By Aris Petasis*
The travails of Cyprus (population: 82% Greek, 18% Turkish) look never-ending: forty-two years of unbroken Turkish occupation (starting in 1974) of 37% of its territory and 54% of its shores and 40000 occupation troops poised aggressively on its territory at the time of writing. The occupied areas of Cyprus are basically run as a Turkish Pashalik (province) of old; though the occupied territory is de jure part of the Republic of Cyprus—an EU and UN member. Whilst clearly the Cyprus problem is one of aggression and occupation, this was masterfully and hypocritically turned by the US, Britain and Turkey into a quarrel/misunderstanding between the two communities. The two communities have been negotiating since 1976 with the Greek side making all the concessions and the Turks side holding firm on Turkey’s demands for the surrender of Cyprus. Occupier Turkey in the meantime pretends to be an innocent bystander while its 40000 occupation troops maintain a strangle-hold over the Island; not to add the quarter-of-a-million colonizers that Turkey sent to Cyprus in an effort to change the population balance forcibly.
There are two preposterous sides to these 40-year long saga of negotiations: a.) whilst the Greek side knows full well that the negotiating team of the Cyprus Turkish Pashalik is totally under the control of Turkey the Greeks pretend not to understand and keep heaping praise on the local Cyprus Turkish representative for “his willingness to negotiate honestly for a peaceful solution” and b.) while the negotiations are under the absolute control of the US & co (Britain and Turkey) all sides keep talking about the “UN-sponsored” negotiations fooling everyone and sundry. The US & co have been enjoying a bonanza in the last 7-8 years working with pliant Greek representatives that are easily cowed and browbeaten into making deadly concessions. Namely, the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and its replacement with a new entity to be created by two constituent states (one for each community) with a central government run on a 50-50 basis without regard to majority rights; trashing in this way democracy and fundamental human rights as enshrined in the UN and EU charters. Greek compliant representatives agreed to give the Turkish minority veto rights on every major decision thus making the majority subject to the diktats of the minority. In this way the Greek side brought on itself minority tyranny which for certain will paralyse the central government until it speedily collapses; leaving the Greeks hanging in the air and the Cyprus Turks in the arms of Turkey that is already calling the shots anyway in the Pashalik.
Obviously once the new constitution comes into force there will be no turning back for the Greeks because they would have surrendered willingly and by agreement the Republic of Cyprus and their constitutional and human rights. This would open up a new field of study for those ethno-psychologists with an interest in mass political suicide and what can make a majority vote itself into extinction willingly. The agreed plan calls for deadlocks to be resolved by foreign judges thus bringing back the apparition of colonial governors. Because of a backlash this arrangement, it seems, has been shelved and a more ingenious (!) one has taken its place, namely, deadlocks to be decided by the throw of the dice, Las Vegas style (!), with the lucky side winning the argument! I know it sounds farcical but this is a fact recorded on paper. The collapse of the future central government is all but certain and will leave the Greeks hanging out to dry without a state and bereft of any support (Greece has already served notice that Cyprus is ‘too far’ from Greece) whilst the Cyprus Turks (mostly settlers from Turkey) will continue to enjoy the full protection of Turkey using violence if necessary. This depressing reality was made public recently by an Oxford don and now legal advisor to Cyprus’ President causing consternation and panic to the Greek negotiators who don’t like people hearing such truths lest the negotiations are derailed!
The ratification of such a monstrous arrangement and the ensuing central government collapse will for sure spell the end of 4000 years of Hellenic presence on the Island. Reasonable observers would agree that under such conditions the Greeks will start leaving the island en masse never to return; it would be a case of, who saves himself let him be saved. The gifted and more mobile young, professionals and those with money will be first to leave. Just as it happened in Lebanon and Bosnia whose constitutional arrangements create one deadlock after another and with violence just a spark away. The Greeks of Constantinople, Imbros and Tenedos left not because they were forced to leave but because they received no government protection (worse, Cyprus will have no government at all after the collapse.) Christian numbers in Turkey fell from 25% of the population at the turn of the 20th century to a paltry 0.5% now. Hopefully the people of Cyprus will act smartly just as they did in the 2004 referendum when they booted out a similar/identical disastrous plan.
*The author is book editor of, “Intractable Dilemmas in the Energy-Rich Eastern Mediterranean,” Cambridge Scholars, UK, 2016