24 years after Turkey invaded and occupied 37% of Cyprus, turning over 200.000 of its inhabitants into refugees, the problems created by the Turkish invasion remain unsolved. The end of the Cold War marked the beginning of a new era, in which respect and cooperation between nations, commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law are recognized as being of capital importance. Within this new environment, the Cyprus issue is not only a glaring anachronism but also continues to be a factor of potential instability in the South-Eastern Mediterranean. Hence, besides a moral obligation, the international community has an additional reason to contribute to the efforts for a just and viable solution.

A. Geographical and historical background.

Cyprus is situated at the north-eastern end of the East Mediterranean basin, 75 kms south of Turkey, 105 kms west of Syria and 380 kms north of Egypt. In respect of Greece, which is situated to the west of Cyprus, it lies at a distance of 280 kms from the small island of Meghisti (also known as Kastellorizo), of 400 kms from Rhodes and of about 800 kms from the Greek mainland.

The present population of Cyprus is estimated at 741.000, of whom 629.500 (85%) belong to the Greek Cypriot community, 89.200 (12%) to the Turkish Cypriot community and 22.300 (3%) are foreigners residing in Cyprus. Before the Turkish invasion (according to the 1973 census), the population's distribution by ethnic group was 78.9% Greek Cypriots, 18.4% Turkish Cypriots and 2.7% other minorities. Emigration by Turkish Cypriots disgruntled with life in the territories occupied by Turkey, mostly to Britain, accounts for this substantial reduction in the Turkish Cypriots' numbers. The Turkish Cypriots are mostly descended from the soldiers of the Ottoman army which conquered the island in 1571 and the immigrants from Asia Minor brought in by the Sultan's government shortly thereafter. Some are descended from Greek Cypriots who chose to identify with the Turks during the Ottoman occupation, in order to escape persecution, higher taxes etc.

The name of Cyprus has always been associated with Greek mythology (most famously as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite) and history. The Greek Achaeans established themselves on Cyprus around 1400 B.C.. The island was an integral part of the homeric world and, indeed, the word «Cyprus» was used by Homer himself. Ever since, Cyprus has gone through the same major historical phases as the rest of the Greek world (city-states led by rulers like Evagoras who played an important role in Greek history, participation in the campaigns of Alexander the Great, Hellenistic period under his successors, Roman conquest, Byzantine Empire). After the decline of the Byzantine Empire, the island, like the rest of Greece, came under foreign conquerors, notably the Frankish Crusaders in 1191 and the Turks in 1571. Throughout history however, the island's character remained essentially Greek, since neither the disadvantage of its geographical position (distance from mainland Greece), nor the incessant raids and occupations, the introduction of foreign languages, religions and civilizations it underwent for centuries on end, were able to alter the religion, the culture, the language and the Greek consciousness of the great majority of its people.

Greek Cypriots played an active part in the wider 1821 - 1830 struggle for the liberation of the Greek nation from the Ottoman yoke, although the island itself could not join the revolt against the Ottoman Empire, due to its geographic position. Despite the fact that the situation was calm, the Ottoman governor of the island asked for the authorization of the Sultan to execute 486 persons prominent in the Greek Cypriot community, in order to eliminate its leadership. After he received it, they were arrested and their executions were carried out during July 1821. Among those hanged on July 9th, were Archbishop Cyprianos, leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church and three bishops. According to some estimates, over 20.000 Greek Cypriots emigrated to escape from the repression which followed.

Despite the desires of the Greek Cypriots, Cyprus was not included in the new, independent Greek state in 1830. In 1878, the Turks ceded Cyprus to Britain. In 1914, the British annexed the island and in 1923, under the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey unconditionally renounced any claim on Cyprus. British rule ended when, after a valiant -and brutally repressed- liberation struggle by the Greek Cypriots who wanted to unite the island to Greece, a compromise was struck and Cyprus became an independent Republic on August 16th, 1960.

The new state's Constitution, imposed by the Zurich and London Agreements, divided the people of Cyprus into two communities on the basis of ethnic origin. The divisive and inflexible nature of the Constitution granted a wide-range veto power to the Turkish Cypriot community, although it represented only 18% of the total population. This soon made the operation of the government difficult. The two communities were after a while locked into a constitutional crisis. In November 1963, Archbishop Makarios, first President of the Republic, suggested certain amendments to facilitate the smooth functioning of the State. Turkey rejected these proposals before the Turkish Cypriot community even had a chance to examine them. The Turkish Cypriot leadership fell in with Turkey's partitionist aims.

