From: Haluk Demirbag, BSc [mailto:[email protected]


      By Ayoub Bazzaz (BSc, MSc, PhD, DPSI) The Chairman of Iraqi Turkmen Rights Advocating Committee (ITRAC)-UK, and UN-NGO.

      The halls of the European Parliament in Brussels witnessed on June 23rd 2008 a remarkable conference over the Kerkuk crisis regarding the invalidity of article 140 of the Iraqi referendum and the possibilities of finding fair alternatives. The one day conference has been organised by the Unrepresentative Nations and People Organization (UNPO) via a personal effort of Dr. Sheith Jerjis, the chairman of SOITM (Iraqi Turkmen Human Rights Research Foundation) based in the Netherlands. The total number of delegates, Turkmen activists and attendees were over one hundred gathered from Iraq and the European countries representing various Turkmen National and human rights organisations and personnel. The conference started at 1.00 pm by a speech being delivered by the deputy of Mr. Marino Busdachin, the general secretary of the UNPO addressed to highlight the objectives of the conference and raised the concerns to the necessities of solving the Kerkuk’s problem in a peaceful way and to raise awareness within the European communities. The speech also implied suggestion to protect the Turkmen human rights from breach due to the unlawful Kurdish occupation of Turkmen lands within the Iraqi territories and to prevent any violence which may erupt should the situation further worsens.

      Dr. Jerjis highlighted the demographic history of Kerkuk and its Turkmen people human rights which have been dissimilated by the two main Kurdish parties the PUK and KDP, their militia and the Kurdish occupants since April 2003. He referred to many previous published sources in different languages i.e. Arabic, Iraqi and Western publications to confirm the Turkmen nature of Kerkuk and its surroundings and its original people to be of Turkmen majority with very few tribes of both Arabs and Kurdish resided mainly in a small town to the North East of Kerkuk i.e. Chamjamal (Forest of Jamal, in Turkmen language). The interest of Kurdish leaderships in Kerkuk, the oil rich city, the best oil qualities with natural gas and sulphur and the vast fertile lands had attracted a huge wave of thousands of Kurdish population on politically oriented objectives by the Kurdish leadership of KDP and PUK. His speech also referred to Mosul province so as to Erbil, Diyal and Salahaddin cities to be of majority of Turkmen. Since the occupation in 2003, the demography of particularly the city of Kerkuk has reversely been changed via regular kurdification procedure (importing over half million of Kurds to the Turkmen lands (Turkmeneli), forcefully displacing them from their properties and replacing them with Kurdish immigrants who have never seen or been in Kerkuk before. Followed by the deportation of thousands of local Turkmen families and importing over half a million Kurdish families from the neighbour countries i.e. Turkey, Syria and Iran apart from Northern Kurdish villages. The latest two elections of Kerkuk were forcefully and dramatically forged too by the irregularities conducted by the Kurdish occupants. The Kurdish media also played a dirty role in misleading the Westerns and Americans by publishing untrue information about the history of the region geography and the Kurdish sufferings in order to attract their sympathy to the Kurds i.e. the victims of Halabja has been magnified to 5000 while the actual number did not exceed 50 only. In addition, the racist mentality and the unwise policy adopted by Kurdish occupants and their armed forces (Peshmerga) would amplify the extremism leading to further complications of Kerkuk problem if it is not fairly sorted.

      Dr. Musaffer Arsalan, the chancellor of the Iraqi President for Turkmen affairs, focused on the injustice policy of Kurdish occupation against other ethnicities in the north to establish an ever lasting crisis. He demanded the European Union, European Governments, European Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to pressurise the Kurdish leadership, the present Iraqi Government as well as the American administration to replace the mentality of the force with justice, fairness and equality. He also referred to the possible ethnic conflict should the following are not adopted:

      1). To stop claiming Kerkuk, Salahaddin, Diyala and other Turkmen lands as part of Kurdistan;

      2). To remove all armed Kurdish militia (Peshmerga) as well as the Kurdish administration  from the Non-Kurdish areas and replace them with local forces;

      3). To allow the Turkmen and Keldoassyrian of the north to establish their own self-governing territories;

      4). Establish a Federation of Northern Iraq as independent from the above ethnicities to be a part of federal Iraq.

      Dr. Arsalan also focused on the fact that application of unfavourable decisions by the Kurds upon others will lead to intimidation, vengeance, hate and an endless conflict to the Northern Iraq. The option of establishing a Turkmen government of a secular, peaceful and democratic one based on human rights would be even more advantageous as an alternative.

      It was followed by a speech delivered by Miss Anne M. Gomes (Portuguese) from the European Parliament who had visited the Northern Iraq and confirmed the Turkmen nature of Kerkuk and its surroundings also tackled the woes and crisis of Kerkuk should a peaceful solution is not put in place.

      Mr Yakob Jaiio, representative of the Iraqi Keldo-Assyrians emphasized on the ancient Iraqi history and the role of Keldo-Assyrian in referring to many towns and cities i.e. Dehuk, Sinjar, Mosul surroundings etc being occupied by the Kurdish occupants. He also invited the UN to interfere and play a stronger role in adopting a fair policy in solving their issue in Iraq.

      Delegates from Iraq i.e. Mr. Ali Medi Sadiq tackled the whole demographical changes by the Kurdish occupants since April 2003 in a way that Saddam’s Government failed to achieve within 35 years. His speech was confirmed and backed up by Mr. Muhammed Khaneef, the Arabic member of Local Kerkuk Council who also referred to the comprehensive domination of the Kurdish authorities on every single aspect of Kerkuk administration.

      Mr. Akram Al-Ubaidi the UK representative of Kerkuk Arab group referred to the unfair and uneven allocation of posts and the domination of Kurdish member of staffs over Kerkuk’s local government which does cause further irritation and chaos between Turkmen and Arabs. Dr. Hassan Aydinly (ITC representative of Belgium) showed the attendees pictures and a list of names for Turkmen activist being assassinated in the day light by the Kurdish militia since April 2003. He also emphasized on several thousands of hectares of lands being confiscated by the Kurdish administration to Kerkuk.

