What does ‘reunification’ really mean?



Among the many reports to emerge from the House of Commons in recent years, one of the most remarkable is Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language (hereafter ‘Bad Language’).  This was completed in Westminster in 2009 by the cross-party House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration.

Bad Language railed against any use of language which ‘can prevent people from understanding the implications of policies’. It admonished efforts ‘to use language to disguise or distort meaning’.  It also derided ‘the attempt to use… terms to hide unpleasant realities’.

Cy logo 1a Klearchos 27 12 2016Against this background, Bad Language recommended that ‘the use of language that distorts or disguises meaning should be exposed and condemned …’. The author of this article has dutifully acted upon this specific British parliamentary recommendation. He has done so by writing the analysis which follows – for the sake of an accurate public record and in the interests of an enlightened as well as informed democratic citizenry.

(Source: House of Commons Select Committee on Public Administration, Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language (HC17, The Stationery Office Ltd, London, 30 November 2009), paragraphs 16, 18, 19 and 32.  Published online by the UK Parliament at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmpubadm/17/17.pdf)

While Bad Language did not explore the abuse of certain words in the context of the Republic of Cyprus, the core themes of Bad Language are clearly applicable to that small but significant Member State of the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Council of Europe and the European Union.  Indeed, Bad Language is particularly relevant to the abuse of three inter-related words; these are ‘reunification’, ‘reunify’ and ‘reunite’.  For  many years, these words have been routinely deployed by diplomats, politicians, journalists, academics and others to describe the envisaged outcome of any ‘settlement’ which transforms the Republic of Cyprus into a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

No less significantly, words such as ‘reunification’ have been regularly recycled by the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (hereafter the ‘TRNC’).  The latter is the de facto subordinate administration of Turkey which was purportedly established in 1983 in the parts of the Republic of Cyprus which were occupied and ethno-religiously cleansed by Turkey following two invasions carried out on 20 July and 14 August 1974.

For evidence to support the assertions made in the previous two paragraphs, the reader is invited to read the sample of five publications of the ‘TRNC’ available below.  All five were published within the space of just three months – from January to March 2016.

(Sources: ‘Schulz: “If we achieve the reunification of Cyprus this will be encouraging for everyone”’, 15 January 2016: http://mfa.gov.ct.tr/schulz-if-we-achieve-the-reunification-of-cyprus-this-will-be-encouraging-for-everyone/ ;‘Schwachöfer: “We hope Cyprus will be reunified in 2016”’, 18 January 2016: http://mfa.gov.ct.tr/schwachofer-we-hope-cyprus-will-be-reunified-in-2016/ ; ‘The re-unification of Cyprus: a success Europe really needs’, 23 February 2016: http://mfa.gov.ct.tr/the-re-unification-of-cyprus-a-success-europe-really-needs/ ; ‘We want reunification in 2016’, 1 March 2016: http://mfa.gov.ct.tr/we-want-reunification-in-2016/ ; ‘Schulz: a “Reunification of Cyprus has become a realistic possibility”’, 30 March 2016: http://mfa.gov.ct.tr/schulz-reunification-cyprus-become-realistic-possibility/)

Cy CIA map 2b LLLL

Source: National Flag of the Republic of Cyprus. Published online by The World Factbook of the US Central Intelligence Agency

In the light of the above, a number of questions arise in relation to the Island of Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus and the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.  Of these, two questions will now be explored with the ultimate aim of shedding light on the true meaning of ‘reunification’.  Firstly, when, why and how did the concept of ‘reunification’ emerge?  Secondly, why is the concept of ‘reunification’ misleading or apt to mislead?

When, why and how did the concept of ‘reunification’ emerge?                                                               

In the immediate aftermath of the short-lived coup in Nicosia on 15 July 1974 and the two subsequent Turkish invasions of 1974, the word ‘reunification’ was understandably used in completely different circumstances to the ones outlined in the above Introduction.  Back then, the word was applied to any family which was anxiously searching for one or more family members who had gone missing amid ‘the fog of war’.  If a missing family member was found alive, a ‘reunification’ could then follow.

