The annexation of occupied Cyprus stumbles upon… Nihat Erim

How was the public debate about the annexation by Turkey of the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey triggered? An article by the self-exiled Turkish journalist Cehveri Güven in Germany since 2016 in MKD that Erdogan in his visit to occupied Cyprus will announce its annexation to Turkey was cited by the longest-running Turkish Cypriot newspaper “Halkin Sesi” (Voice of the People). From there it passed to the other side of the Atlantic and came to us as reliable information from… America by Mr. Eddie Zemenidis, executive director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC). And of course this “information” “lit fires” in Cyprus and Greece and gave the supporters of the Annan Plan and “any solution” the opportunity to… “cry and moan” about the opportunities that the Greek side did not take advantage of.

The truth is that Erdogan would have absolutely no hesitation in taking such an action. The President of Turkey has proven that he neither respects international legitimacy, nor is he afraid of the reactions of the international community, and plans his moves on the regional and more generally international chessboard without such suspensions. We estimate that the annexation of occupied Cyprus to Turkey is not considered by Ankara to serve its strategic interests and we will explain why.

Turkey’s High Strategy for Cyprus, regardless of whether it is ruled by Kemalists or neo-Ottomans, is characterized by uninterrupted consistency and goes back 66 years to Nihat Erim’s proposals. Since many people in Greece may not know him, it is appropriate to provide some information about him and the Strategy proposals, the implementation of which is now in the final stage after what Ankara has gradually achieved up to now.

Nihat Erim (1912-1980) was a Turkish University Professor and distinguished Constitutionalist, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Atan Menderes and later for a short time Prime Minister. At the end of 1956 and with the struggle of our Cypriot brothers for Self-Determination and Union being at its peak, after long visits to Cyprus he submitted two secret reports on the Turkish position on the Cyprus issue with proposals of successive objectives on how the whole could be won in the long term Cyprus which once “belonged to the Ottoman Empire”. He himself was the head of the Turkish delegation for the drafting and editing of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.

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By 1960, the year of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, as the Politician of Science Constantinos Holevas stated in his related article, the first and second goals had been achieved which related to the prevention of Cyprus’ return to Greece and which also related to the acquisition by Turkey of legal rights in Cyprus with the absolute support of the British. With the well-planned Turkish Cypriot rebellion of 1963 and what followed until the summer of 1964, the third goal began to be realized, which was the gathering of the Turkish Cypriots scattered throughout Cyprus in enclaves, so that they would form solid, homogeneous, masses.

The complete and final geographical separation was achieved by Turkey’s invasion, occupation and forced movement of all T/Cs into the occupied areas. The fourth goal was the compensation of the vast majority of Turkish Cypriots (82-18%) Today, of the approximately 300,000 inhabitants of the territories occupied by Turkey, it is estimated that now only 100,000 are Turkish Cypriots and here I will ask about which “Turkish Cypriot community” some are still talking. At the same time, the fifth goal was achieved, which was the military control of the region. The Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus number 35,000 and have modern means and weaponry. So what’s left? The unfulfilled is their sixth goal which concerns the complete political control of all of Cyprus.

So here we are now, at the last unfulfilled strategic goal of Turkey that aims at full political control of the Megalopolis. So how will the full control of Megalonis be achieved only by annexing the territories occupied by it (37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus). Although the recent annexation literature was started by a journalist who has been sentenced in Turkey to 22.5 years for actions against the Turkish state as a “Gülenist”, the threat of annexation or independence and the dissolution of the two states is used by Ankara to the Greek side (E/K and Hellenic) surrenders to the solution of the … Confederation.

This is how he achieves, as Professor Yiannis Valinakis has pointed out, complete control in the north, co-administration – Finnishization of the free lands and grabs all the underwater wealth in the south of the island. At the same time, he will now gain strategic control of the Eastern Mediterranean, something that cannot be achieved simply by partitioning and unilaterally declaring a T/K state or even annexation, an illegal act (not that he is afraid of illegalities) that will never be recognized ! Through a confederal solution the “Turkish Cypriot state” can also gain EU membership and gain political influence in the EU through the… “back door” meaning something that cannot be achieved by annexation or by “two states”.

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Turkey never progressed all these years in annexation nor did it seek the creation of two states because it is simply not in its interest. It seeks recognition of the pseudo-state through coercion and pressure for the self-abolition of the Republic of Cyprus in a “confederation solution” and in its effort, Ankara has an ally in… London. British Officials have stated the… need for “flexibility” and “readiness to compromise” on the basis of a confederal form of solution which they aptly call “decentralised federation”.

In this way, the colonial regime of the “sovereign” British Bases on the Megalonisos is perpetuated. But even a “federal solution” to avoid the so-called … annexation is outside the framework of the solution defined by the resolutions of the SA/UN on the Cyprus issue and is opposed to International Law. And the argument heard by some circles in Greece and Cyprus, namely that the annexation will bring Turkey to Cyprus, is completely wrong. Why now where are they with 200 thousand settlers and 35 thousand Army?

Once again, Ankara managed to make us… “worry” and wonder what Erdogan will say when he goes to occupied Cyprus to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Turkish invasion. It is completely wrong to say that the annexation will bring Turkey to Cyprus. Why now where is he? Without ruling anything out, we should be careful both in Nicosia and in Athens and prepared for all possible scenarios.

Greece, however, as a Guarantor Power, but also due to strategic and national interests, should play its own role, the role imposed by History, International Conventions and the existing geopolitical situation in the wider region, and remain active alongside Cyprus. Although the Cyprus problem is an international problem of invasion and occupation, the government, the political world and the people should take seriously into account that a solution unfavorable to Greek interests in Cyprus, whether we like it or not, adversely affects the whole spectrum of the so-called Greek-Turkish problems created by the revisionist policy of our neighboring country.

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