      Mr. Ameen’s speech delivered by Muhammad Koja (in Arabic) focused on the various irregularities and the unfair treatments so far since 2003 being carried out by Kurds. Unfair disposition of Turkmen families and occupations of their lands in Kerkuk province i.e. occupation of houses, military units  factories, plants football stadium, Khalid camp houses of previous army officers and many are still continued by equal supervision of the two Kurdish leading parties PUK and KDP.

      Dr. Ayoub Bazzaz the chairman of Iraqi Turkmen Rights Advocating Committee (ITRAC)-UK intervened by highlighting the fact that the original crisis of oil and mineral rich Kerkuk city began in late fifties upon Kurdish intention to establish a Kurdish State in the future. It is a creative crisis in order to claim possession and then to corporate it to their state as without its wealth such a state cannot be established. Kerkuk has not been a multicultural city but rather a majority Turkmen city. The multi-cultural (or multi ethnicity) nature; again, is creative idiom being abused to achieve political interests by the Kurdish and previously by Arabs. The present so called “federalism” is established to be a first step to divide Iraq into parts and prior to declare the Kurdistan as an independent state in a few years time. If the so called referendum over Kerkuk is held will no doubt be for the favour of Kurds as the ethnic demography of Kerkuk has completely been changed upside down towards the favour of the Kurds. The previous elections have also been forged by the Kurds for their favour so as the article 140 which was dictated by Kurdish member of the Iraqi Parliament to guarantee Kerkuk as a part of Kurdistan. We also condemn the unfair and the comprehensive and the unlimited support of the USA administrative towards the Kurds which clearly is against the will of other Iraqis particularly the Turkmen. There also is no role of Turkey in the present Kerkuk crisis except that Turkey does always call for the unity of all Iraqi ethnics to establish a peace and prosperity to the region. However, we look forward that Turkey plays more direct diplomatic and positive role in solving Turkmen crisis. We strongly dispute the call of Najerfan Barzani for Power sharing statement as it is absolutely a trick to compromise the situation.

      An in-advanced paid gang of Kurdish scum infiltrated to the conference in order to raise suspicions over the creditability of the speeches being delivered by the delegates and to create a chaos. However, their allegations were disputed, and was challenged who therefore vanished from the seen.

      The role of UNPO will be appreciated in raising awareness to the very injustice occupation of Turkmen lands by the Kurdish militia who are lead by the two Kurdish parties; the PUK and KDP. While the article 140 has failed to achieve its goal within the time scale being fixed and therefore is no longer valid, the referendum over Kerkuk destiny should be absolutely unacceptable. The fair solution would therefore be by withdrawal of all Kurdish militia from the Kerkuk and other Turkmen lands and let Kerkuk be governed by its majority Turkmen people shared by the minority Kurds and Arabs. Otherwise, there might be a strong call for establishing a Turkmen Regional State (Turkmenistan) to be a part of Iraq and entirely independent of Kurdish region.

      We also urge all the Human Rights Organization Groups to consider the attention to the long lasting and the continuous sufferings of the Iraqi Turkmen who have always been victims of successive Iraqi Governments as well as the occupant Kurds. The Turkmen crisis has recently further escalated by the Kurdish occupants by claiming their lands and does alert the world to clear breach of human rights.


Roundtable, June 10, 2008, the Caucasus Institute

On June 10, 2008, the Caucasus Institute supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation held a roundtable discussion on Turkeys European Integration and Armenia. The speakers were Ralf Fucks, Co-President of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, and Ruben Safrastyan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies. During the roundtable speakers focused mostly on the development of Turkeys relationship with EU countries and the impact of this process on official Ankara’s relations with Southern Caucasus nations.

Participants of the event were experts, public activists, journalists, diplomats, NGO and IO actors. The roundtable was part of a series of expert seminars and public debates organized by the CI in the framework of a project supported by the South Caucasus Bureau of the Heinrich Boll Foundation and aimed at focusing the public discourse in Armenia at some crucial issues of regional development.

The Problem With Europe

June 17, 2008
By George Friedman

Related Special Topic Page

• Europe

The creation of a European state was severely wounded if not killed last week. The Irish voted against a proposed European Union treaty that included creation of a full-time president, increased power to pursue a European foreign policy and increased power for Europe’s parliament. Since the European constitutional process depends on unanimous consent by all 27 members, the Irish vote effectively sinks this version of the new constitution, much as Dutch and French voters sank the previous version in 2005.

The Irish vote was not a landslide. Only 54 percent of the voters cast their ballots against the constitution. But that misses the point. Whether it had been 54 percent for or against the constitution, the point was that the Irish were deeply divided. In every country, there is at least a substantial minority that opposes the constitution. Given that all 27 EU countries must approve the constitution, the odds against some country not sinking it are pretty long. The Europeans are not going to get a strengthened constitution this way.

But the deeper point is that you can’t create a constitution without a deep consensus about needing it. Even when there is — as the United States showed during its Civil War — critical details not settled by consensus can lead to conflict. In the case of the United States, the issues of the relative power of states and the federal government, along with the question of slavery, ripped the country apart. They could only be settled by war and a series of amendments to the U.S. Constitution forced through by the winning side after the war.

The Constitutional Challenge

Creating a constitution is not like passing a law — and this treaty was, in all practical terms, a constitution. Constitutions do not represent public policy, but a shared vision of the regime and the purpose of the nation. The U.S. Constitution was born in battle. It emerged from a long war of independence and from the lessons learned in that war about the need for a strong executive to wage war, a strong congress to allocate funds and raise revenue, and a judiciary to interpret the constitution. War, along with the teachings of John Locke, framed the discussions in Philadelphia, because the founders’ experience in a war where there was only a congress and no president convinced them of the need for a strong executive. And even that was not enough to prevent civil war over the issue of state sovereignty versus federal sovereignty. Making a constitution is hard.

