Greek Cypriots have become more aggressive after being the member of the European Union (EU); they totally ignore the Turkish side. In this framework, not only they claim sovereignty on the whole Cyprus territory but also on the water around the island. Recently, their attempts to make agreements with Lebanon, Syria and Egypt and try to give royalties to explore petroleum in this region are the extensions of this radical change.
However, it is not only the Greeks who live on the island but also the Turkish Cypriots. They have also a State on the north; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Although the Greeks and the EU do not recognize the TRNC as a state, there is an ongoing problem which has not been resolved yet. By the way, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom are the guarantor states on the island.
Greek Cypriot’s leader Tassos Papadopoulos says that “Resources of a country are not belonged to regions or communities, but to states. We will not submit to the threats.” In a way, Papadopoulos threats Turkey and says; “This is my domain and I decide how to control all the resources around the island.”
He is right, only the State has the sovereignty on the resources of a country. Also, it is the State which has the right to sign agreements and give royalties to the companies, not communities or societies. However, Mr. Papadopoulos ignores a point that state mechanism is belonged to the people. If the State has no legitimacy for the society, it is not a state anymore and cannot use the mentioned rights. At this point, its should be asked whether the Greek Cyprus is a true state or not.
When the Greek Cypriots were recognized as the only legitimate state of the island by the EU, the attitudes of Papadopoulos has changed a lot. However, it is not the Brussels to give the authority to govern, but the societies on the island and these are the Greeks and the Turks. If Mr. Papadopoulos wants to govern the whole of the island, the permission from Brussels or any capital is not enough but he and his so-called Cyprus State need the Turkish Cypriot people’s support.
International constitutional agreements and the founding constitution of the island did not establish this state only for the Greeks; the Cyprus Republic was not established only as a Greek Republic. For the Republic to gain legitimacy the chairs that belong to Turks should be given back to them and the ministries should be shared among the two nations as described by the founding constitution and laws. From the prime minister up to the president all of the duties are clearly drawn by the constitutional agreement and the laws. However the Greeks did not allow the Turks to take their position. The Greeks even did not allow the Turks to enter the State offices. The Turkish Cypriots in practice had no right to vote. Under these circumstances like every nation, the Turks established their own states on the north. Despite this fact, they agreed for a reunification. On the other hand, the Greeks voted for a certain “No” and in a way cleared out that they do not want the Turks in the island and they would not give the offices back that are belong to them.
Under these circumstances, it is not possible for the Greeks to be the only representative of the island, so the southern (Greek) administration is not the only authority of the island. Since, firstly it is them to break the rules that constitute the State. The most important of all the southern administration has no potent to govern. If Mr. Papadopoulos claims that he is “the president” and has the guts, he should try to pass through the checkpoints without having any permission or appropriate papers. Not only the Greek Cypriots but also the EU is not authorized on the Northern Cyprus territories. Breaking its own principles, the EU accepted the Greek Cypriots as a full member of the EU and it also accepted the northern part of the island as the EU territory. However, for the first time in its history the EU laws and rules are not valid on these so-called EU lands.
To sum, it is hard to talk about a legitimate state covering the whole of the island. Papadopoulos is only the leader of the Greek Community on the island. While not being authorized to take decision on the whole territory, he cannot sign any agreement about the sea room around the island.
13 February 2007
Translated by Hasan Selim OZERTEM