Open letter to Mr. Prodi and to the
620 Members of the European Parliament
By Dr Georgios Nakratzas
November 2, 2001
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Dear Mr. Prodi,
On 25 October 2001, in your address to the members of parliament of the Greek part of the Republic of Cyprus, you used the following words: ...in the great debate is how to involve Europe's citizens more closely in designing and implementing European policies.
As a champion of the rights of the ethnic minorities of the Greek-speaking world I should like to respond to this expressed desire for more active participation by commenting on your address to the Greek Cypriot parliament.
Your address contained the following contradictory statements:
a) The European Union - as you know - this is not a pre-condition for Cyprus accession.
b) A political settlement before Cyprus's accession is our strong preference.
Mr. Prodi, by expressing this view you confirmed the policy of the European Union that the entry of Cyprus into the EU will not be made dependent on a definitive resolution of the Greek-Turkish political problem.
At the same session the Speaker of the Greek Cypriot parliament and leader of the Cyprus Communist Party, Mr. Christophias, made the following statement: '...to point out that our will must not be misinterpreted. It is not possible for Cyprus to accept the absurd demands made by Turkey and the Turkish occupation leader Mr. Denktas, which are followed by threats. Especially his unrealistic claim for a direct or an indirect recognition of the occupation regime as a state entity just to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem'.
Mr. Prodi, the only definitive solution of the political problem of Cyprus would be the creation of a Greek-Turkish Confederation or some other form of unified Cypriot state, which would offer an absolute guarantee of the physical safety and security of the Turkish Cypriots.
Mr. Christophias warned you that the Greek Cypriot government will not even accept indirect recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state, given the European Union's support for the principle of unconditional entry.
The only solution acceptable to the Greek Cypriots is that of a Federation, one consequence of which would be that the federal armed forces, 70% of which would be made up of Greek Cypriots, should have the right to enter the Turkish Cypriot part of Cyprus and to use force to bring to court Turkish Cypriot criminals or Turkish Cypriots who, in the opinion of the Greek Cypriot federal prosecutor, have committed political crimes.
By way of argument against the psychologically monstrous conception of such a solution to the Cyprus political problem, allow me to draw your attention to the following: on the occasion of you address to the parliament of the Greek Cypriot part of the island, it is very likely that among those present was the former personal physician to Archbishop Makarios and current president of a Greek Cypriot party, Mr. Lysaridis. In 1963 Mr. Lysaridis was leader of an illegal paramilitary group which, equipped with Czech guns by Makarios, acted alongside the illegal paramilitary forces of Sampson and Georgatzis against the Turkish Cypriots.
For the Turkish Cypriot leadership to accept the model of a Federation would be to permit the return to northern Cyprus of those Greek Cypriot elements, such as Mr. Lysaridis and many others, who in 1963 were moral accomplices - at least - in the slaughter of unarmed Turkish Cypriots, as I described in detail in the article I sent you recently.
It is my fervent hope that Cyprus will indeed become a member of the European Union, whatever the political solution of the Cypriot problem - a solution which must, of course, be acceptable to both sides, and which can only take the form of a Confederation or looser Federation, which by virtue of its constitution will forbid over coming years the entry of extreme right-wing Greek Cypriot elements or even legitimate troops into the Turkish Cypriot area.
Such a solution will both offer an absolute guarantee of the physical security of the Turkish Cypriots and in time serve to allay the fears of the Turkish Cypriot population concerning the hypothetical or real danger of a repetition of the slaughter of 1963.
No other solution can be accepted by the Turkish or Turkish Cypriot leadership.
Apart from this, the European Union has, in view of its political philosophy, an absolute moral duty to ethnic minorities - obliging the Union to avoid the imposition of flawed and precarious solutions, in this case a solution which is against the best interests of the Turkish Cypriot minority.
The view that Cyprus' entry into the European Union will constitute a guarantee of the security of the Turkish Cypriot minority is the stuff of fantasy, as one can see from a glance at the situation prevailing in Greece, a full member of the EU, with regard to the treatment of ethnic minorities.
Allow me to remind you that:
a) In 1995, in the northern Greek city of Florina, a rabble of extreme right-wing nationalists forced their way into the offices of Rainbow, the official party of the ethnic Macedonians in Greece, and - in the presence of the Mayor and Prosecutor - destroyed the furniture, telephone and computer. Subsequently the Appeal Court of Kozani rejected Rainbow's claim for compensation for the material damage it sustained, maintaining that it was unable to identify any criminal act.
b) For many years now the courts have forbidden the creation of a Centre for Macedonian Culture in Florina. Despite the fact that the European Court at Strasbourg has condemned Greece for the decision of its courts and imposed a fine, it is even now not possible to lodge an application for the creation of a Centre for Macedonian Culture, for the simple reason that no lawyer in Florina will agree to legally represent the applicants, obstructing the process on various pretexts for many months now.
We are still unable to understand the source of this obstruction!
c) On 3 May 2000 a letter was sent to the Greek government in the name of 48 members of the European Parliament belonging to the Green/EFA parliamentary group, signed by the presidents Mrs. Heidi Hautala and Mr. Paul Lannoye, and by the Vice President Mrs. Nelly Maes, appealing for the introduction of the Macedonian language into the Greek educational system in those regions where the language is spoken, and, of course, only for those who wish to learn the language. If my information is correct, the Greek government has not even replied to this appeal from 48 members of the European Parliament.
d) On 2 February 2001 Mr. Sotiris Bletsas, an individual of Vlach descent, was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 drachmas by an Athens court on the grounds that in 1995, at a meeting of Vlachs in the northern Greek town of Naousa, he distributed a leaflet published by EBLUL (an organ of the European Union) containing a claim that the Vlach language, a member of the Romance family of languages, is spoken in Greece. Despite the fact that by his own public admission Mr. Bletsas sees himself as ethnically Greek, he is fighting for the survival of his mother tongue, which is not Greek.
Mr. President, I hope that this information will help you to understand more fully the problems of Balkan culture, as well as the material and psychological problems of the Turkish Cypriot population.
Dr. Georgios Nakratzas