AKEL and the Cyprus problem
Since July 1974 the struggle of the Cypriot people takes on an anti-occupational content having as its main goal the restoration of the unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus. AKEL in the new conditions clearly defined its goals and tactics and from 1974 till today our Party is following with consistency and responsibility the same policy. Our people would have had every right to have fought against occupation by all possible means. However, the conditions of Cyprus and its surroundings , the balance of forces, the need for reconciliation between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots led from the outset to the position that the struggle of the Cypriot people for the attainment of their rights should be peaceful and political.
For our Party it was obvious that due to the treacherous coup d’etat and the Turkish invasion the solution of the Cyprus problem would be a painful but necessary compromise. Having studied the new conditions created after 1974, AKEL reached the conclusion that in order to avert the finite partition and rebuff Turkey’s expansionist plans, the compromise would have to take the form of a federal solution. Our Party conveyed this position to Makarios in November 1974 by means of a document of the Central Committee. When, at a later stage, the high-level agreements were concluded, AKEL gave its support to them. Since then AKEL has consistently supported a bi-zonal bi-communal federal solution.
AKEL is struggling for a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations and on the basis of the UN resolutions and the 1977 and 1979 High-Level agreements. The solution should provide for the withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops and settlers. Should restore the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus without giving the right to a unilateral intervention to any other country. Should restore and safeguard the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the right of refugees to return to their homes and properties. AKEL has been consistently supporting the political equality of the two communities within the framework of the federation as this is defined in the United Nations resolutions.
Rapprochement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is a significant constituent element of AKEL’s policy on the Cyprus problem. Our Party considers rapprochement a necessary precondition both for reaching a solution and for the viability of the solution that will be found. AKEL struggled in the most unfavourable conditions for rapprochement to become a part of the people’s consciousness and to be adopted as official policy of the Greek Cypriot side. It is mainly due to these struggles that today rapprochement is accepted by several political leaderships in both communities as well as by large part of the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. AKEL is going to continue struggling on the rapprochement front and fight against every form of nationalism and chauvinism of whichever source.
Our concept of rapprochement is based on our internationalist ideology and our love for our common motherland. Our concept of rapprochement constitutes an extension in contemporary conditions of the common struggles of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots within the framework of the popular movement that took place in previous periods. We consider rapprochement a constituent element of the Cypriot people’s struggle against occupation, and we attain to it above all a political, social and class content. This is the reason why AKEL rebuffs apolitical and non-class based approaches that bring down rapprochement to the level of psychological exercise. Rapprochement is mainly and above all a cause of the Cypriots themselves and their organized groups. Any attempts by foreign centres to subjugate the rapprochement movement offer no good service to the struggle of the Cypriot people for the reunification of our country.
From 1974 onwards, all efforts to solve the Cyprus problem met with Turkey’s intransigence, its insistence on a solution of two separate state entities and its demands of dominance rights over Cyprus. Any possible mistakes in the handling of the Cyprus problem made over these years by the Greek Cypriot side do not absolve Turkey and the chauvinist Turkish Cypriot leadership in the least of the responsibilities for the perpetuation of the Cyprus problem.
The Turkish positions have always had resonance among Ankara’s NATO partners, who bear large responsibilities both for the creation and the perpetuation of the problem. The situation in the Cyprus problem became still more difficult after 1990. On the one hand, Cyprus was deprived of traditional friends and supporters such as the Soviet Union, the community of the social countries and the Non-Aligned-Movement. On the other hand, in the framework of the of the so-called new order a gradual deviation from the letter and spirit of the relevant to Cyprus UN resolutions; the Annan Plan is also a result of this. The Democratic Rally administration (NOTE: Party of the Democratic Rally, in government 1993-2003), with its mistakes, omissions, concessions and contradicting positions, is not free of responsibilities for this deviation.
Judging that the Annan plan had both positive and negative elements, AKEL accepted it as a basis for negotiations. It struggled with all its strength to bring about the necessary changes that would permit the plan to be accepted by both communities and lead to a viable and workable solution of the Cyprus problem. The tight timetables and the provided arbitration procedure by the UN Secretary-General did not permit a substantive negotiation between the two sides on the plan nor the conclusion of an agreed solution. The UN Secretary-General’s arbitration was unfair and biased in favour of the Turkish positions. The Party’s Pancyprian conference convened on April 14, 2004, called for postponement of the referenda in order to give time for negotiation to be held on those points causing the concern of the Greek Cypriot side and to cover the blanks in the plan. AKEL’s proposal was unfortunately not accepted by the Turkish side nor broader by the international factor. That is why AKEL was forced to call on the people to vote against the Annan Plan as this was put to the referendum. AKEL fully respects the result of the referendum. The position taken by our Party kept the perspective open for resumption of the negotiation procedure and the solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.
In the light of the new world facts, with main criterion the concern for the solution of the Cyprus problem and the safeguarding of the future of our people, taking into also the feelings of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, and not being a dogmatic party, AKEL changed its position concerning Cyprus accession to the European Union. Considering that the accession of Cyprus to the EU in parallel to Turkey’s European ambitions could function as a catalyst for a right solution of the Cyprus problem and recognizing that the aquis communantaire could offer us additional strength in demanding such a solution, AKEL on the decision of its 18th Congress took a position in favour of the accession of Cyprus to the EU. We make use of the EU without any illusions over its possibilities and knowing that in the EU too interests work above any declarations of European values. At the same time we keep our critical views and evaluations of the political social and economic process in the EU.
In the current stage of the Cyprus problem out Party is working hard in cooperation with the President of the Republic and the National Council for the creation of the preconditions for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem in the framework of the United Nations. The creation of the right preconditions is of outmost importance given that a new failure to reach a solution would have inflicted a strong blow on the Cyprus cause. We seek the earliest possible resumption of substantive talks without tight timetables and away from arbitrations with the aim to reach a negotiated solution. We attribute great importance to our contacts with the Turkish Cypriot parties that believe in the reunification of Cyprus. We work to convince of the need to bring such changes to the UN Secretary-General’s plan that would allow also the Greek Cypriots to accept it and would lead to a viable and workable solution. The changes we seek do not alter the philosophy of the plan nor do they concern the rights of the Turkish Cypriot community. We aim at a solution that would serve the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots but not any foreigners.