WASHINGTON, DCAmerican Hellenic Institute president Gene Rossides made the following statement recently on Annan Plan-5:
The Annan-5’s political and economic corruption provisions
Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Ms. Laura Kennedy departed May 1st for travel to Ankara, Athens, Nicosia, Brussels and London. The purpose of her trip as stated on April 26 by the State Department deputy spokesman, Adam Ereli, "is to consult with the parties on the way forward regarding a Cyprus settlement, as well as on bilateral issues."
Mr. Ereli added that "our position is that the Annan plan offers the best way forward for a resolution of the Cyprus issue and that we are working to, I think, encourage movement by both parties in support of that plan." The 80% Greek Cypriot majority rejected Annan-5 by a vote of 76% and the 18% Turkish Cypriot minority accepted it by a vote of 65% (with votes from the illegal Turk settlers being counted).
In view of Ms. Kennedy’s current trip and State’s position on Annan Plan-5, it is time to call the Annan Plan-5 what it really is. The Annan Plan-5 is an extreme and blatant example of political and economic corruption in which the violator, Turkey, is rewarded and the victims, the Greek Cypriots, punished. It rivals and exceeds the recent business corporate corruption scandals in the U.S.
The guiding hand behind the political corruption is Great Britain and the British Foreign Office. The person leading the effort for Britain since the mid 1990s was David Hannay, the British Special Representative for Cyprus from 1996 to the end of May 2003 when negotiations had broken down. Mr. Hannay was a career British diplomat for 36 years and had been Britain’s Permanent Representative to the European Community and to the United Nations. He was appointed to the House of Lords in April 2001.
Two other British diplomats heavily involved in the political and economic corruption are John Kerr, the Permanent Under Secretary of the British Foreign Office and Emyr Jones Parry, the Political Director. They apparently had the final say on British positions and maneuvers.
After stepping down at the end of May 2003, Mr. Hannay proceeded to write a book about his efforts and the negotiations titled Cyprus- The Search for a Solution, published in 2005 by I.B. Tauris. The book is an example of the typical British attempt to control the historical record on the Cyprus problem and to put the blame on others for a problem originally created by Britain and its colonial policy and to which it has benefited.
Let’s look at the facts to determine the extent of the political and economic corruption involved in the provisions of Annan-5.
1. Annan-5 absolves Turkey of all responsibility for its invasion of Cyprus and its murders, rapes, destruction of property and churches and looting and forcing 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property.
That is political and economic corruption. And most of the devastation by the Turkish army occurred three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored on July 23, 1974. In the first phase of its invasion the Turks captured 4% of Cyprus. On August 14, 1974 the Turks broke off negotiations and proceeded to capture another 33% of Cyprus forcing 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property and causing enormous destruction. Turkey illegally occupies 37.3% of northern Cyprus, now in its 31st year.
Turkey, the invader and aggressor in 1974, committed massive and horrendous human rights violations and destruction of property. The Cyprus government filed applications to the European Commission on Human Rights on September 17, 1974 and on March 21, 1975. The Commission issued its report on the charges made in the two applications on July 10, 1976. In it the Commission found Turkey guilty of violating the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:
Article 2 by the killing of innocent civilians committed on a substantial scale;
Article 3 by the rape of women of all ages from 12 to 71;
Article 3 by inhuman treatment of prisoners and persons detained;
Article 5 by deprivation of liberty with regard to detainees and missing persons a continuing violation;
Article 8 by displacement of persons creating more than 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees, and be refusing to allow the refugees to return to their homes a continuing violation;
Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention by deprivation of possessions, looting and robbery on an extensive scale.
On January 23, 1977, the London Sunday Times published excerpts of the report and stated: "It amounts to a massive indictment of the Ankara government for the murder, rape and looting by its army in Cyprus during and after the Turkish invasion of summer 1974."
The British have extensive business interests and investments in Turkey.
2. Annan-5 subverted the property rights of the Greek Cypriots and other legal owners of property in the occupied area including American citizens:
by prohibiting recourse to European courts on property issues;
by withdrawing all pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights and
transferring them to local courts;
by allowing Turkish Cypriots and illegal mainland Turk settlers/colonists to keep Greek Cypriot homes and property they were illegally given following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and not having to reimburse the rightful owners of the property;
by a highly complicated, ambiguous and uncertain regime for resolving property issues and which is based on the principle that real property owners can ultimately be forced to give up their property rights which would violate the European Convention on Human Rights and international law; and
the Greek Cypriot property owners would be reimbursed by the federal treasury which is funded overwhelmingly by the Greek Cypriots which means that the Greek Cypriots would in effect be reimbursing themselves!