Following Turkish threats to invade Cyprus, the Government of the Republic brought the matter before the United Nations. The U.N. Security Council Resolution 186/1964 (the first in a series of U.N. Resolutions to tackle the problem) provided for the stationing of a U.N. Peace Keeping Force (UNFICYP) on the island and initiated U.N. mediation efforts to promote a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement, in accordance with the U.N. Charter. The Cypriot Government did all that was in its power to restore the situation to normality and, in 1968, intercommunal talks began for a negotiated agreement on a new constitutional system. Despite the support given by the Turkish Cypriot leadership to Turkey's partitionist objectives in Cyprus, some progress was achieved during these talks. However, they were abruptly interrupted by Turkey's invasion of the island.

B. The Turkish invasion of 1974.

In July 1974, the then ruling junta in Greece organized a military coup against President Makarios, presenting Turkey with the pretext it had long sought for. Alleging a right of "intervention" as guarantor of the 1960 Constitution, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974 "to restore security and order and to protect the Turkish Cypriots".

These assertions, however, cannot be sustained. The right of "intervention" which is provided for by the treaties of Zurich and London, does not explicitly involve the use of force. Even supposing that this were the case, the U.N. Charter explicitly excludes the use of force and its provisions predominate over all possible international agreements to the contrary, as the Charter itself emphasizes. Apart from this, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash himself, had at the time characterized the coup as an "internal affair" of the Greek Cypriots, stressing that it did not affect the Turkish Cypriot community.

Moreover, in cases of disruption of the constitutional order, the Treaty of Guarantee provided for consultations between the guarantor powers (i.e. Turkey, Britain and Greece). Only if concerted action were to prove impossible, did the Treaty of Guarantee reserve to each of the guarantor powers the right to act unilaterally with the exclusive aim to restore the constitutional order. Turkey, however, never entered into consultations before invading the country whose territorial integrity it had guaranteed. In addition when, after a few days, the constitutional order had been restored, the Turkish forces not only refrained from withdrawing, but proceeded to the second stage of the invasion, while negotiations were still taking place in Geneva. Thus, Turkey finally carried out its expansionist plans, occupying 37% of Cyprus and turning 200.000 Greek Cypriots into refugees.

C. International condemnation of the Turkish occupation.

The Cyprus issue is a typical international problem of invasion and occupation of one member-state of the UN by another, namely Turkey. Twenty-three years after the Turkish invasion and defying a series of U.N. Resolutions, Turkey refuses to withdraw its occupation forces. At present, more than 35.000 Turkish troops are illegally stationed in the northern part of Cyprus, which is characterized by the Secretary General of the U.N., as one of the most highly militarized areas in the world.

The international community has expressed itself virtually unanimously on the Cyprus issue, through a great number of Resolutions of international fora, such as the General Assembly and the Security Council of the U.N., the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. A number of U.N. Resolutions, in particular, have repeatedly addressed the Cyprus situation in all its aspects. They provide, inter alia, for the withdrawal of the Turkish army (Resolutions 353/1974 of the Security Council and 3212/1974, 37/253/1983 of the General Assembly) and the return of the refugees to their homes in safety (Resolution 3212/1974 of the General Assembly, later endorsed by Security Council Resolution 365/1975).

They also affirm that the present status quo is not acceptable (Security Council Resolution 774/1992) and outline the main principles on which a solution should be based. In this respect, in its Resolution 939/1994, the Security Council "reaffirms its position that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council Resolutions in a bicommunal and bizonal federation, and that such a settlement must exclude union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession".

None of the above mentioned Resolutions was accepted and implemented by the Turkish side. On the contrary, in November 1983, in the middle of yet another U.N. initiative, the Turkish Cypriot leadership, at the instigation of Turkey, proclaimed an "independent state" in the occupied part of Cyprus. United Nations Security Council Resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984) condemned the unilateral declaration as well as all subsequent secessionist acts, declared them illegal and invalid and called for their immediate withdrawal. They also called upon all states not to recognize the purported state set up by secessionist acts and not to facilitate or in any way assist the secessionist entity. Turkey is the only state in the world which has accorded recognition to the illegal "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

The European Parliament has also adopted several Resolutions concerning all aspects of the Cyprus issue (i.e. Resolution 17.11.1983 denouncing the secessionist entity, Resolution 15.12.1988 condemning the destruction of the cultural heritage in the occupied territories, Resolution 15.3.1990 urging the Turkish Government to demonstrate the necessary volition and a spirit of cooperation with a view to resuming the Intercommunal negotiations, Resolution 21.1.1993 calling on Turkey to withdraw its occupation troops, Resolution 12.7.1995 expressing its support to the accession of Cyprus to the E.U., Resolution 28.3.1996 condemning the statement by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Denktash, that there was no need to search any further for the persons missing as a result of the Turkish invasion because Turkish Cypriot irregulars had killed them, and welcoming the proposal of President Clerides for the demilitarization of Cyprus).

