maviş, the other day there was a big demonstration. Certain media downplayed this demonstration, saying for example that participation was minimal. How do you evaluate participation in the demonstration?

(Burak Maviş): It is natural for such events to be misrepresented in the media which are under the influence of the dominant side. Such information appeared in newspapers such as Kibris, Vatan and Volkan - newspapers which are dependent, and are being directed. The other newspapers did not convey such (misrepresented) news. On the contrary, they published articles and commentaries which showed the success and effectiveness of this demonstration.

At this point I would like to thank the Turkish Cypriot media
support such demonstrations by the unions.

Participation in the demonstration, particularly among
the Turkish
Cypriot teachers approached 99%.

Some of our members did not take part in the strike for
reasons. Our position towards them will be
determined by the
provisions of our charter.

Our strike was crowned with success due to the
participation also of
the other unions. We had a large
march. Students of the Educational
Academy, the
Turkish Cypriot equivalent of the Cyprus Pedagogical

Institute also participated in the march. There was a
large and
enthusiastic procession.

Despite the fact that our 'Constitution' guarantees the right to
strike and to demonstrate, the 'police' blocked us.

(Question from Turkish Cypriot interviewer): they obstructed you?

(Burak Maviş): ... they set up roadblocks.

We continued with our march, we bypassed the roadblocks and marched towards the point where we were due to have our demonstration, in front of the 'Parliament' and we protested where we were supposed to. This disturbed certain circles. Such a confrontation, and our getting past the roadblocks disturbed the authorities and their supporters, and those who wish the assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots.

Our strike was successful.

I do not know how far such news will reach, however as long as Turkish Cypriot society remains determinedly (at our side) it will provide the appropriate answer to such news-reports.

(Question from Turkish Cypriot interviewer): Were charges brought against some of those who took part in the strike?

(Burak Maviş): Yes, and I am one of those.

19 participants in the demonstration have had charges brought against them for disrupting the task of 'the police' and for attacks against 'policemen'.

This is all about particular people who are in the front line.

Leading persons in the union, among which are included the Executive President of KTÖS, Guven Baroglu, were instructed to report to 'the police' headquarters where charges were brought against them.

As a result of these summonses, all 19 of us went to the headquarters with our banners. Once there we declared that we did not commit the offences with which we have been charged.

This is all about a fascist tactic, the same as was practised in Nazi Germany and in underdeveloped countries - something which we felt to have been the case in Cyprus from 1955 until 1974. Using the right to democratic action we provided, and will continue to provide, our response to such practices.

Such coercion can not intimidate the Turkish Cypriot teachers, the Turkish Cypriot working classes, or Turkish Cypriots generally.

(end section 1)
(start section 2)

Turkish Cypriot Unions protest Turkey's policies 2of3

(Question from Greek Cypriot interviewer): In your response earlier, you mentioned that underlying all these problems is the arrival of masses of settlers. I have had cause to ask you in the past, and I don't know if at this particular time there are specific numbers - how many settlers are there currently? Are such figures available?

(Şener Elcil): It is very difficult for anyone to know what the
population is in the north of the island. Different sources
varying figures as regards the population there.
It is said that it is
about one million - in his statements
Talat has referred to 500,000 -
officially it is put at 264,000
- I believe however that this is a
misleading number.

When ones goes out in the streets one sees the difference.

According to one study which we carried out in schools two years ago - of the students in our schools, 37% are children of citizens of the Republic of Turkey, 19% are children of settlers who came to the island after 1974 and who have been registered as citizens, 9% are children of settlers who are married to Turkish Cypriots, 1% are children from third countries. Children whose parents are indigenous Turkish Cypriots make up 34% of our students.

This shows that only one third of our population in the north
Turkish Cypriots.

Approaching your question from this perspective, and if we do accept that Turkish Cypriots in the north are 130,000 we must therefore be talking about a population three times that.

Consequently it is not possible to talk about a specific
number ...
but when we present these factors, as scientifically proven - we evoke a terse response - this is a matter which disturbs those who seek assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots.

Whoever does talk, or refer to such matters, does so at risk to their life.

As a result, the population of the north is unknown.

At a time when there are negotiations between our leaders, and if as a result of these we do proceed to a referendum, we as a union of Turkish Cypriot teachers demand, as we have incidentally also done in the past - that there should be a census of the population overseen by foreign observers.

I wish to stress that if there are to be those who will decide
on a
solution and the future of our island, these should be the Cypriots.

(Question from Turkish Cypriot interviewer): As unions you
will of
course naturally continue your industrial action.
Can you talk to us a
little more about your plan of action?

(Şener Elcil): The north is entirely under Turkey's control and that of the government of the day.

We say this.

One of the reasons why on the day of the demonstration the 'police' attacked our comrades was because of a banner they were holding. This banner said that the Republic of Turkey is treating Cyprus as its province. We showed this banner in front of the Turkish Embassy. This disturbed them a lot.

