Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Stefan Fule anti-Cyprus Foul at the European Union

See also the follow-up to this item on this blog, here

News Broadcasts in English and Greek on 26th March 2010 from the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation report the EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule being accused in no uncertain terms of perpetrating a 'Foul' during a press conference during the 26th March EU Leader's summit by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias. The world's press certainly did not cover the story at all. The Cyprus President reported that neither EU Commission President Barosso, nor the current Spanish Presidency of the EU were aware of the actions of the Enlargement Commissioner. Cyprus Foreign Minister Kyprianou, who had had a meeting with Commissioner Fule earlier in the week had also not been informed of the Commissioner's intention which he was apparently intending to make to one of the subcommittees of the European Parliament which could bring the matter of direct trade with 'northern' Cyprus to a vote in the full Parliament.

Party spokespersons provide their reactions.

News in Greek from Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation on 27th March 2010 and News in Turkish reports the same story. Cyprus Euro-MPs, and political party spokesman are interviewed on the matter. EU's Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule was accused in no uncertain terms of perpetrating a 'Foul' during a press conference during the 26th March EU Leader's summit by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Apostolides v Orams and the rule of law in the European Union

Video of Lobby for Cyprus Seminar - Wednesday 24 March 2010
141 minutes

This video is also available as a single clip at archive dot org, here

" 'Apostolides v Orams' and the rule of law in the European Union"


Mr. Constantis Candounas
Mr Meletis Apostolides
Dr Klearchos Kyriakides
Mr. Nick Counoupias
Chaired by Mr. Costas Frangeskides

Mr Meletis Apostolides and his lawyer Mr. Constantis Candounas spoke about the recent English Court of Appeal decision.

This landmark case is of fundamental importance because the English Court of Appeal, in common with the European Court of Justice, upheld all the rights of Mr Apostolides in relation to his land and properties in Turkish-occupied Cyprus. In so doing, the Court of Appeal effectively upheld the rule of law and the rights of all of the dispossessed property owners in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus.

Mr Constantis Candounas spoke about the significant implications of this case for all those illegally trespassing and profiting from land and properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus who now face having judgments enforced against them and their assets in the UK and EU Courts.

The audience were particularly happy to have Mr Meletis Apostolides in attendance and to hear his personal perspective on the case.

Leading lecturer, lawyer and academic, Dr Klearchos Kyriakides, provided a detailed explaination of how the case re-affirms the rule of law, the principle which obliges all EU states, including the UK, to uphold the legal rights of all European Union citizens, including those of the Republic of Cyprus.

A summing up of the views expressed by the panel members, and a personal perspective addressing the recent ECHR Judgement in the case of Demopoulos and 7 others v Turkey was provided by lawyer and coordinator of the Lobby for Cyprus, Mr. Nick Counoupias.

This was followed by a question and answer session
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A previous entry on this weblog regarding the Apostolides v Orams case, including news reports and a link to the judgement in January 2010 by the British High court is available here

PS: There is currently a law case brought by Greek Cypriot refugees (and others) against Turkey in the U.S.A - any interested parties wishing to make contact regarding that case should contact Mr. Tsimpedes -

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Metamorphosis after 36 years

(With apologies that the content of the video above, has not been translated into English)

The item quoted below, written by Sener Levent of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper 'Afrika' is presented in an English translation by me as well as in its original Greek version which was published as an open letter he had sent to Greek Cypriot Politis newspaper - it was his response to the articles written in the Greek press (by Stephanos Evripidou in the Cyprus Mail and by Makarios Drousiotis in Politis and Katerina Iliadi in Alithia) following a historic press conference on 27th February 2010 in Ankara by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan specifically for Cypriot journalists.

It is provided on this blog to mark the meeting in London yesterday between British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (video and transcript here). It is also provided as a response to an article on another blog I had cause to leave a comment on, 'Cyprus Spring' here, and as a follow-up to an article on this weblog expressing my concerns about British policy on Cyprus 'Scandalous British duplicity over Cyprus'.

As background on Tayyip Erdogan's policies on other 'key issues' such as the Kurdish problem, and the Armenian Genocide issue, readers will also find it interesting to read the Taner Akcam: Open Letter to the Prime Minister, and the commentary by Brussels Think Tank columnist at Zaman Amanda Paul - Turkey blames everybody but itself.

