REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
“THE SITUATION IN CYPRUS”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
The Turkish Muslim Community in Cyprus is an integral part of the Islamic World. The ties are rooted in shared faith, culture and Islamic heritage.
2. When the United Kingdom relinquished its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territory of Cyprus in 1960, a bicommunal state machinery was created with the effective participation of both sides in all the organs of the Joint state. Basic articles of the constitution safeguarded the rights of the two communities which were legal and political entities in their own right retaining exclusive powers over cultural and religious affairs and matters of personal status. Annexation and partition was prohibited. Turkey, Britain and Greece guaranteed this state of affair. The partnership principle was the essence of the legitimate order in Cyprus.
3. However, the partnership based on the 1960 constitutional order disintegrated in December 1963 as the Greek Cypriot side set up a Greek Cypriot State which never succeeded in extending its domination over the Turkish Cypriot partner as stated in the United Nations Secretary General’s Report dated 12 December 1964. Since then the Turkish Cypriots have been defying and resisting the illegal attempt to take away their vested rights as a co-founder partner community with an equal say in determining the future of the Island. Since December 1963 there has not been a single political joint authority in Cyprus but two separate administrations each running the affairs of its own community.
4. The Eighth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference held in Tehran, in December 1997 and Twenty-fifth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Doha, State of Qatar in March 1998, affirmed the provisions of all the resolutions adopted by Islamic Conferences at all levels in this regard, and the principle of the political equality of the two peoples in Cyprus. Both Conferences reiterated solidarity with the Turkish Muslim people of Cyprus, the right of the Turkish Cypriot community to be heard at all international and regional fora where the Cyprus question is discussed.
5. The Organization called on the two parties to engage in free negotiations for the achievement of a mutually accepted solution and expressed its support for the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General within the framework of his mission of good offices, and the belief that a just political settlement needs to be based on respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Turkish Cypriot people and observance of the principle of equal political status in the attainment of a freely negotiated and mutually acceptable solution. It also expressed support for the continued enhancement of the participation of the Turkish Muslim Community of Cyprus in the activities of all OIC organs and for further intensified relations with the Turkish Cypriot people in all fields, including trade, tourism, culture, information, investment and sports.
6. The need for creating a positive political atmosphere based on mutual trust and confidence between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriots is recognized and deemed essential for achieving a comprehensive political settlement. In line with the call made to the two sides by the UN Secretary General, the Turkish Cypriot side displayed a constructive and flexible stance during the proximity talks on the implementation of the confidence building measures (CBM) held from February through June 16, 1994, making concessions which included the cession of territory (namely delineated forced area of Varosha) to be placed under the UN administration.
7. After the conclusion of the talks with the UN representative in Nicosia, President Denktas, the Turkish Cypriot leader, in June 1994, stated that the Turkish Cypriots side not only accepted all points raised by the UN, but was also ready to sign an agreement with Mr. Clerides by incorporating all these elements as well as the tangible benefits envisaged for the Turkish Cypriot side in the text. This constructive attitude was noted by the UN Secretary General in his letter addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/1994/785) dated 28 June 1994.
8. The Turkish Cypriot expressed the view that in order to start comprehensive negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus question, new parameters must be drawn up by the parties based on their free will and taking into account the political equality and the right of sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriots.
9. The Turkish Cypriot side considers that the principles of rotation of the Presidency and of consensus in the decision taking process, as well as equality and consensus in the Council of Ministers, are indispensable elements in any federation which is to be based on equal political status and participation. It also regard the right of Turkey to continue to provide guarantees for the security of the Turkish Cypriots as an indispensable element in any settlement.
10. The UN Secretary General has taken a fresh initiative to launch a process of direct negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities with the aim of securing an overall political settlement. As a result, two rounds of direct talks were held between the leader of the Greek Cypriot community Mr.G.Clerides and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mr.R.Dentash at Troutbeck, New York on 9-13 July 1997 and at Glion, Switzerland in August 1997 under the auspices of the UN Secretary General which was presided over by his Special Adviser on Cyprus Mr.Diego Cordovez. However the talks remained inconclusive in the absence of any substantive progress on the basic issues relating to the Cyprus problem.
11. The massive arms build-up which continues unabated in the south including the decision of the Greek Cypriot side to procure a sophisticated missile system further deepens this crisis. The Greek Cypriot side’s arms purchases are increasing.
12. On 31 August 1998, President Mr. Rauf Denktas has made a constructive proposal for reconciliation in Cyprus. The proposal envisages, among other things, the establishment of a confederation in Cyprus. The said proposal upholds the equality of the two peoples and safeguards the vital and legitimate interests of the two sides in Cyprus as well as preserving the balance between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus. This proposal conforms to the UN approach, which aims at reaching a freely negotiated and mutually acceptable settlement.
13. The Secretary-General is of the view that efforts towards finding a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus dispute should be based on mutual ground emanating from resolutions which are acceptable to both sides. Contacts should be resumed in a spirit of goodwill and reconciliation. Negotiations conducted on an equal footing is the only reasonable premise for reaching an acceptable settlement.
14. The Secretary General hopes that the process of direct negotiations recently launched by the U.N. Secretary General between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities will succeed in guaranteeing to the Turkish Cypriot people their legitimate rights and aspirations. There should be a clear commitment to basic principles of political equality and partnership, bi-communality and bi-zonality. Cyprus is the common home of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities whose relationship is not one of majority and minority, but one of two communities in Cyprus. A bi-communal, bi-zonal federation must be the aim of a new constitution and the cultural, religious, social and national identity of each community must be respected.
15. During the Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the OIC Member States was held on the first October 1998, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Meeting expressed solidarity with their just cause and reaffirmed all previous OIC resolutions and declarations on Cyprus. It called for action to achieve a fair settlement that would respect the legitimate aspirations of the Turkish Cypriot people, and emphasized the absolute necessity for respecting the principle of political equality in promoting a settlement acceptable to both the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot communities through free negotiations.
16. The Secretary General submits this report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for consideration and appropriate decision thereon.