Speech by the President of the Republic
Mr. Glafcos Clerides
on the Cyprus problem


January 28, 1999

Turkish intransigence continues and I use the word "continues" because the Turkish side has never shown any flexibility for us to say now that this is something now.

Turkish intransigence has always lain in the fact that while the Turkish side pretended it was ready to discuss federation, the positions it actually advanced were those of confederation. What it is now doing is to state openly that it does not accept federation and wants confederation. To elaborate on this, le me put it this way: Why has there been no progress in Cyprus settlement? The answer is the Turkish side's demand for recognition of separate sovereignty and equal representation in the federal government and its demand for a rotation presidency and for decisions to be taken not by majority but by consensus, which are characteristics of confederation and not federation.

Another firm position of the Turkish side is the exchange of property. In other words Greek properties in the region that will come under Turkish administration in the north will become Turkish and Turkish properties in the Greek- administered region in the south will become Greek, while compensation will be determined according to the size of the properties. This had always been a firm position of the Turkish side and has never changed.

The principle of freedom of settlement was never accepted by the Turks. As for the principle of freedom of movement, they have indicated that they may accept the idea, but under certain conditions.

Moving on to the question of the future security of Cyprus, the Turks have always insisted on the Treaty of Guarantee which they interpret quite wrongly as envisaged the right to military intervention and the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus - not ELDYK and TOURDYK troops envisaged in the Treaty of Alliance, but a large force of 5,000-7,000 troops. This is what they have said, not tot me personally, but to various diplomats.

Therefore all these positions have always been those of the Turkish side to this day. The reason these positions have never changed is that the international community is content to say that it supports the good offices mission of the UN Secretary - General without in fact exercising any pressure on Ankara to change its positions. And for as long as this stance continues, Turkey of course will not feel any substantive pressure. For this reason, if there is to be any progress on Cyprus, this will depend to a large extent on whether there will be a change of attitude on the part of those powers that can influence turkey to change its positions.

At the moment we have numerous promises. I am not one of those people who rely on promises to solve our problem as I have been on the Cyprus political scene for at least 40 years and I have heard many promises in the past without seeing any results. But what is important is the effort on our part to create those preconditions which will lead the powerful countries to take a different stand vis--vis the Turkish side.

I also believe that Cyprus' accession course will play a tremendous role in the finding of a solution to the Cyprus problem because as the day of accession to the European Union approaches Turkey will be all the more compelled to review its stand. It is here that we must state now, clearly and emphatically, what we don not accept so that others will not assume that we will sacrifice vital interests of the Cypriot people in exchange for accession to the European Union.

I now come to the subject of how the future of Cyprus can be safeguarded. This is connected with the question of future guarantees, the withdrawal of foreign troops and demilitarization. I firmly believe that, irrespective of whether we want it to be so or not, there are fears about security - different fears for the Greek Cypriot community and different ones of the Turkish Cypriot community. Irrespective of whether these concerns are reasonable or not, they exist and therefore must be dealt with in order to create a climate of trust.

The Greek Cypriot community fears that Turkey, using the Turkish Cypriot community as a bridgehead, will attempt on e day to expand and occupy the whole of Cyprus of its own purposes. The Turkish Cypriots on the other hand fear that the Greek Cypriots, being the majority on the island, will one day dominate it, turn the Turkish Cypriots into an oppressed minority, and create a second Greek state which will unite with Greece. It makes no difference if these fears are reasonable or unreasonable. We must accept that they exist. And how are these concerns dealt with? They are dealt with by the Treaty of Guarantee as it stands.

Are they dealt with by the presence of increased Greek and Turkish forces or troops in Cyprus? The answer is no. Cyprus must be demilitarized. And demilitarization is not as Mr. Denktash means it, which is that Greece and Turkey will have an army on the island and not the Federal Republic of Cyprus. This would not be demilitarization but the subjugation of Cyprus and its transformation from an independent state into a protectorate.

The answer is that, recognizing that this strong fear exists, an international force must be stationed in Cyprus for a certain period of time, which I shall not define, with a mandate from the UN Security Council and the right to intervene automatically if either of the two communities jeopardizes by illegal actions the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, or threatens the other community, or by illegal actions tires to violate what has been agreed. This force must replace any Greek or Turkish military presence and must draw its authority from the Security Council mandate. One could say that on his point the two communities can rest assured.

But experience has also shown that it is natural for any tension in Cyprus to spill over into Greece and Turkey since these countries are guarantor powers. Instead of it being confined to Cyprus and tackled with it will become a national issue between these two states.

However, I believe our accession to the European Union will overcome this problem too because any tension can be resolved in a wider context extending beyond Greek - Turkish relations, that is within the context of the European Union.

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