Translated from the original Greek by George Gilson
The Second Conference of the Group of Ten on the Cyprus Problem took place in Paphos, Cyprus, on Saturday, 1 July. The Group of Ten is comprised of ambassadors, military generals, and academics who have long-term knowledge of and experience with the Cyprus Problem. The participants, who submitted position papers, included:
– Professor Ioannis Mazis, Athens University Professor of Economics, Geography, and Geopolitics and President of the Department of Turkish Studies
– Ambassador Emeritus Pericles Nearchou
– University of Piraeus Professor of International and Strategic Studies Panagiotis Hephaistos
– Former Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus Themos Stoforopoulos
– Emeritus Professor of Sociology and former rector of Panteion University Vasilis Filias
– Emeritus Professor of Constitutional Law of the University of Athens Law Faculty Yorgos Kasimatis Loukas
– Axelos Ph.D., author and publisher of Stochastis Editions and Tetradia Magazine
– Retired Cyprus National Guard Lieutenant General Phoebus Klokkaris
– Retired Lieutenant General Dimitris Alevromageiros, defender of Nicosia in the 1974 Turkish invasion
– Professor of Geopolitics at the Evelpidon Military Academy Konstantinos Grivas
At the conclusion of the proceedings of the Second Conference, the Group of Ten issued the following declaration.
Declaration on the Submissive and Self-Destructive Policy Being Adopted Which Places Cyprus in Extreme Danger
1. Why did the President of the Republic of Cyprus hasten to agree to a second Five-way Conference, withdrawing the preconditions that he himself had set? Why did the leaders of the DISY and AKEL parties support him in this? Why did Athens agree to go along? What is the Greek side expecting from a procedure which resembles a marked deck of cards and downgrades the Cyprus problem from an international issue of invasion and occupation into a matter for the Guarantor Powers of the Zurich-London Agreements, and undermines the international status of the Republic Of Cyprus, through the representation of Cyprus by the leaders of two communities? Whence do these so-called guarantor powers derive their legitimisation and credibility, when Turkey, violating that very Treaty of Guarantee that it cites, invaded Cyprus and occupied nearly 40% of its territory, refusing to comply with the terms of the treaty, which provides for the restoration of the constitutional order and the status quo ante, and when Great Britain did nothing to protect the independence and sovereignty of Cyprus, which it had guaranteed, and on the contrary machinates on the sidelines to dissolve the Republic of Cyprus and impose an unacceptable ΄solution΄ that provides for the replacement of the Republic of Cyprus with a two-headed construct with no true independence, sovereignty and democratic organisation, and no respect for basic human rights?
2. Why did the leadership of the Greek side hasten to reconfirm the Five-party framework, when it is patently against its interests and despite the fact that it had always, correctly, held the diachronic position in favour of an International Conference, with the participation of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and of the European Union, which EU is present at the Five-way Conference as a mere observer?
3. What transpired between the fiasco of the first Geneva meeting and the calling of the second Geneva conference at Crans-Montana? Was there any change whatsoever in the intransigent Turkish positions, or do the Turkish side and the Anglo-American side expect fresh concessions from the Greek side, towards which pressures are being aimed, along with propaganda about an alleged ΄opportunity΄ which must not be lost? What is this much-touted ΄opportunity΄? The Greek side made two important concessions during the period of preparing for the conference. Firstly, it agreed to United Nations Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide drafting a ΄joint document΄ on issues of security and guarantees, and secondly, it agreed to a parallel discussion at the Conference of issues of foreign policy and domestic policy, as the Turkish side had always demanded. The supposedly ΄joint΄ document of Espen Barth Eide proved to, as should have been expected, entirely reflect Turkish positions, and Nicosia and Athens demanded its withdrawal. Still, there is no doubt that the ideas and views that it expressed remain present in the Conference. Who will exert pressure on the Turkish side in such a framework, when the diachronic British-Turkish cooperation and collaboration on the Cyprus issue are well known?
