The Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960 as a constitutional partnership state, based on the political equality of the two constituent peoples of the island, the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Contrary to common belief, the Cyprus problem did not emerge with Turkey’s military intervention in 1974, but in 1963 when the Turkish Cypriots were ejected from the island’s government and faced attacks by Greek Cypriot guerilla bands. The Greek Cypriots openly sought to unite the island with Greece, a process they called Enosis, but which was expressly forbidden by a treaty guaranteeing the independence of the island. It was at this time that a Green Line was drawn across Nicosia and the United Nations established its presence on the island. As violence subsided, Greek Cypriots nonetheless continued their drive for Enosis, forcing Turkish Cypriots to live in ethnically homogenous enclaves. Efforts by Turkey to move the international community to stop the slow ethnic cleansing and continued crimes against Turkish Cypriots were futile. In 1974, after the bloody attempt by the Greek military junta to annex the island to Greece caused an eruption of violence against the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey militarily intervened. The resulting separation of the two communities on the island halted the violence and preserved the Turkish Cypriots from destruction. Turkey’s intervention was not only an urgent moral imperative; but also, a legal obligation as stipulated by the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee that established Cyprus as an independent state.
Following the 1974 intervention the international community failed to acknowledge the rights of the Turkish Cypriots while unjustly vested solely the Greek Cypriots with the right to govern the island. This shocking result continues to reverberate today and has made efforts to reunify the island exceptionally difficult. Regrettably, rather than seeking a solution, the main focus of the Greek Cypriots is to preserve this illegal and illegitimate advantageous position, as demonstrated by their popular refusal to unify the island under a UN-brokered peace plan.
TCA supports a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem based on the parameters of bi-communality, bi-zonality and political equality for all Turkish Cypriots – exactly the principles favored by the United Nations and the United States. TCA deplores the inhuman isolation and illegitimate embargoes imposed upon the Turkish Cypriots and calls upon the international community to end them. This would serve as an incentive for the Greek Cypriot side to make progress in the ongoing UN negotiation process and reach a settlement in Cyprus.
“If the Greek Cypriots are ready to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal
structure based on political equality, this needs to be demonstrated, not just by word, but by action”
United Nations Security Council. Report of the Secretary-General
on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus (S/2004/437). 28 May 2004).