§ 3.11 p.m.
§ Lord Spens rose to call attention to the situation in Cyprus; and to move for Papers.
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, we are to be honoured today to listen to the maiden speech of a very remarkable man, my noble colleague sitting on these Cross-Benches, Lord Tonypandy. I hope he will indulge himself in the freedom of speech which we all enjoy here, free from the shackles of an office in another place which were inclined to restrict his utterances to little more than, "Order, Order!" I wish him great success in his maiden venture in this Chamber.
§ I feel I owe the House an apology for being so lucky in the draw for short debates. I believe this is the fourth one I have achieved. It is certainly the second one on Cyprus, because I introduced a debate on Cyprus three years ago. The Motion which I put down for today's debate I put down right at the beginning of this Parliament, in June. I had just returned from a 10–day visit to North Cyprus and I realised that things were impending there which, in fact, happened yesterday. I hoped we would have had the opportunity of discussing that situation before the events of yesterday, but I am afraid I was beaten by a short head.1289
§ I think that what I should try to do now is to explain why yesterday's events happened. I am afraid your Lordships will think I am a little bit biased in so doing, but I have had many talks with President Denktash and his colleagues, and I believe that they are all genuine. I am sorry, however, that this event has happened so quickly because, when I was over there in June, I urged President Denktash—and he agreed with me—that there should be a referendum of everyone on the Turkish side before this unilateral declaration was made. I was waiting for that to happen. Unfortunately, political events made that, I will not say impossible, but they made it I think tactically easier for the Turkish Cypriots to take the action they did very quickly yesterday.
§ There are two myths circulating about the cause of the present stalemate in the island, and I want to try to dispel them. The first is that the problems of Cyprus only started with the Turkish intervention in 1974. The second myth is that, prior to 1974, Greeks and Turks lived happily together and could go back to that situation today.
§ Taking the second myth first, I should like to suggest to noble Lords that, as regards the Turkish Cypriots, a book which I placed yesterday in the Library explains very well the of events even earlier than 1960 up to the present day. It is called, The Road to Bellapais, The Turkish Cypriot Exodus to Northern Cyprus, by Pierre Oberling, who is a professor of history at the City of New York University.
§ One has only to glance at this book to see how serious and how long the troubles have been. At page 58 of the book, the author talks about civil war between Greek and Turkish Cypriots as early as 1956.You only have to look at the chapter headings of the book to see what has happened since then. Independence was given to Cyprus in 1960, with a treaty of guarantee signed by Greece, Turkey and Her Majesty's Government, in the form of the noble Lord, LordCaradon—who I am very sorry to see is not here today.
§ Looking at the chapter headings, "The Rise and Fall of the Cypriot Republic" is one of them, and that only relates to the period 1960 to 1963. The next heading is, "The 1963/1964 Crisis", and that crisis occurred because there was a co-ordinated attack on Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots in December 1963. I think it started on 21st December and went on until about April of 1964. During that time, Turkish Cypriots were kicked out of their homes in more than a hundred villages all over the country. That might not have been so bad if they had been allowed to build other homes elsewhere, but the Cyprus Government, led by the late Archbishop Makarios, declared building materials to be of strategic importance, and would not allow them to get building materials to build new homes. So there were about 30,000 Turkish Cypriot refugees looking for homes from 1963 until after the events of 1974. That is a fact that I think people forget.
§ The next chapter in this book is called, "The Crisis of 1967". There again, there were attacks on Turkish Cypriots by the Greeks and, this time, Turkey very nearly had to intervene. However, when they sent over one or two planes, that stopped the Greek Cypriots continuing their attacks and the crisis 1290 finished. In the book there is a map which shows how the Turks were pushed into enclaves all over the country in the late 1960s. Crowded together in those enclaves they almost starved, though not quite. But if your Lordships read the United Nations reports, you will see that there was trouble over feeding them, and economic sanctions were brought against them by the Greeks. They survived, but they did not live happily ever after with their Greek neighbours. I am certain that they would never do so again. I hope therefore that the myth that this might happen has been dispelled.
§ The first myth—that the crisis started with the Turkish intervention in 1974—has been more or less explained away by what I have just said. What happened was that on 15th July 1974 there was a coup d'état organised by the Greek colonels in which, as your Lordships might remember, Archbishop Makarios was dethroned and more or less had to escape from the country. For five days there was an enormous slaughter of Greek after Greek. The Turkish Government, worried about the safety of the Turkish Cypriots, begged the British Foreign Secretary to come under the Treaty of Guarantee and help stop what was happening. The British Foreign Secretary, I am afraid, did not do so. So, on 20th July, Turkey came in alone, using its rights under the Treaty of Guarantee, to protect the 150,000 Turkish Cypriots on the island. If one compares that with the action of the United States a few days ago in going into Grenada to protect only 1,000 United States citizens, one really cannot blame the Turks for doing what they did.
§ Lord Trefgarne
My Lords, if the noble Lord will allow me to intervene briefly, may I ask whether he will say to which right under the Treaty of Guarantee he is referring?
My Lords, I believe I have the Treaty of Guarantee here. I shall have to look it up. The right is, I think, in Article III, or perhaps it is in Article IV. Article IV states:In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present Treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions.In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty".That is Article IV of the Treaty of Guarantee.
It was under that article that Turkey sent in its troops. Of course, when an army goes in, it does so in force. That is what happened. There was a lot of bloodshed on both sides. But, after the fighting, peace came, and there have been nine years of complete peace, certainly in North Cyprus. It is the safest place, at the moment, anywhere in the world. There is no crime, or hardly any crime, and I recommend your Lordships to visit the island. There is still a small British population. We know them as "the ancient Brits." I understand that they are about to issue a statement supporting what happened yesterday.
The reason for what happened yesterday was that for nine years no one recognised the Turkish Cypriots. Everyone allowed the Greek Cypriots to pretend to be the Government of all Cyprus. But that was never the 1291 case. Even if it was the case, it was quite contrary to the basic law of the constitution of 1960, which Her Majesty's Government again had guaranteed to keep. I am afraid that they never took action to keep that basic law, as it was written, giving the Turkish minority their rights to places in the Parliament and places in government. So they have been frustrated.
Their frustrations amount, I think, to three. The first is that no one has taken them seriously, and they have become fed up with that situation. The second frustration—and, I think, a more serious one—lies in the fact that they have been suffering from an economic blockade imposed by the Greeks. Economic sanctions have prevented their airport from being recognised as an international airport. Their seaports have been blacked. That has frustrated them and frustrated their economy. They do not want the situation to continue for much longer. I hope that my noble friend Lord Energlyn will elaborate on that point.
The third frustration is that throughout the inter-communal talks the Greeks have never considered the Turks to be in any way partners to those talks. They have always considered them to be a second-rate minority, whereas the Turks feel that they must be partners. Their action yesterday, they hope, will put them into that position.
My time is up. I see the Chief Whip glaring at me. I shall therefore conclude by saying that I hope that the British Government and the British people will not act too soon and too quickly to try to reverse what happened yesterday. They will not be able to do so; it is a fact. It is only putting into a more constitutional form a situation that has existed for nine years. I wish the Turks well.
§ The Earl of Perth
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down I should like to ask him whether, under Article IV, the declaration of UDI is in his view lawful.
My Lords, I am quite certain that it is not lawful under that article. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, we are more than usually grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for selecting this subject for debate because it could not be more timely in view of yesterday's critical developments. I appreciated the noble Lord's speech, but I must tell him that I cannot accept his interpretation of events. We are now able to examine the full implications of the action and to hear the Government's reaction to them. I know that the House is looking forward very much to the speech of my noble friend—my very old friend—Lord Tonypandy, who for many years has taken a close interest in the affairs of Cyprus. We shall be most interested to hear his comments and advice.
One matter became clear immediately after the news of the declaration of secession came through—namely, that all parties in both Houses deplored and condemned the action, as did most countries in the world. It was an act which broke the 1292 treaties of 1960 and which contravened resolutions of the United Nations. Whatever the arguments that the Turkish Cypriot leadership may advance, or the Turkish Government for that matter—and the two have always worked closely together and there was sympathy for some aspects of their cause—the fact is that this unilateral step, and the finality which the Turkish Cypriot regime attach to it, bring a new and dangerous dimension to the problem of Cyprus.