As regards the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a number of Resolutions which condemn the illegal declaration of an "independent" state in 1983, call for the restoration of the unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus, for the respect of the human rights of its inhabitants, as well as for the withdrawal of foreign troops (Recommendations 974/1983, 1056/1987, Resolution 816/1984).

D. Mass violations of Human rights.

The Cyprus issue is a flagrant case of continued mass violations of basic human rights and freedoms by Turkey, in breach of the purposes and principles of the U.N. Charter and major international instruments in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Numerous Resolutions of the U.N., including those of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have been adopted over these 24 years, concerning all aspects of violations of human rights in Cyprus. Turkey has failed to comply with any of them.

Furthermore, the Commission of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, an impartial judicial institution, having examined the three recourses of the Cyprus Government against Turkey for multiple violations of the European Convention of Human Rights (Applications 6780/74, 6950/75 and 8007/77), adopted two reports (in 1976 and 1983) in which it is concluded that Turkey is guilty of gross violations of human rights in Cyprus from 1974 onwards.

Turkey carried out ethnic cleansing in Cyprus on a mass scale, long before this concept was associated with Bosnia. It has systematically been committing the following flagrant violations of human rights in Cyprus :

- Forcible eviction and displacement of persons from their homes and land.

The nearly 200.000 Greek Cypriots (40 % of the total number of Greek Cypriots in 1974) who were forcibly expelled from their homes by the Turkish invading forces in 1974 are still being prevented from returning there and are refugees in their own country. They continue to be arbitrarily deprived of their homes and property in the occupied area, which are gradually being illegally distributed by the Denktash regime to other persons, such as members of the Turkish occupation army and settlers form mainland Turkey.

The U.N., in Resolutions 361(1974) of the Security Council and 3395(1975) of the General Assembly, have called for urgent measures to facilitate the voluntary return of all refugees to their homes in safety. Twenty-three years have elapsed since then and Turkey refuses to implement these Resolutions.

On the 18th of December 1996, the European Court of Human Rights, after examining an application against Turkey by Mrs T. Loizidou, a refugee from Kyrenia in the occupied territories, ruled that Mrs Loizidou remains the legal owner of her property in Kyrenia and that Turkey has been carrying out a continuing violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights by not allowing her access to her property. Further hearings are now being held, in order to decide on the follow-up which will be given to this decision.

- Expulsion of the enclaved.

Out of 20.000 Greek Cypriots who chose in 1974 to stay in their ancestral homes in the area occupied by Turkey, only about 600 have managed to remain and live in the Karpasia peninsula at the eastern corner of Cyprus. This decrease is the result of a sustained campaign of harassment, discrimination, oppression and outright expulsions by the occupation forces and of the very drastic deterioration of the living conditions of the enclaved. The purpose of this policy has been to force the Greek Cypriots to leave their lands in the occupied part of the island and make room for settlers imported from Turkey.

Notwithstanding the commitments which the Turkish side agreed upon in Vienna, in August 1975 (3rd Vienna Agreement), to ensure that the enclaved "are free to stay and that they will be given every help to lead a normal life", the regime in the occupied areas has applied racist and inhuman policies against them. The report on the U.N. operations in Cyprus (December 1995) describes in detail the methods of oppression used against the enclaved: restrictions on movement within the occupied territories, restrictions on visits to the free areas, restrictions on visits by relatives, no local teaching of the Greek language after the primary level, severe and often prohibitive restrictions upon the travel of enclaved students to the free areas to be further educated there, primitive medical facilities, no access to Greek Cypriot doctors in the occupied territories, closure of many churches, lack of priests, lack of telephonic facilities beyond those in the local «police» stations, deprivation of property, intimidation by the illegal regime's security forces, restrictions on UNFICYP's freeedom to carry out humanitarian actions etc. The report also points out that a review carried out by UNFICYP confirmed that the communities of Greek Cypriots and Maronites "were the objects of very severe restrictions, which curtailed the exercise of many basic freedoms and had the effect of ensuring that, inexorably, with the passage of time, they would cease to exist in the northern part of the island".

On April 10th, 1997, the European Parliament adopted Resolution B4 - 0286/97, stating that it considers inadmissible the conditions which the occupation regime had set in order to allow a delegation of Members of the European Parliament to visit the enclaved. The Resolution also condemned the «serious and continued violations of the Human Rights and basic freedoms of the enclaved, perpetrated by the illegal occupation regime, as well as the intransigence of that regime».

On December 20th, 1996, Mr Andreas Barsony, Rapporteur of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly described in his report the measures used against the enclaved, stating that «there can be no doubt that these measures amount to demographic cleansing».

Turkey's policy of systematically persecuting the enclaved Greek Cypriots continues, in spite of the small number left. New bureaucratic impediments to prevent visits of the enclaved by their children who live in the free part of Cyprus are put in place. Most recently, the illegal authorities have prevented the return to the occupied territories of Mrs Heleni Fokas, a teacher of the children of the enclaved, who had temporarily returned to the free part of Cyprus to undergo hospitalization.

- Systematic plundering of the Cypriot cultural heritage in the occupied territories.

The island's cultural heritage, which has existed for thousands of years and is part of the common heritage of mankind, is being systematically and deliberately destroyed in the occupied areas. Greek Orthodox churches continue to be converted into mosques, vandalized or turned into entertainment centers while priceless treasures and works of art are smuggled out of the country or destroyed, in defiance of the relevant Resolutions and calls of European and International Organizations (such as the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, etc.) to stop the destruction and cooperate for the protection of the ancient and religious monuments of Cyprus.

Among recent examples of this policy, are :

Also, as the turkish cypriot newspaper "Ortam" wrote on 5.8.1997, the byzantine church of the Holy Virgin, located between the villages of Acheritou and Prastio in the area of Famagusta, was completely looted.

Over 500 churches have been destroyed in an effort to turkify the occupied areas and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNFICYP) is pursuing the matter with the Turkish side, so far unsuccesfully.

One should also place within this context of wholesale looting, the arrest by German authorities, in October 1997, of the Turkish citizen Hikmet Aydin Dikmen, in whose possession they found mosaics and icons which came from the looting of the Convent of Christ Antiphonetes and of the church of the Holy Virgin of Kanakaria. In the case of the church of Kanakaria, it must be stated that the United States Court of Appeals for the seventh circuit (Chicago) upheld on October 24th, 1990, an earlier decision of the district Court for the southern district of Indiana and ruled that mosaics stolen from that church should be returned to their rightful owners, namely the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

Besides outright looting, the occupation authorities have allowed many archaeological sites and religious monuments to be gradually eroded and destroyed through neglect, such as the ruins of ancient Enkomi, the monastery of the Apostle Andreas in Karpasia etc.

In a further effort to alter the historic character of those places, the names of villages, towns and places which had been used for centuries, are being arbitrarily changed to Turkish ones, in contravention of International Law and U.N. Resolutions on the standardization of geographical names.

- Colonization of the occupied territories.

According to Turkish-Cypriot sources, nearly 80.000 settlers from Turkey have been transplanted illegally to the occupied part of Cyprus since 1974 and given properties usurped from the expelled Greek Cypriots. Other sources estimate the number of settlers to be 110.000. The settlers were given "citizenship" and "voting rights" in an attempt to subvert the will of the Turkish Cypriot community and provide support to the occupation regime. At the same time, the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population, forced to emigrate because of the conditions prevailing in the north, continuously decreases. From about 120.000 people in 1974, they number less than 90.000 today. Since an additional 35.000 Turkish soldiers are permanently stationed on the island, the proportion between Turks and Turkish Cypriots in the occupied part of Cyprus is almost 2 to 1. This is particularly ironic since Turkey's invasion and continued occupation of the north of the island had the protection of the Turkish Cypriots as a pretext.

Turkey's colonization policy was fully confirmed and exposed in the report submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by the Spanish parliamentarian Alfons Cuco, who conducted a special mission in Cyprus. The Parliamentary Assembly, based on this report, condemned such colonization by its Recommendation 1197/1992.

Notwithstanding this, recently some Turkish Cypriot politicians spoke of a need to bring in more settlers, so as to change once and for all the demographic balance on the island.

- Missing Persons.

Over 1.500 Greek Cypriots and Greeks have been missing, as a result of the 1974 military operations carried out by Turkey. A special Committee, established by the U.N. in 1981, has been assigned with the task to investigate their fate. It had not produced any results until recently, owing to the unwillingness of the Turkish side to cooperate.

In a television interview broadcast on March 1st, 1996, the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Denktash declared that the missing Greeks and Greek Cypriots had in fact been killed in 1974 in cold blood by Turkish Cypriot irregulars and, therefore, the whole issue should be considered to be closed. His confession should not be allowed to obstruct the special Committee's work. This purely humanitarian aspect of the Cyprus tragedy requires full and exhaustive investigation, away from any political expediencies, so that safe and indisputable conclusions are reached concerning the fate of every missing person.

In recent months, the Turkish side has adopted a somewhat more flexible stand on this issue, perhaps in order to deflect pressure in other fields. President Clerides and Mr Denktash agreed on July 31st, 1997, to exchange the information which each side has on the fate of the missing persons. A first exchange of information took place on January 23rd, 1998 and one must hope that more details on the fate of the missing persons will be given in the future.

E. U.N. efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.

Since 1974, there have been numerous efforts to reach a negotiated settlement, but to no avail. The Greek Cypriots, victims of the 1974 invasion, have persistently been seeking a prompt solution to the problem and, throughout this period, they have adopted a positive and constructive attitude and made serious concessions. These, unfortunately, were interpreted by the Turkish side as merely a sign of weakness and of proof that intransigence pays. All through these years, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have systematically undermined the initiatives of the U.N. Secretary General, leading them to an impasse.

Turkey's alleged support for a bicommunal - bizonal federation has proved to be completely insincere. The statements made at intervals by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders, as well as the official positions adopted by the latter during the intercommunal dialogue, show that the Turkish side merely wishes to achieve recognition of the pseudo-state it has set up in the north. In exchange, it «offers» the prospect of achieving later, at some unspecified date, a very loose confederation of two separate states, which will be independent in all but name. The declarations of the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman on 28 December 1997 make this quite clear : Mr Utkan said that two states exist on Cyprus and that the only issues remaining to be solved are those of (a) compensation for property, (b) the achievement of mutually satisfactory security guarantees and (c) the drawing of a definitive border, after minor adjustments. In this way, Turkey will have achieved its long-standing aim of consolidating the status quo.

As Turkish Prime Minister Mr Yilmaz also said in November 1997, Turkey's vital interests are not vested only in the Turkish Cypriot community but in Cyprus as a whole. Statements of this kind, which are often made by the more outspoken vice-president of the government Mr Ecevit, mean that Turkey will block any deal on Cyprus, however favourable to the Turkish Cypriots, as long as this deal does not perpetuate Turkish military supremacy in the area.

Ever since the beginning of the intercommunal dialogue, whenever the Secretary General submitted concrete proposals leading to a bicommunal - bizonal federation, the Turkish side rejected them or obstructed any progress, even when the proposals included provisions which were difficult for the Greek Cypriot side to accept (Working Points 1984, Integrated Documents 1985, Draft Framework Agreement 1986, Procedural Formula 1987, Outline for an Overall Agreement 1988, Set of Ideas 1992, Confidence - Building Measures 1993).

This negative attitude was noted by the Secretary General and the Security Council. The former, in his report dated 14.11.92, pointed out that "the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side are, in a fundamental way, outside the framework of the Set of Ideas", while the Security Council in its Resolution 789/92 expressly attributed the responsibility for the failure to the Turkish Cypriot side and called upon it to revise its position. Ôhe U.N. Secretary General, in his report of May 30 1994, also referred to the lack of political will of the Turkish Cypriot side for the achievement of any solution as a "well-known scenario".

The intercommunal dialogue was relaunched under the auspices of the UN in the summer of 1997. Ôwo meetings took place, in Troutbeck (9-13.7.1997) and Glion (11-15.8.97). They failed because of the intransigence of the Turkish Cypriots, which had been made clear beforehand, when Mr Denktash announced that he had come to the talks not in order to negotiate but in order to state his views once again. On August 20th, 1997, after Glion, the U.N. Security Council President stated that «commendation was due to President Clerides for the flexibility and cooperation that he had showed at this round of talks and I need to reflect to you that there was some concern and disappointment that further substantive progress at this time was impeded by the attempt to bring preconditions to the table by the other side and here of course I mean the Turkish Cypriots».

A further meeting held on the 26th of September 1997 to discuss security issues failed because Mr Denktash refused to discuss President Clerides' comprehensive proposal for the gradual disarmament and demilitarization of the island as a means of reducing the dangers of destabilization and thus leading to the improvement of the general climate. President Clerides has called on Turkey to discuss how to implement this measure but, unfortunately, Turkey has not accepted so far. Ïn 19 June 1998, President Clerides addressed a letter to UNSG on disarmament based on UNSC Resolution 1146/97 para7, which has been once more confirmed by para 6 of UNSC Resolution 1178/29.6.98. This courageous proposal has been welcomed by the international community and should be supported as a first priority.

The resumption of the Intercommunal Dialogue in 1998 has so far proved impossible, because Mr Denktash, with the full support of Ankara, has put forward preconditions which cannot be accepted and have been rejected by the International Community. These are the recognition of the pseudostate in the area occupied by Turkish troops, the freezing of negotiations for the adhesion of Cyprus to the EU and an end to the so-called embargo on exports from the areas occupied by Turkish troops. The US Presidential envoy for Cyprus, Mr Holbrooke, put the blame for the failure of his mission to Cyprus in early May 1998 on the preconditions put forward by the Turkish side. Mr Denktash has rejected calls by the UN Secretary General to return to the Intercommunal Dialogue. It remains to be seen whether Turkey and Mr Denktash will also ignore the latest UN Security Council Resolution (1179/98), which reaffirms the validity of all previous UN Security Council Resolutions ignored by Turkey and calls for a resumption of the Intercommunal Dialogue.

The current situation in Cyprus is unacceptable and cannot last. Three Greek Cypriot citizens were murdered in cold blood by occupation forces and Turkish armed «Grey Wolf» nationalist gangs imported from Turkey, on the 11th and 14th of August 1996 (the second killing was in fact carried out in front of television cameras by a settler from Turkey, who, instead of being arrested by the occupation forces, was later rewarded by being named «Agriculture Minister» of the illegal regime) and on the 13th of October 1996, two of them while peacefully demonstrating against the continued division of the island. Violence cannot function a substitute to a just, viable solution.

Greece strongly and unwaveringly supports the U.N. Secretary General in the discharge of his mission of good offices, in the search of a just, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, in accordance with the U.N. Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979. It will spare no efforts in assisting the U.N. in order to put an end, as soon as possible, to the unacceptable status quo in Cyprus. It will also be in close contact with other international actors who wish to assist in finding a solution. Such a solution must provide for the establishment of a federal, bizonal and bicommunal state of Cyprus, with a single sovereignty and international personality, as well as a single citizenship; the independence and territorial integrity of that state will be safeguarded and the fundamental freedoms of all citizens, including their political, economic, social and cultural rights, will be guaranteed.

F. Towards accession to the E.U.

Cyprus is politically, culturally and historically part of Europe and participates in most of its institutions. It has been a full member of the Council of Europe since 1961. In 1972 it concluded an Association Agreement with the European Economic Community and in 1987 a Customs Union Protocol.

The invasion of 1974 hit the Cypriot economy very badly. About 40 % of Greek Cypriots became destitute refugees. The occupied territories had played a vital role in the island's economy before 1974: 70 % of the natural resources of the island lay in the occupied part of the island, as did 65 % of its pre-invasion tourist infrastructure, 87 % of hotel units under construction, 56 % of the output of mining and quarrying, 41 % of livestock, 48 % of agricultural exports, 40 % of school buildings and the port of Famagusta which handled 83 % of cargo traffic.

It would have been logical to expect that the economy of the country would take decades to rebuild. On the contrary, through hard work and perseverence an economic miracle took place and the Republic of Cyprus today has a thriving economy which meets the Maastricht criteria for participation in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

The E.U. has repeatedly stated that the status quo on the island is unacceptable and, since its Dublin declaration of 26.6.1990, that the Cyprus problem affects its relations with Turkey.

In July 1990, the Republic of Cyprus submitted its application for accession to the E.U.. The E.U. Commission's opinion (avis) on the application, issued in June 1993, confirmed the European character, vocation and eligibility of Cyprus for membership. It also confirmed its capacity to fulfill the obligations of membership and to adopt the Acquis Communautaire.

In 1994, the European Councils of Corfu and Essen stated that the next phase of E.U. enlargement would involve Cyprus.

The Council, on the basis of its examination of the Cyprus situation and having taken into account the E.U. Observer's reports, adopted the 6 March 1995 decision, which placed Cyprus in a definite and irreversible course to E.U. membership. The main element of the decision provides that accession negotiations will start on the basis of the Commission's proposals six months after the conclusion of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference.

The E.U.-Cyprus Association Council at its meeting on 12 June 1995, reconfirmed the Council's 6 March decision and adopted a Resolution which led to the establishment of a structured dialogue between the E.U. and Cyprus. All consecutive European Councils since then confirmed that accession negotiations will start on the basis of the Commission's proposals six months after the conclusion of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference.

The Luxembourg European Council (12 and 13 December 1997) invited Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia to begin accession negotiations in the spring of 1998 on the conditions for their entry into the Union. This accession process was officially launched in London, on March 30th 1998 and a series of meetings since then has dealt with the "screening" of the compatibility of the legislation of Cyprus with the legislation of the EU. Cyprus also participates in the European Conference, which held its first meeting in Cardiff on March 12th, 1998.