In this connection, it is indicative that the words ‘reunification’ and ‘families’ were both strung together in paragraph 5 of the ‘Press Communiqué’ issued in Vienna on 2 August 1975 at the conclusion of ‘the Cyprus Talks’ held there at the time.  Paragraph 5 called for ‘priority’ to be ‘given to the reunification of families’, a prospect ‘which may also involve the transfer of a number of Greek Cypriots, at present in the south, to the north.’  (Source: ‘Text of the Press Communiqué on the Cyprus Talks Issued in Vienna on 2 August 1975’, Annex to UN Security Council Document S/11789, dated 5 August 1975.)

As events were to transpire during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Paragraph 5 of the ‘Press Communiqué’ proved to be a dead letter.  Even so, in this period, ‘reunification’ continued to be associated with the plight of the few remaining members of the Greek Community of the Republic of Cyprus who had stayed in their homes under Turkish occupation.  Many of these ‘enclaved’ people, notably those in the Karpas Peninsula, belonged to families whose members had been dispersed or otherwise divided.  Yet, in spite of the provisions of paragraph 5, an exodus of ethnic Greeks continued to ensue from the Turkish-occupied parts of the Republic of Cyprus.  As such, some of the ‘enclaved’ people and their family members were subjected to grave violations of their human rights, including their right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950.

All of which explains why, in its judgment in 2001 in the case of Cyprus v Turkey [2001] ECHR 331, the European Court of Human Rights expressly referred to the ‘limit’ placed on ‘family reunification’ and the ‘enforced separation’ which arose as a consequence.  To quote from paragraphs 292 and 293 of this judgment:

‘… during the period under consideration, the right of the enclaved Greek Cypriots to family life was seriously impeded on account of the measures imposed by the “TRNC” authorities to limit family reunification.   Thus, it was not disputed by the respondent Government [i.e. Turkey] in the proceedings before the Commission that Greek Cypriots who permanently left the northern part of Cyprus were not allowed to return even if they left a family behind. …

‘In the Court’s opinion, the imposition of these restrictions during the period under consideration as a matter of policy and in the absence of any legal basis resulted in the enforced separation of families and the denial to the Greek-Cypriot population in the north of the possibility of leading a normal family life. …’.

As a result of these and other related factors, the European Court of Human Rights reached various conclusions.  In one, recorded in Conclusion III.1 of its judgment, the Court held (by sixteen votes to one) that ‘there has been a continuing violation of Article 8 of the [European] Convention [on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950] by reason of the refusal to allow the return of any Greek-Cypriot displaced persons to their homes in northern Cyprus …’.  (Source: Cyprus v Turkey [2001] ECHR 331 published at http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-59454)

With the passage of time, the word ‘reunification’ stopped being associated primarily with the families of missing persons or with the divided families of the ‘enclaved’ persons.  Instead, ‘reunification’ came to be linked with the search for a ‘settlement’ resulting in the formation of a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

In so far as the author of this article has been able to ascertain, the word ‘reunification’ started to be used sporadically in the context of the proposed ‘federation’ during the mid-to-late 1980s, i.e. after the unilateral declaration of independence purportedly made by the ‘TRNC’ in 1983.  For example, in the House of Commons in 1985, a backbench Labour MP, Ray Powell, asked the then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom about ‘what recent talks he has had about the reunification of Cyprus.’  (Source: Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 26 June 1985, Column 901.)

In the following year, in 1986, ‘the reunification of Cyprus’ was also envisaged by an ‘elected committee’ at a conference organised by the UK-based non-governmental-organisation ‘Friends of Cyprus’; this organisation was founded in London in 1974 under the then chairmanship of Lord Caradon (formerly known as Sir Hugh Foot), the last British imperial Governor of the Crown Colony of Cyprus who lived from 1907 until 1990.  Paragraph 1 of the ‘Joint Declaration’ adopted by this ‘committee’, dated 4 December 1986, called for ‘the reunification of Cyprus on a bi-zonal, bi-communal, federal basis’.  (Sources: www.peace-cyprus.org/FOC/ and www.peace-cyprus.org/FOC/Inter-Meetings/29.htm)

Four years later, in 1990, three seminal developments fuelled the use of the word ‘reunification’ in the proposed ‘federal’ context.