The European constitution was also born in battle, but in a different way. For centuries, the Europeans had engaged in increasingly savage wars. The question they wanted to address was how to banish war from Europe. In truth, that decision was not in their hands, but in the hands of Americans and Soviets. But the core issue remained: how to restrain European savagery. The core idea was relatively simple.

European wars arose from European divisions; and, for centuries, those divisions ran along national lines. If a United States of Europe could be created on the order of the United States of America, then the endless battling of France, Germany and England would be eliminated.
In the exhaustion of the postwar world — really lasting through the lives of the generation that endured World War II — the concept was deeply seductive. Europe after World War II was exhausted in every sense. It allowed its empires to slip away with a combination of indifference and relief. What Europeans wanted postwar was to make a living and be left alone by ideology and nationalism; they had experienced quite enough of those two. Even France under the influence of Charles de Gaulle, the champion of the idea of the nation-state and its interests, could not arouse a spirit of nationalism anywhere close to what had been.

There is a saying that some people are exhausted and confuse their state with virtue. If that is true, then it is surely true of Europe in the last couple of generations. The European Union reflected these origins. It began as a pact — the European Community — of nations looking to reduce tariff barriers. It evolved into a nearly Europe-wide grouping of countries bound together in a trade bloc, with many of those countries sharing a common currency. Its goal was not the creation of a more perfect union, or, as the Americans put it, a “novus ordo seclorum.” It was not to be the city on the hill. Its commitment was to a more prosperous life, without genocide. Though not exactly inspiring, given the brutality of European history, it was not a trivial goal.
The problem was that when push came to shove, the European Community evolved into the European Union, which consisted of four things:

1. A free trade zone with somewhat synchronized economic polices, not infrequently overridden by the sovereign power of member states.
2. A complex bureaucracy designed to oversee the harmonization of European economies. This was seen as impenetrable and engaged in intensive and intrusive work from the trivial to the extremely significant, charged with defining everything from when a salami may be called a salami and whether Microsoft was a monopoly.
3. A single currency and central bank to which 15 of the 27 EU members subscribed.
4. Had Ireland voted differently, a set of proto-institutions would have been created — complete with a presidency and foreign policy chief — which would have given the European Union the trappings of statehood. The president, who would rotate out of office after a short time, would have been the head of one of the EU member states.

Rejecting a European Regime

The Irish referendum was all about transforming the fourth category into a regime. The Irish rejected it not because they objected to the first three sets of solutions — they have become the second-wealthiest country in Europe per capita under their aegis. They objected to it because they did not want to create a European regime. As French and Dutch voters have said before, the Irish said they want a free trade zone. They will put up with the Brussels bureaucracy even though its intrusiveness and lack of accountability troubles them. They can live with a single currency so long as it does not simply become a prisoner of German and French economic policy. But they do not want to create a European state.

The French and German governments do want to create such a state. As with the creation of the United States, the reasons have to do with war, past and future. Franco-German animosity helped created the two world wars of the 20th century. Those two powers now want a framework for preventing war within Europe. They also — particularly the French — want a vehicle for influencing the course of world events. In their view, the European Union, as a whole, has a gross domestic product comparable to that of the United States. It should be the equal of the United States in shaping the world. This isn’t simply a moral position, but a practical one. The United States throws its weight around because it can, frequently harming Europe’s interests. The French and Germans want to control the United States.

To do this, they need to move beyond having an economic union. They need to have a European foreign and defense policy. But before they can have that, they need a European government that can carry out this policy. And before they can have a European government they must have a European regime, before which they must have a European constitution that enumerates the powers of the European president, parliament and courts. They also need to specify how these officials will be chosen.

The French and Germans would welcome all this if they could get it. They know, given population, economic power and so on, that they would dominate the foreign policy created by a European state. Not so the Irish and Danes; they understand they would have little influence on the course of European foreign policy. They already feel the pain of having little influence on European economic policy, particularly the policies of the European Central Bank (ECB). Even the French public has expressed itself in the 2006 election about fears of Brussels and the ECB. But for countries like Ireland and Denmark, each of which fought very hard to create and retain their national sovereignty, merging into a Europe in which they would lose their veto power to a European parliamentary and presidential system is an appalling prospect.

Economists always have trouble understanding nationalism. To an economist, all human beings are concerned with maximizing their own private wealth. Economists can never deal with the empirical fact that this simply isn’t true. Many Irish fought against being cogs in a multinational British Empire. The Danes fought against being absorbed by Germany. The prospect of abandoning the struggle for national sovereignty to Europe is not particularly pleasing, even if it means economic advantage.

Europe is not going to become a nation-state in the way the United States is. It is increasingly clear that Europeans are not going to reach a consensus on a European constitution. They are not in agreement on what European institutions should look like, how elections should be held and, above all, about the relation between individual nations and a central government. The Europeans have achieved all they are going to achieve. They have achieved a free trade zone with a regulatory body managing it. They have created a currency that is optional to EU members, and from which we expect some members to withdraw from at times while others join in. There will be no collective European foreign or defense policy simply because the Europeans do not have a common interest in foreign and defense policy.

Paris Reads the Writing on the Wall

The French have realized this most clearly. Once the strongest advocates of a federated Europe, the French under President Nicolas Sarkozy have started moving toward new strategies. Certainly, they remain committed to the European Union in its current structure, but they no longer expect it to have a single integrated foreign and defense policy. Instead, the French are pursuing initiatives by themselves. One aspect of this involves drawing closer to the United States on some foreign policy issues. Rather than trying to construct a single Europe that might resist the United States — former President Jacques Chirac’s vision — the French are moving to align themselves to some degree with American policies. Iran is an example.

The most intriguing initiative from France is the idea of a Mediterranean union drawing together the countries of the Mediterranean basin, from Algeria to Israel to Turkey. Apart from whether these nations could coexist in such a union, the idea raises the question of whether France (or Italy or Greece) can simultaneously belong to the European Union and another economic union. While questions — such as whether North African access to the French market would provide access to the rest of the European Union — remain to be answered, the Germans have strongly rejected this French vision.