The island's future accession could act as a catalyst. The prospect of accession to the E.U. offers a unique opportunity to solve the political problem of the island. The accession of Cyprus will foremost benefit the Turkish Cypriots -if the island has been reunified- as, due to their relatively low standard of living, most of the E.U.'s structural assistance to Cyprus will be targeted in their direction. Backed up by strong institutional guarantees, the Turkish Cypriots would thrive in a demilitarized federal Republic, which would be a E.U. member. A wide net of European institutions applying the E.U.'s principles would foster security, safeguard the cultural, religious and national heritage of the totality of Cypriots and create a common interest in the viability of the Federation. The way to a solution would be very easy if Turkey were to begin thinking seriously of how to achieve the welfare of the Turkish Cypriots who, unhappy with their current predicament, are voting with their feet by emigrating in ever larger numbers.

At the same time, membership of the European family may offer a new insight and furnish new ideas as to the best way for dealing with the political problem. The Union's "acquis" could give the opportunity for accommodating -in a most satisfactory way- the basic parameters of the problem while keeping in line with the U.N. provisions.

It is paradoxical that Turkey, while aspiring to become a member of the E.U., seeks to deny to the Turkish Cypriots the security and prosperity they would enjoy after Cyprus achieves E.U. membership.

Turkish arguments that the Treaty of Guarantee and the Constitution of the Republic do not allow Cyprus' membership in any international organization of which Greece and Turkey are not also members, are unfounded and misleading. When the Treaty of Guarantee excluded the "participation in whole or in part in any political or economic union with any state whatsoever", it clearly referred to the annexation or union of the whole or part of the island with one of the guarantor powers. As for the Constitution, the provisions granting the Greek Cypriot President or the Turkish Cypriot Vice-President the right to veto the accession of Cyprus to international organisations in which Greece and Turkey were not both members, have long ago become void, on Turkish responsibility. It is completely unacceptable for the side which flagrantly violated the above texts by invading the island and continues to flout them by illegally occupying 37 % of Cyprus, to invoke them and to distort their contents. Moreover, the Avis of the European Commission recognized the application for membership as sound and valid and the Government of Cyprus as the legitimate government of the island and its sole interlocutor.

In no E.U. text is the settlement of the island's political problem considered as a prerequisite for the accession of Cyprus. Such a condition would be inconceivable, since it would mean further punishing Cyprus because it was the victim of an illegal invasion and occupation. It would amount to rewarding Turkey for its illegal invasion, by granting it veto power on a matter which exclusively concerns Cyprus and the Union. It would also bury once and for all the chances for any just solution, since Turkey would have no incentive whatsoever to make any concessions. Statements implying that Cyprus must solve political problems before accession to the E.U., merely serve to give Turkey the misguided impression that a campaign of rejectionism and threats will best serve its purpose.

President Clerides has proposed to the Turkish Cypriots to take part in the official delegation of the Republic of Cyprus and this offer represents a major opportunity. Any such participation would have to be in the context of the official Cypriot delegation and there can be no «parallel» negotiations between the E.U. and the Turkish Cypriots, as Mr Denktash has demanded. Nor could any right of veto be given to the Turkish Cypriot side, since Mr Denktash would use it to block any progress.

At any rate, Cyprus has irrevocably embarked on its accession course. Its accession is a matter concerning solely the Union and Cyprus and no third party can intervene, let alone oppose this procedure.

G. New Turkish threats and the right of Cyprus to defend itself.

According to Turkey, Cyprus should not be allowed to buy weapons in order to defend itself against a new attack. The placement of an order to buy defensive S-300 anti-aircraft guns which will not be set up before September 1998 was met, many months before their arrival, by a war-mongering campaign. Turkish troops in the occupied territories have further been re-inforced, the air-space of Cyprus has repeatedly been violated by Turkish warplanes, provocative exercises which included mock attacks of presumed anti-aircraft gun sites were held, threats are being regularly uttered to bomb these sites even before delivery of the anti-aircraft guns, Turkish officials systematically leak scenaria to the press that a naval blockade of Cyprus is being considered and ships "suspected" of carrying arms have been searched in the Bosphorus Straits.

