December 11, 2009

Memorandum of the People of the Karpas Peninsula

9 December 2009
Hellenic Antidote

I've been given by Bishop Christoforos of Karpasia the following memorandum, which speaks for all the Greeks of this the most beautiful region of Cyprus, calling for it to be returned to its legitimate inhabitants and for it, in any future settlement, to be administered by the proposed Greek Cypriot constituent state.

Memorandum of the People of the Karpas Peninsula

In view of the current talks to resolve the Cyprus issue, being deeply concerned about the future of the Karpas peninsula (which is defined as the area starting from, at its western boundary, a line running from the villages of Akanthou and Trikomo and extending east to Cape St Andreas), we state here the position of the whole of the peninsula's Greek Cypriot people, who overwhelmingly form the population of Karpasia.

1. We state that we fully support a federal system of government that will be in accord with the summit agreements and the resolutions of the United Nations, which will make provision for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus; confirm human rights and the three basic freedoms (freedom of settlement, freedom of movement and the freedom to own and use property); and which will exclude any right of unilateral military or other intervention. Consequently, we support the bi-communal talks currently taking place between President Dimitris Christofias and Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, hoping that these will come to a conclusion with an agreed solution.

2. The Third Vienna Agreement

After the capture and occupation by the Turkish army of the Karpas peninsula on 14 August 1974, some 12,600 Greek Cypriots remained in their homes in Karpasia – this amounted to two-thirds of the total Greek population of the peninsula. On the 2 August 1975, the Third Vienna Agreement was signed by Glafkos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, under the aegis of the UN secretary general, Kurt Waldheim. This agreement stipulated, inter alia, that every assistance would be afforded to the Greek Cypriots who remained in the Turkish-occupied north to live a normal life, including rights to education, the exercise of religious beliefs, medical care by doctors of their choice, as well as freedom of movement. In addition, the agreement allowed for those who had previously been expelled to be reunited with their families in Karpasia. This agreement was never implemented. In fact, the Turkish army continued to expel Karpas Greek Cypriots from their homes, so that by September 1976 only a few hundred Greek Cypriots were left, where they remain until today enclaved.
The immediate adoption and application of the Third Vienna Agreement will indicate Turkey's credibility and trustworthiness, prove that it has the potential to honour its signature in any future Cyprus agreement, and will afford the opportunity to the people of the Karpas peninsula to return to their homes, under Greek Cypriot administration.

3. The organisations, local authorities and the whole of the population of Karpasia unanimously state and demand that in any future settlement the Karpas peninsula forms part of the area to be administered by the proposed Greek Cypriot constituent state, for the following reasons:

a) This will result in natural justice, meet the expectations and justify the struggles and sacrifices, not only of the enclaved Karpas people, but all the Karpas people, who are overwhelmingly Greek Cypriot.

b) Cyprus is heavily dependent on tourism for its economic viability. With the Karpas peninsula as part of the proposed Greek Cypriot constituent state, this state will have access to a much greater portion of Cyprus' coastline. Currently, the Republic of Cyprus is in control of just 37.5% of the total length of the coastline of Cyprus.

c) The St Andreas Monastery located at the easternmost tip of the Karpas peninsula is the most important religious and cultural centre of Cyprus' Greek population. It must be liberated so that Greek Cypriots from all over the island can exercise their religious rights without hindrance or restrictions.

d) Such a settlement of the status of the Karpas peninsula is justified on historical and religious grounds, given that Karpasia has, down the ages, always been settled by Greek Christians.

4. We are convinced that the demands of the people of Karpasia are just and must be taken into account during the current talks. We will not accept a solution that will not make provision for the return of the Karpas peninsula. It must be realised by all concerned that for any solution to be viable, it must be just, otherwise, like the Annan plan, which was heavily biased against the Greek Cypriots, it will not be approved.