The vision derives directly from French geopolitical reality. To this point, the French focus has been on France as a European country whose primary commitment is to Europe. But France also is a Mediterranean country, with historical ties and interests in the Mediterranean basin. France’s geographical position gives it options, and it has begun examining those options independent of its European partners.

The single most important consequence of the Irish vote is that it makes clear that European political union is not likely to happen. It therefore forces EU members to consider their own foreign and defense policies — and, therefore, their own geopolitical positions. Whether an economic union can survive in a region of political diversity really depends on whether the diversity evolves into rivalry. While that has been European history, it is not clear that Europe has the inclination to resurrect national rivalries.

At the same time, if France does pursue interests independent of the Germans, the question will be this: Will the mutual interest in economic unity override the tendency toward political conflict? The idea was that Europe would moot the question by creating a federation. That isn’t going to happen, so the question is on the table. And that question can be framed simply: When speaking of political and military matters, is it reasonable any longer to use the term Europe to denote a single entity? Europe, as it once was envisioned, appears to have disappeared in Ireland.

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The Kosovo Syndrome

The Kosovo Syndrome and the Search for a Settlement in Cyprus
by Sema Sezer

From the early 1990’s to today, we have seen the formation of 9 new independent states in the south and east of Europe emerge from the break up of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia alone. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia was divided into the “Czech Republic” and “Slovakia” through what was termed as a “velvet separation” as a result of a joint decision taken by the Czech and Slovakian Parliaments. On 1 May 2004, the two new states joined the European Union (EU). Disintegration in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia started in 1992 with the separation of four states – Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. Finally, a total of seven independent states were born out of the former Yugoslavia with the separations of Montenegro from Serbia following a referendum on 21 May 2006, and then Kosovo, which was an autonomous region, after it declared its independence on 17 February 2008 from Serbia. Slovenia joined the EU with the 1 May 2004 enlargement process, while Croatia is in continued EU accession talks since October 2005, and Macedonia declared as a candidate country in December 2005. The winds of dissolution/separation were not limited to the east and south of Europe. In past years, debates on the issue of separation have arisen even in Belgium, despite its capital, Brussels, being central to the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Debates have increasingly intensified as to whether the separation of Montenegro in 2006 and Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia could constitute an example for problematic regions in other parts of the world. Cyprus became the main focal point of these debates in Turkey.

The reasons for mentioning the above events is to point out that every new-born state has been recognised by the international community, especially the EU states, and have taken their place in the international system within a short period of time despite the methods, and political and legal aspects of separation and independence processes all being different as in the examples of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

Kosovo and Cyprus: Differences and Similarities

Essentially, the Kosovo and Cyprus cases are both politically and legally different. However, some parallels can be drawn on the grounds of human rights violations, which were experienced by Kosovar Albanians and which are still being experienced by Turkish Cypriots today, behavioural similarities between Serbians and Greek Cypriots and military interventions in both regions . Comparisons between these two nations can even be made based on both having lived under Ottoman rule for centuries. For instance, the majority of the 7.5 million population of Serbia is Serb and Orthodox. In Kosovo, the population of 2 million consists of 95% Muslim, 90% being Albanian. In Cyprus, approximately 260 thousand Turkish Cypriots live in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), whereas 750 thousand Greek Cypriots live in the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus (GASC). The majority of Albanians and Turkish Cypriots are Muslim, whereas Serbs and Greek Cypriots are Orthodox Christian. A dominating sense of distrust between both the Serb and Albanian people in Serbia and Kosovo and the Turkish and Greek Cypriot population in Cyprus has led to a loss of will to live together.

The de facto situation in both Kosovo and Cyprus started with the destruction of the existing constitutional system by the Serb and Greek Cypriot majority respectively. In this process, both Albanians and Turkish Cypriots experienced ethnic cleansing, human rights violations and forceful migration. The Serb and Greek Cypriot attacks only stopped following military interventions. The United Nations peace force that was sent to the island in 1964 failed to make any significant impact in preventing Greek Cypriot attacks from 1963-1974. The bloodshed on the island eventually stopped through Turkey’s military intervention in 1974 by using its rights from the 1960 Guarantee Agreement. The existence of a Turkish military presence on the island is the biggest guarantee preventing a return to 1974. The military intervention in Kosovo came in 1999 from the Kosovo Force (KFOR), or in other words NATO forces.

Human rights violations and massacres orchestrated by the now deceased Serb leader Milosevic in Serbia and Papadopoulos in Cyprus, who was later to become the President of GASC during 2003-2008, presents another great similarity. The only difference being, while Milosevic was tried in front of the international community, Papadopoulos, who is known as the architect behind the ‘Akritas Plan’, the plan for the annihilation of Turkish Cypriots, was rewarded with Presidency. Furthermore, the disclosure of documents showing Papadopoulos as the person who was conducting money laundering for Milosevic in the GASC also shows another similarity between them.

In the south of Cyprus, the United Kingdom has two military bases (Akrotiri and Dhekelia), which were retained in accordance with the international agreements of 1960 and were not registered as EU territory; it is also used by the United States. In Kosovo, the US has the biggest military base in the Balkans and Europe – “Camp Bondsteel”.

After the military interventions of NATO in Kosovo and the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in Cyprus, Serbs and Greek Cypriots lost control of territories where Albanians and Cypriot Turks lived. However, according to the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) decisions, Kosovo continued to be considered as “Serbian territory” (Resolution 1244, 1999), and the Greek Cypriot Administration as the “Legitimate Government of the Republic of Cyprus” (Resolution 186, 1964).
Kosovo-Cyprus Precedent Debates and Double Standards of the International Community.