Therefore the message we want to send out through our actions in the north is directed against Turkey. Because the ones who impose the policy of assimilation and integration is none other than the Republic of Turkey. On the one hand it tells the whole world that it desires a solution on the island yet on the other it tries to assimilate and integrate the north of the island.

Therefore, all our actions, and all our demonstrations, are
aimed at
the officials of the Republic of Turkey. Behind all the attacksagainst us, the 'police interrogations', the attacks and the threats against us - is the government of the Republic of Turkey.

At this point I would like to give out the message that we will
continue our actions, the strikes and our demonstrations. We will wage our political struggle so that this 'legislation' will not be adopted, and if it is adopted we will continue until it is repealed.

(Question from Turkish Cypriot interviewer): According to some polls, people consider teachers to be in the category of those who are better-off and they do not understand why they should be on strike. How would you reply to that?

(Şener Elcil): The best organised and most militant union is the Teachers Union. That is how it has always been in the past, before the union was even created. In intra-communal clashes the teachers have always been at the forefront.

(Question from Greek Cypriot interviewer): To continue on from the question set by my colleague, and given what you have told us, other than your members who are participating en mass in these demonstrations - are there also simple Turkish Cypriots who are with you? Do they take part in your actions?

(Şener Elcil): We are not struggling alone. We have at our side the workers unions - the workers in the electricity and telephone unions as a common platform, there are those who work for the 'state' and workers in the municipalities, doctors, nurses -- all the prestige sections of society ... if you are asking why the teachers are doing this, the answer is that the teachers are not struggling for money ... the union of Turkish Cypriot Teachers is struggling for civil rights.

We are not involved in this struggle in order to improve our salaries or even our standard of living. We can achieve that if we do want to do that. We are affected however when the parents of the children we teach are working in bad conditions and are not adequately rewarded. The teachers are a part of society and as such we struggle for the welfare of the society, it defends its democratic rights and the creation of a social order where there is respect for human rights.

(end section 2)
(start section 3)

Turkish Cypriot Unions protest Turkey's policies 3of3

(Question from Greek Cypriot interviewer): We have only a
few minutes
left - we would also like to know your future
plans. Given these
actions which are already under way
- what will be your next steps?
What will be your next
actions? Are there appeals?

(Burak Maviş): The struggle of the Turkish Cypriot
which started in 1968, with the understanding
that the problems of
teachers are related to civil rights,
will continue into the future.
Even though there are
economic reasons, our struggle is mainly
a political one.
The efforts which began in 1955 and in 1974 led to
de-facto division of the island and the separation of the
communities, will continue into the future.

Turkey will continue to implement its policy of political assimilation of the Turkish Cypriots. Our union and the
Turkish Cypriot community
will continue its struggle
against efforts to assimilate its identity,
its culture, its
religious consciousness, its language (dialect) and
social life of the Turkish Cypriots.

We will resist Turkey's efforts to implement the policy
which it
implemented in Hatagi when it annexed it to
Turkey in 1939. We
understood a long time ago that
we will not achieve our goal through
'elections' to
'parliament' and the kind of discussions which have

occurred from 1974 to this day.

In the north of the country there is a policy of "get up
get up - sit
down sit down" ... there are those who
give the orders and those who
implement them. The
elections are simply intended to choose those who

will implement the orders.

We know that the essential problem is that Ankara is
behind all the
interventions which occur in the Turkish
Cypriot community. In setting
our direction and our
actions we strive through strikes and
to increasingly realise our society, to bring it with
part so we can continue our struggle by projecting a
more radical
and dynamic position.

(Question from Greek Cypriot interviewer): In closing,
during the
last few seconds, will these actions continue,
and to what extent are
you determined to implement
even more dynamic measures? Very quickly

(Şener Elcil): We are determined.

I do want to clearly lay down an important distinction.

As a Turkish Cypriot, when I cross into the south, I am
treated as a
Turk. When I cross into the north I am
regarded as a Cypriot. I am
first and foremost a Turkish
Cypriot. This must be understood. I want
to remind
everyone in Cyprus that they must respect the struggle
the Turkish Cypriots are involved with in the north.
We have been
waging this struggle for many years now,
for the survival of our
community, to not be assimilated
and we will continue this struggle to
the end.

(Turkish Cypriot interviewer): We thank you, and I wish
you good luck
with your struggle.

(Greek Cypriot interviewer): We thank you very much,
and we hope that
your struggle will be productive.

Turkish Cypriot Newspapers 24th Nov 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Cyprus vs Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights 18th Nov 2009

"The applicants are all Cypriot nationals of Greek-Cypriot origin.
They claim to be the owners of movable and immovable property

located in the northern part of Cyprus, which has been occupied
by the Turkish army since 1974. They allege that the Turkish authorities
are preventing them from having access to this property and
disposing of it as they wish." (see details at the ECHR website)

Having waited for years for an empty slot in the European Court of
Human Rights' ever-so-busy schedule for the hearing on the 18th ...