One development was the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 649 of 12 March 1990.  Therein, for the first time, the Security Council openly and expressly endorsed the formation of a ‘federation that will be bi-communal as regards its constitutional aspects and bi-zonal as regards its territorial aspects …’.  Coming as it did so soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the apparent end of the Cold War, Resolution 649 boosted the protracted efforts to terminate the de facto partition of the Republic of Cyprus and to ‘reunify Cyprus’.  (See UNSC Resolution 649 adopted on 12 March 1990 and published by the UN at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/574/99/IMG/NR057499.pdf?OpenElement )

A second development was the formal application of the Republic of Cyprus to accede to the European Union.  This application was submitted on 4 July1990.  It was then followed by a proliferation of Cypriot presidential and ministerial declarations in support of ‘reunification’.  A good example is the address delivered at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on 28 May 1991 by George Vassiliou, the then President of the Republic of Cyprus.  President Vassiliou foresaw ‘the reunification of our country by [the] setting up [of] an independent sovereign democratic republic with one and indivisible territory’.  However, in an Orwellian twist, President Vassiliou went on to admit that any such ‘reunification’ would be subject to the formation of ‘a federal republic consisting of two constituent parts …’.  Even so, President Vassiliou went on to foresee the ‘reunification of Cyprus’ and also the ‘reunification of our island’.  (See the transcript and video of this address, as published by C-Span, at www.c-span.org/video/?18159-1/peace-negotiations-cyprus)

A third development was the reunification (otherwise known as the unification) of Germany.  This arose on 3 October 1990 upon the legal union of two existing states, both of which had previously been admitted as Members of the United Nations on 18 September 1973.  The two states were the Federal Republic of Germany (popularly known as West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (popularly known as East Germany).  The reunification of Germany (and the reunification of Berlin) inevitably invited comparisons with the sustained de facto partition of the Republic of Cyprus (and the sustained de facto partition of Nicosia).  More to the point, the reunification of Germany triggered fresh yet misleading calls for ‘the reunification of Cyprus’ and for the ‘reunification of the island’.

By the 2000s, the expression ‘reunification’ had become firmly established as integral to the diplomatic and political lexicon of the so-called ‘Cyprus problem’.  This was partly because of the negotiation and the publication of the ill-fated United Nations text known as the ‘Annan Plan’ of 2004.  This ‘Plan’ envisaged the formation of a deeply divided ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ which, if created, would have been misleadingly named as the ‘United Cyprus Republic’; it would have been more accurate if the ‘Annan Plan’ had envisaged the creation of the ‘Divided States of Cyprus’.

Back in 2004, the ‘Annan Plan’ was heralded by some of its leading advocates as a recipe for ‘reunification’.  The evidence lies, for instance, in British ministerial statements delivered before the two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’ held on 24 April 2004.  (See, for instance, Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 1 April 2004, Column 69WS.)

After the ‘Annan Plan’ was rejected by the overwhelming majority (76 per cent) of those who voted in one of the two ‘referenda’, the Republic of Cyprus acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004 as a de facto partitioned Member State.  Even so, British ministers continued to press for ‘reunification’ via the very same general ‘bi-communal’, ‘bi-zonal’ and ‘federal’ recipe which had been used to concoct the ill-fated ‘Annan Plan’.  A prime example is the parliamentary statement of Denis Macshane, the then British Minister for Europe, on 6 July 2004.  Therein, Mr Macshane confirmed on behalf of the United Kingdom that ‘we want the reunification of the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.’  (Source: Hansard, Westminster Hall Debates, 6 July 2004, Column 201WH.)

To be fair to the United Kingdom, it has not been alone in conflating ‘reunification’ with the proposed formation of a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.  Others include the United Nations Security Council (of which the United Kingdom is one of the five Permanent Members).  The evidence may be found in texts such as the statement delivered on 17 April 2008 by the then President of the United Nations Security Council.  To quote from the salient sentence: ‘The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the reunification of Cyprus based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions …’.  (Source: UN Security Council Document S/PRST/2008/9.)

