Open letter to Mr J. M. Koenig, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA to the Republic of Cyprus

Open letter to Mr J. M. Koenig, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USA to the Republic of Cyprus

Let us accept, arguendo, that you are partly right in your perception of the Cyprus Problem; that indeed, in its first decade (1964-1974), it started out as an issue of bi-communal conflict. Still, the Turkish invasion of 1974 was not simply “a tragic turn” to this conflict, as unfortunately you have called it.

In historical terms, the Turkish invasion was a game-changing milestone, which metamorphosed the Cyprus Problem into an issue of an entirely different order than it used to be prior to 1974: no longer an internal clash between two ethnic groups cohabiting on the same island, but a de facto partition of a sovereign state by another.

In legal terms, it was, and remains so, a major breach of international law: first of the Zurich-London agreement of 1960, then of a whole array of UN resolutions and international court rulings, and now of the European Acquis Communautaire. As you are well aware, the initial infringement was further aggravated in 1983 by the unilateral declaration of the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” («TRNC»), which the USA, justly so, has never recognised.

Finally, still in the terms of international law, the Turkish occupation became a bona fide war crime by way of Turkey’s settlement policies, which were put into effect as soon as the fighting stopped and continue to this day. This last fact alone provides irrefutable proof that the occupying power’s intention in Cyprus is not, unfortunately, to keep the peace.

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Αντώνης Πετρίδης
Ο Αντώνης Κ. Πετρίδης (γεν. 1975) είναι αριστούχος απόφοιτος κλασικής φιλολογίας του Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης και διδάκτωρ του Πανεπιστημίου του Cambridge (Trinity College). Υπηρετεί ως Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Κλασικής Φιλολογίας στο Πρόγραμμα “Σπουδές στον Ελληνικό Πολιτισμό” του Ανοικτού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου. Τα ερευνητικά του ενδιαφέροντα κινούνται κυρίως γύρω από το αρχαίο ελληνικό θέατρο και την ελληνιστική λογοτεχνία. Από το 2009 ανήκει στην ομάδα που συνέγραψε και εποπτεύει την εφαρμογή του Νέου Αναλυτικού Προγράμματος για τη διδασκαλία των Αρχαίων Ελληνικών και Λατινικών στη Μέση Εκπαίδευση. Στο πλαίσιο αυτής της συνεργασίας έχει αναλάβει την πτυχή της Αρχαίας Γραμματείας από Μετάφραση στις τρεις τάξεις του Γυμνασίου.

Ο Αντώνης Κ. Πετρίδης (γεν. 1975) είναι αριστούχος απόφοιτος κλασικής φιλολογίας του Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης και διδάκτωρ του Πανεπιστημίου του Cambridge (Trinity College). Υπηρετεί ως Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Κλασικής Φιλολογίας στο Πρόγραμμα “Σπουδές στον Ελληνικό Πολιτισμό” του Ανοικτού Πανεπιστημίου Κύπρου. Τα ερευνητικά του ενδιαφέροντα κινούνται κυρίως γύρω από το αρχαίο ελληνικό θέατρο και την ελληνιστική λογοτεχνία. Από το 2009 ανήκει στην ομάδα που συνέγραψε και εποπτεύει την εφαρμογή του Νέου Αναλυτικού Προγράμματος για τη διδασκαλία των Αρχαίων Ελληνικών και Λατινικών στη Μέση Εκπαίδευση. Στο πλαίσιο αυτής της συνεργασίας έχει αναλάβει την πτυχή της Αρχαίας Γραμματείας από Μετάφραση στις τρεις τάξεις του Γυμνασίου.

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  • TURKEY’s OPERATION ON CYPRUS IN 1974 IS COMPLETELY LEGAL:
    (1) Makarios (1ST PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS) (the UN Security Council Speech, 19 July 1974):
    MAKARIOS: “CYPRUS WAS INVADED BY GREECE”
    Sound record of the speech: http://www.cypnet.co.uk/ncyprus/history/republic/makarios1.wav

    (2) Turkey acted on Cyprus via Art. IV(2) Treaty of Guarantee (“In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions. In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty.”), hence in compatible with Art. 2(4) UN Charter.

    (3) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) (29.07.1974, Resolution 573): “The Turkish military INTERVENTION was the exercise of a RIGHT EMANATING FROM AN INTERNATIONAL TREATY and the fulfilment of a LEGAL and MORAL obligation.”

    (4) Greece’s Athens Court of Appeals (21.03.1979; Case No: 2658/79): “The Turkish military INTERVENTION in Cyprus, which was carried out in accordance with the Zurich and London Accords, was LEGAL. Turkey, as one of the Guarantor Powers, had the right to fulfill her obligations. The real culprits . . . are the Greek officers who engineered and staged a coup and prepared the conditions for this INTERVENTION.” Note: Just after 5 years later than 1974, in 1979, Greece’s Highest Court decided Turkish military intervention is legal without making any difference between 1st and 2nd military operation!

    (5) Till now, there is NO sanction applied on Turkey due to 1974 Cyprus war: another sign of legality dimension of 1974 events.
    If a country invades another one, UN imposes sanctions on that country.
    Iraq invaded Kuwait, and UN imposed sanctions on Iraq.
    Turkey did not invade Cyprus, hence UN did not impose any sanction on Turkey!

    (6) There is no UN resolution that calls the Turkey’s 1974 action as “invasion”!

    Alexy Flemming Reply
  • Dear Alexy, with all due respect allow me to say that you are disregarding a few facts:

    (1) A significant number of UN Security Council resolutions have labeled Turkish actions unacceptable and have called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops of Cyprus and for the return to the status quo ante. One can read all the SC resolutions here: http://www.moi.gov.cy/moi/PIO/PIO.nsf/6645bc8e70e73e2cc2257076004d01c1/462598a76861a108c2256d7c00372fe1?OpenDocument. I think it is obvious that nowhere, not a single one of them, calls Turkey’s actions even barely legal.

    (2) The reason of (1) is the following. The Treaty of Guarantee is there, precisely, to guarantee the existence of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish invasion has brought about a de facto abolition of the very sovereign state whose existence she was supposed to guarantee. Turkey’s actions might have a shred of legality, if she had restored the elected president rather than abetting, eventually, the creation of a breakway entity in the north.

    (3) It is not true that Turkey has suffered no sanctions for the continuing occupation of Cyprus. The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for this very reason a number of times. Only very recently Turkey was ordered to pay millions of Euros in compensation to Greek-Cypriot refugees for loss of property.

    (4) Turkey’s settlement policies, which are part and parcel of the occupation, are a noba fide war crime.

    (5) The Greek court rulings you are referring to are more political than judicial. They only reflect the deleterious political climate of the period.

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