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Greek and Cypriot scholars discussed in 1974 at a conference in Nicosia

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    Turkey, Turkish Cypriots, settlers and schools thoughts on the Cyprus issue – The defense, demographics and energy of Cyprus – Half a century after the invasion, international law and Cyprus

    The participants, academics, researchers and political analysts analyzed the historical, political and social dimensions of the period that determined the course of the Cypriot people from Greece and Cyprus, in the Conference entitled “50 Years After the Coup and the Turkish Invasion – An Intra-Greek Assessment and the Next Day“, held on June 13 and 14 at the University of Nicosia.

    At the conference, which was organized by the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs of the University of Nicosia and the Institute of International Relations of Panteion University, the prospects for the future were also examined through a critical look at the events and political developments that followed.

    Turkey, Turkish Cypriots, settlers and school thoughts on the Cyprus issue

    In his intervention on the second day of the Conference, Nikos Moudouros, Assistant Professor of Turkish Studies at the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Cyprus, stated that the settlement and the situation in occupied Cyprus are not limited to military data. He analyzed the theory of colonialism and the concept of colonization, with an emphasis on the change of population composition in Cyprus after the invasion of 1974. As he said, Ankara faced the northern part not simply as an area under threat, but as a new “Turkish homeland”, leading to the displacement of Greek Cypriots and the introduction of a new population from Turkey. According to Mr. Moudouros, the participation of 35 settlers in the “parliament” from 1976 to 2018 is an indication of their political role. Today, the proliferation of settler organizations creates a parallel society under the control of Turkey, marginalizing the Turkish Cypriots and reinforcing the legalization of occupation and colonialism.

    On the same panel, the editor of KYPE, journalist, researcher, historian and writer Nikos Stelgias spoke. Mr. Stelgias analyzed the four main schools of thought of the Turkish Cypriot community regarding the Cyprus issue. The first school of thought, represented by Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot Right, promotes a two-state solution, with an eventual partition or confederation model. The second school of thought, led by Kudret Özersay, encourages the recognition of the cooperation of the two communities without the immediate need of a state. The third school, coming from the Renaissance Party, proposes the tightening of relations with Turkey and the transfer of strategic areas of governance. The fourth school, expressed by the Turkish Cypriot Left, supports a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality. The common denominator of all schools of thought, he concluded, is the preservation of Cyprus in Turkey's sphere of influence.

    The intervention of Zenon Tziarra, Lecturer at the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Cyprus, focused on the connection between Turkish foreign policy and the Turkish Cypriot community. Mr. Giarras referred to two currents of political thought, that of Bulent Ecevit and Nejmetin Erbakan, and described the Turkish approach to Cyprus as a geopolitical encirclement area aimed at the feeling of insecurity. Mr. Giarras underlined Turkey's Islamic-imperial approach, aimed at regaining territories and regaining lost prestige. Recep Tayyip Erdogan sees the Eastern Mediterranean as a whole, with Turkey as the leading power and Cyprus as a springboard and tool for other actions. In this context, Cyprus is part of the “Blue Homeland” strategy. In closing, Mr. Tziarras referred to the limitation of the Turkish Cypriot political will through the strengthening of religious sentiment, Turkey's interventions and the promotion of the dichotomous narrative.

    The defense, demographics and energy of Cyprus

    In the second panel on Friday, the demographic, energy and military data of Cyprus were analyzed by three presenters. Aristos Aristotelous, a former Member of Parliament and defense and strategy expert, gave a historical review of the regional balances and the state of defense of Cyprus in the 1960s. He highlighted the weakness of the National Guard in 1967 after the withdrawal of the Greek division and the shift to the bi-zonal bi-communal federation in 1974. He referred to the continued presence of Turkish military forces in Cyprus and the ongoing staffing problems of the National Guard. He underlined that the accession of Cyprus to the EU works as a political embankment.