In view of the history outlined above, it is somewhat ironic that Germany has emerged as a leading advocate of ‘reunification’.  For example, upon presenting her credentials on 13 September 2009 as the new Ambassador of Germany in Nicosia, Dr Gabriella Guelli told the then President of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, the following: ‘It is our honest desire that your efforts, Excellency, to come to a viable and lasting agreement to reunify Cyprus will be successful.’  For his part, President Christofias responded in kind.  The latter, who was educated on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain, in Moscow, during the height of the Cold War, envisaged ‘a reunified peaceful homeland’, ‘a mutual and sincere compromise that would lead to the reunification of the island’ and, ultimately, ‘the reunification of Cyprus’.

(Source: Press release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus dated 13 September 2009: www.mfa.gov.cy/mfa/mfa2016.nsf/All/B9F0F941DAD7B8ACC2257FA00045932A?OpenDocument)

Alas, assertions in favour of ‘the reunification of the island’ and ‘the reunification of Cyprus’ are misleading or, at the very least, apt to mislead.  This brings us neatly to the second of the two questions posed earlier in this article.

In relation to the Island of Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus and the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’, why is the concept of ‘reunification’ misleading or apt to mislead?

In answer to the above question, at least four reasons may be adduced.  However, before each is briefly considered, the reader must bear in mind that there is a material difference between the Island of Cyprus (hereafter ‘the Island’) and the Republic of Cyprus.  Both are mentioned in the Cyprus Act of 1960 (an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament) and in the Treaty of Establishment of 1960 (an instrument of international law to which the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom are parties).

In so far as the Cyprus Act and the Treaty of Establishment are concerned, the Island (spelt with a capital ‘I’) is not one and the same thing as the Republic of Cyprus.  This is because the Island encompasses the territory of the two British Sovereign Base Areas (hereafter ‘SBAs’) plus the whole of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus (including those parts in the north which have been occupied by Turkey since 1974).  By contrast, notwithstanding the inclusion of the whole of the Island on its flag, the territory of the Republic of Cyprus does not cover the whole of the Island.  In view of the provisions in the Cyprus Act and in the Treaty of Establishment, the territory of the Republic of Cyprus covers the whole of the Island minus the territory of the two SBAs.

The specific evidence lies in Section 2 of the Cyprus Act of 1960 and in Article 1 of the Treaty of Establishment of 1960.  To quote Article 1 in full:

‘The territory of the Republic of Cyprus shall comprise the Island of Cyprus, together with the islands lying off its coast, with the exception of the two areas defined in Annex A to this Treaty, which areas shall remain under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. These areas are in this Treaty and its Annexes referred to as the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area and the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area.’

(The Cyprus Act 1960 and the Treaty of Establishment of 1960 may be found respectively at: www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Eliz2/8-9/52/contents and at http://peacemaker.un.org/sites/peacemaker.un.org/files/CY_600816_TreatyNicosia.pdf)

For these reasons, it is not appropriate to muddle up the Island with the Republic of Cyprus; they are two distinct entities.  Neither is it appropriate or proper, except in a narrow geographical sense, to refer to ‘the island’ with a lower case ‘i’.

For the same reasons, any reference to ‘Cyprus’ in the post-1960 epoch is potentially misleading.  Depending on the circumstances, any post-1960 reference to ‘Cyprus’ may refer to one of the following: (i) the Island of Cyprus; (ii) the Republic of Cyprus; or (iii) the two remnants of the erstwhile Crown Colony of Cyprus which, since 1960, have been known as the SBAs over which the United Kingdom continues to assert sovereignty.

With the above in mind, let us now take a closer look at the four main reasons why references to the proposed ‘reunification of the island’ or to the proposed ‘reunification of Cyprus’ are misleading, or apt to mislead.

Firstly, as indicated above, when the British imperial administration in Nicosia came to an end and the Republic of Cyprus came into existence on 16 August 1960, the territory of the Island of Cyprus (‘hereafter the Island’) was neither unified nor united.  Instead, this territory was divided into three separate portions.

On the one hand, the United Kingdom continued to assert sovereignty over the two SBAs encompassing 3 per cent of the territory and 9 per cent of the coastline of the Island.  On the other hand, the new unitary Republic of Cyprus acquired sovereignty over the remainder of the Island.