The different approaches taken by the international community to the Kosovo and Cyprus issues demonstrates the double standards applied from the beginning. The different approaches to the issues demonstrated by the proposed resolutions, the UN’s “Annan Plan” for Cyprus and the “Ahtisaari Plan” for Kosovo, are total opposites. While one of them encourages the “reunification” of the island, the other encourages “separation” of Kosovo from Serbia. This attitude still applies after the independence of Kosovo. Another example was when, within a short period following the declaration of independence by the TRNC, the UNSC decided to define this declaration as “null and void”, taking a decision that “calls for non-recognition” (15 November 1983/541, 13 May 1984/550). However, the same UNSC did not take any such decision against Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

The USA, the EU and NATO countries reached a consensus, with a few exceptions, on the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo, which declared its independence on 17 February 2008. While the USA was among the first states that recognised Kosovo, the EU declared that it has officially noted Kosovo’s independence on 18 February and left the decision of recognition to individual member states. Greece, GASC, Romania, Spain and Slovakia declared that they would not recognise the declaration of independence . The point of departure for these decisions is that independence can set a precedent for minorities in Romania, Slovakia and the Basque and Catalonia regions of Spain. The main concern of Greece and GASC is that this situation can pave the way for the recognition of TRNC’s independence. Moreover, Greece is concerned about Albanians and Macedonians. However, what almost all the states agree upon is that regardless of recognition, “Kosovo is not a precedent for Cyprus”.

The most striking comment in the precedent debate came from the former President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, towards the end of his 8-year term, making an accusative statement of “the EU for its double standards in Kosovo and Cyprus” on 15 February 2008. Putin’s statement of “Northern Cyprus has been independent for 40 years. Why don’t you recognise it? Europeans aren’t you ashamed of your double standards?” is actually not in support nor an expression of the necessity for the recognition of TRNC’s independence. However, criticism of the double standards displayed by EU members echoed in many circles . Moreover, the statement is significant since this is the first time that the President of a permanent member of the UNSC has mentioned it. Essentially, expecting a change in policy towards Kosovo and Cyprus from Russia, which is known for its established support of Serbian and GASC policies, would not be realistic. Especially when one considers the role played by Russia in the crisis, which gave rise to a potential armed conflict, by selling an S-300 long-range SAM system to GASC and prevented a discussion of the UN Secretary-General’s Cyprus Report following the referendum of 24 April 2004 at the UNSC.

Consequently, what was the main aim of Putin’s statement? The following part of the statement has the answer. While Putin stated that they support a unified state in Cyprus and that the recognition of Kosovo is immoral and illegal, he also declared that Kosovo is not different from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whereby they were forced to change their policies in these regions. Consequently, Putin might be signalling to Europe via the case of the TRNC that four frozen conflict zones can be separated – Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia, Trans-Dniester from Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan – and that their declaration of independence can be recognised. However, while evaluating Putin’s statement, the possibility of Kosovo setting a precedent for the federal republics and provinces in the Russian Federation like Chechnya, Tatarstan, Sakha (Yakutia) and Kaliningrad should not be overlooked.
At first glance, Kosovo cannot be taken as a precedent for the TRNC neither in terms of its declaration of independence nor the model applied following the declaration of independence. This is because the TRNC already declared its independence on 15 November 1983, 25 years before Kosovo. Although the TRNC is not recognised, except by Turkey, it has all the necessary institutions for a functioning state, and has a more improved sense of democracy than most Western states. Moreover, although many states recognised Kosovo, is it truly independent? Are we going to experience a new model for independence, independent from Serbia but dependent on the international community?

Consequently, the issue of Kosovo being a precedent for others can only be examined to criticise the international community’s attitude based on the existence of contradictory policies. Because, as mentioned by Putin, the international community is constantly making efforts to unite Cyprus, which has been divided for 40 years, but supported the separation of 7 states from Yugoslavia, Kosovo being the latest example.
Turkey’s guarantor status and the presence of TAF on the island seem to be the main influence behind the different international approaches to Kosovo and Cyprus. But when you examine this closely, the absence of a system like the Guarantee and Alliance Agreement of Cyprus and the continuation of KFOR for the security of Kosovo, allows the EU, UN and NATO to maintain greater influence over Kosovo. But in reality, according to article 3 of the 1960 Guarantee Agreement, in the case of a breach of any article of the Agreement, the guarantor countries, multilaterally, unilaterally or in cooperation, have the right to re-establish the state of affairs described by the Agreement. Turkey, whose Armed Forces are the second largest army in NATO as well as the most powerful and operationally capable in the region, intervened on the island based on its right to do so on 20 July 1974. In addition to this, provisional article 10 of the TRNC constitution grants its national defence and security to TAF. All of these factors not only provide a military deterrent but also a political one.

Reflections of Kosovo’s Independence to the Cyprus Issue

On 17 February 2008, while the first round of Presidency elections were held in GASC, Kosovo became the 49th state of Europe by declaring its independence. Kosovo’s independence has two effects on the Cyprus issue: the first and foremost being the rising discourse directed against Papadopoulos, initiated by the international community and his election rivals claiming that under his Presidency “the island will remain divided”. The EU and US kept this discourse on the agenda based on the idea that Papadopoulos’s rigid policies were restricting any area for movement and created an expectation that if Papadopoulos lost, then “a new period for resolution will start”. Putin’s accusing statement toward European states of “double standards regarding Kosovo and Cyprus” and Kosovo’s declaration of independence on the same day of the first round of elections reinforced Greek Cypriot voters’ fear of the international recognition of the TRNC and negatively affected votes for Papadopoulos. From this perspective, the international community had reached its aim after the first round of elections and was indifferent towards the remaining two candidates, Kasoulides and Christofias, in the second round. Both candidates based their campaign on “supporting a solution and negotiation with Turkish Cypriots”. Consequently, the uncompromising Greek Cypriot attitude in the referendum of 24 April 2004 was blamed on the losing party rather than the Greek Cypriot people. The electoral victory of Communist AKEL leader Christofias in the second round on 24 February enabled the restoration of GASC’s image in the international community as the side “who wants a solution”. Therefore, it was Papadopoulos himself that failed in the elections, not his policies.

The second effect is that rather than push for the international recognition of the TRNC, as was the case with Kosovo, efforts at unification for the island were intensified by the international community. In other words, Kosovo’s independence created an opposite effect in Cyprus. Following the Christofias – Talat meeting on 21 March 2008, study groups and technical committees were established for a three month period in preparation for comprehensive negotiations. The reports, which will be presented to the respective Presidents at the end of June, will determine the initiation of comprehensive negotiations.