... about whether the Immovable Property Commission (IPC)
which was set up by the 'state', previously declared subservient
to Turkey in the Loizidou case by the ECHR itself, which Turkey
created through its invasion and continuing occupation of almost
half of Cyprus and which is only recognised by Turkey itself and
has been condemned by an innumerable number of UN Resolutions ...

Mr Wood representing Turkey

... WHETHER the IPC is a sufficient and adequate mechanism
so that the ECHR can get rid of its problem of constipation
resulting from the sheer number of cases outstanding against
Turkey by Cypriots - by referring cases to the IPC to 'settle' there,
instead of the ECHR having to deal with all those cases ....

Mr Anderson for the defence

Mr Demetriades for the defence

... and having chosen to hear the case before the
19 member bench of international judges in GRAND CHAMBER ...

Mr Saini for the Republic of Cyprus

Mr Lowe for the Republic of Cyprus

-- it transpires the ECHR is unlikely to deliver a verdict
for 9 to 12 months!

Is that not a PREPOSTEROUSLY long time for them
to think about what seems like an open and shut case ?


Full video of the hearing can be viewed by clicking below

The video can also be downloaded from links at the following

Archive dot org facility:

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Let Turkey WALK the talk, not just use catchy PR-speak

"20 years after Berlin Wall fell, Nicosia remains divided" - AFP

"Zero problems with neighbours" is indeed a catchy phrase which the PR boys have been using for the past month or so to promote Turkey's new-found Post Imperialism, and to promote its image just prior to the decisions by the EU at its December summit when Turkey's (minimal) progress in its accession process.

While the Organisation of Islamic states meets in Ankara currently will Erdogan announce a decision to fire the top Generals over the latest revelations about their Ergenekon activities ?

Will the debate in the Turkish Parliament this week propose changes to the constitution in order to allow actual autonomy to the Kurds ?

Will Turkey propose that it will surrender the ghost city of Famagusta on Cyprus to either EU or UN control ?

Friday, 6 November 2009

Supporting Dissidents in Turkish occupied Cyprus

Please see the announcement from the Turkish Cypriot New Cyprus Party (YKP), one of the few branches of the community in 'northern' Cyprus which openly acknowledge the facts of the illegal military Occupation of the island, and openly oppose the occupation regime - to be seen at the
Cyprus IndyMedia site.

"Murat Kanatli, General Secretary of the Executive Board of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), plus 2 other YKP members and 16 trade unionists received a call on Friday 30th October from the Nicosia District Police Station Headquarters to be informed that they were being sued with the accusation that they beat up the police and they did not allow the police to do their duty.

He was participating at the demonstration of Wednesday 28th October 2009 in the northern part of Nicosia, not only as General Secretary of YKP but also as a journalist for the weekly newspaper Yenicag. "

This item above can be supplemented by the text of an 'Open Letter' to the United Nations which has appeared on Facebook and which, despite being poorly expressed in the English language, is quoted here in its entirety:

"Open mail that was sent to UN Commisionary by the unions
[in Turkish occupied Cyprus]

"Sunday, 01 November 2009 at 01:23

"According to London and Zurich aggreements; In order to maintain territorial integrity and constitutional law of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkey which was commissioned as guarantor, made a military intervention and Turkey’s political and economic strategies in the north of the island has become a threat against Turkish Cypriots.

"Systematically and against the Geneva agreements, there has been population transfer to the north of the island. This transferred population is given citizenship and thus, the situation causes exploitation of the political will of the Turkish Cypriot citizens. This makes the elections become non-sense. Economic and political structure is under command of Turkey. The elected governments function has become a chain of command in order to remain as the governing power. So, the governments which are elected in terms of these factors represent an organ of government which obeys the orders of Turkish Republic; rather than representing the Turkish Cypriot political will. The advisors and permanent secretaries in the frame of the Turkish Embassy on our island have the same authority as the ministers in the government; the north of the island is governed by their decisions. In these terms, European Court of Human Rights’ ascertainment after Loizidou Case is absolutely true; which is: The structure in the north of the island is determined as a subordinate local administration.

"Recent years, with the excuse of registering the cheap labor and developing great investments, Turkey has given a priviledge to make investments with the support of the government; there has been great amounts of population transfer from Turkey. The economic situation is already seriously difficult and moreover, this uncontrolable transfer flow and increasing in population caused many problems in terms of economic, social and educational budget. Even electricity and water privation needs can not be provided properly. There has been an increase in crimes. There are no enough places in the prisons and %95 of the prisoners are Turkish Citizens.

"There is a pressure upon the secular Turkish Cypriots in order to ruin the social and cultural structure; this perssure is mostly because of the emposition of religious sanctions and Sunni Islam. The rights of the workers are tried to be changed; their rights in terms of salary and work is pushed to be similar with Turkey. In order to accelerate immigration of the Turkish Cypriots from the island and assimilation policy, these attacks of the collaborator governments are being organized sistematically and being hidden from the Europan Union as well as community. In accordance with these facts, we call out for international solidarity in order not to witness the abolishion of the Turkish Cypriots as European Union citizens.

