In reference to the article “At last EU has Cyprus leverage, but will it use it?” (The Jordan Times, February 11, 2013), I wish to bring to attention a few things.

Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974 and has since then occupied 37 per cent of its territory, in blatant contravention of international law and numerous Security Council resolutions that condemn these actions.

Amongst the many negative consequences of Turkey’s invasion and continuing illegal occupation is the forcible expulsion of 170,000 from their ancestral houses, the illegal exploitation of their properties, the importation of at least 250,000 settlers from the Turkish mainland in the occupied northern part of the island, aiming at altering the demography of Cyprus.

Negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem have been taking place intermittently since 1975, under the auspices of the United Nations. The solution is to be based on UN Security Council resolutions, the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, and the agreed basis of the recent negotiations between President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglou.

The solution, as endorsed by the Security Council, calls for a bi-zoned, bi-communal federation with a single sovereignty, a single international personality and a single citizenship, with political equality as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Cyprus’ steadfast commitment to this basis has never been in question. It is regrettable, however, that the same cannot be said for Turkey or for the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.

The most flagrant proof of that is the illegal proclamation in 1983 of a secessionist entity in the occupied part of Cyprus. The purported “state” of the so-called “Turkish republic of Northern Cyprus” was immediately rejected by the Security Council and its proclamation condemned.

Turkey’s accession process will, in fact, remain quite difficult while it continues to illegally occupy part of an EU member state’s territory: Cyprus, which has been part of EU territory since 2004, when it acceded to it.

Additionally, Turkey consciously chooses to subvert its European prospects by insisting on not recognising the Republic of Cyprus and not normalising its relations with it, both of which are obligatory and called for by the European Union and its member states.

The message, therefore, is unambiguous and straightforward: there is no a la carte membership for any candidate country, including Turkey. The Turkish government must abide by international law and adopt the European Union acquis communautaire if it is truly committed to the objective of EU membership.

 

Charalambos Hadjisavvas,
Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Jordan