When analysing the current political situation in Southern Cyprus, AKEL’s policies and the influence of the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church, it appears very doubtful that the Christofias administration have enough will for a solution with possible negotiations. The most significant reason for this is that the Greek Cypriot National Council, which is composed of all the Greek Cypriot political party leaders, decides policies on the Cyprus issue. The signing of all Council decisions by the leader of AKEL, i.e. Christofias, during Papadopoulos’s presidency can be taken as a sign that the Greek Cypriot policy of 2003-2008 will continue. During Papadopoulos’ presidency an agreement had been reached where part of these negotiations were to continue with a coalition government model with policies towards the Cyprus issue and to never put the Annan Plan on the agenda. In fact, we can now see that after his election, Christofias seems to be sticking to this agreement.

Christofias talks about a two region – two nation federal solution. However, he employs a “unitary” state discourse with statements calling for “one state, one sovereignty and one citizenship”. He proposes the annulment of the 1960 Guarantee Agreement, withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from the island, the return of Turkish migrants to Turkey and Greek Cypriots to their estates in northern Cyprus as preliminary conditions. Like Papadopoulos, AKEL defends the use of Turkey’s EU accession process in the Cyprus issue. All of the above show that when Christofias and Papadopoulos are compared, the expected change is not evident and only that the “terminology” and “methodology” has changed rather than the core principles. Moreover, by using the phrase “Cypriot Solution”, and stating that the solution can only be found by the Turkish and Greek Cypriots we can see that he is trying to move away from the UN framework and push out the guarantor states from the process.

However, the election of a Greek Cypriot candidate, who favours a solution, be it sincere or not, means an increase of pressure on the Turkish side. With a “Now” solution prone administration in office in the GASC, there will be increased demands for some facilitative action from Turkey. These demands will focus upon Cyprus’s obligations in accession talks, Turkey’s guarantor status and TAF’s presence on the island. Actually, Greek Cypriot and Greek officials state that “there is no need for the 1960 Guarantor Agreement, the guarantee of the EU will be sufficient.” They do not pay attention to the fact that the agreement, which was signed by Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, cannot be annulled without the mutual agreement of all signatory states. Naturally, nobody asks how the EU can provide a guarantee for Turkish Cypriots, while Greece and GASC are members of the EU and Turkey is not.
The goal of the Greek Cypriots is possibly to gain time by employing diversionary tactics rather than reaching a solution. In December 2006, the EU suspended accession talks in eight chapters with Turkey, deciding to monitor Turkey’s Cyprus obligations until 2009. If Turkey does not meet these demands, a crisis may arise between the EU and Turkey toward the end of 2009. If Turkey meets the demands for the “normalisation of relations with the Republic of Cyprus, opening of ports and airports and application of supplementary protocol” without reaching a lasting-comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, this would mean “the end of the Cyprus issue” for the Greek Cypriot side. It is possible that the Greek Cypriot Administration is trying to buy time with diversion tactics until the Kosovo issue dies down from the international agenda. This is because, suitable conditions for the TRNC to demand recognition have arisen following Kosovo’s declaration of independence on 17 February 2008, just as it had after the 24 April Referendum. However, the international community, which promised the “removal of isolations” after the referendum, is trying to prevent the rising voices of Turkish demands with statements of “finding a solution in Cyprus” while at the same time recognising Kosovo’s independence.


Even if comprehensive negotiations are initiated on the island, reaching a settlement seems unlikely because both sides have a different understanding of a “settlement” and “expectations” from the process. Despite administrations and leaders from different political spectrums coming to office throughout the years on both sides, a settlement could not be reached. Although former President Denktas has been accused of being uncompromising, no settlement has been reached during Talat’s presidency either. If GASC continues with the same attitude, the infertility of this process will be realised. Consequently, this new initiative on the island, which started after Kosovo’s declaration of independence and the presidential elections in GASC, would be the “last initiative” for the resolution of the Cyprus issue. However, the EU membership of GASC, the proposed Cyprus obligations in the Turkey-EU accession talks and the isolation of the TRNC will decrease the possibility of GASC accepting a solution under the auspices of the UN.
For now, the significant issues are, what would be the parameters of a possible solution in Cyprus and in case of the failure of efforts for a resolution, what kind of alternatives can arise for the TRNC in light of Kosovo setting a precedent? Since “independence” was never mentioned in the Ahtisaari Report, the independence model for Kosovo means being independent from Serbia but dependent on the international community. In fact, after Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the UN passed its control to the EU and the EU’s representative in Kosovo declared it will continue to work under the name of “International Civilian Representative”. To further demonstrate this point, approximately a total of 2000 police and judges from EU member states are operating in Kosovo. Regardless of how many states recognise Kosovo, its UN membership is impossible in the near future while GASC, Greece, Spain, Romania and Slovakia continue to oppose it; similarly Kosovo’s membership to the EU and NATO also cannot happen. Unfortunately, the story does not end there; Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence is expected to create new political and legal problems even if Kosovo is recognised by various states.

Every regional conflict has its own specific conditions and these conditions should be considered for any settlement. Consequently, in the case where the Greek Cypriot side takes preventative actions against a resolution, instead of a “contrivable unification”, other alternatives may arise. The most rational way for a lasting solution on the island is the initiation of the negotiation process to reach an understanding for the “agreed separation” of the “TRNC” and the “GASC” in line with the de facto status created by the events of 1963. The initiation of such a process, which will test the international community’s sincerity, will have a positive impact on peace and security in the Eastern Mediterranean, in addition to preparing a proper basis for the settlement of Turko-Greek disputes. The preliminary condition is that the international community should face both politically and legally the reality of the state that they recognised in Cyprus, GASC, is not the “1960 Republic of Cyprus”, which was crafted in the Agreements of 1959-1960.