Before I come to the new situation created by secession, it is as well to consider the events of the past few weeks so as to get the matter in perspective. The House will recall that we debated Cyprus on 20th April and we then reviewed the prospects for a long term settlement which would bring stability to the island. We recalled the invasion of 1974, to which the noble Lord, Lord Spens, has just referred, and the establishment of the Attila Line. That in itself is an unrealistic boundary from every point of view, specially the demographic one. The United Nations condemned the invasion without qualification because it was an act of aggression by Turkey and because also it broke the treaty which guaranteed the independence and security of the Republic of Cyprus. This should be made clear now—namely, that the partition of the island, which yesterday's declaration seeks to make permanent, was forbidden by the treaty which laid down that unilateral action by any one of the three powers—Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom—was only permissible for the purpose of maintaining the terms of the treaty itself.
The noble Lord, Lord Spens, takes a different view of that; but he must remember that the view was taken clearly by a great majority of the members of the United Nations that Turkey was in breach of the treaty, and that was the view taken by Her Majesty's Government at the time. Turkey broke the treaty which she herself had signed. Turkey has now, as we understand, supported the declaration although the Government had said that they opposed a unilateral declaration. It is said that the Turkish Government were unaware of the intentions of Mr. Denktash and his colleagues and were taken by surprise. Their immediate favourable response to the actions of Mr. Denktash is not conducive to a constructive meeting between the guaranteeing powers.
We must accept that the progress made since our last debate in April has been disappointing, although the Secretary General of the United Nations, Senor Perez de Cuellar, has made strenuous efforts over the last few months to get the parties together in a reasonable frame of mind. Both sides have, it is true, been intransigent, but the possibilities of a settlement underwritten by the United Nations were clearly there. Senor de Cuellar certainly deserves the utmost praise.
Perhaps we should also recall that in May the United Nations General Assembly called for the withdrawal of all the occupation forces from Cyprus. The voting was 103 for, 5 against, and there were 20 abstentions. It was at that point that Mr. Denktash started talking about the declaration of an independent state, against overwhelming world opinion. Again, in June, the Security Council extended the mandate for a peacekeeping force by six months, and in August the Greek and Cypriot leaders met to discuss Mr. de Cuellar's proposals for a bizonal federation. No 1293 action followed this meeting although the Secretary General met Mr. Denktash and President Kyprianou several times. I mention this to show that no one can argue that there was no movement or that no effort was being made to find a solution. Strenuous attempts have been made throughout the last few months by Senor de Cuellar to find a settlement. The Secretary General has shown a courage and a willingness to take initiatives which in my view are wholly admirable. One can understand that he must feel dismayed and frustrated at this time. We must also concede that neither the Turkish nor the Greek Governments made things easier for the Secretary General. It was a poor example of international co-operation.
However, prospects took a better turn a fortnight ago with the United Nations initiative to convene a summit meeting. This had the strong support of President Papandreou and Mrs. Thatcher, and Turkey had indicated support as well. Mr. Denktash himself had suggested this initiative to the Secretary General and Mr. Hugo Gobbi (the United Nations envoy) was due in Cyprus to discuss the details with both Mr. Denktash and President Kyprianou. Many spoke of this effort as a last chance to obtain a settlement, and it is one of the tragedies of the situation that it was never given the opportunity to develop.
As we look to the consequences of the Turkish Cypriot action, may I repeat what I said yesterday—namely, that we support the initiatives taken by the Government thus far. They appear to us to have been right and to have been swift. We do of course have special responsibilities as one of the guaranteeing powers and there are historical associations with Cyprus, our NATO commitments and our bases there, and we also make the largest contribution to the peacekeeping force. I do, however, believe that the next step and the main initiative must once again come from the United Nations.
I have read the declaration from the Turkish Cypriot régime and while much of it is, inevitably, propaganda, there are points which deserve attention. For example, the declaration says:The proclamation of the new State will not hinder, but facilitate the establishment of a genuine federation",and later:The good offices of the United Nations Secretary General and negotiations must continue";and it promises:to remain faithful to the principles of the United Nations Charter".Those are extracts from yesterday's declaration.
We should—and I am sure that this will be the Government's intention—support the Secretary General in an effort to get the parties together in the hope that they will make a genuine effort to find a solution. The proposal for a bizonal federation should still provide a basis for serious discussion; but it could only succeed if both Greece and Turkey give it support. They are both members of NATO, but one begins to think that this has been more of a hindrance than a help to a solution.
I hope that the new Turkish Government will take a more constructive attitude. The Turkish Government have a crucial role to play in this matter. We sympathise with them and with the people of Turkey 1294 upon the terrible tragedy which recently befell them and we wish the new Government and the new Prime Minister well in what must be a very difficult task. We also hope that they will move towards democratic and co-operative policies. It would make NATO a more comfortable partnership if they would do so. And NATO itself would benefit from a solution in Cyprus. Entrenched partition in Cyprus will not help. Partition would be a running sore; it never solves problems; it is an admission of defeat wherever it exists, and even if its boundaries are declared to be permanent, it never creates a permanent political solution. We are perhaps more aware than most of the potential dangers of partition.
It will be said that the treaty is now a dead letter; it will be said that the United Nations is ineffective. Many—perhaps most—will assume quietly that the declaration and the new arrangement will drift into permanance. I hope not. That would indeed be a triumph for wrongdoing and for international disorder. The danger and likelihood is of communal strife between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus. It is in the interests of both that they should reach an understanding. The economy of Cyprus also demands this and the Turkish area would greatly benefit from a closer relationship. It is a mistake to think that the Turks of north Cyprus have prospered since partition. It is the Greeks in the south who have prospered most, and economic co-operation between the two areas is needed very quickly mostly in the interests of the Turkish Cypriots of the north. There are good reasons why an early and realistic exchange of views is, therefore, essential.
We are also conscious of the refugee problem, which may now become more acute. And, as I said yesterday, there are British citizens about whom we shall be glad to have news; their safety is always our close concern. Therefore, we urge the Government to use all their efforts in support of a strong and urgent United Nations initiative to convene a meeting of the parties in an effort to resolve this unhappy and complex affair.
§ 3.40 p.m.
My Lords, I ask the indulgence of the House as I seek to address it for the first time. Every noble Lord who has made his maiden speech in this House will know exactly how I feel at this moment. I made my original maiden speech to another place in this very Chamber 38 years ago, and, naturally, I see on Benches here people who were in that 1945 Parliament; so memories crowd in on me.
I hope your Lordships will forgive me if, in passing, I say that I love another place. I was there a long time; and, with all its foibles and its frailties, it is a good place. I shall always have it written on my heart that I had the privilege of being Speaker and of leading the Members of that House to the Bar of this House, when your Lordships looked so formidable and, of course, impressive.
Already I have learned to love this Chamber. Noble Lords, with their courtesies and their kindnesses, have made it quite clear to me that the sharp clash of party political opinion can take place in a civilised atmosphere; since I have been a Member of this House no attempt has been made to drown an argument by 1295 noise alone. I believe that this Chamber bears witness that democratic debate in a peaceful atmosphere diminishes the strength of no one's argument. To the contrary, it adds to the significance of the debate.
In sitting on the Cross-Benches in your Lordships' House, as does my noble friend Lord Maybray-King, I follow a long-established custom designed to support the current Speaker of the other place. As a former Minister in the Commonwealth Office and as a regular visitor to Paphos, Cyprus, for many years, I wish to thank the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for initiating this timely debate. I should also like to thank both the noble Lord and my old friend Lord Cledwyn for their kind words this afternoon.
The unhappy diplomatic blunders in the policy on Cyprus of long ago belong to the history book. We now have a new situation. My heart aches for the people of Cyprus. I think of those who lost everything when they had to leave their homes. The noble Lord, Lord Spens, referred to Turks who had to leave their homes. I have met the refugees from Famagusta and Kyrenia, and I admire beyond measure the way in which they have rebuilt their lives, and in which they have restored the economy of Greek Cyprus.
I do not believe that the declaration of independence by Mr. Denktash could have come as a surprise to the Foreign Office, to Nicosia or to Ankara. There have been plenty of warnings. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn, has reminded the House, talks were under way and the United Nations had made it quite clear that it desired, not partition but an understanding between both sides.