Thus, on the basis that, since 1960, the Island has never been unified or united, it is physically impossible for the Island to be ‘reunified’, ‘reunited’ or subjected to a ‘reunification’, especially in circumstances where the original three portions dating back to 1960 are replaced by four portions consisting of two lingering SBAs plus one new ‘Greek Cypriot constituent state’ and one new ‘Turkish Cypriot constituent state’ i.e. the two proposed constituent elements of the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

Secondly, upon the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, its citizens and some of its key mechanisms of governance were neither unified nor united.  For their part, citizens were constitutionally divided into two quasi-Ottoman ‘Communities’: the ‘Greek Community’; and the ‘Turkish Community’.  Each ‘Community’ was thus endowed with an ethnic label.  However, under Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, each ‘Community’ was given an ethno-religious constitutional definition harking back to the Ottoman religious division of subjects into ‘non-Moslems’ and ‘Moslems’.  In other words, the post-imperial epoch incorporated a variation of the religiously-based division which had been built into the Ottoman and the British systems of imperial governance.

To aggravate matters still further, the ‘bi-communal’ division carved into the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 was widened by various constitutionally-sanctioned structures of segregation.  These included but were not limited to two separate primary schools systems, two different electoral lists and even two parallel systems of family justice, all of which had been previously maintained by the British imperial authorities.  In 1960, these existing structures of segregation were supplemented by entirely new ones, such as two new communal chambers, each of which was given legislative powers.

(See inter alia Articles 2, 20, 63, 86, 94, 110 and 111 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus.  The original main body of the Constitution has been reproduced by the Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus at www.presidency.gov.cy/presidency/presidency.nsf/all/1003AEDD83EED9C7C225756F0023C6AD/$file/CY_Constitution.pdf)

All in all, therefore, the Constitution of 1960 enshrined ‘bi-communal’ division and ‘bi-communal’ segregation in accordance with the demands of Turkey.  These demands were initially agreed by Greece and by the United Kingdom.  Then, at Lancaster House in London on 19 February 1959, these demands were also met by Archbishop Makarios and Dr Fazil Kutchuk, the ‘leaders of the two Cypriot communities’, as these two gentlemen were subsequently described on 14 July 1960 by Iain Macleod, the then British Colonial Secretary.  (Source: Hansard, House of Commons Debates, 14 July 1960, Column 1611.)

In this overall context, one other matter should not go unremarked.  Upon the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, ‘bi-communal’ division and the structures of segregation did not arise pursuant to any transparent consultation exercise involving the population of what had previously been the British Crown Colony of Cyprus, let alone any referendum held there.  Instead, these forms of division and segregation were dumped on the population of the new Republic of Cyprus by elites operating in secret, behind closed doors and behind the backs of the population.  To make matters altogether worse, this fragmented state of affairs was foisted on the population as a non-negotiable fait accompli and as a strict pre-condition of severely curtailed independence.

It follows that since the Republic of Cyprus has never been properly unified or united, it is legally impossible for the Republic of Cyprus to be ‘reunified’ or ‘reunited’ either today or in the future.  Indeed, ‘reunification’ becomes all the more unattainable in circumstances under which any future ‘settlement’ not only preserves some of the existing structures of segregation (such as the two ‘Communities’ and the two separate primary schools systems), but supplements them with entirely new ones (such as two new ‘constituent states’).

Thirdly, standard dictionary definitions of ‘reunification’ and other similar words may be applicable to the reunification of Germany, but they are not appropriate in connection with the Republic of Cyprus and the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

To take one example, the online Oxford Dictionary defines ‘reunification’ as the ‘Restoration of political unity to a place or group, especially a divided territory’.  However, since 1960, for the reasons outlined above, neither the Island nor the Republic of Cyprus has been subject to proper ‘political unity’.  Accordingly, it is simply impossible for the non-existent ‘political unity’ of the Island or the Republic of Cyprus to be subject to any form of ‘restoration’, especially if a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ is created to replace the Republic of Cyprus.

To take a second example, the online Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘reunification’ as ‘an occasion when a country that was temporarily divided into smaller countries is joined together as one country.’  This definition may have been pertinent to Germany upon the legal union of two Member States of the United Nations, as referred to earlier in this article.  However, this definition is inapplicable with regard to the Republic of Cyprus.  After all, in so far as the law is concerned, the Republic of Cyprus has never been ‘temporarily divided into smaller countries’.