"Cyprus Turkish Teachers’ Trade Union (KTÖS), Cyprus Turkish Secondary School Teachers’ Trade Union (KTOEÖS), Cyprus Turkish Public Servants’ Trade Union (KTAMS), Customs Workers Trade Union (GÜÇ-SEN), Cooperative Workers’ Trade Union (KOOP-SEN), Municipality Workers’ Trade Union (BES), Telecommunication Workers Trade Union (TEL-SEN), Cyprus Turkish Physicians Trade Union (TIP-İŞ), Eastern Mediterranean University Unity and Solidarity Union (DAÜ-Bir-Sen)"

(end quote)


The items below were recently broadcast by the bilingual (Greek and Turkish)
BIZ EMEIS programme of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation
(during September and October)

Adnan Eraslan 1of3 - Turkish Cypriot Teachers Union KTOEO

05 October 2009

Introduction - Turkish Cypriot Unions have entered a new phase of activism currently, prompted on the one hand by economic problems and on the other by a reduction in their effectiveness as a result of the importation of settlers from Turkey and recent efforts to turn Turkish Cypriot society from a cosmopolitan one to an islamic one. This has led to the creation of an alliance of 29 unions which are protesting these developments. We have with us today Mr Adnan Eraslan, President of KTOEOS (Union of Teachers in Middle Education), one of the most active among these unions.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Zeki Βeşiktepeli interviewed - BΙΖ / EΜΕΙΣ - 22.09.2009 (Multilingual with subs)

Be sure to watch all 3 parts.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:


Please add your name to support the petition on the web, placed online by Turkish Cypriots, and already signed by many of the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot dissident movement:

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Cyprus Referendum - Citizen Perceptions

30 October 2009 (see the full 102 minute video of the event embedded below)

The Cyprus Referendum - Citizen perceptions
and the role of the leadership in the uphill path towards a solution

A talk by Chrysostomos Pericleous, author of the 2009 book 'The Cyprus Referendum'
: A Divided Island and the Challenge of the Annan Plan' (London: IB Tauris, 2009)

Chairman: Dr Othon Anastasakis
Director of South East European Studies, St Anthony’s College, Oxford


The incompatible envisioning of the future of Cyprus by Greek and Turkish Cypriots throughout the 20th century has been the main cause of the protracted Cyprus crisis. The shift of Turkish Cypriots towards Cypriotism and their approach to a common vision during their uprising against the Denktas regime in 2000-2003 had been a turning point, the message of which the Greek Cypriots failed to take on board, as they also failed to decode the unprecedented convergence of events on the “grand chessboard” which created a unique solution timing. Their perception of the Cyprus problem, along with the confusion caused by petty party politics and inadequate conservative leaderships, prevented them from rationally analyzing and politically appreciating the new perspectives opened before them by the solution prospect within the promising European framework. However, the downfall of Papadopoulos in 2008 bore evidence of a rethinking and soul searching internal process within the Greek Cypriot community. It was this re-orientation that brought Christofias to power and it is with this backing that he has reinvigorated the negotiation process in search of a solution.


'The Cyprus Referendum' by Chrysostomos Pericleous

The Cyprus referendum of 2004 was a definitive moment in the recent history of Cyprus. The island’s future hung in the balance – specifically the fate of the controversial Annan Plan, which proposed the creation of a single United Cyprus Republic with two constituent states. Accepted by the Turkish side but rejected by Greek Cypriots, the Plan was not implemented. In this balanced account of a highly charged period, Chrysostomos Pericleous offers an exhaustive treatment of the events that culminated in the referendum and through his comparative study, explains the positions ultimately taken by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

'The Cyprus Referendum' presents the definitive account of the course of action taken by President Tassos Papadopoulos and his ruling coalition which ultimately led to the resounding ‘No’ vote on the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriots at the referendum. Pericleous places the events on the island within a wider global context, focusing especially on the re-orientation of US foreign policy in the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus triangle. Drawing together all the evidence, the author explores the consequences for the island and whether the rejection of the referendum will lead to a period of decline for Cyprus unless a dramatic change occurs in Greek Cypriot politics.

An important contribution to the study of Cypriot politics, 'The Cyprus Referendum' provides readers with a deeper insight into the broader political framework within which the UN peace initiative in Cyprus has developed. It is a meticulous study of a critical moment in Cypriot history and the depth of its research makes the book invaluable for anyone interested in the island – past, present and future.

Chrysostomos Pericleous is a freelance writer and journalist with first hand experience in the politics of Cyprus. Educated in London and Exeter as well as Cyprus, he has published a number of articles and essays as well as two books, The Cyprus Problem and a collection of poetry.

Praise for 'The Cyprus Referendum'

“Pericleous has researched the international events leading to the April 2004 referendum with enormous care and diligence, covering almost everything published in Greek and English and this is an important and original scholarly contribution.” – Michalis Attalides, Rector of the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.