It may well be that in making his declaration Mr. Denktash has exploited the political situation in Turkey during the interregnum between power passing from the military dictators to civilian rule under the Prime Minister, Mr. Ozal, in early December. Of course, it is a moment of opportunity for activities of this sort, but it is my belief that, without the assurance of Turkish support, the declaration would not have been forthcoming; and I think that they owe it to the allies in NATO to realise that, in any case, the Middle East is an explosive area, and that further troubles of a military character could lead to imponderables that are too frightening to consider openly and at length.
However, the part of Cyprus that was taken by the Turkish tanks and soldiers is 37 per cent. of the whole of Cyprus. When we bear in mind the major British sovereign bases in Cyprus we must realise how unfair this declaration by Mr. Denktash is to the Greek Cypriot population there. I rejoiced to read that the Prime Minister had led the world in condemning the action taken. We have major treaty obligations (to which reference has been made) to the territorial integrity of Cyprus. We failed to fulfil our obligations in the previous crisis, and, therefore, I join with the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn, in hoping that Her Majesty's Government will feel that this time they can use the United Nations and NATO to ensure that conversations among the Greeks, the Turks, ourselves and the Secretary General of the United Nations should take place.
I realise that the necessity for NATO bases in Turkey is a factor in people's minds, and it makes the 1296 Government's task in negotiations more difficult. But our national honour is involved in this matter and, in my opinion, the national honour of Turkey as an ally in NATO is also at stake. She ought to realise that she endangers the whole of the Alliance by the attitude which she is taking.
I conclude by making a plea to Mr. Denktash and to his Excellency President Kyprianou. They both hold power in their respective areas and with regard to their respective peoples. But it is in the greater interests of Cyprus that both of them should realise that this is not a time for pride, that it is not a time for bigotry, and that the future—which does not belong to them but to the young—cannot afford the partition of that small island. I pray that the endeavours of Her Majesty's Government will be successful in ensuring that the federal state, to which President Kyprianou had already agreed and which, as the statement by Mr. Denktash indicated, is possible, will come about, and that we shall be able to work on that. We dare not let the situation slide so that Cyprus can suffer the agonies that we suffer in a part of the United Kingdom.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Lord Kennet
My Lords, chance gives me the honour of following on the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy. His voice is known and loved by millions. His career, his integrity, and his political gifts are known and admired by tens of thousands, and his personality has brought warmth and pleasure to all those who know him. He was a fine Speaker of the House of Commons, and he has made a fine maiden speech here. He is very welcome.
From 1960 to 1974 we saw in Cyprus the failure of a federation of communities—that is to say, of communities joined all the way up from top to bottom. Both communities were to blame. Majorities are usually more to blame when community relations break up, and though there was great blame on both sides yet the Greeks were the majority, and we should not forget that.
In 1974 Greece, a guarantor power under the foundation treaties, with a stupid military régime in charge in Athens which was already tottering, staged a coup d'état and placed Nikos Sampson in power in Cyprus. This was not the work of Greek Cypriots; it was the work of kalamares, as they call Greeks from Greece 500 miles away. It was done in pursuit of the dishonoured dream of Enosis, which had already long since been abandoned by all sane people.
The Greek colonels fell over their own feet immediately, but this did not stop Turkey from invading, and what a change there has been since then. Perhaps they had a right under the treaty to go in while Sampson was still there, but they certainly had no right to build up an invading army of 40,000 men; they had no right to take 39 per cent. of the land of the island given that they are only 18 per cent. of the population; they had no right to ignore a stream of desperate appeals from the United Nations to stop, stop, and stop, and not to advance inexorably right down into the south until they hit the British sovereign base, where they are still today.
Perhaps for a few weeks or months after that unjustifiable and extreme action there could have been a hope of a new kind of federation of communal 1297 territories; that is, the two territories joined only at the top. Now, unfortunately, even that hope has gone. There is now an iron curtain across the island, engagingly called the Attila Line by its builders. It is a heartrending thing. It looks exactly like the Russian one, only scruffier.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Spens, I have had the advantage of a recent visit, only last month, in which I was able to visit both sides of the island as well as the British sovereign bases. There is only one gate in the island. That is in Nicosia. You have to cross there if you are going to cross at all. Immediately on the Turkish side of this gate the first thing you see is a signpost saying, "To the museum of barbarism" where relics of a Greek massacre of a Turkish family many years ago are lovingly preserved. No such thing appears anywhere in Greek Cyprus. Indeed, I think all visitors are struck by the strong spirit of optimism, of economic achievement, and of a refusal to be resentful or to whine or groan about what has happened to them, which is to be found among the Greek Cypriots.
Two hundred thousand Greek Cypriots were driven from their land and their homes in the north, and Anatolian peasants were brought in by the northern Turkish régime to take their places. It is true that a perhaps proportionate number of Turks found life in the south in the legitimate Republic of Cyprus impossible and went north. That was a population exchange.
We want to be as even handed as we can of course in all such matters as this, but even handedness must not blind us to obvious illegality. The Turkish Cypriots rely on the support of an invading army from Turkey which still, even today, numbers over 20,000 men. The Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, are well advanced in the process of removing Greek officers from Greece out of their own National Guard, and replacing them by Greek Cypriot officers. Cyprus is a Commonwealth country. It is one-third under illegal rule backed by an invading army, and that third has now illegally declared its independence as a sovereign state, which is impossible. It is bad weather, my Lords, for Commonwealth islands.
The United States and to a lesser degree we ourselves have often stood back from the flood of United Nations resolutions, culminating in the one of May this year which has called upon the Turks to take their army away, and has called upon Turkish Cypriots to undo their illegal instruments and to remove their illegal iron curtain. The American and British standing back reflects reality. There is a wider consideration than communal conflict in Cyprus, and that is not only the Commonwealth: it is also NATO. NATO has so far been able to contain—just—the two peoples, Greeks and Turks, who have not been able to make lasting peace for more than 1,200 years.
Turkey needs NATO, for Turkey's main fear is Russia. And so is ours, and we need Turkey in NATO. But Greece's main fear is not Russia; it is Turkey. It is not Russia which lays claim to Greek islands and to the Greek seabed round them, and it is not Russia which nine years ago invaded an independent country where 82 per cent. of the people are of Greek extraction. That was Turkey. These are the facts, and we must all live with them.
1298 The new entity created, or announced, by yesterday's deplorable declaration, of which more than half is a sustained, high-pitched litany of abuse against the Greek Cypriots, will in any case be friendless in the world—except for Turkey, which has regrettably already recognised it, and a few more or less remote Islamic countries who know little of Europe and the Levant.
There is a further danger than that, something even wider and probably graver. The danger is that Turkey itself, by its continuing illegal actions, might become a pariah state able to converse only with other pariah states. The position of one of those within NATO will be difficult indeed. That would be grave. How grave we cannot see. We must just hope that it does not happen. The Government, I think, are taking the right courses, but perhaps most of all the new Turkish Government in Ankara must be helped to see the danger I was outlining for itself. It is a danger for the whole of the West, to which Turkey so ardently aspires to belong.
The new Turkish Government—elected with what degree of democracy the world will be in due course judging, but elected unlike the one before—should be an element of hope. It was because of this hope that I, for one, read with a mixture of laughter and despair the reported remarks of Mr. Turgut Ozal in The Times of Saturday, before the declaration, when he was interviewed by a Times journalist. I quote The Times journalist:I asked if there was any significance in the fact that the map of Turkey used as a symbol by his Motherland Party includes northern Cyprus. He said there was not. 'You see, if we had not shown Cyprus, some people would have said "Why did you not show Cyprus?" ' ".Well, so they would. The people who would have said that are the people who wish to maintain the option of an outright Turkish annexation of Cyprus into the state of Turkey, or at any rate of northern Cyprus into the state of Turkey. The fact that that remark could be made, even in the innocence of having won an election three or four days before, even before assuming the responsibility of power, by the man who will be the Prime Minister, bodes ill. I repeat that we believe the Government are on the right track. We cannot know, nor do we expect to be informed, what they are saying to the new Turkish Government, but we can only hope that they are speaking very seriously and straight from the heart.
§ 4 p.m.
§ Lord Drumalbyn
My Lords, in the brief time I have at my disposal I should like to start by congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for introducing this debate. I should also like to thank the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, for the wonderful speech that he has given to us today. We all feel it was a great privilege to have heard it.