Since 1974, the Republic of Cyprus has been subjected to a de facto partition caused by the two Turkish invasions of 1974 and a subsequent Turkish occupation.  Since 1983, the Republic of Cyprus has also been subjected to a purported unilateral declaration of independence which the United Nations Security Council has not only branded as ‘incompatible’ with the Treaty of Establishment and with the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960, but as ‘invalid’ as well.  (See UNSC Resolution 541 adopted on 18 November 1983 and published by the United Nations at www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/541(1983))

It follows that the ‘TRNC’ remains an invalid and, thus, unlawful entity which has never been recognised on a de jure basis by any sovereign state with the solitary and glaring exception of Turkey.  Nor has the ‘TRNC’ ever been formally admitted as a Member State of the United Nations; this is in noticeable contrast to the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, both of which were admitted as members of the United Nations in 1973, a few years before the reunification of Germany in 1990.

With all this in mind, it is linguistically and legally impossible for either the Island or the Republic of Cyprus to become subject to ‘reunification’, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary or as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, via the formation of the proposed ‘federation’ and the retention of two SBAs.

(Sources: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/reunification published by Oxford University Press and http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/reunification published by Cambridge University Press.)

Fourthly, references to ‘reunification’ are preposterous in the context of the proposed Turkish-backed vision of a ‘virgin birth’.  Indeed, in this specific regard, the idea of ‘reunification’ enters the realm of sheer absurdity.

The curious concept of the ‘virgin birth’ envisages that the geographically de jure unitary (if de facto partitioned) Republic of Cyprus will be constitutionally killed off and then replaced by two newly-born ‘constituent states’ and one newly-born ‘federation’.  In other words, if the ‘virgin birth’ concept is ever implemented, the Republic of Cyprus will become the victim of what Professor Marios L. Evriviades has vividly depicted as ‘destruction’ and, thus, ‘cratocide’.  The latter is the prerequisite for what the same author has described as ‘cratogenesis’.  (See inter alia Marios L. Evriviades, ‘Cyprus Czech-Mated’, Jerusalem Post, 22 April 2013: www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Cyprus-Czech-mated-310718)

With all this in mind, how is it conceivable for any deceased sovereign state to be ‘reunified’, ‘reunited’ or subjected to ‘reunification’?  Perhaps an explanation may be provided by those who advocate ‘reunification’ via the formation of the proposed ‘federation’.

In the meantime, one is obliged to make a number of observations.


To begin with, the Republic of Cyprus continues to live with the divisive legacies of, firstly, Turkish and British imperialism and, secondly, Turkish and British neo-imperialism.  One of these legacies is the so-called ‘settlement process’ which is actually a process of surrender.  This is because the primary objective of the ‘process’, i.e. the formation of a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’, is entirely consistent with the long-standing aims of Turkey, as endorsed by the United Kingdom.  These Turkish aims pre-date the two Turkish invasions of 1974.  In fact, they date back to 1956, although they were refined in 1964 to accommodate a more pronounced pro-‘federal’ stance.

(The author has explored the above themes in his series of articles published by Agora Dialogue and available at http://agora-dialogue.com/?s=Klearchos+A.+Kyriakides ; these articles include Klearchos A. Kyriakides, ‘The Lennox-Boyd statement of 19 December 1956 and the origins of the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ in Cyprus’, Agora Dialogue, 27 December 2016: http://agora-dialogue.com/2016/12/27/the-lennox-boyd-statement-of-19-december-1956-and-the-origins-of-the-proposed-bi-communal-bi-zonal-federation-in-cyprus/)

In a similar vein, the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ is a variation of the third of nine ‘options’ put forward sixty years ago by the then British imperial administration in Nicosia in ‘Cyprus: Report on Methods, Costs and Consequences of Partition’ (hereafter ‘the 1957 British Report on Partition’).  This was circulated to the Cabinet Colonial Policy Committee as an attachment to a Memorandum dated 22 May 1957, i.e. sixty years to the day before the publication of this article on 22 May 2017.