“I fully endorse his critical approach and scientific documentation, his deep political and historical insight, the integrity of his judgment and evaluations, and the high academic standards he has achieved. It is a lively and cohesive narrative … and the ability of the author to grasp the drama in which leaders, social actors, and the people of Cyprus as a whole are entangled, makes it a book for a much wider readership.” – George Papadimitriou, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Athens.

“Pericleous presents a comparative study on the Cyprus Conflict and contributes substantially to a better understanding of the recent political history of Cyprus… I firmly believe that this book will fulfil the gap on the recent political developments in and around Cyprus.” – Niyazi Kizilyurek, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cyprus.


Dr Zenon Stavrinides
General Secretary, Association for Cypriot, Greek and Turkish Affairs
8 Ganners Mount, Leeds LS13 2PE, Great Britain
Tel: 0113 256 8907 Mobile: 07790 107353


Visit the ACGTA website at

See past events by the ACGTA which were videotaped and are available for viewing online:

The Apostolides vs Orams Case: An Update
J116, Cowdray House
London School of Economics
6.30pm, 25 March 2009
Speaker: Constantis Candounas
Chair: Alper Ali Riza QC
***(Watch Online)***

Cyprus Settlement: Who Benefits?
The 2nd Keith Kyle Memorial Lecture
London School of Economics
Speaker: Caroline Flint, MP
Minister for Europe
Chair: Dr James Ker-Lindsay, LSE
25 February 2009
***(Watch Online)***

Cyprus: Progress so Far
Canada Blanch Room (J116)
London School of Economics
6 February 2009
Speaker: Mr Andrew Dismore MP
***(Watch Online)***

America, Britain and the Cyprus Crisis of 1974: Calculated Conspiracy or Foreign Policy Failure?
Canada Blanch Room (J116), First Floor, Cowdray House
London School of Economics
21 November 2008
Speaker: Dr Andreas Constandinos
Chair: Dr James Ker-Lindsay, LSE
***(Watch Online)***

The Security Dimensions of a Cyprus Settlement
Joint event with the Hellenic Observatory, LSE
Canada Blanche Room (J116) , 1st Floor, Cowdray House
London School of Economics
10 October 2008
Speaker: Dr James Ker-Lindsay, LSE
Chair: Dr Zenon Stavrinides
***(Watch Online)***

The State of Greek-Turkish Relations
Canada Blanche Room (J116) , 1st Floor, Cowdray House
London School of Economics
11 July 2008
Speaker: Robert MacDonald
Chair: Alper Riza QC
***(Watch Online)***

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Commentary - on the EUs Andrew Duff about Turkeys Ergenekon investigation

EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee

The item below highlights a very rarely expressed view (in ANY diplomatic fora) that if the Greek Cypriots had voted yes in the 2004 Referendum, and if the Annan Plan HAD proceeded into implementation -- THEN arguably the AKP Government would have been overthrown by the Turkish military and the consequences for Cyprus if that had happened are open to speculation.

Its significance however is in highlighting the reality of the non-enforceability of any agreement between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots if such an agreement involves issues unacceptable to the Turkish Deep State.

It also puts paid to the argument that the views of the Turkish Cypriots voting in any referendum in Cyprus actually has any significance - even if one ignores the fact that unlawfully imported Turkish settlers in the occupied areas outnumber indigenous Turkish Cypriots by almost 2 to 1 - when the Turkish military have such absolute veto power over any settlement of the problems of the Republic of Cyprus.

(Verbatim extracts, below, are from Zaman Today

"The 62nd meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee was held in Parliament earlier this week.

"Turkey's credibility as a state founded on the rule of law is at stake vis-à-vis the eventual fate of an ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a gang that attempted to overthrow the government, particularly now that the authenticity of a document laying out a military plot aimed at destroying the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gülen movement has been confirmed, a senior member of the European Parliament has warned.

"Liberal Democrat politician and member of the European Parliament Andrew Duff was in Ankara earlier this week on the occasion of the 62nd meeting of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee. The meeting coincided with the emergence of the original of the military plot which has sent shockwaves throughout the country, with many circles gearing up to stand by democracy and the rule of law in Turkey."

Andrew Duff:

“I think it is important that we believe that the prime minister can instruct the army as opposed to the army instructing their prime minister. There’s going to come a time, I hope, that there is a settlement of the Cyprus issue. That’s the time when the prime minister will have to instruct the chief of general staff to withdraw some of its troops from the island. We need to be certain that such an instruction from a prime minister to a chief of general staff is going to be obeyed, is going to be followed. If the Ergenekon crisis is to perpetuate a sense of contest between the army and the Parliament, then we can’t be certain that the settlement of the division of the island, if agreed by the Cypriots, will actually be effective on the ground,” he added.

(end Zaman Extracts)

(Resume Commentary)

Diplomats of other EU countries should stop talking about how Turkey is being constructive in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem and recognise that if the community does really wish to see the gordian knot over the Cyprus issue resolved it is imperative now for the EU to send a clear and unequivocal signal to Turkey to undertake withdrawal of its troops and settlers from Cyprus if it wants to avoid a complete freeze of its accession process during the December 2009 Summit.