The Annan-5 proposals on property rights amount to egregious political and economic corruption.
3. Annan-5 provides for a minority veto for the 18% Turkish Cypriot minority in all key legislative and executive matters. That is political corruption of the democratic system of democracy.
The Annan-5 minority vetoes exceed the minority vetoes in the British drafted London-Zurich 1959-1960 agreements which Britain imposed on the Greek Cypriots under threat of the Macmillan partition plan. The London-Zurich minority vetoes led to the breakdown of the Cyprus constitution in December 1963.
Is the U.S. prepared to propose the Annan Plan’s minority veto provisions for the 20% Kurdish minority of 15 million in Turkey? Is Turkey prepared to give its Kurdish minority the same rights it seeks for the Turkish Cypriots? What about the Arab minority in Israel, Turks in Bulgaria, Albanians in FYROM, Greeks in Albania and minorities in Africa, Asia and North and South America?
The Annan-5 provisions for minority vetoes make a mockery of U.S. efforts to foster democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. They are directly contrary to the eloquent language of President Bush in his second inaugural address.
The U.S. position in support of the British maneuvered Annan Plan is, frankly, an embarrassment to our foreign policy. Rather than supporting undemocratic norms, the U.S. should promote with vigor the democratic policy espoused for Cyprus by Vice President George H.W. Bush on July 6, 1988: "We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights;" and by presidential candidate Governor Bill Clinton in 1992: "A Cyprus settlement should be consistent with the fundamental principles of human rights and democratic norms and practices."
The 18% minority vetoes and other provisions make Annan-5 clearly unworkable. It is useful to recall that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research called the 1959-1960 London Zurich agreements dysfunctional. It predicted the problem areas. The Annan-5 is even more complicated and creates conditions for continuous squabbling, disagreements and deadlock.
4. The Annan-5 proposals to leave and legitimize most of the 110,000 illegal Turkish settlers/colonists from mainland Turkey is scandalous and corrupt on both the political and economic levels. On the economic level these settler/colonists would remain in and be given ownership of the Greek Cypriot homes they were given by Turkey. And the Greek Cypriots would, in effect, be paying for the settler’s homes and paying themselves for the value of their property. The amount of money thus stolen, in effect, from Greek Cypriot property owners would be several billion dollars! That is economic corruption on a grand scale.
Also on the economic corruption level is the absolving of Turkey of the substantial cost of returning the illegal settlers to Turkey.
The second level of corruption by these proposals is the political corruption of the international legal system. These proposals simply disregard the plain language and clear meaning of the Geneva Convention of 1949, section III, article 49, which prohibits colonization by an occupying power. Article 49 states in its last paragraph: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
5. The Annan-5 proposals would also have the effect of protecting those British citizens who illegally bought Greek Cypriot property in the occupied north of Cyprus. They would, in effect, not be held responsible for their illegal action. I have no estimate of the amount of dollars involved in this economic corruption.
6. The Annan-5 proposals included a most pernicious provision slipped in by Great Britain which granted the British the right to unilaterally define the continental shelf and territorial waters along their two base areas and to claim potential mineral rights. Under the 1959-1960 London Zurich agreements, Britain did not have such rights (see the 2nd annex to the Additional Protocol to the 1959 Treaty of Establishment).
That provision, maneuvered by David Hannay, John Kerr and Emyr Jones Parry, is both political and economic corruption of a particularly heinous nature since the question of territorial waters has nothing to do with a constitutional settlement on Cyprus. That corruption is simply a power play by Britain to grab a potential economic bonanza and further limit Cyprus sovereignty.
7. Annan-5 fails to provide payment by Turkey:
a. for the lives of innocent civilians killed by the Turkish army;
b. for the victims of rape by the Turkish army;
c. for the vast destruction of property and churches by the Turkish army; and
d. for the substantial looting by the Turkish army.
The estimated cost would be in the billions of dollars. That is economic corruption by omission.