An article in EurActive, Füle stumbles on Cyprus problem on first Turkey visit shows how, after both the Kurdish and Armenian 'normalisation' initiatives have failed, because of Turkey's insincerity, Turkey's implementation of inverse logic comes to the fore. Turkish diplomacy now has the cheek to argue that despite the fact that Turkey had tried and failed to bloc Cyprus's EU entry through threatening dire consequences if Cyprus were allowed to join (which actually led the EU to decide that Turkey should not be allowed to have veto power over the island's EU-entry), combined with its own active non-contribution towards solving the island's problem prior to EU entry (until that very last minute and extremely desperate Kofi Annan debacle tried to 'fix things' for Turkey) - Ahmet Davutoglu now tries to argue that it was the EU which made a mistake in allowing Cyprus to join, and argues that Turkey's own accession process now should be delinked from the Cyprus problem it created for itself ! The only thing Füle had stumbled about was in not publicly reminding Turkey of the resolutions which the European Parliament had recommended for Turkey - withdrawing Turkish troops, giving back Famagusta, and beginning to withdraw its settlers!

But, lets get back to that open letter by a much-respected Turkish Cypriot veteran journalist - Sener Levent:

"Metamorphosis after 36 years"

"We have not yet become the cocroach which existed in Kafka's 'Metamorphosis'1, but I am in no doubt that something is happening to us. Our Head. Our heart. Everything is in place, but our feelings and our thoughts have been distorted.

"We are living through this for the first time, we are feeling these things for the first time. For the first time since 1974.

"We admire our conqueror. We like him, oh that I don't cast the evil eye on him. Not because we are both Turkish. He is admired also by many of our brothers, the Greek Cypriots.

"Ayse has surpassed the years when it had difficulties on the island. Now she is living through the brightest, the quietest time in her period here. With its forty thousand soldiers. In these lands of ours which are surrounded by barbed wire.

"Now it is a liberator also for the Greek Cypriots, not only for us.

"Some of our Greek Cypriot commpatriots now say "Erdogan", and the honey drips from their mouth. He is admired also by Cristos Christodoulou, columnist for the newspaper "Embros" of Western Thrace. He wrote an article in the newspaper. Erdogan liked the article a lot. He searched for him and he found him in Crete. He rang him. They talked. He thanked him for his article and he invited him to Turkey. "Come to drink some coffee" he said to him. How can the man not be emotional, since he has been telephone by this personage, the Prime Minister; "I will go to Ankara and I will drink his coffee" said Christoulou. He who likens him to Ataturk. Erdogan, he says, has "raised the stakes for modernisation in Turkey". Just read what he says: "If Ataturk were alive, he would surely pick Erdogan in his place".

"I call this metamorphosis. You can call it what you like. For 36 years our map has been cut in half. One of our towns is occupied by snakes and centipedes. It came and established itself with its population, not only with its army. Whenever it wants to, it rants. We have not withdrawn even a single soldier. We didn't give up not even one handful of land. And we admire him.

"We are alarmed as soon as he says "I may withdraw our troops", our heart misses a beat. We are such an innocent people, here in the open seas. We believe in magic and in reading coffe cups. We search for our destiny in our coffee. If they say to us that "after a count of three you will find a path" we think that after a count of three this path will lead to paradise.

"You are very interested in our elections. Don't be worried. There is nothing to be worried about. Everything is alright. Do you really think an Eroglu will come along to spoil the plans of the invador for a solution? The lion of lions, he who could not intimidate the generals will intimidate Erdogan? What's this panic all about? Do you really want to force the crows to laugh? One way or another, the crows have been bursting their sides laughing these last three days. They laughed for the first time, when they heard that Erdogan is the "second Ataturk". Even the city walls of Famagusta developed cracks at seven different places from their laughter.

"The second reason for the loud laughter was Nicos Anastasiades. Did he not say that the timing of the resolution by the House in relation to guarantees was wrong? Well, why don't you now try to stop the crows laughter?

"Even the columnists of "Afrika" who praise this decision were frozen. We ask ourseves whether we too have made a mistake in our coordination. Thats the way it is. Save the hay, its time will come! And, what are the guarantees other than a bale of hay?

"But, if we were unable to separate the two donkey's straw, are we perchance to blame? Naturally not. Its the metamorphosis which is to blame. Its all a matter of "metamorphosis". Okay so we are Turks. He is a Turk and we are too. He came, and allegedly he saved us. And we are still paying for this.

"But you there - what's the matter with you?"

1 - Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis

"Μεταμόρφωση μετά από 36 χρόνια"

"Ακόμη δεν μεταμορφωθήκαμε στην κατσαρίδα που υπήρχε στη μεταμόρφωση του Κάφκα, αλλά δεν έχω καμία αμφιβολία ότι κάτι μας συμβαίνει. Το κεφάλι μας. Η καρδιά μας. Όλα βρίσκονται στη θέση τους, αλλά παραμορφώθηκαν τα αισθήματα και οι σκέψεις μας. Πρώτη φορά τα ζούμε αυτά, πρώτη φορά τα νιώθουμε. Πρώτη φορά μετά το 1974. Θαυμάζουμε τον κατακτητή μας. Τον συμπαθούμε, να μην τον ματιάσω. Όχι επειδή είμαστε και οι δυο Τούρκοι. Τον θαυμάζουν και πάρα πολλοί από τα αδέλφια μας τους Ελληνοκύπριους. Η Αϊσιέ ξεπέρασε τα χρόνια που αντιμετώπιζε δυσκολίες στο νησί. Τώρα περνάει την πιο λαμπρή, την πιο ήσυχή της περίοδο εδώ. Με τις σαράντα χιλιάδες στρατιώτες της. Στα εδάφη μας που είναι περιτριγυρισμένα με τέλια. Τώρα πια είναι απελευθερωτής και για τους Ελληνοκύπριους, όχι μόνο για εμάς. Κάποιοι Ελληνοκύπριοι συνάδελφοί μας λένε «Ερντογάν» και στάζει μέλι από το στόμα τους. Τον θαυμάζει και ο Χρίστος Χριστοδούλου, αρθρογράφος της εφημερίδας «Εμπρός» της Δυτικής Θράκης. Έγραψε ένα άρθρο στην εφημερίδα. 'Αρεσε πολύ το άρθρο αυτό στον Ερντογάν. Τον έψαξε και τον βρήκε στην Κρήτη. Του τηλεφώνησε. Μίλησαν. Τον ευχαρίστησε για το άρθρο του και τον προσκάλεσε στην Τουρκία. «Έλα να πιούμε καφέ», του είπε. Ε, δεν νιώθει συγκίνηση ο άνθρωπος άμα του τηλεφωνά κοτζάμ Πρωθυπουργός; «Θα πάω στην 'Αγκυρα και θα πιω τον καφέ του», λέει ο Χριστοδούλου. Και αυτός τον παρομοιάζει με τον Ατατούρκ. Ο Ερντογάν, λέει, «σήκωσε το μπαϊράκι του εκσυγχρονισμού στην Τουρκία». Κοιτάξτε τι λέει: «Αν ζούσε ο Ατατούρκ, θα διάλεγε σίγουρα τον Ερντογάν στη θέση του».

"Εγώ το αποκαλώ αυτό μεταμόρφωση. Εσείς πείτε το ό,τι θέλετε. Εδώ και 36 χρόνια ο χάρτης μας είναι μισός. Μια από τις πόλεις μας βρίσκεται κάτω από την κατοχή των φιδιών και των σαρανταποδαρουσών. Ήρθε και εγκαταστάθηκε εδώ με τον πληθυσμό της, όχι μόνο με τον στρατό της. Και όποτε γουστάρει κομπάζει. Δεν αποσύραμε ούτε ένα στρατιώτη. Δεν δώσαμε ούτε σπιθαμή εδάφους. Και εμείς τον θαυμάζουμε. Σαστίζουμε. Μόλις πει «μπορεί να αποσύρω στρατό» η καρδιά μας από τη θέση της. Διότι είμαστε πολύ αγαθοί άνθρωποι εμείς εδώ στη μέση της θάλασσας. Πιστεύουμε στα μάγια και στο φλιτζάνι. Ψάχνουμε την τύχη στον καφέ. Αν μας πουν «μετά από τρία θα σου παρουσιαστεί ένας δρόμος», νομίζουμε ότι μετά από τρεις μέρες ο δρόμος αυτός θα οδηγήσει στον παράδεισο.