    Loukia Makri, a senior official at the Statistical Service, presented demographic data, stating that the last full census of united Cyprus was in 1973. The population increased significantly in the 2000s due to migration flows to Cyprus. In recent years, natural population growth has been steadily declining, while population aging is expected to be a problem in the future. Ms. Makri also noted a significant increase in foreign citizens, with 21.7% in 2021, and Cyprus taking first place in the EU in the ratio of applicants for international protection to its population.

    Theodoros Tsakiris, Associate Professor of Geopolitics and Energy Policy at the University of Nicosia, analyzed the energy prospects of Cyprus. He referred to the consequences of the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the isolation of Cyprus from external forces. Although Cyprus is 100% dependent on foreign energy, the discovery of natural gas deposits in its EEZ is a challenge, he said. He emphasized the need to put an end to energy isolation, urged the adoption of a green economy and interconnection with Europe, pointing out that the energy future of Cyprus lies in Europe.

    Half a century after the invasion of international law and the Cyprus issue

    In the third section of the conference, Stelios Perrakis, Emeritus Professor of International and European Institutions at Panteion University, analyzed various aspects of the Cypriot and its position in international law. He analyzed whether Cyprus has raised the issue as a dispute between states based on the United Nations charter. He spoke about the internationalization of the issue and about the fact that Cyprus was the first country to appeal to the European Court against Turkey for human rights violation cases. He emphasized that the sovereignty of Cyprus remains intact and that the international scene does not change because one side wants it to. The professor also emphasized that Cyprus is still in a state of prolonged occupation.

    Virginia Balafouta, Lawyer and PhD in International Law and Regional Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, spoke about the issue of Missing Persons in Cyprus and the Right to the Truth. The expert explained the term and its connection with war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case of Cyprus. He discussed the interstate appeals that Cyprus has made, which arose from Turkey's presumption of responsibility and the finding of a violation of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He said that refusing an effective investigation is tantamount to confessing to crimes. Finally, he examined the possibility of appealing to the International Criminal Court based on the Right to the Truth.

    Greek-Turkish and Cypriot

    In the fourth panel of the second day of the conference, Charalambos Papasotiriou, Professor of International Relations and Strategic Studies at Panteion University, analyzed the three fronts of Hellenism with Turkey: Cyprus, Evros and Aegean. He emphasized that a military solution is not sustainable for the problems with Turkey and that the solution for Cyprus should not give Turkey control of the entire island. Turkey disputes the status of the islands in the Aegean, while on the Evros the terrain facilitates defense, making Turkey's numerical superiority insignificant, he said. Despite the economic crisis, he noted, Greece maintains superiority in airspace. The cooperation of Greece and Cyprus with Israel, the Arab states and the US has isolated Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, he added. At the same time, the Ukrainian war shows that modern technologies favor the defender, a development that favors the Greek-Cyprus front, he further said.

    Dimitris Triantafyllou, Professor of International Politics at Panteion University, referred to the regime of prolonged occupation of Cyprus and Greece's ability to simultaneously regulate the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish disputes. He pointed out that Turkey has firm positions on the Cyprus issue and is trying to strengthen its strategic radius through relations with the West, Russia and China. He referred to the position of the Greek side in the Cyprus issue and emphasized the importance of a strong defense for effective dialogue. He advocated a return to realism in foreign policy in both Greece and Cyprus in line with other presentations heard at the conference. Finally, he highlighted the gap in the interpretation of basic concepts between the sides and wondered if there is a possibility of agreement, concluding on the importance of observing international principles.