The Government of Cyprus, working with the active cooperation of the Greek Government which has already expressed its view that existing powers of Guarantee over the Republic of Cyprus should be abolished in any future Cyprus agreement - must work, with the cooperative input of other governments of the EU, to elicit a policy statement - that the nominees for the post of President and for the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs, will, as part of the confirmation hearings into their appointment, be asked to explain what steps they would propose to implement in drafting and obtaining unanimous EU support of an EU alternative to the Guarantor Power agreements in the 1960 founding instruments of the Republic of Cyprus.

In recognition that actual responsibility for a solution of the Cyprus problem must ultimately be fulfilled by the the United Nations rather than the EU, the EU could recognise that it is in its interest to make a recommendation and undertake the submission of a motion to the UN Security Council to suspend Turkey's seat as a non-permanent member of the Council, pending resolution of these issues

A particularly heartening recent development on the Cyprus issue was the Cyprus communication to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, described in a Press Release by the Hellenic News of America available at , "Secretary Clinton receives important Cyprus communication signed by over 30% of U.S. Congress"

"This letter was signed by just under one-third of the entire U.S. Congress. According to the Library of Congress database, only three other foreign policy-related issues -- Iran , Cuba and the Armenian Genocide -- had more Members of Congress expressing such deep concern as cosponsors of resolutions," said Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) President Andrew Manatos."

Text of Letter

"These Congressional leaders expressed support for Secretary Clinton's efforts to "avoid the resurrection of settlement provisions like those of the 2004 UN effort." They noted that, "those provisions were overwhelmingly rejected and considered `unacceptable to western democracies' by a majority of the Senate European Affairs Subcommittee. You also recognized them recently as the cause for the plan's failure."

"They added that, "foreign advocacy of artificial deadlines and unacceptable settlement provisions contributed to the defeat of the 2004 settlement efforts."

"With regard to Turkey 's illegal occupation of Cyprus , these Congressional leaders said that, "No EU country could be expected to acquiesce to the occupation of a fellow EU member, much less to embrace the occupier as a member of the EU club. It is a virtual certainty that Turkey will never achieve its dream of EU membership as long as its troops continue to occupy Cyprus ."

"They supported efforts to "protect [today's Cypriot settlement negotiators] from foreign constraints and artificial timetables so that they can achieve a bi-communal, bizonal federation that adheres to UN resolutions."

"They concluded by stressing to the Secretary that, "To succeed, a settlement effort should be `of the Cypriots, by the Cypriots and for the Cypriots.'"


Claire Palley, An International Relations Debacle: The UN Secretary-general's Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus 1999-2004. Hart Publishing, 2005, (ISBN 184113578X)

Copy of this commentary, and additional news clippings from the Turkish Press on this and other matters is available at:

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

ECHR - Turkey Guilty of defrauding expelled Greeks of Istanbul

Fokas v. Turkey (no. 31206/02)

The applicants, Ioannis Fokas and Evangelos Fokas, are Greek nationals who were born in 1945 and 1948 respectively and live in Katerini (Greece). The case concerned the applicants’ inability as Greek citizens to inherit their sister’s immovable property in Turkey on account of their nationality and of the principle of reciprocity between Greece and Turkey. They relied in particular on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property).

Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1

Just satisfaction: question reserved for decision at a later date


Archive item from 2007, explaining the background to this case:

2nd August 2007

From Cyprus Weekly

Ankara must answer

Ankara to answer for violation of Greek property rights in Turkey

By Philippos Stylianou

APART from the usurped properties of Greek Cypriot refugees in the part of Cyprus occupied by its army, Turkey now has to answer before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the violation of Greek property rights in Istanbul.

The Strasbourg-based ECHR has recently reviewed an individual application filed in 2002 by two brothers, who have been denied their family inheritance in Istanbul because they are Greek citizens and Christian Orthodox.

According to one of their lawyers, Achilleas Demetriades, known from the landmark Titina Loizidou case, the Court has decided that the case is a serious one and worth considering and has therefore asked the respondent government of Turkey to submit its observations by the middle of September.

"When this happens, the applicants will be afforded the opportunity to give their comments and submit their claim for the damages they sustained," Demetriades said.

He added: "The importance of the case is huge, as a successful outcome would open the way for thousands of Greeks originating from Turkey but who do not have Turkish nationality to claim the property rightfully left them by their forefathers."

Demetriades is appearing for the brothers Ioannis and Evangelos Fokas together with lawyer D. Geldis, who is practicing in Katerini, Greece. The applicants’ property consists of three buildings in Istanbul, one of them an apartment block, as well as income from rents, deposits and valuable documents and deeds.


The two brothers aged 61 and 58 inherited the property from their sister Polyxeni Pistika – Foka, who was adopted in 1954 at the age of 11 by the couple Apostolos and Elisavet Pistika, both Turkish nationals of Greek origin. The adoption was made in accordance with the decisions of both the Greek and Turkish courts.

