Doc. 9302 revised
15 January 2002
Situation in Cyprus
Political Affairs Committee
Rapporteur: Mr Andras Bársony, Hungary, Socialist Group
Today Cyprus faces a new situation. While the Cyprus conflict remains one of the most sensitive and most difficult to resolve in Europe, there is increasing pressure to find a political solution to the dispute as the accession of Cyprus to the European Union draws nearer.
Although the European Council (Helsinki, 1999) declared that an overall settlement to the Cyprus problem was not a prerequisite to its accession, the Rapporteur proposes in the draft resolution that the Assembly declares that a political agreement between the two sides on the future of the island is possible and desirable before the entry to the European Union.
Leaders of both communities are invited to contribute to the search for a formula that would allow the whole population of Cyprus to benefit from the membership of the European Union and to prevent from getting stalled on the terminology to be used as regards the form of the future solution. They are encouraged to concentrate on concrete political issues. The guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, are also called upon to play a constructive role in ensuring that the efforts taken by the United Nations Secretary General lead to positive results in the months ahead and to be instrumental in the creation of favourable conditions for the Turkish Cypriot administration to join the European Union accession negotiations.
In order to improve dialogue with the civil society in both communities, the Rapporteur proposes that its representatives be invited to committee meetings when issues that concern them are being discussed.
I. Draft resolution
1. The Assembly has continued to follow closely the situation in Cyprus since it last debated the issue in 1997 and adopted Resolution 1113.
2. It notes with great regret that despite the continued efforts of the international community, the situation in Cyprus has not improved since that time and the conflict remains one of the most sensitive in Europe and most difficult to resolve.
3. Today Cyprus faces a new situation. The Republic of Cyprus is negotiating its accession to the European Union. The European Council (Helsinki, December 1999) declared that an overall settlement of the Cyprus problem was not a prerequisite to its accession. The Assembly nevertheless believes that a political agreement between the two sides on the future of the island is possible and desirable before the entry to the European Union.
4. The Assembly is conscious that until there is a political settlement the Turkish Cypriot community is not in a position to participate in the membership negotiations conducted between the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus. However, it believes that the Turkish Cypriot community should be urgently provided with all relevant information on the European Union and the potential benefits of accession.
5. The internal political situation in the northern part of the island is becoming increasingly uncertain and the Turkish Cypriot community finds itself ever more isolated from the rest of the world and ignored by the international community.
6. The Assembly applauds the efforts led by the United Nations Secretary General to find a solution to the Cyprus problem and regrets that until now the United Nations’ proximity talks were in a deadlock. It congratulates however President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Denktash, on having recently held a direct meeting in the presence of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and having agreed to negotiate until they reach agreement on the future of the island.
7. The Assembly regrets the mistrust and negative rhetoric of each side towards the other. As in any conflict situation, such references create an obstacle to confidence-building and send a negative message to the public.
8. The Assembly deplores that on both sides young people are still being instilled with antagonistic feelings. While it understands the pain that past events might have caused, the Assembly underlines that the circumstances in which violence has occurred in the past have changed significantly and that energy should be focused on working together towards a better future for the whole island.
