Letter: Cyprus conflict

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leading article adds very little to attempts to find a solution to the sore of Cyprus. It was not the Turkish Cypriots or Turkey who created that sore.

The problem of Cyprus has been created by Greek and Greek Cypriot nationalism, as the Bosnian and Kosovan problems were created by the blind bigotry of Serbian Panslavism. Both Panslavism and Panhellenism, which were encouraged by the major imperialist and colonialist powers in the 19th century, and in order to dismember and divide the Ottoman Empire, unfortunately still linger on in the Balkans and the Near East.

It is absurd to seek to penalise the Turkish Cypriots, who have been the victims of a Panhellenic upsurge since the occupation of the island by Britain in 1878, for striving to preserve their ethnic and religious identity in their safe haven of North Cyprus. They are ready to settle their differences with the Greek Cypriots in a manner that would not allow any side to dominate, oppress and finally obliterate the other.

Professor S R SONYEL

Camberley, Surrey

Sir: The points made in your leading article - that partition is not a solution, that the ideal solution would be a return to the 1960 constitution, and that the grounds for optimism are slight - find me in total agreement.

A return to the 1960 constitution is the solution that international law dictates. When Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 it justified its action with reference to the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, which required that any intervention be "with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty".

Although it soon became clear that Turkey had no intention of restoring the constitutional order, no effective pressure was exerted on Turkey to withdraw, and its occupation and ethnic cleansing of 37 per cent of Cyprus has been allowed to stand for 25 years.

There has been no indication that the international community will do anything that will seriously upset Turkey. It seems that Nato's intervention in Kosovo did not really signal a new and moral world order. In Cyprus, 200,000 refugees have been prevented from returning to their homes for the past 25 years by a Nato power and Nato has done nothing.


Head, Department of Greek Studies, Monash University

Clayton, Victoria, Australia