More to the point, at paragraph 5(4), the 1957 British Report on Partition floated the unmistakably unethical if not unlawful idea of ‘bring[ing] about the physical separation of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with a view to granting each community virtual autonomy in its internal affairs, and then administering the island under a federal system with the consent of its inhabitants, sovereignty continuing to vest in the British Crown;’.

Meanwhile, in its ‘Conclusions’, the 1957 British Report on Partition not only anticipated the possible establishment of an entity akin to the Republic of Cyprus.  It also commended the possible formation of a variation of the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.  The evidence may be traced in points (ii) and (iii) of paragraph 62 (b) of the Conclusions of the 1957 British Report on Partition.  This paragraph embodies the assertion:

‘… that the preferable solutions to partition are (i) self-government [under British sovereignty] on the Radcliffe pattern [as proposed by Lord Radcliffe, the then British Constitutional Commissioner for Cyprus, in his ill-fated report published on 19 December 1956], (ii) independence under international guarantee with some international authority holding the ring, (iii) the half-way house of a federal system with separate Greek and Turkish zones; …’.

(Source: ‘Cyprus: Report on Methods, Costs and Consequences of Partition’, paragraphs 5(4) and 62(b).  Attached to ‘Cyprus – A Study of Partition’, a Memorandum composed by Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Colonial Secretary of the United Kingdom, circulated to the Cabinet Colonial Policy Committee and dated 22 May 1957, C.P.C. (57) 15), CAB 134/1556, National Archives of the UK.)

Exactly sixty years to the day after the 1957 British Report on Partition was circulated to the Cabinet Colonial Policy Committee on 22 May 1957, the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus find themselves inhabiting a de facto partitioned sovereign state which was originally established on 16 August 1960 in line with point (ii) of paragraph 62(b).  Furthermore, the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus continue to be imprisoned by a ‘process’ envisaging the formation of a ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.  This, to repeat, is a variation of the vision sketched out in point (iii) of paragraph 62(b) of the 1957 British Report on Partition.  This, to repeat, commended ‘the half-way house of a federal system’ encompassing ‘separate Greek and Turkish zones’.

In this context, it should not go unremarked that the 1957 Report on Partition spoke of ‘Greek and Turkish zones’.  As a consequence, this historic document forms part of the British imperial foundations of the ‘bi-zonality’ inherent in the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

Nor should it go unremarked that the 1957 Report on Partition described ‘a federal system’ as ‘a half-way house’.  Yet, as the Cambridge Dictionary helpfully explains, a ‘halfway house’ (spelt without a hyphen) is not only ‘something that combines particular features of two other things, especially in order to try to please people who do not like the two things on their own’.  In addition – and this is not without irony – a ‘halfway house’ is ‘a place where prisoners or people with mental health problems can stay after they leave prison or hospital and before they start to live on their own’.  (Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/halfway-house)

No less importantly, pending the proposed formation of a ‘federation’, the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus remain subject to the unlawful and unethical de facto outcomes generated by the two Turkish invasions of 1974.  These outcomes include the forcible transfers out of the Turkish-occupied parts of the Republic of Cyprus plus the inward population transfers from Turkey.  All of which have been ostensibly carried out contrary to inter alia Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

What is not in any doubt is that the aforementioned transfers have radically altered the demographic character of the Turkish-occupied part which stretches over 36 per cent of the territory and 57 per cent of the coastline of the Republic of Cyprus.

(See Klearchos A. Kyriakides, ‘The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its relevance to the ‘Conference on Cyprus’ in Geneva on 12 January 2017’, Agora Dialogue, 2 January 2017: http://agora-dialogue.com/2017/01/02/the-fourth-geneva-convention-of-1949-and-its-relevance-to-the-conference-on-cyprus-in-geneva-on-12-january-2017/)

To cap it all, the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus continue to put up with heavy doses of hypocrisy.  On the one hand, in accordance with the twin principles of division and segregation (and in line with their past policies in support of the ill-fated ‘Annan Plan’ of 2004), the United Kingdom and Turkey are effectively endorsing the proposed organisation of two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’ on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

On the other hand, on 23 June 2016, the UK held just one national referendum on the question of Brexit.  One and only one referendum was held despite the de jure division of the United Kingdom into four separate parts – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to name each one in alphabetical order.