9. The Assembly therefore:
A. Welcomes the fact that the leaders of both communities have accepted the invitation by the United Nations Secretary General to participate, without preconditions, in the United Nations resumed talks in order to achieve an overall settlement on the basis of the United Nations resolutions;
B. Calls upon the leaders of both communities:
i. to contribute to the search for a formula that would allow the whole population of Cyprus to benefit from membership of the European Union;
ii. to avoid getting stalled on the terminology to be used as regards the form of the future solution and to concentrate on concrete political issues;
iii. to refrain from using negative rhetoric when referring to the other community and from educating their children in a way that could increase hatred and distrust towards them;
iv. to co-operate in good faith in the efforts to ascertain the fate of missing persons;
C. Calls upon the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus:
i. to continue their efforts to bring about the participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in the accession negotiations with the European Union and to keep the Turkish Cypriots well informed of the benefits of accession;
ii. to refrain from sending political messages, in connection with the European Union, which could be interpreted by people living in the northern part of the island as a provocation;
iii. to show a more understanding attitude towards those international negotiators who aim at helping both sides to find a solution to the problem when they refer to personalities in the northern part of the island with regard to titles;
iv. to remove restrictions on the freedom of movement of visitors to either side of the island;
D. Calls upon the Turkish Cypriot authorities:
i. to adopt a more positive attitude towards the European Union and inform the public accordingly about the potential benefits membership can bring;
ii. to remove restrictions on individual contacts with people living in the Republic of Cyprus and any other obstacles in the way of reconciliation, including contacts with political parties;
iii. to provide all non-governmental organisations and the media with unrestricted freedom to operate;
E. Calls upon the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom:
i. to play a constructive role in ensuring that the efforts taken by the United Nations Secretary General lead to positive results in the months ahead;
ii. to be instrumental in the creation of favourable conditions for the Turkish Cypriot administration to join in the European Union accession negotiations;
iii. to respect judgements of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Cyprus;
F. Bearing in mind recent statements made by the Turkish authorities as regards the Republic of Cyprus’ accession to the European Union and Turkey’s role as a guarantor power, calls upon the Turkish authorities:
i. to refrain from launching threats against the Republic of Cyprus in connection with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union prior to a political settlement;
ii. to persuade the Turkish Cypriot leaders that future membership in the European Union presents advantages for both communities;
G. Calls upon the European Union:
i. to seek further ways of contact with the Turkish Cypriot community;
ii. to find further ways to inform the Turkish Cypriot population, if possible through opening an information centre in the northern part of the island, about the potential benefits accession to the European Union could bring;
H. Calls upon the United Nations Secretary General:
to intensify his efforts aimed at seeking a political solution, based on bi-zonal and bi-communal structures and taking into account the internal and external balances;
i. to explore ways to integrate more closely the representatives of the political forces of the Turkish Cypriot community in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly and its committees;
ii. to continue to observe closely the situation through its competent committees and hold seminars on specific topics in co-operation with other international organisations;
iii. to improve dialogue also with the civil society in both communities and to invite their representatives to committee meetings when issues of concern to them are being discussed;
J. Instructs its Political Affairs Committee to follow closely the political situation in Cyprus and to report back when it considers it necessary.
II. Explanatory Memorandum by the Rapporteur
1. I presented my last report to the Parliamentary Assembly on the situation in Cyprus in January 1997 (Doc. 7717, Resolution 1113). Since then, the Political Affairs Committee has continued to follow closely the developments and discussed the matter on various occasions in presence of the Cypriot delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly and representatives of the political forces of the Turkish Cypriot community. I have carried out three visits to the island (6-9 December 1998, 19-21 June 2000 and 12-15 November 2001) in preparation of this report.
2. At the outset, I must note with great regret that despite the continued efforts of the international community the situation in Cyprus has not improved since my last report and the conflict remains one of Europe’s most sensitive and difficult to resolve. My last visit left me with the impression that the two sides were pulling in opposite directions: the Republic of Cyprus was concentrated on its accession to the European Union (EU) and the Turkish Cypriot administration was distancing itself from the EU and from the peace efforts carried out under the auspices of the United Nations.
3. However, it is very encouraging to note that, on 4 December 2001, the two leaders at their first face-to-face meeting in four years agreed to start direct negotiations without preconditions by mid-January 2002. It is equally encouraging that in their joint statement, both leaders agreed to continue talks until they reach agreement on the future of the island. I should like to congratulate both leaders for having taken this step forward. The Assembly will follow closely these negotiations.
4. During my visits, a majority of the authorities on both sides overwhelmed me with historical data and reciprocal accusations with the aim of justifying their policies. While I understand the pain caused by acts committed in the past and I have much sympathy for those who have been victims of such acts, I do believe that the circumstances have changed considerably since and that today the energy should be focused on seeking a better future for the whole island.
5. I should point out that representatives of the civil society in the northern part of the island gave me an encouraging signal by showing their interest in joining the Republic of Cyprus in the EU negotiations and in demonstrating an open attitude as regards the modalities of the future settlement of the conflict.