As an independent state, Cyprus has the right of self-defence, as recognized by the U.N. Charter; all the more since it has been the victim of vicious aggression by Turkey, which has been occupying the northern part of the island with its troops since 1974. After 24 years of a stalemate which saw the inability of the international community to achieve the withdrawal or even a serious reduction of the occupation force, the recent Turkish threats of further military action have shown that the need for the Republic of Cyprus to face this continuous threat is stronger than ever. The Government of Cyprus, as any Government in the world, has the responsibility to guarantee the security of its citizens living under the shadow of a permanent menace.

Trying to redress somewhat the overwhelming imbalance, Cyprus has undertaken an effort to upgrade its defence. Turkey's objections to the concept of upgrading Cypriot defence are made with the sole intention of protecting a military status-quo on the island that the international community has condemned and that the U.N. Security Council has deemed unacceptable in the clearest of terms.

The reality on the ground is entirely different from the picture presented by Turkish propaganda: Turkey maintains a battle-ready army of about 36.000 troops. All units are on a 100% level of readiness and manning. The offensive capability of this largely armoured force is spearheaded by 280 modern tanks, out of which 235 are deployed in attack positions close to the armistice line. Air support is available at a 10-minute flying distance from the nearby Turkish mainland, where a force of at least 80 F-16s and other assorted combat aircraft is concentrated. These forces have been substantially reinforced and their armaments modernized in 1996 and 1997.

Turkey has recently tried by every possible means to present the placing of the order by Cyprus for S-300 missiles as a threat against its security. This is in no case true. These are purely defensive ground-to-air missiles, whose effective range barely covers the free territory of Cyprus. Turkey's aim is simply to prevent Cyprus from getting any serious air defences, thus allowing Turkish aircraft to maintain air superiority permanently. The repeated boasts by Turkish officers and politicians that they can destroy these missiles at will, shows that they are not considered a threat to anything beyond local air superiority.

Designs from either Greece or Cyprus against Turkey are anyway out of the question. Nobody can seriously argue that either Greece or Cyprus intend to undertake an invasion or an attack of Turkey.

The international community has an obligation to assure that the integrity of Cyprus is preserved, that the Republic of Cyprus, as an independent state, retains its right of self-defence in the face of an unacceptable status quo and, ultimately, that the perspective of a fair, just and viable solution remains possible in the future for all Cypriots irrespective of Turkey's regional interests and interference.

There is in any case a very easy way for Turkey to avoid the installation of the S-300 missiles. As President Clerides has said, they will not be installed if, in the meantime, there has been progress towards achieving a political settlement. President Clerides has also proposed to enter into discussions on how to implement his proposal to progressively achieve the disarmament and total demilitarization of the island.

H. The need to find a just, viable solution.

Twenty-three years after the invasion, Turkey continues to occupy 37 % of Cyprus. It has brazenly refused to apply U.N. Security Council Resolutions and ignored all calls to withdraw the occupation forces and stop the forcible eviction of people from their homes, the enforced separation of families, the oppression of the enclaved, the systematic plundering of the Cypriot cultural heritage and the settlement of Turkish citizens in the occupied territories.

Not content with occupation of part of the island, Turkey has recently embarked upon a new, ever-worsening campaign of threats against the part of Cyprus which remains free.

Turkey's intransigence worsens whenever third parties, in order not to close all roads to a settlement, avoid condemning Turkish actions outright and choose to use neutral language in the hope that this will make Turkey more cooperative. 24 years after the invasion, Turkey has noted that the international community is unwilling to apply in a consistent manner the pressure which is necessary in order to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolutions upon a state which refuses to apply them.

Ever since 1974, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership have repeatedly refused to negotiate seriously, either refusing talks on one pretext or another, or setting impossible pre-conditions in order to guarantee the failure of the talks. Turkey hopes that the international community will eventually give up hope of achieving a just and viable settlement and accept the results of the 1974 invasion as fact. This will then free it to apply further pressure upon Cyprus, as the current campaign of intimidation clearly shows.

Lately, many third parties (USA, E.U. etc.) have expressed their readiness to actively contribute to the U.N. efforts towards a just and viable solution. The international community ought to intervene without delay, and convince Ankara to abide by the basic framework as described above. The key to the Cyprus problem lies almost exclusively in Turkey's hands.

The international community must strongly insist that Turkey apply U.N. Security Council Resolutions, as it demands that other states do. A failure of will would set a very dangerous precedent for the security of all small states in the world.

Last, while the continued occupation of 37% of Cyprus by Turkey is an international issue and not a bilateral problem between Greece and Turkey, it puts a very severe strain in Greco-Turkish relations. A just and viable solution of the problems caused by the 1974 invasion would lead to a substantial improvement in relations between Greece and Turkey. It would also remove a major obstacle to the further strengthening of Turkey's relations with the E.U..