The quarrel within Cyprus is a matter not only of sadness but of deep anxiety for this country. It is not only that we are involved in Cyprus through our bases at Dhekelia and Akrotiri, which play a valuable part in the NATO system of defence: it is that Greece and Turkey are both valuable partners in NATO, and the value of that partnership is not enhanced by their 1299 failure to agree about Cyprus. Furthermore, both countries are friends of ours—and, I believe, good and loyal friends.
As for Cyprus itself, that republic is a member of the Commonwealth, though I fear that it is unlikely to remain so if, for the first time in history, Cyprus becomes, in defiance of the treaties, part of the Greek state. That is what the Turkish Cypriots believe the present régime in Cyprus wants, and there is plenty of evidence to support that belief. The question is not, "Will the Greek Cypriots carry Enosis to its logical conclusion?", but, "When will they do so?" This is the Turkish view. The Turkish Cypriots, led by Mr. Denktash, can be forgiven for wanting to get out from under Greek domination, which they consider not only unjust but illegal under the constitution. We should bear in mind that the Zurich agreement establishing the Cyprus constitution in 1959, negotiated and agreed between the Greek and Turkish Governments, was backed by a tripartite treaty—or, rather, two treaties—which rules out, first, Enosis;secondly, partition; and, thirdly, division. When I say "division", I mean the division of Cyprus into two parts.
According to Miss Nancy Crawshaw's book, Cyprus Revolt, which is in the Library and which is worthy of attention, no change could be made in the 27 basic articles of the constitution, agreed by Greece and Turkey at Zurich and confirmed by the document signed and initialled at Lancaster House on 19th February 1959, prior to legislative approval in each signatory country. No change is possible in those articles; yet changes have been made, and I am bound to say that they appear to render the present Greek Cypriot régime illegal and unconstitutional. The constitution itself is basically bipartisan. Surely the fact that the Kyprianou régime has ignored the entrenched rights of the Turkish Cypriots is a direct and deliberate breach of the treaties. This, I acknowledge, has its legal aspects, but it is not only legal aspects that count in this matter.
Not unnaturally, the Turkish Cypriot community were not content to be treated as second-class citizens, deprived of any say in the destiny of their country and, indeed, of any share in the benefits of citizenship. Quite recently they set up an administration which this country, as well as the official Cyprus Republic, has pitilessly ignored.
The northern part of Cyprus, which has been referred to and which comprises between 37 and 40 per cent. of the island, has been subjected to much worse than discrimination by the south. For a régime which claims responsibility for all the inhabitants to set out deliberately to make life so difficult as to be impossible for a large section of the population for which it is responsible is, to my mind, quite shocking. The result is that the north, in comparison with the south, as has already been mentioned, is very poor. Admittedly part of the reason for its poverty is that the north has had to keep a large military presence to defend itself against the south, but it was the conduct of the régime which brought upon itself the advent of the Turkish troops.
1300 Whatever the legal niceties of the situation in Cyprus, the reality is that constitutionally Cyprus is divided into two parts—one predominantly Greek, and the other predominantly Turkish. Cyprus is one island containing two peoples, speaking two different languages, having two different religions, two different cultures, two different social systems, I believe, and separate education systems. They are two separate entities.
The constitution recognised that. What the constitution did not do was to implement the reality on the ground. But to a large extent the Cypriots themselves have since implemented it by population movements out of the southern half of the island and also from the north to the south. I think that on both sides there was great cost in loss of property. The tragedy is that the two partners could have existed together peacefully but for the outside interference, first by the Greeks and then by the Turks, not to mention the guerrilla activities of one Grivas. I merely observe that whenever the Greeks try the Turks too sorely, they get the worst of it in the end.
The question is: what should be done now? The obvious course is to renegotiate the treaties, as the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, has indicated, and to have talks. Possibly the constitution should be changed to that of a federation. This, I believe, is what Mr. Denktash has been advocating and working towards. I found it astonishing that this morning the Cyprus High Commissioner claimed on the BBC news that the Cypriot Government had been in favour of this; but it is good to know that they are now.
The second course could be to approve, or at least reluctantly to accept, the secession, perhaps in the hope that the two sides will come together again in the not too distant future, when their positions are much more equal. The snag about this is that it might mean that one side would be lost from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not an alignment. It contains millions of Christians and Moslems. So perhaps the island is itself in some way typical of the members of the Commonwealth. I hope that they will both remain.
The third possibility is to reaffirm the existing treaties and to go back to the Zurich constitution. That is not so preposterous as it sounds, though it would be very difficult. The fact that the Greeks and Turkish Cypriots are no longer living cheek by jowl should in the main make it easier than it used to be when they were. This could be a fresh start, given the will.
The fourth possibility is to renegotiate the constitution so as to provide for a cantonal system rather than a federation of two states. The one thing not to do, I submit, is to try to force the Turkish Cypriots to adopt any particular system, or to say to them, here and now, "You and you alone are in breach of the constitution and the treaties; and we shall have nothing to do with you until you submit to the régime"—what I believe to be the illegal régime—which at present exists in Cyprus". I do not think that that would be at all tenable.
During the debates in the Commons on the Zurich settlement, the late Lord Boyd of Merton called for a policy of partnership and communal autonomy. I believe that unless that can be achieved, the future for Cyprus is dim. May I just say to all concerned that 1301 there are plenty of olive branches available in Cyprus, in Greece, and in Turkey.
§ Lord Kennet
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, will he courteously answer for me one point? He said that the poverty of the Northern Turkish zone in Cyprus was due to the need felt by the Turkish Cypriots to keep a large army. Does he not know that the expenses of the Turkish army in North Cyprus are paid, as to 100 per cent., by Turkey, and, indeed, that the civil administration of North Cyprus is paid, as to 85 per cent., by Turkey?
§ Lord Drumalbyn
My Lords, I am not certain whether I was aware that the expenses of the civil administration were paid by Turkey. I am not at all certain whether Turkey will go on carrying that liability. I did know that the Turkish troops there are paid for by Turkey.
§ 4.13 p.m.
§ Lord Brockway
My Lords, my opening sentence must be a welcome to the first speech in your Lordships' House of my noble friend Lord Tonypandy. I have been honoured by friendship with him over many years, from Tonypandy itself to the Houses of Parliament. We were all charmed by his speech and most of us, I think, agreed with his conclusions. His membership adds distinction to this House.
It is eight years since Turkishtroops occupied the north of Cyprus. Then, the Turkish Cypriots were only 18 per cent. of the population. They occupied 40 per cent. of the area of the land. Yesterday, representatives in that area declared it a separate state. They did so in Famagusta. Ten years ago, when I visited Cyprus, Famagusta was almost entirely occupied by Greek Cypriots. With the exception of Turkey and, perhaps, one or two Moslem states, the whole world has denounced the action of those in Northern Cyprus who have declared their area an independent state. It is surely now a test of whether world opinion can change what has happened. In another place yesterday the Foreign Secretary stated the Government's proposals: a resolution at the Security Council urging all nations not to recognise the new, declared state; and renewed talks with Greece and Turkey who, with us, were guarantors of the territorial integrity and independence of Cyprus.
I want to suggest that in view of the enormity of the action which has been taken, those proposals by the Government are inadequate. The key to the situation is Turkey. It gave what The Times this morning describes as grudging recognition to the new state. It has a new civilian Government. I want to suggest to this House this afternoon that pressure upon it could change the whole situation—pressure, first, by the declaration of the United Nations almost isolating it in the world; pressure, secondly, by the fact that the West, and in particular America, gives it so much military and economic aid; and pressure, thirdly, through its membership of the EEC and NATO. From all those three sources, enormous pressure could be brought to bear upon the Turkish Government to change its attitude of recognition of the new independent state.
If this radical denial of international law is not altered, there could be in the background the 1302 possibility of economic sanctions both against Turkey itself and against the new independent state. The Government have suggested in view of this situation that they should renew, very belatedly, their talks with Greece and Turkey. I believe that after the kind of pressure which I have suggested—pressure from not only the United Nations, but also the West and, in particular, America, the EEC and NATO—such talks might he of value. We could then urge the Turkish Government, who are so much dependent upon assistance from the world, to withdraw their recognition and to withdraw their troops (totalling more than 10,000) which are now in Northern Turkey. If that situation were reached, then the inter-community talks could be resumed under the guidance of the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and one might move to a solution of this problem.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Lord Maybray-King
My Lords, as one old friend, I find a particularly peculiar and rich pleasure in expressing my congratulations to the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, for his excellent maiden speech today. He has served democracy in another place wonderfully and he now begins, I hope, to serve democracy again in the House of Lords.
