By George Gregoriou
This article, written in the aftermath of Kofi Annan’s visit to Nicosia and Hague to solve the Cyprus problem, is revisted. He told the Cypriots then they had a randez vous with destiny. Or, was it was a randezvous with partition? Greek Cypriot side accepted the Annan plan as a basis for negotiations, the Turkish side said no. On May 4, 2003 I went to Columbia University to double check on my reporting on the events leading to Cyprus accession to the EU on April 16. This time it was a talk by Alvaro de Soto, Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser on Cyprus.
A more apt title to the The Kofi Annan Plan Revisited” is what Ambassador Nicos Agathocleous said in his opening remarks, The Morning or the Mourning After, himself being on the morning after side. I am not there yet. Why? In earlier writings I suggested the Kofi Annan plan was an Anglo-American plan, offered through the UN. As such, the plan would legitimize the facts on the ground created by the Turkish occupation.
Ankara had no intention of leaving Cyprus, an intransigence supported by London and Washington for 30 years, for strategic reasons. De Soto said:
The support of Turkey was indispensable for a variety of reasons. He did not elaborate. The timing was bad. The Plan was offered at a time when Washington was offering billions of dollars to lure Ankara into the war against Iraq. But, it has been bad timing for 30 years. Cyprus was put on the back burner with every crisis. Washington has bigger fish to fry, this time Iraq. Why the rush? The status quo in Cyprus was acceptable to Ankara, London, and Washington for 30 years.
Turkey will continue the occupation until the Greek side accepts a two-state solution or wants to join the EU. This may not happen. Washington wants Turkey in the EU, not the Europeans. The anti-Turkish, anti-Muslim current is growing stronger. So is anti-Americanism. Turkey, along with Britain, the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria are pivotal to American global power, the Trojan Horse to control the EU? Whatever Turkey wants, Turkey gets, including a military force of 6,000 to 10,000 in Cyprus until Turkeys accession to the EU, or occupying Cyprus forever?
The collapse of the Hague Conference was a sigh of relief to Greek (and Turkish) Cypriots, except developers, investors, and refugees expecting compensation for abandoning their property. The Annan plan calls for an 8% of the occupied land to be returned to the Greek Cypriots, to accommodate 60,000? refugees. Those Greek and Turkish refugees who will not return will get money, and the right to visit their homes as tourists or weekenders. 60,000 colonizers from Turkey would remain in Cyprus, with rights to property and citizenship. EU citizens would have the right to work, live, and invest anywhere in Cyprus, but not the native Greek and Turkish Cypriots. This would be legal (EU requirement) if agreed to before May 1, 2004. The plan would legalized the territorial partition of Cyprus (29% under Turkish control), and a political partition. Two independent authorities (Upper and Lower Houses) with equal political powers, requiring separate majority votings, would form the legislature. Executive power would be in the hands of rotating presidencies, forming a collegiate executive committee [de Sotos words] whose function is to determine whether Cypriot (federal) legislation is in conformity with the EU requirements.
If there is no consensus in the legislative bodies or in the central (federal?) government, matters would be decided by a superior court and Brussels? In this vein, the central government would be inoperative. The Plan is clear: real power would be reserved in the two constituting states.
The structure of the central government will be set up in a way that it cannot work without separate and equal Greek and Turkish Cypriot agreements, that is, four majority votes, by two parallel authorities with equal powers based on ethnicity (18% Turkish Cypriots and the 82% Greek Cypriots). The central power will deal with matters delegated to it by the settlement plan. All matters not delegated to the central government are reserved to the states.
De Sotos response to the potential dysfunctionality of the central government was “the whole of Cyprus is dysfunctional”. So, a dysfunctional central government is the logical solution? Is this dysfunctionality endemic to the native Cypriots or is it due to the colonizers, Turkeys policy to control Cyprus, the Greek military junta, British colonial policy, and American geopolitical strategies to control the oil in the Arab world?
De Soto did not elaborate. The recent outpouring of thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, crossing the Green Line and mingling, suggests that the Cyprus problem lies more with those forces seeking to control the destiny of the island than the native Cypriots. These new facts on the ground are dangerous Clerides warned, Alecos Markides legalism aside, that only states recognize states. The proposed legalities of Kofi Annan, arent they based on the facts on the ground created by the Turkish invasion and occupation?
The Kofi Annan plan calls for a confederation or a two-state solution, according to The NYTimes and the London Economist. De Soto referred to it as a federal solution. What is Ofederal is never made clear, other than calling it so. De Soto did confess that the Kofi Annan Plan was similar to the Zurich and London Agreements of 1959, which collapse in 1963. The only difference was the territorial and ethnic partition of Cyprus. This was an important difference(!), de Soto admitted. This ethnic cleansing by Turkey will be legal in the Annan Plan. The settlement in 1959 was unworkable. It was anti-Greek. It is anti-Greek now. Annan caved in to Turkish demands, the latest being Karpasia. Ankara insisted, for security reasons, that Karpasia had to be under Turkish control. Ankara says so, and so does the Kofi Annan Plan. How could 550,000 de-militarized Greek Cypriots constitute a threat to 70 million Turks, the most powerful military bully in the region, no one will explain. Bullies are bullies, and must be rewarded. So much for creativity and justice at the UN! The territorial and political partition in the Plan, and the stationing of British, Greek, and Turkish military forces would guarantee that Cyprus would not be reunited, independent, nor free to determine its destiny.
Kofi Annan does not have the last word. Neither does Alvaro de Soto. To suggest that the Kofi Annan Plan is the only plan, and there is nothing better, this is not diplomacy nor UN mediation. It is arrogance at its best. Even naive to assume that if the Annan Plan was submitted to each community in a referendum, the Greek and Turkish Cypriots would approved it! The Kofi Annan Plan mirrors the facts on the ground and the strategic interests of the Anglo-Americans. Why former President Clerides accepted it? In his words, according to De Soto, (1) tourism (money?), (2) abolish conscription (money?), and (3) thousands more settlers from Anatolia flooding Cyprus. But isn’t the settlers who are in Cyprus now who have to leave, not the fear of more?
Diplomats do not seem to get it. All they think is split-the-difference between the two positions, no matter what these positions are. The splitting-of-the-difference is between the maximalist Turkish position and the concessionist Greek position. A carrot is offered to the Turks, and a stick to the Greeks, with the threat that terrible things will happen to them if they do not accept what is on the table now. In 1959, the threat was partition or the Zurich/London Agreements. It has not changed. Now it is the Kofi Annan Plan, or no plan!
The Greek side refused to accept a federal solution before 1974. It insisted on a federal solution since 1977. It insists now on a solution based on the Kofi Annan Plan. This is confederation, called federation. The UN Security could not get its act together for 30 years. It could not offer even a condemnation of the Turkish occupation and ethnic cleansing. Washington, London, and Ankara would not allow it. The UN officials are pushing the Annan Plan in an arrogant way. Take or leave it.
Yet, the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriot (in opposition to the Denktash-Ankara axis), are demanding a viable and functional solution. Why not? All of Cyprus will be admitted in the EU on May 1, 2004. EU laws will not apply to the occupied north without a settlement. Turkey will illegally occupy 37% of Cyprus, a member of the EU. Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus nor its government. The choice for Ankara is membership in the EU via Nicosia or continued occupation of 37% of Cyprus. For us, it is not a choice. It is a matter of survival.
George Gregoriou is a Professor, of Critical Theory and Geopolitics at The William Paterson University