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The Washington Times July 24, 1998 Turkish Victims Of International Infamy

By Bruce Fein

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus deserves recognition as an independent nation under international law. Yet the international community, with the United States, Great Britain and Greece acting as chief co-conspirators, has generally ostracized the TRNC to placate the whining of Greek Cypriots frustrated by a failed and squalid attempt to destroy the rights of Turkish Cypriots beginning in 1963. This is international infamy at its worst.

Outrage leaps from the pages of contemporary Cypriot history. Great Britain held Cyprus as a colonial possession until 1960. In the decade preceding independence, Greek Cypriots, aroused by former Greek Col. George Grivas, unleashed a campaign of terrorism calculated to achieve dominance for the numerically superior Greek Cypriots over the Turkish Cypriots who were less numerous though enjoying equal political standing. Britain balked at that clear and present danger to Turkish Cypriots, and embarked on meticulous negotiations with Greece, Turkey, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to arrange a constitutional dispensation for the Republic of Cyprus that was both fair and unthreatening to either community.

The talks culminated in a 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, Treaty of Establishment and Constitution for the Republic of Cyprus, and independence was granted on August 16 that year. The constitution constructed a fortress of unamenable safeguards against oppression of Turkish Cypriots, no imaginary fear in light of the island's recent history : a Turkish Cypriot vice president was crowned with veto power equal to that wielded by a Greek Cypriot president in matters concerning foreign affairs; a House of Representatives elected from separate Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot constituencies with a 70:30 allocation favoring the former, the same ratio required in manning the civil service and the Council of Ministers; legislation by simple majority, except for new taxation electoral changes, or alterations in municipal government, which required concurrent majorities of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members a 60:40 Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot representation in the armed forces and strong local autonomy for Turkish Cypriots in five major towns. The Treaty of Guarantee, moreover, empowered Britain, Greece or Turkey unilaterally to intervene in the republic if its constitutional dispensation was violated.

Greek Cypriots chafed under the bulwarks of Turkish Cypriot constitutional security, and thus resorted to villainy in 1963. Then President Archbishop Makarios proposed 13 dramatic changes to the 1960 constitution to eliminate institutional protections for Turkish Cypriots, including ending their veto powers and local autonomy, slashing their representation in the civil service and military, abolishing separate community voting on fiscal and companion matters, and electing the president and vice president by the House of Representatives voting as a unit with a decisive Greek Cypriot majority. All were universally nixed by Turkish Cypriots.

The proposed amendment, however, were but the opening shot of a larger plot, the notorious "Akritas Plan", to shred the 1960 constitutional rights of Turkish Cypriots. Writing in "My Deposition", Greek Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides elaborated: "From the conversations I had with Makarios I can sum up his intentions as follows:

a) Makarios intended, stage by stage, to abolish the excessive rights the Turkish community and reduce it to the position of a minority.....

b) The proposed 13 points were only the first steps toward achieving the abolition of the excessive Turkish rights.

c) Once international understanding for the need for amendment was achieved, and if all efforts to negotiate failed because of Turkish refusal to accept amendments, he would resort to unilateral action.

d) If the Turkish community resorted to force to prevent unilateral amendments, the security forces would, in the first instance, have the task of maintaining law and order. If they proved inadequate for the task, then the paramilitary organization recruited by the minister of interior, Yiorgadjis (Akritas), would be called upon to assist them, using such force as was absolutely necessary to put down the Turkish uprising.

The Akritas plan partially succeeded. Greek Cypriot began massacring Turkish Cypriot civilians in December 1963 and continued for several sanguinary months. On Feb. 17, 1964, The Washington Post reported that "Greek Cypriot fanatics appear bent on a policy of genocide", echoing several other contemporaneous accounts of the horrors inflicted on Turkish Cypriots.

The remainder of Greek Cypriot villainy must be summarized as a concession to the shortness of life. After a United Nations Security Council sponsored cease-fire, Turkish Cypriots were virtually expelled from participation in the government in flagrant violation of the 1960 Constitution, and thus withdrew into defended enclaves in 1964. In 1967, further massacres of Turkish Cypriot civilians were inflicted by Greeks and Greek Cypriots. On July 15, 1974, Greek troops collaborated with the Greek Cypriot National Guard to overthrow President Makarios in favor of Nicos Sampson, who was fervently devoted to annexation of Cyprus to Greece (Enosis) in violation of the 1960 agreements that established the republic.

Mr. Sampson's thugs began murdering both Turkish and Greek Cypriots, and triggered Turkey's military intervention in accord with Article IV of the Guarantee Treaty. Ever since, Cyprus has been politically and geographically divided de facto between two homogeneous communities and the 1960 Constitution has been defunct. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriot Parliament voted to create the TRNC but it has been recognized only by Turkey. The United Nations Security Council perversely declared the 1984 proclamation of sovereignty legally invalid, and continues to recognize the Greek Cypriot government in the south, blackened by long years of treachery to the rule of law as the legitimate voice for both communities.

The TRNC labors under an unfair economic and diplomatic embargo that has emboldened the Greek Cypriot government. Within months, the Greek Cypriot plans to install advanced S-300 Russian missiles at an air base, a gambit that Turkey has threatened to neutralize.

The United States and the United Nations Security Council should renounce their international law chicanery on Cyprus. Both the TRNC and its Greek Cypriot counterpart should be recognized as separate sovereign states. That recognition would be twice blessed: It would send a refreshing message to Greece Greek Cypriot and their many would-be imitators that international agreements fundamental to human rights and the rule of law cannot be flouted with impunity. And it would end the flagrant unfairness of demanding that the TRNC conduct diplomacy by Queensburg rules while their chief adversaries throw Molotov cocktails.

(Bruce Fein is a lawyer and free-lance writer specializing in legal issues).