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.


John said...

The Greek Republic's lawyers and politicians have tried to ignore the Immovable Property Commission simply because it is Turkish,creating delay and expense for their clients in the process -and of course blaming the Turks.
Now 17 International judges say "it works, it delivers equitable judgements according to the standards of International Law". Can't you accept that?
How can your article possibly advance peaceful co-existence? Perhaps, like most media content emanating from the Greek side, it's not designed to.

grokked said...

John, the fact that you begin your comment with "The Greek Republic" when referring to an internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus gives you away in terms of your sympathies and your own lack of bias in any discussion on the Cyprus issue.

Be that as it may I will not delete your 'anonymous' comment.

I will instead refer you to an article in the Turkish press (rather than either the Greek, or Greek Cypriot press).

The headline to the story by Orhan Kemal Cengiz is "European court’s judgment on Cyprus issue legally wrong, politically correct".

My own additional comment is that the international community does not look to the European Court of Human Rights to be 'political'! It is certainly not living up to its international obligations when it can be argued to be LEGALLY INCORRECT!

Peaceful coexistence John is difficult to achieve when Cypriot refugees expelled from their properties by Turkey, and who have waited for 10 years for the ECHR to deliver verdict find the ECHR choosing this particular moment in time (with negotiations in Cyprus being at this critical juncture) to deliver a verdict saying that the human rights of Turkish (and foreign) 'settlers' squatting in their properties for the last 35-odd years subsequent to Turkey's occupation have a 'higher priority' than the human rights of the owners of the property!

With that kind of demonstrably incorrect interpretation of human rights from a body which is set up to protect human rights - Greek Cypriots are justified in saying the ECHR decision is a SCANDAL to top that of the United Nations' Kofi Annan with his Debacle, and to shout "FOUL" !