I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Spens, has again raised the grave problems of Cyprus in the debate which he has initiated today, although his speech has made me very sad. I found it impossible to recognise in his speech the situation as described by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. In February 1980 many noble Lords, of whom I was one, spoke on Cyprus. It would be wrong for me to make the same speech today as I did then or the speech that I made on Cyprus in 1978 or even in 1975. But very little has changed during those years. The same problems remain and the last two days have sharpened almost every issue in those problems.
For years after the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, had admirably governed Cyprus on our behalf, some Greek Cypriots, among them Archbishop Makarios, pursued a will-o'-the-wisp which they called Enosis, unity. I believe in unity and I believe in the unity of Cyprus but the Greeks at that time by Enosis meant the unity of Cyprus with Greece; and as a considerable minority of Cypriots are Turkish Cypriots, Enosis could never have happened with the consent of Turkey. But most Greeks, including Makarios himself, learnt the folly of that conception. A good constitution was created, with Makarios as president and with a Turkish Cypriot as vice-president. In those days, when I frequently visited Cyprus, the situation was working—not well: it creaked, and neither side was playing as it should—but left alone I think Cyprus could have become a happy island of Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
Then came tragedy. The fascist colonels in Greece set up a dictatorship and tried to create a diversion by supporting a madman, Sampson, urging him to seize Cyprus as a Greek Cyprus. With a fanatical gang, helped by the Greek colonels, he tried to seize power in Cyprus. The coup was to include the assassination of Makarios: a very grim tribute to the merit of Makarios. Turkey rightly feared—and here for once I 1303 say a word in favour of Turkey—that a group of Enosis supporters taking command of Cyprus was dangerous to the Turkish Cypriots; and so they occupied a portion of Cyprus. But they are still there all these years later, the army of occupation of Turks.
However, the coup fizzled out; Makarios escaped assassination; and Greece is now a democratic country. The colonels are in gaol; and Turkey, too, is a democratic parliamentary country, these last few days. Both are members of NATO, and it is to be hoped that Turks and Greeks, apart from those in Cyprus, could reach accommodation. But what the Turks and Turkish Cypriots will not accept is that Enosis is dead; that almost all—if not all—the Greek Cypriots want is a unified Cyprus in the peace that Denktash speaks about in his declaration, independent and free—unity without Greece and unity without Turkey.
If Denktash really wants the two peoples to live side by side, as he says he does, the first thing that must happen is that the Turkish army (far more than the 10,000 mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway) should withdraw its occupation forces. I believe that the new democratic Turkey ought to agree to this. The UDI document of Denktash—and what an ominous term is UDI to those of us who remember Rhodesia!—speaks of 20,000 Turkish Cypriots who were driven from the south into the north. However, it makes no mention of the 100,000 Greek Cypriots who were driven from northern occupied Cyprus into the south—many of them evacuees now cared for by the Cyprus Government, but first living in squalor. I have met many of them. In my own city of Southampton live many Cypriots who have lost everything in the part of Cyprus that was occupied by the Turks.
I mentioned in an earlier debate the victims of the civil war who are reported missing. A month ago I received another delegation of Greek Cypriots. Two of them have brothers who were missing in the violence and they know nothing about them. We have tried for some time to get information from both sides so that those who may have lost somebody at least know whether they are alive or dead.
Greek Cyprus now is flourishing. Turkish Cyprus, with the help of Turkey, is still not flourishing. I believe the two communities could come together and build a very prosperous Cyprus indeed. I hope that nothing will be said in these critical days which will exacerbate the tensions. In the words of Denktash,The two peoples of the island are destined to co-exist side by side. We can, and must, find peaceful solutions to all our differences through negotiations on the basis of equality.I believe that the co-chairmen—Greece, Turkey, Britain and the United Nations (the Security Council)—can really step in now and bring together these dissident bodies. But I believe that, as a first step towards peace, Turkey must withdraw its troops from Cyprus. The world we live in is a world of crisis after crisis, any one of which could start the great explosion we are all afraid of. I believe that here is an opportunity to deal with such an explosive point and to end it honorably and peaceably to both sides. Denktash, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, and President Kyprianou, can yet become friends. 1304 Therefore I wish the Government, supported as they are by almost everybody in both Houses, every success in all attempts that they make to contribute to a peaceful solution of the problem that suddenly has become so dramatic.
§ 4.30 p.m.
My Lords, I should like to add my minuscule congratulations to the noble Viscount. Lord Tonypandy, on his excellent, uncontroversial and beautifully delivered speech. We all hope, I know, to hear him many times again.
I have not visited Cyprus since 1979, when I was very glad to be able to spend a whole week on either side of the island. As many speakers have said, not very much has changed since that time, but yesterday's announcement of the declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriots is but another page in the turbulent history of the island of Cyprus. As a guarantor power—the only really neutral one, for the Greeks favour the Greek Cypriots and the Turks help the Turkish Cypriots—it is sad to think how seldom we have taken any initiative.
I have to say that I blame the British Government of 1974 for doing nothing at a crucial time in the history of Cyprus. The then Foreign Secretary, Mr. Callaghan, failed to take any positive action whatsoever and it is because of this fact, more than any other, that the present situation has arisen. Although I do not condone the action of the Turkish Cypriot Parliament, I cannot help feeling some sympathy for a group of people who had been so continuously and vindictively ostracized by some Greek Cypriots because of political and racial ideology. I believe that if, as I have suggested on many other occasions, the British Government had shown just a spark of interest in helping both sides, they would almost certainly have reached an agreement long ago.
§ Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way, and I apologise for interrupting his speech, but perhaps he would accept, as would the whole House, that the circumstances in Cyprus in 1974 were very different from the circumstances as they are today, and that hindsight is a very easy matter.
My Lords, hindsight is indeed very easy, but I am afraid it does not alter my opinion. It has been obvious for a long time that Greek and Turk would not agree without a strong chairman in whom both had faith. This was the role that we should and could have played. So there is yet another large question mark now hanging over Cyprus: which nations will support the newly declared state of Northern Cyprus? How will the Islamic nations react? I hope to be in Turkey next week and I shall look forward to hearing the latest news. The new situation will undoubtedly anger the Greek Cypriots but it was, in my opinion, inevitable, and in many ways it changes nothing. I repeat, in many ways it changes nothing. Perhaps there will be a little bit of change, because if the Turkish Cypriots can receive some support from outside, they may be able to rebuild their slender economy. Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriots owe it to their friends to continue a positive attitude towards 1305 peace between the two sides in Cyprus. When they are stronger, they will, I am sure, want to continue negotiations for a joint overall administration of their island.
However, I am not here to adjudicate over the rights and wrongs of one side or the other but to raise one important issue which is so very vital to the future of individuals in Cyprus—individuals who will one day either benefit or suffer from the actions of their predecessors. I wish to refer to the need for the teaching of English in schools in Cyprus, which the present situation will in no way change. Since the division of the country, no Cypriot has learned the language of the other half, so the only language of communication between Cypriots on either side of the Green Line is English. Everyone wants stronger links between the two sides and with ourselves. Eventually federation may come about, but English is essential as a common language.
The standard of English teaching in Northern Cyprus has fallen and is falling to a disastrous level, and this fact is acknowledged by all concerned. The United Kingdom spent only £381,000 on educational development in Cyprus, with £136,000 going, as a proportion of the population, to the Turkish side. But because of a lack of good teachers of English the money is not being used in the best way. There is, indeed, a fee support scheme which is available to all eligible students from Cyprus, but without good English many Cypriots cannot possibly apply unless they have managed to live over here and pick up the English language.
Surely there is an organization which could help the teacher training college in Northern Cyprus, which is pathetically inadequate for its purpose. Are the Government able to point a way to finding a group who might be able to help in teaching teachers to teach English? We still have some obligations to all Cypriots and we owe it to them to ensure that they at least have a proper ability to speak English. The fee support scheme is likely to benefit many more Greek Cypriots than Turkish Cypriots, although I know that all Cypriots start with an equal chance in the eyes of the Foreign Office. But inevitably it is not enough to cover the costs, and the poorer Turkish Cypriots have greater difficulties.
The real need is for support for the teacher training college in Northern Cyprus—a totally unpolitical establishment where so much needs to be done. We must consider people as people and not just as the end product of their political masters. The Government have many reasons for disliking yesterday's events, but I hope they will find ways of increasing the teaching of English in Cyprus, especially in the North.