"Ενδιαφέρεστε πολύ για τις εκλογές μας. Μην ανησυχείτε. Δεν υπάρχει οτιδήποτε για να ανησυχείτε. Όλα είναι εντάξει. Μήπως νομίζετε ότι θα έρθει ο Έρογλου και θα χαλάσει τα σχέδια του κατακτητή για λύση; Μήπως ο λέοντας των λεόντων που δεν μπόρεσε να λυγίσει τους στρατηγούς θα λυγίσει τον Ερντογάν; Τι είναι αυτός ο πανικός; Μήπως θέλετε να κάνετε τα κοράκια να γελάσουν με το ζόρι; Ούτως ή άλλως, τα κοράκια έσκασαν στα γέλια τις τρεις τελευταίες μέρες. Έσκασαν για πρώτη φορά τα γέλια όταν άκουσαν ότι ο Ερντογάν είναι ο «δεύτερος Ατατούρκ». Ακόμη και τα τείχη της Αμμοχώστου παρουσίασαν ρωγμές σε επτά σημεία από τα γέλια. Ο δεύτερος λόγος για τα δυνατά γέλια ήταν ο Νίκος Αναστασιάδης. Δεν είπε ότι ήταν λανθασμένος ο χρόνος της απόφασης της βουλής σε σχέση με τις εγγυήσεις; Ε, σταμάτησε τώρα αν μπορείς τα κοράκια που έσκασαν στα γέλια. Πάγωσαν ακόμη και οι αρθρογράφοι της «Αφρίκα» που επαινούν αυτή την απόφαση. Διερωτώμαστε αν και εμείς έχουμε διαπράξει λάθος στο συγχρονισμό μας. Έτσι είναι. Φύλαγε το σανό, θα έρθει η ώρα του! Και οι εγγυήσεις τι άλλο είναι εκτός από μια δέσμη σανό;

"Όμως, αν δεν μπορέσαμε να χωρίσουμε δύο γαϊδάρων άχυρο, μήπως εμείς φταίμε; Φυσικά και όχι. Φταίει η μεταμόρφωση. Το ζήτημα είναι ζήτημα «μεταμόρφωσης». 'Αντε, εμείς είμαστε Τούρκοι. Και εκείνος είναι Τούρκος και εμείς. Ήρθε δήθεν και μας έσωσε. Και ακόμη πληρώνουμε γι΄ αυτό. Εσάς εκεί, τι σας συμβαίνει;"

Toυ Σενέρ Λεβέντ
Κωδικός άρθρου: 932998
ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ - 05/03/2010, Σελίδα: 13

Friday, 12 March 2010

Mind the Gap - ECHR judgement on Demopoulos v. Turkey

The article by the Economist yesterday "The Cyprus talks - A fillip for Talat? - An international court ruling injects new life into fast-fading peace talks" serves as a useful introduction in writing about the judgement issued last week by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Demopoulos and 7 others v. Turkey.

Spin spin spin .... positive spin of course, and while the motive may appear altruistic, that can be highly deceptive.

It is Turkey's EU accession and the fact that is highly unlikely to happen while Cyprus continues to remain divided which is the true motive behind the spin in this story, rather than any desire to see a solution of the Cyprus problem acceptable to a majority of its people.

The best one can say in favour of this article is that it is at least an acknowledgement of the lengths to which 'a system' can be pushed in order to rig an 'election'.

Spin and boosting Talat because surely we do need to stop the Turkish side getting egg all over their faces when the majority 2/3 of the population in the Turkish-occupied part of the island (settlers shipped in from Turkey despite the violation of the Geneva convention by Turkey) vote for a secessionist and partitionist leader Eroglu!

Eroglu is at least honest in openly pursuing Turkey's age-old secessionist and partitionist policies for Cyprus, rather than the semi-confederalist Talat fighting for his political survival and helped by powerful allies wishing to prevent a train-crash in EU-Turkey relations.

The reason the current negotiations have not made progress is that the Turkish side is trying hard to make a confederal thorn smell as sweet as a federal rose.

The 'revised' Erdogan policy for Cyprus has cleverly involved pushing for an agreement that would pressure the Greek Cypriot side into legitimising Turkey's take-over of nearly half the island AND allow Turkey to join the EU, while leaving it for future developments in a solution more unworkable than the British-engineered 1960's 'independence' agreement to produce a subsequent breakdown on the island. That could then lead to international recognition of the secessionist entity as an 'independent' country, which Turkey's powerful allies can not lawfully engineer for the 'TRNC' at the moment.