4. The Turkish side reaffirmed the positions it supported in the first Geneva Conference, calling upon the Greek side to ¨awaken from its dream¨ that Turkey would accept a solution without guarantees and without Turkish troops on the island. The Turkish Cypriot leader, for his part, undertook to put forth in entirely intransigent terms the provocative Turkish demand for a concession, in the framework of a “solution”, that the Four Freedoms of the European Union – the free movement of goods, capital, services and labour – be extended to all Turkish citizens, which is to say the 73 million residents of Turkey. At the same time, he demands unyieldingly implementation of numerical equality, with a 50%-50% division of power, a rotating presidency, allowing all settlers from Turkey to remain on the island, and placing those residing in occupied private properties on the same footing with the rightful, legal owners. It also preserves a vague cloud surrounding Turkish positions on territorial adjustment, with an aim to once again using the issue as bait to secure concessions on issues of security and guarantees.
5. The negotiations at Crans-Montana are also being conducted in the shadow of Turkish provocations in the Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, of the Republic of Cyprus, which aim to project Turkish claims and threats that Ankara will not permit exploitation of the natural gas in the Republic of Cyprus΄ EEZ, if the demands and claims of Turkey on her own behalf but also on behalf of the ‘co-equal΄ Turkish Cypriots are not taken into account, in the framework of a ‘solution’of the Cyprus problem.
6. Where, then, is this alleged ‘solution’ of the Cyprus problem, being discussed now in Crans-Montana, for which the Greek Cypriot side is proceeding continually with new concessions? Is it a ΄solution΄ of the Cyprus problem to promote the abolition of the Republic of Cyprus and its replacement with a two-headed construct, based on a so-called bi-zonal federation with political equality, which tramples on any notion of democratic rule and of substantial independence and sovereignty, and subjugates the Greek-Cypriot majority to the Turkish-Cypriot minority, and through the latter to Ankara? The imposition of such a regime, under which nothing could be done without the prior agreement of Ankara, would in and of itself be enough for the complete enslavement of Cyprus and its transformation into a Turkish protectorate. But Ankara demands in addition that Turkish troops and Turkish guarantor rights remain in place after a ΄solution΄, because it aims to transform Cyprus into a strategic stronghold in the Eastern Mediterranean.
7. Consequently, there should be no doubt and no self-delusion about where Cyprus would be led by such a solution, whose proponents without reservation and judgment deceptively present it as supposedly averting division of the island and bringing reunification! The recognition and legitimisation of the de facto Turkish occupation, the subjugation of the majority to the minority, through a putative federation, the likes of which exists nowhere else in the world, and subjection of the entire island of Cyprus to Turkish military control, is tantamount to a handover of Cyprus to Ankara, and with the prospective destruction of Cypriot Hellenism. Who are those who believe that they have the right to negotiate the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus, with false slogans and objectives? The Turkish side, in collaboration with the British, repeatedly attempted historically to dissolve the Republic of Cyprus. They did it in 1963-1964, in 1974, and more recently in 2004, through the Annan Plan. The Cypriot people sensed the danger and rallied, beyond parties, behind the resounding No, and the late president Tassos Papadopoulos, who expressed it.
8. A new charge is now being attempted, with the same deceptive and false slogans. The response of the Cypriot people should be the same. But there are machinations underway, through the five-party framework and the representation of Cyprus with the two ΄co-equal΄ leaders of the two communities, to pre-empt the will of the Cypriot people, and to deprive of any essential content or power a referendum to ratify the agreement and the ΄solution΄ plan. Already, through the policy and procedure being followed, enormous damage has been done to this national issue, by promoting the occupation pseudo-state and patently violating UN Security Council Resolutions, which condemn its declaration and call on all UN member-states to not recognise it and to have no relation or cooperation with it.