Following the death of her adopted parents, their property was transferred to Polyxeni by way of inheritance in July 1987 by order of the Istanbul 3rd Civil Court. A few years later, in 1991, Polyxeni Pistika (Foka) was admitted to the psychiatric department of the Balikli Rum (Greek) hospital in Zeytinburu and the authorities appointed a guardian for her affairs, despite efforts by her brother Ioannis to appoint a guardian of his choice.

In 1997 the Turkish authorities proceeded to annul the 1987 inheritance order for Polyxeni under a 1964 Legislative Order, according to which a natural person holding Greek nationality has no right to inherit in Turkey. They also said that they could do this on grounds of reciprocity because the Greek government applied similar provisions to persons of Turkish origin living in Greece. The annulment was confirmed by the Court of Cassation the next year and Polyxeni was deprived of all her property and income and remained in hospital without resources until her death in April 2000.


In September 2000 her brothers filed a petition with the Beyoglu Magistrates’ Court for a certificate of inheritance. The Court, once again invoking the reciprocity grounds, dismissed their petition in regard to the immovable property, accepting it only for the movable assets. Polyxenis’ brothers repeatedly appealed the negative decision unsuccessfully.

Commenting on the reciprocity argument used by the Turkish side, Achilleas Demetriades said: "The Turkish argument that this should be allowed in view of a similar practice in Greece is not simply valid, because two wrongs don’t make a right."

He expressed the hope that this would not prevent the Greek Government from exercising its right under the European Convention on Human Rights of participating in the process before the ECHR, in order to assist the applicants who are Greek citizens.


Further reply from the Commission, received on 12 July 2005
The Commission is aware that Greek citizens have encountered problems in relation to their inheritance rights in Turkey. The Commission has requested information from the Turkish authorities regarding the legislative framework in this area on a number of occasions. Most recently, the Commission requested this during its regular political dialogue with the Turkish authorities on 18 March 2005. To date the Turkish authorities have not provided a response.

The Commission was recently informed of a case before the European Court of Human Rights regarding this issue (Ioannis Fokas and Evangelos Fokas v. Turkey, Application no. 31206/02). The Commission will closely follow this and any other such cases of which it is made aware. The plaintiffs’ allegation that Greek citizens have been denied their inheritance rights in Istanbul on the basis of a “secret decree” which dates back to the 1960s is of particular concern. The Commission intends to further investigate this issue in the context of its monitoring of the human rights situation in Turkey and will continue to raise the issue with the Turkish authorities.

EU aware of inheritance right problems faced by Greeks in Turkey, Commission official says
23 June, 2005

BRUSSELS, 23/06/2005 (ANA)
The European Commission is aware that Greek citizens have faced huge problems concerning their inheritance rights in Turkey, the head of the Commission's Human Rights Unit Rolf Timans said on Wednesday, while stressing that this was an issue of great importance.

Timans said the European Commission was aware of a claim that Greek citizens had been denied their legal rights of inheritance by Turkish authorities on the basis of 'secret decrees'.
He also pointed out that the Commission had raised this issue repeatedly in the framework of political dialogue between the EU and Turkey but had "received no reply up to this day".

Timans was responding to a question put by Greek MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, from the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party, concerning an inheritance case brought before the European Court of Human Rights by two Greek brothers, Ioannis and Evangelos Fokas.

The two brothers had sought to inherit a property in Istanbul from their sister Polyxeni Pistika-Foka but this was refused by a Turkish court in April 2000, which found that Polyxeni Pistika-Foka could not inherit the property from her father because she was a Greek national. The ruling caused a stir on both sides of the Aegean, while the Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet" condemned the decision as an "irregularity that is not in line with modern legal thinking".

The EU official said that he had recently been informed of the case in the ECHR and would closely monitor its development, along with any other related case that he was aware of.

"The plaintiffs' claim that, on the basis of a secret decree dating from 1960, Greek citizens have been denied their rights of inheritance is extremely important," Timans said and under-lined that he intended to further investigate the issue in the framework of monitoring the human rights situation in Turkey.

Source: Athens News Agency


A Troubling History of Ethnic Conflict
The Harvard Center for European Studies

Bruce Clark, the international security editor of The Economist, speaks at Harvard University about his book, 'Twice a Stranger'

Write-up about 'Twice a Stranger' at:

Review of 'Twice a Stranger' by The Observer:
Time Judah, Sunday 18 June 2006,
"Bruce Clark's book is about the massive population exchanges that took place between Greece and Turkey in the early 1920s. A book about something that happened in the 1920s cannot always be expected to raise acute questions about the world today; the power of this book is the terrifying way that it does."