Talat, though voted-in on a 'one-Cyprus' ticket, soon came to adopt the Erdogan-inspired confederal option - misrepresented by the UN as a Federal one in that two-state virgin birth monstrosity which the eventual version of the Annan plan delivered. The hope all along was that Turkey's deep-state generals would support this rather than overthrow the Erdogan government. We now all know about the Ergenekon and other plots to overthrow the AKP government, but the existence of those threats was well known by informed observers at the time of the Annan negotiations. A rarely analysed aspect of the Cyprus problem is how the generals would have exercised their veto by overthrowing the Erdogan government if the Greek Cypriots had not torpedoed that International Relations Debacle: The UN Secretary-General's Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus 1999-2004.

That debacle is now recognised by many to have been a shameful attempt by a UN Secretary General with his Secretariat and some top EU Commissioners combined to get a people to legitimise violations of the UN Charter, UN resolutions, as well as of the EU's Acquis Communautaire - by voting in a referendum in favour of that plan and to thus legitimise it despite its manifest imperfections, under the unique pressure of Cyprus' impending EU accession.

Reading through the details in the judgement by the ECHR in the case of Demopoulos and 7 others v. Turkey shows how the shameful UN debacle of 2004 is compounded by 17 judges sitting in Full Chamber in 2010, who, rather than delivering 'justice' can produce instead an injury to top the previous debacle.

Thus, international justice can be manipulated through political pressures to produce a decision by the ECHR which calls Turkey an invador on the one hand, yet obliges refugees who have been waiting for nearly a decade for their learned judgement, to apply to an organ of the occupying, invador country, to seek 'justice'!

Lets see Turkey applying justice by implementing the confederal model to solve its own Kurdish problem rather than continuing in its efforts to foist it on the tiny island of Cyprus, and lets have some true understanding in the international community of what a wolf in sheeps clothing the Erdogan government actually represents.

In dealing with Turkey it is time to call a wolf a wolf and recognise that appeasement does not work.

The EU Parliament has recently shown the way through its preparedness to vote by an overwhelming majority in favour of using the stick rather than relying on the carrot when dealing with Turkey. The only way Turkey can be helped to make progress by those who want to see it joining the EU is by making unequivocal statements calling for Turkey to begin NOW to withdraw its illegal settlers from the Turkish-occupied part of the island, by beginning NOW to withdraw its armed forces and by demonstrating its good faith towards the reconciliation negotiations in Cyprus by complying with its own previous agreements to give the ghost-city of Famagusta back to its legal occupants.

No translation into English is available for the above CyBC news clips which are in Greek, 5 - 7 March

Translation - CyBC News clips 10th March

The initiative by the Archbishop Chrysostomos who sent a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, in which he asks for the immediate commencement of works for the restoration of the monastery in the Turkish-occupied area at Apostolos Andreas has had not only a positive response, but it seems there is even a strong possibility of a meeting between the two.

(Synod spokesman) Initiatives are currently underway for the works to commence, and even possibly for a meeting of the two, of the Archbishop with Mr Erdogan.

(Reporter) At a meeting of the Synod the Archbishop briefed the members about the letter, but also about the intention expressed by the Turkish side to grant permission for the restoration works to the monastery and about the possibility of a meeting, possibly in Constantinople.

(Archbishop) I wait to see actions because we have had many promises in the past but have not seen action. He assured me he will personally take a lead on the matter and that the monastery will be restored.

(Reporter) The United States strongly support the restoration of the monastery of Apostolos Andreas, as announced by the country's ambassador during a meeting with the leader of DISY.

(US Ambassador) The United States also continues to support very strongly the restoration project at Apostolos Andreas. It is something which we believe is of high priority and which we've been working for for quite a while, and which we'll continue working for as well.

(Reporter) The synod also had extensive discussions about the outcome of the European Court of Human Rights, and a unanimous decision was taken.

(Synod spokesman) We urge people not to make use of the illegal mechanism which exists in the occupied areas.

(Reporter) They call on people to have patience since such action would be dangerous for the future of our country and undermine the physical and moral and national survival of Cypriot Hellenism.


(Reporter) The return of Famagusta. The Foreign minister Marcos Kyprianou revealed the new initiative by the government to the House Foreign Relations Committee. This all comes following the vote by the European Parliament for a return of the (occupied) town. Marcos Kyprianou told the members of the (Cyprus) House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee that the President of the Republic sent letters about the issue of Famagusta to the leaders of the 26 governments of the European Union and to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

(Kyprianou) There is a need for this item to be prioritised and for experts to be assigned the task of studying the restoration of Famagusta with a view to the speedy return of its residents. It is simultaneously stressed that this will also improve the climate for the talks.