§ 4.37 p.m.
§ Baroness Jeger
My Lords, I am very glad to follow the noble Lord, Lord Newall, because I share his dismay about the falling-off in the teaching of English in Cyprus, which means that the two communities cannot talk to each other. If people cannot talk to each other, what hope is there for the future? We are all indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for bringing this subject forward for debate today. I have always known that he is very close to Denktash, but I never knew that he was so close that Denktash would fix his 1306 announcement for the day before the noble Lord's debate was due to he held in this House.
The noble Lord said that we must go back to the time before 1974.Some people believe that the troubles began only then. I know more history than does the noble Lord. I believe that we should go back to 1581, when, with the explosion of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks invaded Cyprus and have stayed there ever since. We might even go back to 1191 when King Richard Coeur de Lion gave Cyprus to Berengaria as a wedding present. We have been involved with this beautiful, tormented island for a very long time. I was sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Spens, spoke in such disparate tones about the Turkish and Greek Cypriots. I have been to Cyprus very many times. I would say, as Othello said when he was asked about his experience in Cyprus:I have found much love among them".I have friends in all parts of Cyprus, both Turkish and Greek. I have friends in both communities, not only in Cyprus but in Camden Town as well. I remember the time when Denktash, Kyprianou and Clerides were young law students in London. We could eat, drink and talk together. The artificiality of the present divide seems to me to be an unnecessary wickedness. I had the honour to be present in 1960 at the Ledra Palace Hotel for the departure speech of the then Sir Hugh Foot, now Lord Caradon. The independence of Cyprus was being celebrated. On one side of Sir Hugh Foot sat Dr. Kucuk for the Turkish community and on the other side Archbishop Makarios for the Greek community. Our hopes were high that the constitution for which we had taken the main responsibility would be imposed. I do not know why those hopes have been dashed in that disastrous way. If there was time, I could explore some of the experiences and some of the things which have happened, but this is a short debate.
I will only say that I am most anxious that today no noble Lord will take for granted that there has to he divisiveness between the Turks and the Greeks. I am a member of a body called the Friends of Cyprus. We have arranged conferences in London for Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, who come here for discussions. We have held such conferences for architects, engineers and journalists. Is it not a shame that they have to come all the way to London to talk to each other because they cannot do so at home?
When one gets down to human relationships, one does feel that there is hope. We are talking about a tiny island. If the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, whose interest I very much appreciate, will forgive me, it is an island only half the size of Wales. It is nonsense to talk about partition, and the announcement made yesterday does mean partition. That partition—the separateness of northern Cyprus can only work if that area becomes a colony of Turkey, as it exists only because of the thousands of Turkish soldiers who are there still.
The noble Lord, Lord Spens, referred to the American intervention in Grenada. I hope that the American soldiers there will soon be able to go home. But we are 10 years on in Cyprus, yet the Turkish army is there still. When we hear that the Turkish so-called parliament in the north of Cyprus is in favour of yesterday's declaration, I must remind your Lordships that every Turkish soldier in northern 1307 Cyprus had a vote for that poll. And every imported mainland Turk from Anatolia or wherever also had a vote. There is a deliberate attempt to destabilise the demography of Cyprus. If we could persuade the Turkish Government—and I have high hopes of the new Turkish Government—to get the army out and allow Turkish Cypriots (among whom I have many friends) to say what they want, then we might get a very different answer.
I hope very much that in the discussions about Turkey's closer association with the EEC, this situation will be a factor. If the word "Community" means anything, it cannot mean that one member of the Community invades and keeps troopson the soil of another. And if "Commonwealth" means anything, it cannot mean that we allow that situation to continue. I am very worried about the atmosphere in which many young Cypriots are growing up. When I go there, I try to talk to them about what has been said by United Nations and about the resolutions which have been passed. But their answer is, "So what?". I deplore that mood of cynicism, but I understand it. If we allow a situation to develop in which there is no follow up to all the resolutions and statements, then it does undermine the authority of United Nations.
Then there is the question of NATO. I can think of nothing better for NATO than for Greece and Turkey to work in harmony together. I have heard it said since yesterday that we might as well write off the 1960 treaties to which we were guarantors. I may remind your Lordships that it was under the 1960 agreements that British sovereign bases were established in Cyprus. If we are to tear up the 1960 agreements then we have to ask ourselves the question: what about the agreements regarding the bases, which were an integral part of those agreements?
I have said that partition is not viable in that little country. For instance, most of Nicosia—the Greek part—gets its water from Morphou, which is in Turkish hands. Famagusta, which is in Turkish hands, depends on Larnaca for its sewerage. There are areas of Cyprus, such as the central plain, where the wheat grows. In the north, there is fruit. In the south there are the factories which make clothes. This needs to be one united country, and there is no reason why it should not be. The Government made their views known speedily, and I am very glad about that.
I will raise just one further point which I should like the noble Lord the Minister to answer. I should like to know what consultations are being held in the United States of America about that which has happened. We know of United States' anxiety in the Middle East, and this seems to me to be a tinder box in the unstable situation in the Middle East. Will the United States continue exporting arms to Turkey? What assistance are Her Majesty's Government giving in economic aid to Turkey? Is there any way in which the Government, in discussing the position of Turkey in the EEC, can bring these points to bear?
I must finish by reminding this House of Resolution 3395 of United Nations, which urged upon all the powers concerned:To undertake urgent measures to facilitate the voluntary return of all refugees to their homes in safety".1308 That must still be our objective, and I hope that it is still the objective of Her Majesty's Government.
§ 4.47 p.m.
§ Lord Energlyn
My Lords, this will unquestionably be an historic debate recorded in Hansard for two reasons. First, because of the maiden speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy. Secondly, because of the declaration of independence of Mr. Denktash. For me personally, this history will be warm because of the noble Viscount's maiden speech, if I may be so bold as to say that.
Any geologist who is interested in the earth's interior is fully acquainted with Cyprus because it is the most important island geologically for those who study the earth's interior. In a previous debate on Cyprus I advocated the idea of putting down a bore hole to tap the hot rocks of Cyprus to create a geothermal power station whose power could be used for the mutual benefit of Greeks and Turks alike. The small island needs for its buoyant economy more water and more cheap electricity.
That idea was received with considerable favour by the Turkish Cypriots but I received no response whatever from the Greek Cypriots. That was my first experience of the lack of interest of the Greek Cypriots in the welfare of the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, I am a little sad to find that the Government and many of your Lordships have tended to over-react to this precipitate act of Mr. Denktash. I tend to follow the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, who said that this could be a fresh start. If it does no more than clarify the situation, it will make both sides face reality.
The reality is that for the past nine years there have been two separate communities. What is important and touching to me is that they are two communities who have lived side by side, divided by an artificial line, and there has been no bloodshed. I am not prepared to adjudicate as to who is responsible for that, but the fact is that they have lived side by side without bloodshed.
I therefore turn to the reasons why there have to be two separate communities, and. for brevity, these reasons are very clearly set out in the declaration announced yesterday. I quote:The bi-national character of the legislative assembly of the partnership state has been abrogated by force and armed violence. The right to elect and to be elected to this Assembly has been under the de facto monopoly of the Greek Cypriots for the last 20 years. The executive organ of the so-called Republic of Cyprus has also come under the monopoly of the Greek Cypriots. The joint exercise of executive, the power by the elected leaders of both communities has been abolished by brute force in 1963. For 20 years ministerial seats belonging to Turkish Cypriots have been unlawfully occupied by Greek Cypriots".It goes on in that vein, until ultimately one must reach the conclusion that undue pressure has been brought to bear on the Turkish Cypriots and this has resulted in their having no real say in the Government of Cyprus. That seems clearly to indicate why they gradually parted, and now we have concentrations of Greeks and Turks in the two parts of Cyprus. That dramatic situation with the so-called invasion by the Turkish army has resulted in two communities, who have managed to live without bloodshed side by side.
1309 But when we come to examine the economy of both of these areas I think it is as well to look at some of the facts. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, mentioned the fact that the Turkish Army is paid for by Turkey. Yes, it is. He should also have gone on to say that the Turkish Government introduced subsidies into the economy of the northern area of Cyprus, which is true. But when you come to look at what happens in the southern half of Cyprus—which is buoyant, and, as the noble Lord, Lord Maybray-King, pointed out, very buoyant as compared with the north—there is a very simple explanation; that because the southern half of Cyprus is the recognised Government of Cyprus it receives all foreign aid and none of it goes to northern Cyprus. A fifth of' the cash flow of southern Cyprus is foreign aid. This is all denied to the Turkish Cypriots. So that their entitlement is something to which one should give serious consideration.
