Cyprus: The Post-Imperial Constitution, by economist Alex Tackie and international relations expert Vassilis Fouskas suggests to European, US and Cypriot policy-makers just what the Cypriot constitution currently being negotiated by President of Cyprus Mr Christofias and Mr Talat should not be.
"It is time to launch a dialogue to initiate a new constitutional process, a feasible undertaking, not least because Cyprus is a member of the European Union"
This timely, qualitative book argues that the rise to power of two left-wing parties on the island in the government controlled areas and illegally Turkish occupied north, means it is time to launch a dialogue to initiate a new constitutional process, a feasible undertaking not least because Cyprus is a member of the EU.
The Cypriot constitution, the book explains can be read like Europe’s acquis. This is the vast accumulation of treaties, laws and legal documents amassed in Europe’s political order since 1957, the year of the European Community’s official foundation. Similarly, the Cypriot constitution, the authors argue, can be seen as the accumulated 'acquis' of all imperial undertakings for the solution to the Cyprus issue since the Macmillan-Radcliffe proposals in 1957-58. From Macmillan to Annan the road had been arduous, the essence being that the Cypriot ‘acquis’ was incipiently partitionist, aiming at vivisecting Cyprus on the “altar of Britain’s, and later the US’s imperial and neo-imperial interests in the Near/Middle East”. Here the authors make two calls, which are strictly interrelated. They ask the EU to turn the Cypriot ‘acquis’ on its head by applying the European acquis on the Cypriot constitution. They ask the Cypriot leadership and people – Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Latin, Maronite and other to opt out of the imperial constitutional constraints imposed on them by Britain and the US over the past six decades and start thinking for a solution with the protagonists being the Cypriot people per se.
The second closely related argument of the book is its contribution to the discussion about the so-called “isolation of Turkish Cypriots”. Quite rightly, Fouskas and Tackie tell us this is not a new discourse. It goes back to the early 1960s when the Turkish Cypriot leadership, on instruction from Ankara, abandoned its position in the Cypriot government and withdrew into militarily protected enclaves. The aim was to internationalise their claim as a separate community on the island that refused to live alongside the Greek Cypriot majority. Instantly, after this self-imposed withdrawal, they claimed to be “isolated” which, as the authors show, appears in UN documents of the time and is conveniently quoted by former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in The Cyrpus Triangle, published in 1982. However, the authors’ sophisticated economic analysis on the present day issue of “isolation” leaves little room for further doubt, since they disclose concrete data showing the progressive degree of convergence between ‘ASA’ (Areas where the European acquis is Suspended ie the Turkish occupied north) and the economy of the free areas of the republic.
This booklet contains more useful ideas and analyses, such as the idea that major powers today aim at creating a nexus of garrison-prison state of affairs around the western and southern neck of Russia and the Middle East, a project that includes Cyprus, the Balkans and the Middle East proper.
The book is dedicated to Greek Cypriot Constantine Misiaoulis and Turkish Cypriot Dervis Ali Kavatzoglou who campaigned together against colonial rule and partitionist policies on the island. The two friends, popular symbols of a truly united, democratic and independent Cyprus were murdered by Turkish Cypriot extremists in 1965.
Cyprus: The Post-Imperial Cosntitution by Vassilis Fouskas and Alex Tackie, published by Pluto Press, London and Palgrace-Macmillan, New York, 2009