Septemvriana events in Istanbul remembered

Costa Vertzayias 5 September 2005

"we remember with great sadness the heinous events of 6-7 September 1955 which has led to the almost extinction of the Greek presence in Constantinople. No words can convey the reign of terror that the Greeks lived through."
Watch fakeloi -ta septemvriana in Educational

1955 riots against minorities on the big screen [in Turkey]

"The Turkish public, at least a part of it, had to wait for 50 years to learn what really happened during the pogrom against the Christian inhabitants of Istanbul in September 1955. In 2005 Dilek Guven’s very detailed doctorate thesis on the Septembriana presented at the Bochum University in Germany was published in Turkish. Same year, photographs and documents compiled by the martial law judge retired Admiral Fahri Coker (Tsoker) who served at the court that tried the suspects was also printed and distributed.

"Tomris Giritlioglu’s film 'The Autumn Pain' comes four years later as a cinematographic account of a love affair between a Greek girl from Istanbul and a Turkish boy who comes from a staunchly rightwing and chauvinist but at the same time rich family with a backdrop of Septemvriana.

"The scenario is based on a novel by Yilmaz Karakoyunlu, a former parliamentarian who has also written an earlier novel about the Wealth Tax levied on Turkey’s non-moslems in 1942. That novel was also put on film by Giritlioglu with the title “Mrs. Salkim’s Diamonds.”

"As 'Mrs. Salkim’s Diamonds' then, 'The Autumn Pain' is also hailed now by most of the commentators as an artistic attempt to recognize the injustices done to Turkey’s non-moslem minorities.

.../ ...

"Until Dilek Guven’s book was published and Admiral Tsoker’s documents and photographs were printed, the general impression in Turkey was that the Septemvriana was organized by the government of Adnan Menderes in 1955 to put pressure on Greece and Greek Cypriots while the then Foreign Minister Fatin Rustu Zorlu was in London negotiating the future of Cyprus. The simple explanation for the pogrom was that the crowds went out of control and did what they did. Guven, in her book, mentions a note sent by a member of the British Embassy in Athens then, saying “A little harassment of the Greek population in Istanbul would help.” At that time the British were supporting the Turkish theses on Cyprus.

"But there was more to that. In 2001 journalist Fatih Gullapoglu, interviewed retired General Sabri Yirmibesoglu, the former head of Turkish army’s Department of Special Warfare, who admitted that it was his organization that mobilized the Turkish Cypriots against Greek Cypriots. He also declared that Septemvriana was also one of the “perfect jobs done by the Special Warfare Department.” It seems that it was one of the major operations to dispossess the non-Moslem minority and force them to leave Turkey, a well known policy of the Turkish governments since the 19’/20s."


Erevna (Investigation)
3rd March 2009
(spoken in Greek)


Tuesday, August 18, 2009
“Ta Septemvriana”
by Costa Vertzayias
An excellent write-up on Ta Septemvriana, in English.

"The Septemvriana did not erupt so suddenly and violently in order to destroy an entire community. Cyprus, was merely the ostensible cause, the events in Cyprus provided the pretext to fanaticise the mobs. It was the excuse that Turkey was waiting for just as the coup in 1974 was the excuse Turkey needed to invade Cyprus to implement its long awaited plan. The Greek Cypriots campaign against Britain in 1955 was used to turn the Turkish public against the Greeks of Constantinople and thus to eliminate them forever.

"At the trial of Prime Minister Menderes in 1960 it was revealed that he and Foreign Minister Fatin Rustu planned and mapped out the programme of terror.

"Fifty years later we remember with great sadness the heinous events of 6-7 September 1955 which has led to the almost extinction of the Greek presence in Constantinople. No words can convey the reign of terror that the Greeks lived through.

"The Septemvriana are yet another black page in Turkish history, along with the genocides against the Armenians, Pontians and Assyrians for which Turkey has never been held accountable. Sadly, Turkey’s complete disregard of international law and contempt for universally accepted human values has been condoned by the West for geopolitical reasons.

"Even sadder, the situation in Cyprus is worse now than in 1955. However, the great irony may be that Cyprus could be the sting in the scorpion’s tail for Turkey. Exactly fifty years after the Septemvriana it may be Cyprus that will block Turkey’s road to Europe – divine retribution or nemesis?"


Concerns in Istanbul - Are new Septemvriana being prepared?

28th August 2009
(text in Greek)
The Green and Red stripes of paint on the exterior walls of houses belonging to Greeks and Armenians of Istanbul, a few days before the black anniversary of the Septemvriana have troubled the two communities as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

According to information, these have appeared on houses in different locations in Istanbul where christians live where there are stripes of green paint, while on the houses of the Armenians there are stripes of red paint. The christians were amazed when they saw the stripes of green paint on their houses, bringing immediately to mind the destruction of the 6th and 7th September 1955, when the Turkish masses created violent scenes against the Greeks of Istanbul. A member of the Turkish parliament has submitted a formal question to the Minister of the Interior of Turkey Mpesir Atalai, asking for clarification on what is going on.

The same member of parliament stated that he has recently been receiving an increasing number of complaints by christians in relation to harassment and discrimination. What must be mentioned is that the Armenian and Greek christian communities have lived in Istanbul for many centuries, but in recent years have experienced greatly increased instances of hate and crime against them. There are more than 50,000 Armenians, and about 2,500 Greeks.