(Reporter) We expect a continuation on the issue, said the mayor of Famagusta, Mr Alexis Galanos.

(Galanos) Particularly after the unfavourable outcome at the ECHR, certain strong cards, such as the return of the town of Famagusta, which is held solely by the Turkish occupation forces with its continuing destructiveness, must be brought to fruition by the government.

(Reporter) Representatives stressed that the issue of Famagusta becomes a strong card for the government in the negotiations.

(Skevi Koukouma - AKEL) If the possibility of the return of Famagusta is realised it would considerably ease the process of the negotiations.

(Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis - DISY) The issue of Famagusta is of strategic significance in relation to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

(Andreas Aggelides - DIKO) It can transform the impasse Turkey is in at the moment in its responsibilities towards the European union.

(Giorgos Varnavas - EDEK) The President of the Republic must place the issue of Famagusta at the negotiations.

(Reporter) Marcos Kyprianou confirmed that the issue of Famagusta is not on the agenda for the negotiations. It has however been included in the personal meetings between the two leaders.


(Kenevezou) His satisfaction with the results of his contacts in the United States have been expressed by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. During his meeting with President of the United States Barack Obama he discussed the Cyprus issue as well as the economic crisis in the country - we will hear more from our correspondent Apostolis Zoupaniotis.

(Zoupaniotis) A few hours before his departure from the United States to return to Athens following his tour of countries of the European Union and the United States, speaking at a press conference Mr Papandreou said that the recognition and support by the United States of the economic measures taken by the country and on national issues has been very positive. He referred to the announcement by Mr Barack Obama about the abolition of visas as a vote of confidence. Answering a question about the Cyprus issue, Mr Papandreou said that one frequently hears concerns expressed about how the results of the imminent so-called elections in the pseudo-state might create a new situation and problems. I reply to that, he said, that the deeper problem is Turkey's position in our efforts to reach a solution of a bicommunal bizonal federation which would be compatible with the European Acquis. The Greek Prime Minister went on to say that we do not yet have a continuing expression of Turkey's willingness and that despite the statements by Tayip Erdogan to Cypriot journalists, it remains for this to be seen and for that to be translated into action. Finally, the Greek Prime Minister went on to say that in all his talks with foreign leaders he had stressed the Greek Government's full support of the efforts undertaken by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

(Emilia K.) Thank you Apostoli.


(Emilia K.) The issue of the abolition of (British) bases would start from the beginning if the Conservatives are elected was stressed by Shadow Foreign Secretary William Haig. Speaking at a meeting with community representatives in London, Mr Haig made it clear to Turkey that its entry to the European Union passes through Nicosia. At the meeting, an exhibition of photographs by Doros Partasides about the Green Line was being exhibited.

(Reporter) The Conservatives clarify their positions on the Cyprus issue in view of the anticipated General Elections in May. Speaking at a meeting with community representatives in London, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Haig stressed that if his party comes to power Britain will maintain a very active role, with the aim of achieving a mutually acceptable solution.

(Haig) We will take a position most likely to facilitate such a settlement, but that doesn't mean we have any immediate proposal or intention of abrogating our responsibilities (as you say). That's not how we approach it at all - we know that we have historic responsibilities.

(Reporter) On the issue of the closure of bases Mr Haig made it clear that his party is not bound by the committment by the Labour government for a partial withdrawal in the case of a settlement.

(Haig) An offer has been made, a partial offer has been made, under the current Labour Government, and really we start afresh with a new Government ... ehm ... and we're open to all ideas and suggestions, but you wouldn't expect me to sit here tonight and sign away Britain's military bases.

(Reporter) Mr Haig referred to a realistic approach by the Conservatives towards a settlement, criticising the Labour position on the Annan plan.

(Haig) We also, we are not interested in condemning what has happened in previous votes, referendums, you know that's democracy, and we all have to work with the outcome.

(Reporter) On Turkey's EU accession process he said that it is a fundamental point for the Conservatives that the Cyprus issue is a precondition.

(Haig) We are strong advocates of Turkish membership of the European Union but a settlement of the division of Cyprus is essential if Turkey's journey to EU membership is to succeed.