Be that as it may, we then look at the activities of the Greek Cypriots. Because they are the state they can impose laws which cover the whole island. So consequently no airline is permitted by the Greek Cypriot Government to fly into any aerodrome north of the line. So the tourist industry is completely denied air transport. The Turkish Cypriots on five occasions contracted with an airline to fly produce in and out of northern Cyprus. They were only allowed to come in once, and they were threatened by the Cyprus Government that their licences would be withdrawn if they continued this operation. Again, on the question of imports and exports, the Cyprus Government maintained that it was illegal for any ship to import produce into any port that was described as a Turkish Cypriot port. These laws were so vicious that sea captains have been imprisoned. That is true.
§ Lord Energlyn
They can do that by law, but the Turkish Cypriots have no reciprocal muscle to respond.
§ Lord Energlyn
But, my Lords, they do not imprison ships' captains who happen to come to Famagusta. So it seems to me, trying to be as impartial as I can, that the Greeks have irritated, if that is not too harsh a word, the whole livelihood of the Turks in this manner, because they happen to have the status of government.
So, as the noble Lord, Lord Drumalbyn, says, we come to a point where there is no longer any grey; we now have two straightforward issues; should there be two separate governments or is there a possibility of there being a sensible government established in that island?
§ Lord Kennet
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Lord for allowing me to intervene. He has given a very accurate and vivid description of a rather successful blockade by a legal régime against the usurping authority which brought a foreign invading army on to a part of its territory.
§ Lord Energlyn
My Lords, I take Lord Kennet's point, but we are not talking about two different countries, we are talking about two communities. It is the imposition of the legal muscle of one community upon the other that I am talking about, not two countries. Does the noble Lord concede the point?
So in conclusion, my Lords, I would urge the Government to take a cool look at this, and to look upon this as a refreshing and challenging start of something that can be really constructive in that fabulous island.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ The Duke of Portland
My Lords, I have been advised that it is desirable that I should mention the following for the record. In July 1923, I was Secretary to the British Delegation at the Lausanne Conference. We were about to sign the Treaty which we had finished—it dragged on for several months—when Ismet Pasha, and later Inönü, put forward a demand for a clause to be included that if we ever gave up Cyprus, or left Cyprus, we would hand it back to Turkey. We had held it before the First War as a sort of protectorate, but the Ottoman Empire never abandoned sovereignty.
Sir Horace Rumbold, who was the chief delegate, almost had an apoplectic fit with rage at the prospect of having to remain on in Lausanne and sent back a message that we would never give up Cyprus, which was vital to our interests, and he hoped that the matter would not be pressed. He refused to put anything in writing. I thought I would mention this, my Lords, just for the record.
§ 5 p.m.
§ Lord Banks
My Lords, perhaps I can begin by saying to the noble Lord, Lord Energlyn, that he ought to consider the conduct of the Greek Cypriot Government in Cyprus by looking at it from their point of view: namely, that they see within their territory what they regard as a rebel Government maintained by the armed forces of a foreign power. I think any Government in that situation is bound to act in the way he mentioned against what they consider to be a rebel Government.
I join in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for raising this important matter once again and for doing so at such an appropriate time. The debate has been overshadowed by the action of the Turkish Cypriot estate yesterday in declaring independence. As my noble friend Lord Kennet made clear earlier, we on these Benches, like so many others in other parts of the House, deplore that action. We feel that it must make a solution more difficult even though the Turkish Cypriots say that they still want a federal state and still want to talk with the other community.
The basis of the 1960 settlement was that there should be no union with Greece, that there should be no partition of Cyprus, and that Cyprus should be united and independent. Of course, as we have been reminded by many noble Lords, our own Government is a guarantor of that settlement with Greece and Turkey. The invasion of Cyprus by Turkish troops in 1974 and the division into two virtually separate states—one legally recognised throughout most of the world and the other not—was clearly a breach of that 1311 settlement, whatever the Turkish Cypriot grievances may have been, and I readily concede to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, that the Turkish Cypriots had genuine grievances. But there was always the hope—
§ Lord Drumalbyn
My Lords, I was about to intervene but realised that the noble Lord had said Turkish Cypriots. I beg his pardon.
§ Lord Banks
Yes, my Lords, I think there have been grievances on both sides and I would not for one moment seek to deny that. There was always the hope that agreement between the two communities would end that breach and in February 1977 President Makarios, as he then was, and Mr. Denktash agreed certain guidelines: Cyprus should be independent, non-aligned, bi-communal and a federal republic.
There were, of course, serious problems over the question of the area which each zone was to occupy. At present we know that 36 to 37 per cent. is occupied by the Turkish state although the Turkish population is about 18 per cent. There were problems over representation in the institutions of the proposed federation. But I think that more fundamental than those was the difficulty over interpreting the phrase "bi-communal". Was there to be a single Government with two regions, each with a certain amount of autonomy, as the Greek Cypriots wanted, or were there to be virtually two separate states linked by a kind of co-ordinating machinery, as the Turkish Cypriots wanted? In plans put forward by the Turkish Cypriots there would have been two armed forces and no single commander. There would be no commander of both forces but merely a system of liaison. That fundamental difference was argued about year after year and, as the noble Lord, Lord Maybray-King, reminded us, in our debates in 1976, 1978, 1979 and 1980 in this House we had to admit that there had been no progress.
Recently a new initiative was taken by the Secretary-General who went further than his predecessors in assessing the possibilities for discussion by fixing maximum and minimum parameters within which the discussion might take place. For example, there was to he either a Greek Cypriot President and Turkish Cypriot Vice-President, with a division of 60–40 in favour of the Greeks in the federal executive, or the Greeks and the Turks were to alternate the presidency, with the membership of the executive being 70–30 in favour of the Greeks. The lower House was to be elected by proportional representation or there was to be a 70–30 representation of the communities in favour of the Greeks in that body. As regards area, the Turks were to have either a minimum of 23 per cent. or a maximum of 30 per cent.—somewhere between those limits—instead of the present 36 per cent.
What I suppose we must ask ourselves today is whether this new initiative, put forward as recently as August, has been brought to an end by the action which took place yesterday. It is true, of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Spens, said, that the Turkish Cypriots are merely seeking to legitimise the status quo. Nevertheless, that very act, if it could be brought about, would produce legal and political consequences 1312 of considerable difficulty. I suppose that, as a number of speakers have said, the differences on the ground will be small.
The Turkish Cypriots say that they still want a federal state, but one wonders whether any federal state that could possibly be acceptable to the Greek Cypriots can be achieved starting from the base we now have of two entirely and virtually separate states within the island. Are we not back to the old question of whether there are to be two states or one? Of course, events on the island are inevitably influenced by Greek/Turkish relations and Mr. Papandreou, the Prime Minister of Greece, has recently underlined the difficulty of reaching an agreement while the Turkish forces remain on the island.
I ask the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, how, in the situation I have described, do the Government see their role as guarantor? Do they feel that, apart from denying recognition to the state which has declared itself independent, no action should be taken against that state? For example, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, mentioned economic sanctions. I am not advocating that, but I am asking whether the Government have a view on that. Do they feel that the United Nations or the guarantor countries should take action, or should the Government seek to get them to take action, in any way against the Turkish state? Do the Government feel that having deplored the action and having denied recognition their main function must be to get both communities talking again, in spite of almost insuperable difficulties, on the Churchillian ground that. "Jaw, jaw is better than war, war"?
There is no doubt that a happier state of relations between Greece and Turkey, while it would not solve the problem, would greatly assist. Is there a case for a wider conference, including the guarantor countries as well as the two communities, perhaps under the auspices of the United Nations? That was suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, and by the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, in a maiden speech which we much appreciated. One thing is clear. While Turkish troops remain in Cyprus we cannot expect the matter to be solved by the communities alone.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ Lord Trefgarne
My Lords, when the noble Lord, Lord Spens, was successful in the ballot and elected to debate the question of Cyprus I am sure that neither he nor any of your Lordships realised how timely such a debate would be. Obviously your Lordships will expect me to devote much of my speech to yesterday's news of a purported declaration of independence by the Turkish Cypriot community. Nevertheless, I think it right to begin by setting yesterday's events in a broader perspective.