Meanwhile, on 16 April 2017, Turkey likewise held one and only one national referendum on the question of authoritarian constitutional reform.  In other words, Turkey did not hold two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’, including a separate one for the benefit of the Kurds of Turkey who, according to The CIA World Factbook, constitute 19 per cent of the population of that country.  (Source: www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/tu.html)

In the light of the above, it bears emphasising that two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’ were used on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus in 2004.  In addition, the staging in the future of two ‘separate simultaneous referenda’ is envisaged by paragraphs 2, 4 and 6 the ‘Joint Declaration’ of 11 February 2014.  More to the point, ‘separate simultaneous referenda’ are among the new structures of segregation to have emerged in recent years as procedural means of facilitating ‘reunification’ and giving it a semblance of democratic legitimacy.  Yet, the past use and prospective use of such ‘referenda’ have only served to widen the pre-existing de jure and de facto divisions in the Republic of Cyprus.

(The ‘Joint Declaration’ of 11 February 2014 has been published by the Press and Information Office of the Republic of Cyprus at www.moi.gov.cy/MOI/pio/pio.nsf/All/627FB126018F4B8BC2257E60002DBAD4)

Persuasion and Propaganda

For all of the reasons set out in this article, the word ‘reunification’ has been stretched beyond its natural breaking point.  Indeed, to revert to the phraseology of Bad Language, the author hypothesises that the word ‘reunification’ has been ‘abused’ as part of an ongoing effort ‘to disguise or distort’ the truth and ‘to hide’ some ‘unpleasant realities’.  If this hypothesis is correct, it raises the real possibility that what lurks behind the repeated use of the word ‘reunification’ is a co-ordinated yet covert campaign of persuasion and propaganda to sugar the bitter pills of neo-imperial geographical division and demographic segregation.

The author makes these points mindful of a conspicuous lesson of history: the repetition of simple messages is one of the standard techniques of persuasion and propaganda.  Indeed, the repetition of loaded, skewed, misleading or false messages remains indelibly associated with the dark arts of persuasion and propaganda, as practised by Dr Josef Goebbels.  He, of course, was the Minister of the People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda in the Hitler regime in Germany from 1933 until 1945.

What is wrong with propaganda?  Part of the answer lies in the book, Mein Kampf, which was written by Adolf Hitler and published in 1926.  Hitler, who enthusiastically espoused the perceived virtues of the practice, wrote as follows:

‘Propaganda tries to force a doctrine on the whole people. … Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea.’  (Quoted in ‘Nazi Propaganda’, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005202)

In the light of the above, a key question arises in relation to the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.  Has propaganda been deployed to promote ‘reunification’ via ‘federation’?  The reader is invited to reach his or her own conclusion.  That said, to adapt the words used by Hitler, there seems little doubt that the formation of a ‘federation’ will represent a ‘victory’ for Turkey, a ‘victory’ for its ‘doctrine’ in favour of division and a ‘victory’ for the ‘idea’ of segregation.  In turn, any such ‘victory’ will inevitably inflict a crushing defeat upon the rule of law, the concept of an integrated society, the tenets of inclusive liberal democracy and the enlightened principles which underpin the post-Hitler international legal order.  Appropriately enough, these principles include the truth, which is the antithesis of propaganda.

Closing thoughts

In the light of the above, what does ‘reunification’ really mean with regard to the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’?  In this context, ‘reunification’ really means ‘re-division’ laced with something even worse: ‘re-segregation’.  And, as the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr pointed out in his celebrated address in Detroit, Michigan, on 23 June 1963, ‘segregation is wrong because it is a system of adultery perpetuated by an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality.’

© Klearchos A. Kyriakides, Larnaca, May 2017. 

Dr Klearchos A. Kyriakides is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Cyprus Campus of the University of Central Lancashire and the Co-ordinator of its programme dedicated to the Rule of Law and the Lessons of History.  All views expressed in this article are personal.  

The author declares an interest as a British citizen with roots in Lysi and Petra, two ethnically-cleansed villages in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus; on a voluntary unpaid basis, he is also an independent academic consultant of Lobby for Cyprus, a non-party-political NGO based in London which campaigns on behalf of displaced persons from the Turkish-occupied area of the Republic of Cyprus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *