What Happened in 1959 - 1960

After causing much suffering to achieve Enosis, the Greek government realized that neither Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot people, nor Great Britain or the UN would consent to the union of Cyprus with Greece. In shaping the destiny of Cyprus, a negotiated settlement remained to be the only way. In the late 1950s the world was undergoing rapid change and the colonies were becoming independent one after another. Britain expressed its readiness to transfer sovereignty jointly to the Turkish and Greek Cypriot peoples for the creation of an independent, partnership state in Cyprus. To achieve this, Britain insisted on retaining sovereign bases in Cyprus and safeguarding the rights of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Besides, Britain maintained that she should have the right to intervene along with Turkey and Greece, if there was an attempt to alter the agreed state of affairs.

Against this background, talks were initiated between the Turkish and Greek governments, with the knowledge of the two sides in Cyprus. These talks led to the Zurich Agreement of 1959 which soon afterwards was endorsed in London between five parties, namely, Turkey, Greece, United Kingdom, Dr. Küçük on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot people, and Archbishop Makarios on behalf of the Greek Cypriot people. On this basis, the constitution of 1960 was negotiated and the Treaties of Guarantee, Alliance and Establishment were concluded. When the five-party Treaties were signed, Great Britain transferred sovereignty to the two peoples on the island. Thus, the Republic of Cyprus came into being as an independent partnership state.

These arrangements were based on the equality and partnership of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in the independence and the sovereignty of the island. The legitimacy of the 1960 partnership Republic lay in the joint presence and effective participation of both sides in all the organs of the state. Neither party had the right to rule the other, nor could one of the partners claim to be the government of the other. Basic articles of the constitution and the Treaties safeguarded the rights of the two equal peoples.

In addition to the internal balance thus created between the two constituent peoples of Cyprus, the Treaties also established an external balance between the two respective motherlands. In this connection, Turkey and Greece would not be able to obtain a more favorable political or economic position than the other over Cyprus. As part of these balances the 1960 Agreements prohibited the membership of Cyprus in any international organization or pacts of Alliance in which both Turkey and Greece were not members.

Enosis and partition were expressly prohibited. Since the two peoples had special and close ties with their motherlands, both Turkey and Greece were given the right to station military contingents in the island. Turkey, Britain and Greece undertook to guarantee this state of affairs. Finally, as a result of the Cyprus Agreements, Britain retained sovereignty over two military bases.