1 for a deeper anaylsis see, Sema Sezer “Kosova Sorunu ve Kıbrıs Meselesi Üzerine Bir Karşılaştırma”, Stratejik Analiz, No: 91,November2007,pp.40-48.
2 “Kosova’yı Tanıyan Ülke Sayısı 23 Oldu”,26February2008,
3 Putin: Europe has double standards against N. Cypres, 15 February 2008

The Bloody Co-existence of…

The Bloody Co-existence of
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots

George Nakratzas

     Any nationalist expansionist policy can be carried out only by means of war. And the people have to be psychologically prepared for this by a propaganda device which idealises their own acts and demonises those of the enemy.
     Greece has employed this device in the past, and continues to do so today, one typical exponent being the new Archbishop of Athens, Christodoulos, who has publicly, in the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic, referred to the Turks as ‘the eastern barbarians’.
     It is a well-known fact that the Turks treated the Greek minority in Istanbul with great barbarity in 1955; and it is equally well known that dozens, if not hundreds, of Greek Cypriot captives were executed in Cyprus in 1974. Rauf Denktash has publicly admitted it.
     But what the young people of Greece have no idea of is that Turkish Cypriots were murdered by the parastatal groups run by Sampson, Yeorgadzis, and Lyssaridis between 1963 and 1967. It should be borne in mind that at that time the Cypriot government was responsible for safeguarding the life, the honour, and the property of all Cypriot citizens, irrespective of national or religious identity.
     A somewhat more detailed analysis of the Greek and foreign literature on the events in Cyprus in this period may fill the gap in young modern Greeks’ knowledge.
     The invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army in 1974 resulted in the partition of the island into two zones, a northern zone populated by Turkish Cypriots and Turkish settlers and a southern zone populated by Greek Cypriots. Since then, the Cypriot government has steadfastly demanded the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation forces so that Cyprus may be restored to its former status. However, a study of the relations between the two communities between 1963 and 1967 may tell us something about the quality of their ‘peaceful co-existence’.
     Regarding the Greek Cypriots’ supposed intention to live in peace and equality with the Turkish Cypriots, an extract from a speech by Archbishop Makarios in the village of Panayia is particularly telling. It is quoted by Rustem and Brother, according to whom, on 4 September 1962, Makarios said:
Until this small Turkish community, forming a part of the Turkish race, which has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism, is expelled, the duty of the heroes of EOKA can never be considered as terminated. (1, p. 47) A letter from Denktash protesting about the Panayia speech was never answered.
     Fourteen months later, on 30 November 1963, Makarios submitted his famous thirteen-point amendment of the Constitution, in direct contravention, as he himself publicly admitted, of the Geneva Convention (2, p. 56). The Geneva Convention ruled out any unilateral change to the Cypriot Constitution, as also any partition of the island or unification with Greece. It should be borne in mind that even today the Republic of Cyprus derives its legitimacy from the Geneva Convention.
     Makarios’s proposed changes would have meant that the Turkish Vice-President would lose his right of veto and would be elected not by the Turkish Cypriots but by the parliamentary majority, i.e. the Greek Cypriots. These two articles, together with another nine similar ones, would have lost the Turkish Cypriots the rights which the Cypriot Constitution had guaranteed them until then.
     The Cypriot mass media presented the Turkish Cypriots’ refusal to accept this unilateral amendment of the Constitution as ‘Turkish insubordination to the state’, which was quite untrue, because, as we have seen, from a legal point of view it was not the Turkish Cypriots, but Makarios who had made a unilateral, arbitrary attempt to violate the Constitution.
     General Karayannis, Commander of the Cypriot National Guard, confirmed that it was not the Turks who initiated the so-called insubordination in an interview in Ethnikos Kirix on 15 June 1965: When the Turks objected to the amendment of the Constitution, Archbishop Makarios put his plan into effect and the Greek attack began in December 1963. (3, p. 87)
     That Makarios had a premeditated plan to exterminate the Turks is also indirectly confirmed by the Communist Party of Cyprus, which published the following critique of the Archbishop in issue No. 57 of its organ Neos Dimokratis in July 1979: Armed by Makarios, Mr Lyssaridis . . . formed his own armed bands, which, in 1963-4, together with those of Yeorgadzis and Sampson, waged a ‘liberation struggle’ against the Turkish Cypriots and as a result brought
us the Green Line and, eventually, Attila. (2, p. 67) That the sole purpose of the so-called liberation struggle was to force the Turkish Cypriots to yield to Makarios’s unilateral amendment of the Constitution is also officially revealed by an article in the Cypriot newspaper Haravyi, which was published on the second day of the clashes, 22 December 1963: And since it is accepted that the tension is the result of the climate created by the Zurich and London agreements and the undemocratic terms of the Constitution, . . . the Turkish government, . . . which is inflaming the tempers of our fanatical compatriots, and the Turkish Cypriot leadership must reconsider their negative attitude and approach the President of the Republic’s proposals in a constructive manner. (2, p. 73) 
     The Greek Cypriot assault on the Turkish Cypriots started on 21 December 1963, when Greek Cypriot police officers shot and killed a Turkish Cypriot couple in the Turkish sector of Nicosia while attempting to carry out a spot check. 
     The most serious attack was the assault on Omorfita, a suburb of Nicosia inhabited by 5,000 Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot parastatals were headed by Nikos Sampson, whom the Greek Cypriot press henceforth dubbed ‘the conqueror of Omorfita’. The material damage wreaked by Sampson’s parastatals in Omorfita is described in the UN Secretary General’s report No. S/5950 to the Security Council, which states that 50 houses were totally destroyed and 240 partially destroyed (4, para. 180). As for the human losses, 4,500 Turkish Cypriots managed to flee to the Turkish sector
of Nicosia and 500 were captured and taken to Kykkos School in Nicosia, where they were held with 150 Turkish Cypriots from the village of Kumsal.
     On Christmas day, 150 of the 700 or so captives were selected and dragged away, and the sound of shooting followed.
