Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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24 April 2014
The 10th anniversary of the Annan Plan referendum
24 April 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the ‘double referendum’ in Cyprus over the ill-fated Annan Plan.

Dr Klearchos A Kyriakides, who campaigned against the Annan Plan and co-authored with Van Coufoudakis The Case Against the Annan Plan published by Lobby for Cyprus has the following to say about the proposed ‘bizonal, bicommunal federation’:

“The Annan Plan envisaged the establishment of a ‘bizonal, bicommunal federation’ consisting of two ‘constituent states’, one of which was to be Greek Cypriot and the other of which was to be Turkish Cypriot. For this and multiple other reasons, the Annan Plan represented a politically expedient yet legally and morally dubious attempt to legitimise the unlawful segregation and separation brought about by Turkey's invasion, occupation and ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus in 1974.

If implemented, the Annan Plan would have fallen within the definition of a ‘segregation statute’, to borrow the vivid phrase popularised by the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Indeed, it is appropriate to recall the wise words of Dr King as expressed in his letter from Birmingham Jail in 1963, shortly before the enactment of the Civil Rights Act 1964 and the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr King in the same year:

“All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. […] Segregation […] ends up relegating persons to the status of things. So segregation is not only politically, economically, and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn't segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, an expression of his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?"

As the future unfolds, nobody should forget the above.”

Lobby for Cyprus considers the model of a ‘bizonal bicommunal federation’ as the antithesis of unity and freedom; it is the introduction of apartheid to Cyprus. This is why the decision to fly the two Cyprus negotiators out to South Africa on a 'study visit' is all the more interesting. In Afrikaans, the word apartheid means separateness. A racially-based ‘bizonal, bicommunal federation’ would have the effect of reinforcing the separateness of the two ‘sides’ in Cyprus and perpetuating the divisive Ottoman imperial concept of ‘bicommunalism’, as well as the British colonial era policy of dividing along religious lines. 

Artificial divides on racial or religious grounds is abhorrent. Cyprus should heed the example set by the late Nelson Mandela. Throughout his life, Mandela campaigned for "the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities." We consider it impossible to achieve such an ideal within an institutionally racist and segregationist ‘bizonal, bicommunal federation’.

(The views expressed by Dr Kyriakides are his own personal views and not necessarily those of any organisation with which he is associated.)

Note to editors: 
  • The Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish troops in 1974.
  • Turkey maintains an illegal occupation in the north of the island with 40,000 troops in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. 
  • 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning to their homes in the occupied north.  
  • Turkey continues its policy of colonising the occupied territory with hundreds of thousands of Turkish nationals in an attempt to alter the demography of the island, in violation of the Geneva convention. 
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