Hannay and the “grotesque” and “inequitable” Annan Plan
By Gene Rossides
Professor Anderson discusses the origins of the Annan Plan and its several versions at length. He states that the successive Annan Plans were essentially the work of Sir David, now Lord David Hannay.
Anderson writes that “In the summer of 1999. the UK and US got a resolution through the G8 pointedly ignoring the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus, and calling on the UN to superintend talks between Greeks and Turks on the island with a view to a settlement.
This was then rubber-stamped by the Security Council, formally putting Kofi Annan in charge of the process. Naturally—he owed his appointment to Washington—Annan was, as Hannay puts it, ʽaware of the need for the UN to co-operate as closely as possible with the US and the UK in the forthcoming negotiations.ʼ In practice, of course, this meant his normal role as a dummy for Anglo-American ventriloquists. Recording the moment, Hannay does not bother to explain by what right the UK and US arrogated to themselves the position of arbiters of the fate of Cyprus; it went without saying. A UN special representative, in the shape of a dim Peruvian functionary, was chosen to front the operation, but it was Hannay and Tom Weston, ʽspecial coordinatorʼ of the State Department on Cyprus, who called the shots. So closely did the trio work together that Hannay would boast that a cigarette paper could not have slipped between their positions. In command was, inevitably, Hannay himself, by a long way the most senior, self-confident and experienced of the three. Successive Annan Plans for Cyprus which materialized over the next four years were essentially his work, the details supplied by an obscure scrivener from the crannies of Swiss diplomacy, Didier Pfirter.”
Andersen points out that Hannay remarked that for all the modifications in “its five versions, the essence of the ʽAnnanʼ plan remained unaltered throughout. It contained three fundamental elements. The first prescribed the state that would come into being. The Republic of Cyprus, as internationally recognized for forty years—repeatedly so by the UN itself—would be abolished, along with its flag, anthem and name. In its stead, a wholly new entity would be created, under another name, composed of two constituent states, one Greek and the other Turkish, each vested with all powers in its territory, save those—principally concerned with external affairs and common finance—reserved for a federal level. There a senate would be divided 50:50 between Greeks and Turks, a lower chamber elected on a proportionate basis with a guaranteed 25 percent for Turks. There would be no president, but an executive council, composed of four Greeks and two Turks, elected by a ʽspecial majorityʼ requiring two-fifths of each half of the senate to approve the list. In case of deadlock, a supreme court composed of three Greeks, three Turks and three foreigners would assume executive and legislative functions. The central bank would likewise have an equal number of Greek and Turkish directors with a casting vote by a foreigner.
The second element of the plan covered territory, property and residence. The Greek state would comprise just over 70 percent, the Turkish state just under 30 percent, of the land surface of Cyprus…Restitution of property seized would be limited to a maximum of a third of its area or value, whichever was lower, the rest to be compensated by long term bonds issued by the federal government at taxpayersʼ cost, and would carry no right of return…
The third element of the plan covered force and international law. The Treaty of Guarantee, giving three outside powers rights of intervention in Cyprus, would continue to operate—ʽopen-endedʼ and undiluted,ʼ as Hanny records with satisfaction—after the abolition of the state it was supposed to guarantee. The new state would have no armed forces, but Turkey would maintain 6000 troops on the island for another eight years, and after a further interval, the military contingent accorded it at Zurich, permanently. Britainʼs bases, somewhat reduced in size, would remain intact, as sovereign possessions of the UK. The future Cypriot state would drop all claims in the European Court of Human Rights, and last but not least, bind itself in advance to vote for Turkish entry into the EU.
The enormity of these arrangements to ʽsolve the Cyprus problem, once and for all,ʼ as Annan hailed them, speak for themselves. At their core lies a ratification of ethnic cleansing, of a scale and thoroughness that has been the envy of settler politics in Israel, where Avigdor Lieberman—leader of the far right Yisrael Beiteinu, now the figth largest party in the Knesset—publicly calls for a ʽCypriot solution on the West Bank, a demand regarded as so extreme that it is disavowed by all his coalition partners. Not only does the plan absolve Turkey from any reparations for decades of occupation and plunder, imposing their cost instead on those who suffered them. It is further in breach of the Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying power to introduce settlers into conquered territory. Far from compelling their withdrawal, the plan entrenched their presence: ʽno one will be forced to leave,ʼ in Pfirterʼs words. So little did legal norms matter in the conception of the plan, that care was taken to remove its provisions from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice in advance.
No less contemptuous of the principles of any existent democracy, the plan accorded a minority of between 18 and 25 percent of the population 50 percent of the decision-making power in the state. To see how grotesque such a proposal was, it is enough to ask how Turkey would react if it were told that its Kurdish minority—also around 18 percent—must be granted half of all seats in its Senate, sweeping rights to block action in its executive, not to speak of some 30 percent of its land area under its exclusive jurisdiction. What UN or EU emissary, or apologist for the Annan Plan among the multitude in the Western media, would dare travel to Ankara with such a scheme in his briefcase? Ethnic minorities need protection—Turkish Kurds, by any measure considerably more than Turkish Cypriots—but to make of this a flagrant political disproportion is to invite hostility, rather than restrain it.
Nor were the official ratios of ethnic power to be all. Planted among the tundra of the planʼs many other inequities, foreigners were imposed at strategic points—supreme court, central bank, property board—in what was supposed to be an independent country. Topping everything off, armed force was to be reserved to external powers: Turkish military remaining on-site, British bases trampolines for Iraq. No other member of the European Union bears any resemblance to what would have been this cracked, shrunken husk of an independent state. Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected it, not because they were misinformed by Papadopoulos, or obeyed directives by Christofias—opinion polls showed their massive opposition to the plan before either spoke against it. They did so because they had so little to gain—a sliver of territory, and crumbs of a doubtful restitution of property—and so much to lose from it: a reasonably well-integrated, well-regarded state without deep divisions or deadlocks, in which they could take an understandable pride. Why give this up for a constitutional mareʼs nest, whose function was essentially to rehouse the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, condemned as illegal by the UN itself, as an equal partner in a structure jerry-built to accommodate it? Cut to foreign specifications, the constitution Zurich had proved unworkable enough, leading only to communal strife and breakdown. The constitution of Burgenstock, for more complicated and still more inequitable, was a recipe for yet greater rancour and paralysis.”
Take action-your voice is needed
I urge readers to write to the President and call the White House and urge the President to stand for democratic values for Cyprus as his father did in 1988 when he stated: “We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights.”
I also urge readers to do the same with the three presidential candidates, their two U.S. Senators and their U.S. Representatives.
Act today. Your voice can make a difference. Tell them that it is not in the interests of the United States to support an undemocratic constitution for Cyprus; that the U.S. has a responsibility to redress the situation and that it is in the best interests of the U.S. to do so.
*** Gene Rossides is President of the American Hellenic Institute and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury