American Hellenic Institute


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Jerusalem Post Article on the Flaws in the Annan Plan for Cyprus
March 9, 2004—No.18 (202) 785-8430


WASHINGTON, DC—The AHI brings to your attention an important article which appeared in the Sunday, February 29, 2004 issue of the Jerusalem Post, by Shlomo Avineri, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former director-general of the Foreign Ministry.

Feb. 29, 2004

The UN's favorite occupation


On May 1, 2004, Cyprus will join the European Union. The island has been divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974, with a Turkish puppet regime in the North. For decades, futile negotiations have been going on for reunification.

Despite this, the European Union has decided that Cyprus will be admitted in any case: If reunification occurs before accession, the whole island will join the EU; if negotiations fail, only the Greek part, represented by the legitimate Republic of Cyprus, will become a member. In such a case the current Green Line dividing Cyprus—and running through Nicosia—will also become the external border of the EU.

This, of course, raises a number of serious concerns for the EU. Hence its support for the UN-sponsored Annan Plan, aimed at reuniting the island before May 1, has now gone into high gear, with intensive talks taking place between the two sides under UN sponsorship, with the blessing of the EU.

The Annan Plan is a 400-page document. Few people in Cyprus have read it, despite the fact that both communities will have to vote on it before May 1. In typical UN arrogance, it has not been translated into either Greek or Turkish, so most people have only a vague idea of what is in it.

But despite its promise to end the division of the island by setting up a complex loose federal system, a poll released last week suggests that in the Cypriot Greek community 61 percent oppose it, while only 27 percent support it.

Why such meager support for what promises finally to bring peace to the island? The answers are in the details.

Many Greek Cypriots feel that the haste now evident by the UN and the EU stems from the wish to pave the way for talks about the accession of Turkey to the EU. Obviously, if Turkey continued to occupy part of an EU member state, negotiations about its membership could not begin.

GREECE ITSELF has now—wisely—dropped its opposition to Turkish EU membership. Looking at the details of the Annan Plan, however, it appears that the international community, through its wish to pave Turkey's accession, will be legitimating the outcome of Turkish aggression. It is obvious that the Annan Plan contradicts some basic values of both the United Nations and the European Union:

Most of the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refuges who were uprooted by the Turkish invasion will not be able to return to their former places, nor will they receive full compensation; Most of the Anatolian Turks who have been settled in the North by the Turkish occupation authorities will remain in place; Until Turkish accession to the EU, Turkish forces will remain in the North; Greek Cypriots will not be able to move freely or settle in the Turkish part.

The last prohibition rattles Greek Cypriots most: It means that in a united Europe - where every French, Portuguese, Polish or Estonian citizen will be more or less free to take up residence and work in the Turkish part of Cyprus—Greek Cypriots will not have freedom of movement in their own country. In a way, the Greek Cypriots will be ghettoized.

Furthermore, the provisions regarding Turkish settlers and the continued presence of the Turkish army will mean that Turkish aggression has been rewarded.

The UN and the EU, which justly condemn Israeli occupation and settlements in the West Bank, now condones Turkish occupation and Turkish settlers.

If the negotiations prove successful, Kofi Annan may get the Nobel Peace Prize for an agreement which legitimizes ethnic cleansing and occupation. As always, the gap between the lofty ideals of the UN and the sleazy way in which it goes about its business could not be wider.

Many Greek Cypriots feel that they are being bludgeoned into submission in order to appease a much stronger Turkey. They may be exaggerating; but if the negotiations fail because of the Greek Cypriots' feeling of being, once again, victimized by realpolitik, they will not be totally wrong.

The writer is Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and former director-general of the Foreign Ministry.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information on AHI, see our Web site at