9. Those who are negotiating a disastrous ΄Cyprus problem solution΄, under the pretext that the passing of time makes things worse, by entrenching the de facto status quo, overlook the fact that the worsening of the terms of the national problem arises not simply by the flow of time, but by continuous, unacceptable concessions and the abandonment of basic principles. With what rationale does the Greek side go along with presenting the Cyprus problem as an alleged inter-communal conflict, when its true essence is the Turkish invasion and occupation? Why did the official Greek side accept and continue to support ΄principles΄ that are contrary to every concept of justice, sovereignty, statehood and basic human rights, such as the widely touted bi-communal federation, with political equality, which is a tool for the Turkish policy of advancing Turkish geopolitical control over Cyprus? What is the point of a supposed ΄solution΄ that is even worse than the status quo, and entails the danger of complete Turkification of the entire island of Cyprus? Those who are in charge today, acting as elected leaders, will have no saving grace if they bring about a new disaster in Cyprus, prodded by political irrationality, self-delusion, or foreign pressure. In 1974, the catastrophe was blamed on the inane coup d΄etat and the treachery of the junta of Dimitrios Ioannidis, behind whom great foreign powers were acting. That setting must not be repeated, with a different scenario and different protagonists.
10. Cyprus has no reason to hasten a supposed ΄solution΄ without the necessary presuppositions and conditions, which would guarantee a fundamentally just and acceptable solution in the framework of the existing Republic of Cyprus.
11. Cyprus is not as powerless as it is portrayed by those who wish to expedite just any “solution”, by danger-mongering and lamenting the difficult position of Cyprus. Despite the Turkish occupation, Cyprus is an internationally recognised state, and a member-state of both the United Nations and the European Union. It is a country which has prospects for a bright future in energy, both as a natural gas producer and as an energy transport hub, with the strategically important Eastern Mediterranean natural gas pipeline to Europe at its core. Energy constitutes a new strategic asset for Cyprus, the value, geostrategic importance, and dynamic of which has already become evident through the presence in Cyprus΄ Exclusive Economic Zone of international energy giants, but also through the development of strategic regional alliances with countries such as Israel and Egypt, and prospectively with other countries in the region. Turkey seeks to drive a wedge in and torpedo these alliances of Cyprus and Greece and grab the natural gas of Cyprus, through a ΄solution΄ of the Cyprus problem that would dissolve the Republic of Cyprus and render the entire island a Turkish protectorate.
12. How can it be possible for Cyprus on the one hand to be developing strategic alliances in the region and on the other hand to be negotiating the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus and the handover of the entire island of Cyprus to Turkish strategic control?
13. The Five-party Conference in Crans-Montana represents an unheard of extreme of a bankrupt, capitulating, and self-destructive policy. Anyone can sense what the chilling prospect of success of the conference would mean, given the positions of the Turkish side. This policy has passed over to the other side and has created a major negative precedent for the Greek side, which, after so many concessions, is at risk of falling victim to propagandistic charges that it is supposedly ΄intransigent΄.
14. It is tragic that whereas the Islamist Turkey of Erdogan is tasting defeats in the tumultuous Middle East, which is amidst unprecedented geopolitical agitation and re-ordering, with the creation of a Kurdish states being a major item on the agenda, those in charge of the Greek area are following self-destructive policies that are not in line with the geopolitical confluence of events in the region, at the expense of Hellenism in both Cyprus and Greece.
15. The continuation of this policy has no justification and no logic. A return to the self-evident is mandatory. It is necessary to devise a new strategy, which again places the Cyprus problem on its proper foundations, which derive from the essence of the problem as one of invasion and occupation, and not as an inter-communal conflict. The rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004 and the accession of Cyprus to the European Union created a strategic opportunity, which unfortunately remained unexploited, to carve out a new strategy. That strategy is more necessary today than ever before, and it must have two basic pillars. The first is to refer to the European acquis as the basis of resolving the domestic aspects of a solution. If all Europeans are comfortable with that acquis, why should the Turkish-Cypriots not be, unless of course they are acting as a strategic minority of Ankara. The second pillar involves the defense of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, and the struggle to restore it over its entire territory, with the complete withdrawal of all Turkish occupation forces.
16. Cyprus has been through many trials and tribulations throughout its long history. It managed to reach the 21st century with its natural and cultural heritage relatively intact. The Turkish invasion and occupation and Turkish strategic planning and aims in the region, in the framework of the heightened Islamism in Turkey and of the hegemonic megalomania of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, represent an immediate existential threat for Cyprus. The Greek side must not naively and inanely become a party to its own self-destruction, with the Trojan Horse of a putative ΄solution΄, which would hand over all of Cyprus to Turkish strategic control.