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The Cyprus Issue
The Cyprus issue has deep historical roots. Its contemporary phase, however, starts with the illegal Turkish invasion in July 1974 and the occupation of some 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
Since then, the Cyprus issue remains a classic case of an international problem consisting in the invasion and foreign military occupation of territory of a UN and EU member state, in blatant violation of the UN Charter as well as of several UN Security Council resolutions.
Turkey refuses to withdraw its illegal occupation force , which, according to Turkish statements, consist of up to 43,000 Turkish troops, from Cyprus.
The Cyprus issue is also a typical case of ongoing, flagrant and mass violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms by Turkey. In particular, Turkey violates the rights of Greek-Cypriot refugees, missing persons and their relatives, as well as the enclaved in the occupied territory of the island, while continuing with illegal settlement, of the occupied area of the island where extensive looting and destruction of the cultural heritage has also taken place.
In November 1983, the Turkish side proceeded to the unilateral declaration of independence of the pseudo-state in the occupied part of Cyprus. UN Security Council resolutions 541/1983 and 550/1984 condemned this illegal unilateral act, calling for its withdrawal and calling upon all states not to recognise or help in any way the illegal entity.
As UN Security Council resolutions make clear, the objective of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue is the reunification of the island, in the form of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as defined in these resolutions , a single intrernational personality, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship.
Moreover, after the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU in 2004, any agreed settlement will have to be fully compatible with the institutional and legal EU framework and to safeguard the continuation of Cyprus’ effective participation in the decision making processes of the European Union.
The most recent negotiating phase of the Cyprus issue, began, as a result of mainly Greek-Cypriot initiatives, in September 2008, under the aegis of the Secretary General of the UN. For several months, the talks focused mainly on governance and power sharing, EU and economy issues, but no substantive progress was made possible on crucial matters such as the Property issue, while the Turkish-Cypriot side, systematically, refused to negotiate on the Territorial issue, the withdrawal of illegal settlers and the issues of security and guarantees on the implementation of an agreed settlement. After Mr Derviş Eroglu assumed the Turkish-Cypriot leadership, in April 2010, a long period of Turkish intransigence and obstructionist tactics, as well as of of backtracking from earlier agreements followed, until March 2012, when Mr Eroglu effectively froze negotiations, refusing to continue his direct talks with the then President Christofias.
Unfortunately, despite Ankara’s verbal support to the negotiations, Turkey’s position has been made clear in repeated statements of Turkish officials about “two peoples and states”, the refusal to return Morphou and other occupied areas, the permanent stationing of Turkish troops in Cyprus and the need for changing the basis of negotiations in pursuit of so-called “alternative”, partitionist “solutions”.
Moreover, in spite of its obligations to the European Union (Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement, EU Declaration of September 21, 2005), Turkey has failed to undertake any initiative to normalise its relations with, and eventually recognise, the Republic of Cyprus.
With threatening statements and other illegal actions, Turkey also disputes Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and keeps trying, in vain, to prevent the exercise of sovereign Cypriot rights in it.
POSITIONS OF GREECE
For Greece, the termination of the Turkish occupation and the achievement of a comprehensive and agreed settlement on the Cyprus issue, on the basis of UN resolutions and the capacity of Cyprus as an EU member-state, constitutes a top foreign policy priority.
A comprehensive and agreed Cyprus settlement, constitutes a necessary condition for the full normalisation of bilateral Greek-Turkish relations.
The fundamental principle of Greece’s Cyprus policy, the basis and guarantee of Greece’s contribution in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, is its continuous cooperation and coordination with each and every successive President and Government of the Republic of Cyprus, on all levels.
Negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, are in no way linked to the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in delimitating its EEZ and exploring and exploiting its natural resources.
These sovereign Cypriot rights derive from International Law and the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea, and are recognized by the international community as a whole, with Turkey being the only exception.
Greece fully supports the exercise of the rights of the Republic of Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Greece is categorically opposed to actions and measures which upgrade the “authorities” of the illegal secessionist entity. The so called international “isolation” of the Turkish-Cypriot community is a consequence of the continuing Turkish occupation and of the illegal unilateral declaration of the secessionist entity in the occupied part of Cyprus.