Turkish Republic Northern Cyprus history
Now it is time you were allowed to graduate!Friday November 15th 2013 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a nation state which was almost certainly created as a result of the frustrations that arose from eight years of intransigence on the part of the Greek Cypriots. Whilst a Population Exchange Agreement had been signed between the parties on August 2nd 1975, under the auspices of the UN, all attempts to negotiate a settlement were futile. Glefcos Clarides had made it quite clear to his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, the late Rauf Denktaş that he had no need to agree anything with him at all and so, with careful planning, the new nation state was planned and duly born.
This article looks at various aspects of how the Republic was conceived and relates also to first hand accounts of the times, and then concludes speculatively as to the future of the Republic and its people.
The preamble of the constitution of the Republic reads as follows; something of a declaration in its own right:
“Whereas the Turkish Cypriot People is an inseparable part of the great Turkish Nation which lived independently and fought for its rights and liberties all along its history; and
Whereas the Turkish Cypriot People, in the face of events directed against its national existence and right to life, since 1878 when it was broken away from its motherland, which were intensified especially after 1955 and took the form of armed terrorism, aggression and suppression, has organised its resistance as a mature community in unity and integrity; and
Whereas the Turkish Cypriot People has established that there cannot be individual rights and liberties without the acquisition of communal rights and Liberties, through the bitter experiences it had undergone until the year 1974 when the Peace Operation, which was carried out by the Heroic Turkish Armed Forces by virtue of the Motherland's natural, historical and legal right of guarantor-ship emanating from Agreements, provided to the Turkish Cypriots the means of living in peace, security and liberty; and
Whereas, in the face of attempts made to deprive it of all its rights emanating from history, international agreements and from human rights declarations and covenants and to destroy completely its existence in Cyprus; and in the face of a Republic of Cyprus which has, since 21 December 1963, come under the monopoly of the Greek Cypriots through unlawful means, which has been transformed into a Greek Cypriot State not only from the point of view of its composition but also from the point of view of the policy it followed, and which has, as a result of its racist and discriminatory policy and actions serving Pan-Hellenist expansionism, departed from the Agreements and the principles embodied in the Constitution and thus lost its legitimacy, the Turkish Cypriot People has, in exercise of its right of self-determination, proclaimed before the world and history the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
To this day, no sovereign nation other than Turkey has officially recognised Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state. The United Nations recognises it purely as territory of the Republic of Cyprus under Turkish occupation. Pakistan and Bangladesh had initially declared their recognition of Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state shortly after its declaration of independence; however they withdrew their recognition as a result of the UN having deemed the North Cypriot declaration illegal. In truth, US bullying was the more likely cause of their withdrawals. Today, the Cyprus Question is posed as the primary stumbling block which impedes Turkey’s accession to the EU. The Cyprus Question for some is best left unanswered for it serves Turkey’s enemies well, left as it is!
The timing of the declaration of the Republic is at first glance curious; however this is answered when you consider that on November 6th, 1983 the Turkish General Election had just voted the Motherland Party under Turgut Özal into power but in Ankara, there was uncertainty because the military had not yet designated Özal to form the new government. Whilst such uncertainty prevailed, Denktaş played his declaration card. To this very day, there are those who question whether or not Ankara truly recognizes an independent TRNC with whom to have state to state relations.
Founding President Rauf DenktaşIn the years which have unfurled inexorably since the Turkish Intervention, an operation which itself cost the lives of 1317 Turkish Servicemen, the world has been fed a steady but stodgy, ‘Helloumi’ diet of Greek/Greek Cypriot propaganda which portrays them as the injured party. Far too little attention has been paid to Turkish Cypriot accounts by the world’s media in general however, Yusuf Kanli the well known and widely respected, eminent Turkish Cypriot journalist, who derives his birth and infant nurture in Cyprus and is a contemporary of the genre, kindly offers us his own memories, his personal thoughts and visions for his homeland.
‘As a young boy I and many other Turkish Cypriot boys were often traumatized with Greek Cypriot hordes, body searching our mothers, aunts, sisters, nieces, girl friends. As someone from Gönyeli with the family of my mother living at the time at Kotchatis (a village on the Nicosia-Limassol road, some 13 kilometres outside Nicosia) I was appalled at our every trip to and from Kotchatis at why Greek Cypriots had so many barricades and why we were so frequently body searched.
An image of distress contemporary to the time.Because of the peculiar place of Gönyeli in the Turkish Cypriot struggle for dignity, my mother was very much concerned of her kids and thus we were not allowed to travel anywhere without she or my father accompanying us. Of course going to school was an exemption.