     Gibbon reports that an English teacher at Kykkos School told the High Commission that she had seen the results of the shooting; whereupon, for security reasons, the British administration put her on the first plane to London, because she was the only eye witness to what had happened (5, p.
139). As for the 150 captives, the Greek Cypriot authorities told their families for many years that they should regard them as missing. Other major assaults by the Greek Cypriots near Nicosia targeted the villages of Mathiati, Ayos Vassilios, and Kumsal. In Kumsal, the Greek Cypriot parastatals executed 150 people in cold blood.
     The most apalling photograph, which went round the world, showed three small children and their mother lying dead in a pool of blood in the bath in their home. These unfortunates were the family of Major Ilhan, an officer in the Turkish expeditionary force in Nicosia (3, p. 95).
     In the surgical clinic in Nicosia Hospital, the Greek Cypriots dragged from their beds twenty-two Turkish Cypriot convalescents, all trace of whom vanished for ever (3, 91). 
     Government and parastatal armed forces continued their attacks on the Turkish Cypriots over the next four months. One notable incident, which almost provoked a Greek-Turkish war, took place at Famagusta, where, on 11 May 1964, three Greek officers and a Greek Cypriot policeman took their
car into the Turkish sector, possibly intending to make a display of power. A Turkish Cypriot policeman attempted to obstruct them, there was an exchange of fire, and in the end two of the Greek officers, the Greek Cypriot policeman, and a passing Turkish Cypriot lay dead. Two days later,
the Greek Cypriots abducted thirty-two Turkish Cypriots, who were never seen again. The abduction is confirmed by the UN Secretary General’s report No. S/5764 (6, para. 93).
     Lastly, on 9 August 1964, there was the attack on the Turkish Cypriot enclave of Kokkina-Mansoura, where the Turkish air force ended the hostilities by dropping napalm bombs.
     The UN Secretary General’s report No. S/5950, para. 142, tells us that, during the period of the hostilities ? from 21 December 1963 to 8 June 1964 ? 43 Greek Cypriots and 232 Turkish Cypriots disappeared and have been officially posted as missing ever since. The missing Turkish
Cypriots include the 150 hostages from Kykkos School in Nicosia and the 32 abductees from Famagusta.
     The Cypriot media constantly show pictures of Greek Cypriot women holding photographs of their nearest and dearest and seeking information about their whereabouts; yet the Greek media have never shown similar pictures of Turkish Cypriot women seeking information about their own lost
     The termination of the Cypriot government’s assaults on the Turkish Cypriots led to the creation of Turkish Cypriot enclaves, where the Turkish Cypriot refugees lived in wretched conditions for no less than eleven years. According to Kranidiotis, in his book Unfortified State: Cyprus 1960-74
(in Greek), these enclaves occupied 4.86 per cent of Cypriot territory Seeing that the Greek Cypriot armed bands were unable to assert themselves over the Turks, . . . on 26 December, Makarios was obliged to accept the Green Line. . . . Six large Turkish enclaves were formed, . . . which
corresponded to 4.86 per cent of the territory of Cyprus. (2, p. 75) From 1964 to 1967, owing to the restrictive measures imposed by the Greek Cypriot government, the day-to-day efforts of the confined Turkish Cypriots consisted exclusively in a struggle for survival. Apart from imposing an economic embargo on the enclaves, the Makarios administration also banned the supply of strategic commodities, such as cement, tractors, men’s socks, and wollen clothing.
     The imposition of the military dictatorship in Greece in 1967 heralded fresh oblems for Cyprus. On 15 November 1967, Greek and Greek Cypriot forces armed with cannon, machine-guns, and bazookas attacked the lightly armed Turkish Cypri- ots in the villages of Ayos Theodoros and Kofinou in the Larnaca area. As the defen- ces crumbled, the Greek Cypriots killed twenty-seven Turkish Cypriots (3, p. 139).
     The incident brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war, which was avoided only when the illicit Greek division and General Grivas were recalled from Cyprus.
     The slaughter and looting at Kofinou were confirmed in the Greek parliament on 21 February 1986 by Andreas Papandreou, who spoke, inter alia, of the ‘great provocation of 15 November 1967,’ and added that the operation had been ‘ordered by the Supreme Command of the Greek Armed Forces [and] killing and looting took place’ (2, p. 33).
     The military junta brought its political career to an end in 1974 with the invasion of Cyprus and an attempt on Makarios’s life. We shall not discuss subsequent events here, because both warring sides perpetrated crimes against humanity during that period.
     Even now, both the Greek and the Turkish propaganda do their best to convince us that such acts of barbarity were commited exclusively by the other side. But this sort of propaganda is mainly intended for domestic consumption.
     What needs noting is that a war was fought between two nations in 1974, and it is usually the case in any war situation that criminal elements seize the opportunity to legitimise acts that would land them in prison in peace time. The reason why the blame lies so heavily on the Greek Cypriot side is the fact that, between 1963 and 1967, the Cypriot government was exclusively responsible for any acts committed by Greek Cypriot government or parastatal armed forces.
     During the forthcoming talks on the island’s entry into the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus will have two questions to answer.  Since the Cypriot government refuses 
                  1)     either to recognise the Turkish Cypriot state
                  2)   to countenance a loose Greek-Turkish Cypriot confederation, 
                    which of the two remaining solutions has it in mind? 
1) That the Turkish Cypriots should return to the villages in which they were living before 963?            or 
2) That the Turkish Cypriots should return to the enclaves in which they were confined for eleven years?

1.   Rustem, and Brother,. (1998) : Excerpta Cypria For Today 
      Edited by Andrew Faulds MP , Lefkosha-Istanbul-London 
      The Friends of North Cyprus Parliamentary Group
      The House of Commons, London SW1,   ISBN 9963-565-09-3 
2.   Oberling, P., (1982) : The Road to Bellapais, Social Science
      Monographs, Boulder Distributed by Columbia University Press, New York, ISBN

3.   Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Counsil on the United
      Nations operation in Cyprus , Document S/5950, 10 September 1964. 

4.   Gibbons, H, S., (1997) : The Genocide Files 
      Charles Bravos, Publishers, London ,  ISBN 0-9514464-2-8

5.  Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Counsil on the United Nations
     operation in Cyprus , Document S/5764, 15 Juni 1964.