(Reporter) The elections in Britain are expected on 6th May.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Scandalous British duplicity over Cyprus

The headline for this story has been created out of a combination of the following quote from Britain's Europe Minister Chris Bryant MP, speaking about the Cyprus problem during the Keith Kyle Memorial lecture organised by the Association for Cypriot, Greek and Turkish Affairs on 25th February 2010 (video embedded above)

"Its a shock, its a scandal, its a tragedy that within the European Union we have a divided capital city, that we have a divided island."

... and the story in the Guardian on 3rd March 2010, "The scandalous history of Cyprus" by Robert Ellis, who is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in Denmark and who had during 2005-2008 been a frequent contributor to the Turkish Daily News - in which he refers to the comments by Britain's Europe Minister as part of his introduction, and then provides a brief history of the Cyprus problem before reporting on what I have called 'duplicity' in the following section ...

"Three weeks ago the European parliament passed a resolution on Turkey, calling on Turkey to immediately start withdrawing its troops from Cyprus, address the issue of Turkish settlers on the island and enable the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants. The Turkish response was predictable. Prime Minister Erdogan called the resolution 'baseless and unacceptable' and his chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said Turkey shouldn't take it seriously
"However, Britain sits on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, it is committed to support the US's strategic objective of Turkey's EU membership. But on the other hand, it cannot ignore the continued occupation of 37% of an EU member state.
"At the EU general affairs council meeting in Brussels in December, Britain tried to dodge the issue, supporting the Swedish proposal to reduce the Cyprus question to the level of the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. When this failed, it issued a counter declaration a fortnight later, stating that it was in the EU's strategic interest not to let 'bilateral issues' hold up the accession process."
Read more of Robert Ellis' Guardian story here.

Given that kind of duplicity it is not surprising that UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband rarely makes any public statements about Cyprus, preferring instead to delegate that horn of Britain's Cyprus dilemma, as well as replying to any Commons questions, to his subordinate Minister for Europe.

They are no doubt both also aware of the resolutions passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe at its October 2008 debate about Cyprus.

After the Bryant talk there was chatter among some of the Cypriots - who had trekked to Portcullis House to hear the Europe Minister telling them about the need for Cypriots to take a lesson on 'how to let go' of their entrenched positions from his Indonesian monkey story about how those monkeys are trapped when they place their arms into a gourd containing nuts, and having clutched the hand tight around the nuts, can no longer withdraw their arm from the gourd and are therefore trapped - about how Chris Bryant had said that Britain would not stand in the way if the Cypriot leaders agreed on abolition of Turkey's and Britain's guarantor status over that sovereign nation's affairs.

His audience waited with baited breath to see whether the British MP would make any reference to the European Parliament's resolution requiring Turkey to begin now (February 2010) to withdraw its troops and settlers from the island as a sign of its good faith towards the negotiations, and give up control over the city of Famagusta as required by UN resolutions, but of course he didn't. His audience almost blushed for him when he talked instead about the one and only confidence building measure which has to all intents and purposes already been agreed and is already funded - the opening of the Limnitis checkpoint!

The videos embedded above provide a glimpse into how 30 minutes can be filled with being ever-so-balanced, in not being anti-Turk or anti-Greek but being 'pro-solution'. Having the gift of the gab is, after all an important requirement in the man's job.

Chris Bryant MP could also not have read the analysis "EU, Turkey on collision course" also by Robert Ellis, because that also did not appear until days after Bryant's talk - but one is certain he will be familiar with its content and that he will also be familiar with the famous quote with which Ellis closes his article in

"At the Geneva Conference in 1974, British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan warned: 'Today the Republic of Cyprus is the prisoner of the Turkish army: Tomorrow the Turkish army will find itself the prisoner of the Republic of Cyprus.' With the benefit of hindsight, Jim was right."

As Turkey goes through a period of as near civil-war as one might expect without the outbreak of actual hostilities in the fight between Erdogan's AKP government and the Generals of the Deep State - one is hardly ever reminded by the Turkish press, or British Ministers, that the beginnings of the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer gangs can be traced to Turkish-occupied Cyprus and the military's reactions to Erdogan's being prepared to consider a Cyprus settlement during the Kofi Anan period.

We will never know whether, had the Greek Cypriots voted in favour of that very British-inspired 'International Relations Debacle: The UN Secretary-General's Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus 1999-2004' - whether if the Greek Cypriots had actually voted yes ... if the Erdogan government would have survived.

As pointed out in "Commentary - on the EUs Andrew Duff about Turkeys Ergenekon investigation" on this weblog in October 2009, the answer is clear to those British insiders who do know what is actually going on.