6. When I visited the island in June 2000, I witnessed how sensitive the situation was on both sides. In the northern part, the discussions were overshadowed by the then recently adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 1303 (2000) (14 June 2000), which in summary extended the mandate of UNFICYP (UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) for another six months. The UN Security Council adopts similar Resolutions every six months. At that particular time, an addendum that referred to the Turkish Cypriot authorities had been left out contrary to the objections by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and contrary to the practice adopted on a previous occasion. This was interpreted by the leaders in the northern part as a clear signal from the UN that it no longer recognised them as a partner. During my discussions with Mr Denktash, he threatened to take measures against UNFICYP, which the Turkish Forces/Turkish Cypriot security forces later did by imposing restrictions on its operations. The Turkish Cypriot administration considers that UNFICYP is operating on the island on the basis of mutual consent and that UNFICYP should treat both sides equally.
7. Signs of sensitivity were different in the Republic of Cyprus. Several persons that were foreseen on the programme of my visit in June 2000 cancelled their meetings, as they considered that I had taken a step forward in recognising the administration in the northern part of the island by referring to the personalities I met there, both on my programme and orally, by using their titles and by spending a night in Kyrenia. The issue of titles overshadowed the majority of the meetings that were maintained. I do not wish to judge whether these reactions were justified or not, but I should point out that the terminology used in previous Assembly Rapporteurs’ programmes has been identical at least since 1991, when Mr Cucó visited the island in preparation of his report. The Cypriot delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly maintains that the only acceptable terminology that can be used in connection with Turkish Cypriot interlocutors is “representatives of the political forces of the Turkish Cypriot community”. They argue that only this terminology is in conformity with the Assembly Resolution 1113 (1997) (para. 11 ii).
8. In these circumstances, the Political Affairs Committee instructed me to stay “inactive” as a Rapporteur until the elections in the Republic of Cyprus had taken place in May 2001.
9. I should like to underline that the sole purpose of my report is to be helpful, to both sides, in finding a settlement to the conflict. I hope that they will both respect this and assist me in this task. Contrary to several other international actors, the Council of Europe is not involved in the negotiation or accession process and it is therefore free of any constraints and can concentrate in a genuine search for a balanced solution .
10. Three other Committees are at present working on reports concerning Cyprus and I shall pay particular attention not to overlap with them in my report (Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: Mr Marty, Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the northern part of Cyprus; Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography: Mr Laakso, Colonisation by Turkish Settlers of the Occupied Part of Cyprus; and Committee on Culture, Science and Education: Mrs Stepova, Cultural Heritage of Cyprus).
II. Recent political developments
11. I should underline at the start that the situation in Cyprus today is very different than it was the last time the Assembly debated the issue. There is increasing pressure to resolve the dispute as the deadline for Cyprus to join the EU draws nearer. The effects of this pressure are felt beyond the island. Turkish leaders have threatened to annex the northern part of the island if the Republic of Cyprus becomes member of the EU, while Greek leaders have threatened to veto further EU enlargement if Cyprus’ accession is blocked.
a. Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Cyprus (May 2001)
12. As a result of the parliamentary elections held in May 2001, the AKEL party (Progressive Party of the Working People) won 34.7 % of the votes cast. The AKEL leader, Demetris Christofias, was elected President of the House of Representatives.
13. It is encouraging to note that Mr Christofias has clearly shown his readiness to revive the peace process and to co-operate with international organisations, including the Council of Europe, in different fields, such as human rights. When I last met him, he expressed his believe that the Council of Europe could play an important role in the settling of the conflict by recalling the principles it stood for and by showing interest in the situation.
14. In his speech to the Assembly during the September part-session 2001, Mr Christofias, expressed a willingness to back co-operation between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. He expressed the “wish to join the EU with the Cyprus problem solved, and for all Cypriots, Greek and Turkish, to benefit from accession.” Furthermore, he concluded his statement by the following encouraging words: “Finally let me express the wish that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots will soon participate in the Cypriot delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and that both Greek and Turkish Cypriots will represent the independent and free federal Republic of Cyprus.” (AS/2001)CR 27, p. 5).
15. When I met Mr Christofias during my last visit in November 2001, he confirmed that he was in favour of having regular contact with party members in the northern part and regretted that they were, most of the time, denied permission to have such contacts by the Turkish Cypriot administration. He underlined that politicians in the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of their political party, must show in practice that they are ready to find solutions, even if they were in part painful ones. Displaying a divided front would not be reassuring to the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders.
16. It should be underlined that all the politicians I met continue to be very sensitive to any possible move that might give any legitimacy or recognition to the Turkish Cypriot administration.
b. Dissatisfaction building up in the northern part
17. There is a noticeable level of a new type of dissatisfaction among the ordinary people in the northern part: the Turkish Cypriots are not only showing traditional distrust towards the Greek Cypriots, but also dissatisfaction towards Turkey and for the first time since some twenty years towards their own leader, Mr Denktash. Mr Denktash himself during my last visit contested this information. He claimed that such voices of opposition had not received more than a small percentage in the last elections. Also, the Turkish Cypriot administration considers it absolutely normal to have a certain degree of opposition in a democratic system and that it should not be considered as a sign of general dissatisfaction.
18. I met during my last visit representatives of civil society, an umbrella organisation called “This country is ours”. This non-governmental organisation groups 41 organisations ranging from teachers associations to various trade/workers unions and art associations. This organisation began to function in 2000 as a reaction to severe economic difficulties. Its aims are not only economically-oriented, but also politically. It seeks to establish democratic society and to contribute to finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, most urgently through accession of the whole island to the EU. Representatives of this organisation pointed out that the last elections had taken place before the economic difficulties, and estimate that if the elections were to take place now, representatives standing for values that they do would get over fifty per cent of the votes. They also pointed out the fact that the Turkish settlers vote in the elections and that the Turkish army was present on the island had an effect on the results of the elections.
19. The Turkish Cypriot population suffers from isolation. The fact that only Turkey recognises “the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” has led the northern part of the island to become an economically, socially and culturally isolated area. Due to restrictions set by the Turkish Cypriot administration people are prevented from taking part in associative activities. Examples such as members of the teachers association and children being prevented from flying to Greece to attend the Children’s Olympics are regrettably numerous.
20. The Turkish Cypriot administration is heavily dependent on financial support from Turkey. Consequently, financial difficulties in Turkey have an immediate impact on the economy in the northern part of the island. Turkey has reduced its annual economic support, in the form of direct aid, loans and subsidies, by at least 40 per cent for the periods of 2001-2003. Six undercapitalised banks collapsed in the spring of 2000 and savings of a large number of depositors vanished while the Turkish Cypriot administration was unable to pay compensation partly due to austerity measures imposed by the Turkish Treasury. Needless to say that these events have also contributed to the growing political unrest.
21. Furthermore, Mr Denktash has been criticised for defending Turkey’s interests instead of those of the Turkish Cypriots. People are starting to lose faith that one day countries other than Turkey will recognise them and that they will enjoy the same freedom as the people living in the southern part of the island.
22. In May 2001, the administration in the northern part fell due to differing opinions over the potential reunification of the island in order to allow it to integrate into the EU. As a result, some former members of the administration have resigned and have since become increasingly critical of the present policies, notably as regards the form that the future state should have (federal/confederal) and the relations with Turkey.
23. People in the northern part of Cyprus are expressing more and more openly their dissatisfaction over the presence of the Turkish settlers and the Turkish soldiers stationed on the island. They fear that settlers brought from mainland Turkey will soon outnumber them and also that no political decisions are being taken on the island by their own politicians, but that Turkey is dictating the big decisions. Furthermore, many people are leaving the island as they see no future prospects. This problem was already raised by Mr Cucó in the report he submitted to the Assembly on the Demographic Structure of the Cypriot Communities in May 1992. And, as I mentioned in paragraph 9, Mr Laakso is presently preparing a report on Colonisation by Turkish Settlers of the Occupied Part of Cyprus. While I do wish to follow the trend in the demographic structure, I certainly do not want to overlap in my report with the work carried out by Mr Laakso.
24. It is worrying to note the repression of freedom of expression and of opposition. In May 2001, the opposition newspaper “Avrupa” was bombed. Also four of its journalists, including its editor Mr Sener Levent, were imprisoned for eleven days for “spying”. Mr Levent claims that he regularly receives death threats. Furthermore, restrictions and warnings not to contact embassies have been imposed on non-governmental organisations.
25. My last visit left me with the impression that the Turkish Cypriot administration was trying to redefine its political vision and old rhetoric was repeated over and again without it corresponding to the reality of the present day. There are also visible signs of hesitance in the way in which it should react towards political issues, such as the declarations by some Turkish authorities threatening to annex the northern part of the island in case the Republic of Cyprus joins the EU.
26. It is also clear that thought trends are slowly evolving in the public. People are increasingly growing aware that the clock is ticking and that the need to find a solution is becoming more pressing. It is exactly these sections of the society that the Council of Europe, as well as other organisations, must support and feed with information that they are so regrettably lacking.
c. Dialogue between the two communities
27. Before the meeting between Mr Clerides and Mr Denktash, there has been a decrease in direct contacts between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities and in the number of events organised. This decrease is mainly due to refusal by the Turkish Cypriot authority to allow Turkish Cypriots to participate in such events. UNFICYP has continued to assist in facilitating meetings of political party representatives from the two communities, gatherings of businessmen, media and NGOs and a major youth event involving some 3000 persons, organised by the youth branches of political parties. A large bicommunal event was organised on 21 October 2001 at Ledra Palace to commemorate the United Nations Day. Around 7.300 Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots attended. Events like this play an important role in bringing the island’s two communities closer together.
28. Furthermore, the United Nations organised a bi-communal youth festival at the end of March 2001. This event aimed at promoting understanding between the island’s two communities and resulted in the signature of a memorandum of co-operation. The EU also allocates money for bi-communal projects and the United States’ Government plans to allocate funds in 2002 for scholarships, bi-communal projects and measures aimed at the reunification of the island and promotion of co-operation between the two communities. There have also been contacts between the political parties in both parts, but as I stated earlier such contacts have been hindered by the Turkish Cypriot administration on the grounds that the Republic of Cyprus used them for propaganda purposes. Members of political parties on both sides complained about such restrictions. I was told during my last visit by an official in the so-called “Ministry for Foreign Affairs” that permits by individuals were in fact often refused because the Turkish Cypriot administration sought to keep all contact for the time-being at the “state level”.
29. Bi-communal activities must be encouraged and supported, also financially, by different international actors. It would be important to enlarge the scope and participation of these events.
30. The Council of Europe is implementing a project in Cyprus in the framework of its Confidence Building Measures programme. This project aims at creating a human rights culture between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities and to establish, promote and foster contact and a stable and permanent relationship between human rights organisations of both communities. Four meetings have been organised within this project and, at present, discussions are underway to set up local branches of the human rights association on both sides which co-operate with this project.
d. Recent decisions by the European Court of Human Rights
31. It should be noted that in a Decision of 10 May 2001, the Court states that “having effective overall control over northern Cyprus, its (Turkey’s) responsibility cannot be confined to the acts of its own soldiers or officials in northern Cyprus but must also be engaged by virtue of the acts of the local administration which survives by virtue of Turkish military and other support” (Cyprus vs. Turkey, Application No. 25781/94).
32. Furthermore, the Court has also upheld the refusal to allow the return of Greek Cypriot displaced persons to their homes in the northern part of the island constitutes a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 1 of Protocol No. 1). Also, in the case of Loizidou vs. Turkey, the Court held Turkey responsible for paying compensation for the unlawful interference with the property rights of Mrs Loizidou.
33. These decisions prove that the European Court of Human Rights consideres that Turkey is obliged to secure all human rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights in northern Cyprus.
e. Missing persons
34. During my last visit, I met members of the Committee of Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons. They considered that the efforts to determine the fate of the missing persons had to be intensified. This claim seems fully justified not only because the relatives have the right to know the fate of those missing, whether they are Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots, but also because it is important for the confidence-building between the two communities. Members of that Committee regretted the lack of co-operation from the side of the Turkish Cyproits in carrying out exhumations in the northern part of the island.
35. The European Court of Human Rights, in its judgement of 10 May 2001, found Turkey guilty for its failure to account for the fate of the missing persons and its refusal to carry out an effective investigation.
III. UN Proximity Talks
36. The United Nations has been active in trying to find a solution to the problem since the very beginning. It has tried to bring the two sides together and passed a number of resolutions in the Security Council. A UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, UNFICYP, has been stationed on the island since 1964.
37. Our Parliamentary Assembly has continued to give its full support to the efforts of the UN Secretary General to find a comprehensive solution, which must be in conformity with international law, as set out in UN Security Council resolutions.
38. The latest UN attempt started on 3 December 1999, as a result of a request by G8 Summit Heads of States (June 1999). This present attempt, which is referred to as “proximity talks”, involves the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Mr Alvaro de Soto, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Glafcos Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktash.
39. The UN Security Council Resolution 1250 (1999) sets out the principles for these negotiations: no preconditions; all issues on the table; commitment in good faith to continue to negotiate until a settlement is reached and full consideration of relevant UN resolutions and treaties.
40. Several rounds of talks took place: in December 1999 (New York), in January/February 2000 (Geneva), in July/August 2000 (New York), in September 2000 (New York) and in November 2000 (Geneva). The talks have been interrupted since November 2000.
41. In November 2000, the UN Secretary General proposed the creation of a joint state with a single international personality, sovereign and indivisible, which would have a single citizenship and guarantee fundamental freedoms and human rights. The joint state would be composed of two constituent states, each enjoying a large degree of autonomy. On the same occasion, the UN Secretary General also outlined his preliminary thoughts on the procedure to be adopted in the future and also on the main issues of substance as regards the constitution, territory, security and property.
42. Later on in 2000, Mr Denktash withdrew from the proximity talks. Turkey gave its full backing to the decision of Mr Denktash. In September 2001, Mr Denktash declined an invitation by Mr de Soto to meet in New York; Mr Clerides did meet with Mr de Soto on 12 September 2001. On that occasion the UN Security Council issued a declaration where it stated that it was disappointed that the Turkish Cypriot side had declined the invitation. On 26 September 2001, the Security Council encouraged the Secretary General to continue his efforts using the guidelines set forth in the Security Council Resolution 1250 (1999).
43. Consequently, not much progress has been achieved during these talks. One of the stumbling blocks is that the Republic of Cyprus, backed by international organisations, calls for a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation, whereas Mr Denktash insists on a two-state confederation, including two components. Furthermore, Mr Denktash demands “acknowledgement of realities” in Cyprus and an equal status with Mr Clerides before engaging into substantial negotiations.
44. The guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, should play a contructive role in ensuring that the efforts taken by the UN Secretary General lead to positive results in the months ahead.
45. As I mentioned earlier, the two leaders met face-to-face, in the presence of Mr de Soto, on 4 December 2001 and agreed to negotiate until they reach agreement on the future of the island. The UN Secretary General has agreed to assist the parties where appropriate in their effort to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
46. As regards the presence of the UNFICYP, the UN Secretary General should consider recommending the Security Council that the forces be withdrawn once the Republic of Cyprus has joined the EU. If this is not done, it would seem abnormal to have United Nations forces stationed on the territory of a member state of the EU.
IV. EU accession negotiations
47. Cyprus’s application for membership of the EU was submitted on 3 July 1990 and the accession negotiations opened with the Republic of Cyprus on 31 March 1998. The Republic of Cyprus is the only state internationally recognised as representing the island as a whole and according to Mr Vassiliou, Head of the Negotiating Delegation for the Accession of Cyprus to the EU, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is negotiating on behalf of all those who reside on the territory that it controls. He did underline that the Turkish Cypriots are welcome to join the negotiations once they share the view of the Republic of Cyprus on the future solution to the conflict.
48. The foreseen date for accession is 1 January 2004 and the negotiations seem to be proceeding smoothly from a technical point of view and the twenty-nine chapters are expected to be completed by mid-2002.
49. This smooth accession in the southern part of the island is a reason for a large part of irritation in the northern part. During my visits I heard several claims from the Turkish Cypriots that the leaders of the Republic of Cyprus were not interested in finding a settlement now, as they were confident with the way in which the EU membership negotiations were advancing. An overwhelming majority of the political forces in the northern part feel abandoned by the EU and several have complained that neither the EU negotiators or the Rapporteur of the European Parliament have made an effort to come and meet them in the northern part of the island.
50. There is a striking misconception and bias amongst the Turkish Cypriot leadership about the aims and functioning of the EU. Those who may have the correct information do not disseminate it to others. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that the EU find a way to inform the Turkish Cypriot leadership and population, if possible through opening an information centre in the northern part of the island, about the potential benefits accession to the EU can bring.
51. Furthermore, the Turkish Cypriot community is under the strong impression that the main reason why the Republic of Cyprus wants to join the EU, it to achieve ENOSIS with Greece. Unfortunately, statements in this sense have been made by political leaders in the southern part. This leads some in the northern part to fear for their existence. Political leaders should avoid making such provocative statements that will further nobody’s cause.
52. The European Council (Helsinki, December 1999) indicated that a political solution was not a precondition for Cyprus’s accession to the EU, although such a solution prior to accession was highly desirable and would facilitate the accession process. It also stated that the EU would take a definitive stance closer to the time of decision. Commissioner Verheugen has stated that there is no possibility of separate negotiations with the two parts of the island, nor is there question of accession for two Cypriot states or of accession of the northern part of the island upon Turkish accession.
53. Turkey has threatened to annex the northern part of Cyprus in response to Cypriot accession to the EU and to proclaim the northern part as its province. The EU has considered this threat as a clear breach of international law and declared that such a measure would hinder Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU. The main arguments put forward by the Turkish authorities are both political and legal. On one hand, admitting only one part of the island would deepen even further the division between the two communities and on the other hand it would be a breach of the relevant provisions of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee which stipulates that the Republic of Cyprus “undertakes not to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever. It accordingly declares prohibited any activity likely to promote, directly of indirectly, either union with any other State or partition of the Island” (Article I). Furthermore, the Treaty also stipulates that “Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, taking note of the undertakings of the Republic of Cyprus set out in Article I of the present Treaty, recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity, and security of the Republic of Cyprus, and also the state of affairs established by the Basic Articles of its Constitution. Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom likewise undertake to prohibit, so far as concern them, any activity aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, either union of Cyprus with any other State or partition of the Island.” (Article II). The Turkish position also maintains that there is no legal authority that represents both parties in Cyprus. The application, which has been made on behalf of the whole island, to which the Turkish Cypriot party did not give her consent, is legally null and void.
54. I am aware of the various studies which have been carried out, and the different conclusions which they have reached, as regards the eligibility of the Republic of Cyprus to become a member of the EU. I do not consider this discussion timely or helpful, as the EU has already accepted the application.
55. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1062 (1996) welcomed the decision of the EU to start the accession negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus and describes the decision as helpful to the efforts to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus question.
56. In March 2001, Turkey submitted its National Programme for the Adoption of the EU Acquis, and when referring to Cyprus, it states that it “supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General […] with a view to establishing a new partnership in Cyprus based on the sovereign equality of the two parties and the realities of the island”. This statement can be interpreted to read that the regime in the northern part of the island must be recognised as well as the occupation of the island by Turkish troops.
57. When the Political Affairs Committee held an exchange of views with the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Cem, on 21 May 2001, he said that he was pessimistic as regards solving the situation in Cyprus and considered it as the only foreign policy question which was difficult to solve. He considered that the Greek Cypriot side did not want to move forward before becoming a member of the EU. He said that if no solution was found before Cyprus became a member of the EU, Turkey would be obliged to react.
58. In this context the EU plays a key role in pressing for a settlement. It is in an exceptional position, whereby it has direct contacts not only with the Republic of Cyprus but also with Turkey. Also the two other guarantor powers, Greece and the United Kingdom, should be instrumental in the creation of favourable conditions for the Turkish Cypriot administration to join in the EU accession negotiations.
59. The increasing pressure to resolve rapidly the Cyprus conflict should be exploited in a positive way. Both sides must be provided with all necessary support to reach an agreement.
60. One can be but hopeful as regards the face-to-face meetings between Mr Clerides and Mr Denkstash. All efforts and support necessary should be made to ensure that these talks will result in an agreement. The Political Affairs Committee should continue to follow closely the developments.
61. The Republic of Cyprus has an active delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly, through which it must maintain regular dialogue. Maintaining contact with both sides is extremely important, as it is clear that any solution to the question cannot be found without the participation and contentment by both sides
62. It is in this spirit that the Parliamentary Assembly included in its Recommendation 1113 (1997) on the situation in Cyprus, a paragraph (11 ii) that “instructs its committees concerned to invite representatives of political forces of the Turkish Cypriot community to be represented whenever the situation in Cyprus is discussed.” It also resolved to invite “the representatives of the political forces of both communities to start discussing possible ways to ensure proper representation of the whole people of Cyprus in the Assembly […]” (11 iii). Cyprus in entitled to three Representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly, two of which are to be Greek Cypriots and one a Turkish Cypriot. At present, the seat of the Turkish Cypriots is not filled. The Assembly should explore ways in which it could integrate the representatives of the political forces of the Turkish Cypriot more closely in its work. This would be a step forward in including the Turkish Cypriot politicians in systematic contacts with the other members of our Assembly.
63. Various Assembly committees have considered the contact with the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political forces extremely useful and it has become increasingly clear that both sides to the conflict must be heard if a solution to the situation, acceptable to both, is to be found. Furthermore, the representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political forces have made a valuable contribution to the discussions held on the situation in Cyprus.
64. Furthermore, the Assembly Rapporteurs who carry out fact-finding visits to Cyprus, should visit both sides of the island. My own experience has proven how constructive and informative the visits to the northern part can be. I should point out that the President of the Assembly, Lord Russell-Johnston visited Cyprus on 28 November – 2 December 2001. He was the first Assembly President to travel also to the northern part of the island and to meet there Mr Denktash and representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political forces.
65. In order to enlarge the contact with the Turkish Cypriot community, the committees should not limit their dialogue to the representatives of the political forces but also invite representatives of the Turkish Cypriot civil society to those meetings during which their presence is considered useful.
Reporting committee : Political Affairs Committee
Reference to committee : Resolution 1054 (1995), References Nos. 2063 and 2064, Recommendation 1259 (1995), Resolution 1113 (1997), motion for an order (Doc. 7828)
Draft resolution adopted by the committee on 12 December 2001 with 4 abstentions
Members of the committee : Davis (Chairman), Jakic (Vice-Chairman) Baumel (Vice-Chairman), Toshev (Vice-Chairman), Adamia, Aliyev (alternate: Seyidov), Arzilli, Atkinson, Azzolini (alternate: Danieli), Bakoyianni (alternate: Liapis), Bársony, Behrendt, Berceanu, Bergqvist, Bianco, Björck, Blaauw (alternate: van der Linden), Bühler, Cekuolis, Clerfayt, Daly, Demetriou, Diaz de Mera, Dreyfus-Schmidt, Durrieu, Feric-Vac, Frey, Gjellerod, Glesener, Gligoroski, Gönül, Gross, Henry, Hornhues, Hovhannisyan, Hrebenciuc, Irtemçelik, Ivanenko, Iwinski, Karpov, Kautto, Lord Kilclooney of Armagh (alternate: Sir Sydney Chapman), Kotsonis, Krzaklewski, Loutfi, Martinez-Casan (alternate: Puche), Medeiros Ferreira, Mignon, Mota Amaral, Mutman, Naudi Mora, Neguta, Nemcova, Ojuland, Oliynyk, Paegle, Prisacaru, Prusak, de Puig, Ragnarsdottir, Ranieri, Rogozin, Schieder, Schloten, Spindelegger, Stepová, Surjan, Timmermans, Udovenko, Vakilov (alternate: Mollazade), Vella, Weiss, Wielowieyski, Wohlwend, Zacchera, Ziuganov, N… (alternate: Lord Judd)
N.B. The names of members who took part in the meeting are printed in italics
Secretaries of the committee : Mr Perin, Mrs Ruotanen, Mr Sich, Mr Adelsbach