    The Professor of Economics and Public Policy, President of the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs and the Department of Political Science and Governance of the University of Nicosia, Andreas Theofanous, in his own intervention, analyzed the historical relationship between Cyprus and Greece, with the main axis being the Cypriot one. He noted that the founding agreements of Cyprus were a product of Greek-Turkish inequality and Greek Cypriots considered them unfair. After the events of 1963, Makarios proposed the defense of Cyprus' sovereignty, he said. After the withdrawal of the Greek division in 1967, Greek Cypriots felt insecure, fearing communism instead of Turkey, he added and said that the 1974 coup allowed Turkey to invade, while Greece did not intervene which caused tremors in Greek-Cypriot relations. The Greece-Cyprus rapprochement took place under Andreas Papandreou, and Cyprus joined the EU. with Greek support. Mr. Theofanous finally highlighted the interdependence of Greece and Cyprus and underlined the need for close cooperation and common readiness for honest compromise and dealing with any eventuality.

    The first day of the conference

    &# 8212;——–

    The speakers on the first day of the conference focused on the early years of the Republic of Cyprus. Sotiris Rizas, Director of Research at the Research Center for the History of Modern Hellenism and member of the Academy of Athens, Giorgos L. Evaggelopoulos, Professor of Political Philosophy and International Relations at the Department of International, European and Regional Studies of Pantheon gave their views on this specific issue. University and the former Member of Parliament, Nikos Katsouridis.

    In the section that followed, the presenters discussed the coup and the invasion of 1974. In this section, Petros Papapolyviou, Associate Professor of Modern Greek History and Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Cyprus, Yannos Katsouridis, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Department of Politics spoke of Science and Governance at the University of Nicosia and the journalist Kostas Venizelos.

    Professor Kostas Yfantis, Michalis Kontos, Assistant Professor of International Relations of the Department of Political Sciences and of Governance at the University of Nicosia and the former Ambassador, Euripides Evryviadis.

    The socio-economic effects of the invasion and occupation were discussed by Yiannis Lambrou, historian, philologist and writer, Kyprianos Louis, PhD in Economic History and former member of parliament Skevi Koukoumas.

    The work of the first day of the conference was concluded with a round table discussion, in which the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulidis, the former Negotiator of the Greek Cypriot Side, Andreas Mavroyiannis and the lawyer Achilleas Dimitriadis participated.

    The importance of the conference

    Also, speaking at KYPE, on the sidelines of the conference, Andreas Theofanous said that “it is a really excellent and very interesting conference. The multidimensional evaluation of data and situations, 50 years after the invasion is very important”, as is the cooperation of the think tanks both among themselves and with the state, noted the Cypriot academic.

    Mr. Theofanous also referred to the panels of the two-day conference, saying that, “in the morning we heard what is happening in occupied Cyprus, the manipulations of Turkey, the population data. Furthermore, we were informed about the demographic data in free Cyprus. These are matters that need a very serious evaluation”.

    Continuing, he expressed the opinion that “the conditions for a federal arrangement, which will be functional, do not exist in Cyprus today”. According to Mr. Theofanous, “what has been said at the conference confirms this position”.

    “It is very important to give the same importance to what is said at such a conference as happens abroad”, he concluded.

    For his part, Kostas Yfantis, Professor of International Relations at Panteion University and Director and President of the Administrative Board Council of the Institute of International Relations (I.D.I.S.) said that two leading institutes joined forces to put on the carpet a very important issue like the Cyprus issue.

    “The study of the Cypriot issue, Greek-Turkish relations and the security of Hellenism are among our permanent priorities and this is only the beginning”, noted Mr. Yfantis. “What we are planning is a follow-up conference that will no longer be the evaluation of what has happened in these 50 years, which we have already done, but if there is hope for the future,” he added.

    Answering to a question from the CYPE whether the Cyprus problem is of concern to Greek public opinion, Mr. Yfantis said that “fortunately and unfortunately, at the same time, it is a frozen conflict. Unfortunately because the illegality and crime from 1974 remains. Fortunately, because at least in all these years we have not mourned victims. The calm makes the Cyprus issue in the Greek public sphere, as an issue about which we do not have much to say. Except, when something moves in the Cyprus issue”.

    Finally, Mr. Yfantis added that “in the subconscious of the average Greek, the Cyprus issue is the number one issue of Greek foreign policy”.


    Source: cyprustimes.com

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