8. The Annan-5 proposal granting Turkey the right to keep a contingent of troops on Cyprus with the right of intervention is a crass example of political corruption.
9. The Annan-5 proposals granting the Turkish Cypriots 28 plus percent of the island’s territory when the Turkish Cypriots comprise 18% of the population and owned 14% of the land prior to the 1974 invasion is economic corruption on its face.
10. There are other areas in Annan-5 that amount to political and economic corruption.
The political and economic corruption in Annan-5 goes beyond diplomatic
negligence or diplomatic double standards. It is a blatant attempt at corruption for political and economic gain for the violator, Turkey, and for Britain, at the expense of the victims of invasion and aggression, the Greek Cypriots and other owners of property in the occupied area, including American citizens.
It is also a blatant attempt at political corruption of the international legal system and order.
The United States in its own best interests should not be a party to the political and economic corruption in Annan-5. The U.S. acquiesced and assisted in Britain’s lead role in the negotiations for a Cyprus settlement and on development of the Annan Plan. Former Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman led the U.S. effort this past decade until his retirement on February 25, 2005.
The Greek Cypriots worked hard to recover from the devastation of the Turkish invasion and adhered in all their efforts to the rule of law. They achieved an economic miracle. In Annan-5 they faced provisions corrupting the rule of law. And when the Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly voted “no” by 76% to the flawed Annan-5, the State Department, led by Mr. Grossman, attacked them for exercising their democratic right to vote as they thought best and personally attacked Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Britain’s use of Cyprus for economic gains for Britain at the expense of the Cypriots is not new. Britain’s economic exploitation of Cyprus has a long and sordid history.
The infamous “Tribute to Turkey” of 92,799 British pounds sterling, which was in actual practice a “Tribute to Britain,” was used to pay the interest annually to the British creditors of Turkey on a loan of 3,815,200 British pounds sterling to Turkey. The sum of 92,799 pounds sterling was deducted annually from the Cyprus public revenue and transferred to the British Treasury. The amount paid annually from 1878 to 1927 to the British creditors was 81,752 pounds sterling and the surplus of 11,047 pounds sterling was placed in a separate fund and invested. See Cyprus Under British Rule (1918) by Captain C. W. J. Orr, former British Colonial Secretary to the Governor of Cyprus, at pages 47-48.
The separate annual surplus funds of 11,047 pounds sterling were invested and as of March 31, 1912 amounted to 455,061 pounds sterling of which 24,883 pounds sterling were used to ransom two British subjects kidnapped in Turkey. The net amount was 430,178 pounds sterling. See Captain Orr’s book, pages 47-48.
Sir Ronald Storrs, a former British Governor of Cyprus explains in his book Orientations, 1937, at page 505, what happened to the accumulated surpluses as follows:
“On the 1st July 1931, the chancellor of the Exchequer had announced to Parliament that the accumulated surplus from the payments made from Cyprus revenue as ‘Tribute to Turkey’ had been disposed of by Great Britain for the Sinking Fund of the Turkish loan guaranteed by Great Britain in 1855.”
Sir Ronald Storrs at page 491 of Orientations, stated: “Cyprus is in truth deadly poor.” Sir Ronald Storrs was instrumental in abolishing the “Turkish Tribute” in 1927. At page 478 of his book he wrote: “Before leaving England, I had urged the Colonial Office and, with their approval, the Treasury, that it was high time to abolish the inequity of the Turkish Tribute.”
The British government during its colonial rule of Cyprus from 1878 to 1960, exploited the Cypriots in typical colonial fashion regarding trade and commerce. It is a sordid history which deserves a book-length exposure.
The U.S. for its own interest of providing peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean needs to recognize that it must support a solution for Cyprus that has a real chance for establishing a lasting peace on the island.
Annan-5, for the reasons discussed above, cannot accomplish this and the U.S. should immediately abandon this ill-conceived plan that has as its guiding force political and economic corruption.
A settlement to the Cyprus problem needs to be based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a sovereign state, incorporating the norms of constitutional democracy, the EU acquis communautaire, American values, the emerging EU constitution, the UN resolutions on Cyprus, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
With the State Department’s new political leadership of Secretary Condoleezza Rice and the new career leadership of Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, there is an opportunity for the U.S. to redress the situation. They should act on this opportunity as in the best interests of the U.S.