Before doing so, may I add my words of appreciation to the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, for his maiden speech, which has so much enhanced and decorated our debate today. I hope that we shall hear the noble Viscount again very soon and often thereafter.
Cyprus was last debated by your Lordships on 20th April, when my noble friend Lord Belstead explained the Government's view of the Cyprus problem at that time. The debate came at a crucial point, just before 1313 the debate on Cyprus in the United Nations General Assembly in May. My noble friend, in looking forward to that debate, appealed to the parties involved to ask themselves whether their actions would bring a Cyprus settlement any nearer or would push it further away. Subsequent events have shown how justified were my noble friend's fears. The United Nations debate came and went. It did not bring a settlement any closer. I still hope, despite yesterday's events, that we shall not in future see that debate as having pushed the settlement further away. But the plain fact is that since that debate there has been no further meeting of the two communities. There have also been many other serious developments.
But there was one element in the United Nations resolution which we regarded at the time as extremely positive. Although we abstained on the resolution as a whole, because we believed it would not help the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem, we voted in favour of one particular paragraph, the sixteenth. This paragraph endorsed the publicly declared intention of the United Nations Secretary General, Sr. Perez de Cuellar, to strengthen his personal involvement in the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem. The United Kingdom Permanent Representative, in his explanation of vote at the United Nations, said that, in keeping with our firm support for the Secretary General, we very much welcomed this intention. The Secretary General's personal involvement in the problem represented a ray of hope for a number of reasons. In the first place, Sr. Perez de Cuellar is an international statesman of wide renown. Secondly, he has himself served in Cyprus as Dr. Waldheim's Special Representative, and knows the problems of Cyprus well. Thirdly, it became increasingly clear over the summer that some new impetus was necessary to get inter-communal discussions going again.
In early August, Sr. Perez de Cuellar presented some new ideas to the two communities. The details were confidential. But we understand that he suggested to the two parties a basis on which to concentrate initial discussion in resuming inter-communal negotiations. We understand that this concerned the three important subjects of territory, the legislature and the executive. We believed that this move by the Secretary General presented the two sides with an opportunity to make progress and we urged them to seize it. I am afraid that I am not able to discuss in detail how the two sides reacted to the Secretary General's ideas: their comments were made confidentially to the Secretary General.
I would simply wish to make two points. The first is that, for real progress to be achieved, it was clear that both sides would have to make difficult—perhaps painful—concessions. Whatever the structure and details of a future solution to the Cyprus problem, it has always seemed most unlikely that either side could obtain everything it wants. Secondly, I said that the Secretary General's ideas presented the two sides with an opportunity. It would be over-dramatic to suggest that this was the last opportunity that the two sides will ever have. But, as yesterday's developments underline, the passing years do not make things any easier; rather the reverse. This opportunity was one which should not have been missed.
1314 As your Lordships will now know, after the United Nations debate Mr. Denktash began to threaten to declare an independent Turkish Cypriot state in Northern Cyprus. The British Government took these threats very seriously both in the summer and when they were renewed in the last few weeks. We made it very clear to Mr. Denktash, and to the Turkish Government, that we were opposed to any such move. We believed that it would make a solution to the Cyprus problem more difficult to find. We told Mr. Denktash that a declaration of independence was in the interests neither of Cyprus as a whole nor of his own community. We told him, and the Turkish Government, quite unequivocally that we would not recognise a purported new state and that a declaration of independence would amount to secession, which would be incompatible with the 1960 treaty arrangements. Most of our major allies agreed with our views and made similar representations.
In our case, diplomatic representations by our Ambassador at Ankara and our High Commissioner at Nicosia were reinforced at a high level. For example, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr. Turkmen, was in London in July. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence visited Ankara last month. My noble friend Lady Young visited Cyprus also last month and spoke personally to Mr. Denktash. Indeed, were she not abroad at present she would, I am certain, have welcomed the opportunity to tell your Lordships about her visit. On all these occasions we made very clear to the Turkish Cypriot leadership and to the Turkish Government the strength of our views. It is a matter of great regret to us that these representations seem to have had no effect.
During this period we also kept in close touch with the Governments of Greece and Cyprus. President Kyprianou visited London in July and Prime Minister Papandreou of Greece was here last week. Both discussed the Cyprus problem with my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. Indeed, as your Lordships may have seen, President Kyprianou is to come to London again tomorrow and I think will again be discussing matters with my right honourable friend the Prime Minister.
This short survey of the background to yesterday's declaration leads me to the British Government's view of what has occurred. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made a statement in answer to a question yesterday in another place. My noble friend Lord Lyell repeated the Statement in your Lordships' House. The Government have made it clear that we deplore this action by the Turkish Cypriot community, particularly as it came at a time when the Secretary General, at Mr. Denktash's suggestion, was preparing the ground for a summit meeting between the two communities. We will not recognise the new state which they claim to have established.
My right honourable friend also explained some of the actions we are already undertaking to deal with what has now happened. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister yesterday sent a message to the President of Turkey urging him to help to secure a reversal of the declaration made by the Turkish Cypriots. My right honourable friend the Foreign and 1315 Commonwealth Secretary has also sent messages to the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey calling for consultation with ourselves as fellow signatories of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. That is the answer to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Banks. In addition, as I think noble Lords already know, we are seeking an early meeting of the Security Council and have circulateda draft resolution deploring the move.
I turn now to some of the other points that have been made during the course of the debate. The noble Viscount. Lord Tonypandy, and indeed the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, focused on the role of Turkey and the position of that country in NATO in the light of her activities in Cyprus. I can see that the Turkish Government were under strong pressure to recognise a Turkish Cypriot state but their decision to do so is one that we deeply regret. We hope that it will not be followed by other states. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has today summoned His Excellency the Turkish Ambassador to convey to him our views in this matter.
There are many channels by which our views may be communicated to the Turkish Government, but in NATO (to which several noble Lords have alluded) our primary concern is to counter the Soviet threat. We hope and believe that this concern will be of paramount importance to both Greece and Turkey also. We must not permit the Cyprus dispute to disrupt the co-operation among NATO allies.
As I have said, we much regret Turkey's decision to recognise the so-called state. The next step must be the consultations proposed with the guarantor powers to which I have referred. We shall consider further action in the light of those consultations. We must of course ask whether whatever we do will help to find a solution to the problem or push it further away. Incidentally, I understand that Turkey has indeed agreed to these consultations under certain circumstances and we hope for a formal response from the Greek Government later today.
The noble Baroness, Lady Jeger, asked me about consultations with the United States. We are indeed in close touch with the United States Government. They have shared our dismay at the purported declaration of independence and share our desire to see a solution to this problem.
The noble Lord, Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos, in his earlier remarks expressed understandable concern—which I share—over the safety of British residents in Cyprus, but I am happy to say that we have no reason to believe that these developments present any direct threat to British citizens in the island. We are, of course, watching the situation very carefully. Indeed, as my noble friend Lord Lyell said yesterday, there are about 200 British subjects in Northern Cyprus. We also share, of course, with the noble Viscount, Lord Tonypandy, sympathy for the Cypriot populations, Greek and Turkish. Undoubtedly, as the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, said, there have been many cases of suffering and ill-treatment in the past but clearly the solution to these problems lies in the long-term solution to the Cypriot problem generally.
1316 My noble friend Lord Newall also made an interesting suggestion about the provision of teacher training, particularly to the Turkish Cypriots. I will ensure that this matter is studied very carefully and followed up as best as may be.
What then of the future? A most important objective must be to attempt to secure the reversal of the action of the Turkish Cypriots. We must also continue to give our firm support to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has all along played a key role in the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem. We are in close touch with him and we stand ready to do anything which he considers might help. At the same time, however, we wish to discourage any action which will lead to a deterioration of the situation on the ground in Cyprus. The last few days have been sad ones for the island, but we remain convinced that a solution can and must be found. It will be found only when the two communities are prepared to show the will and the flexibility to make the necessary progress.
Our efforts will continue to be devoted towards ensuring that, despite the regrettable events of the last two days, a solution will still be found to the problems which have bedevilled the lives of the two communities in Cyprus for far too long.
§ 5.21 p.m.
My Lords, I think I have 20 minutes of your Lordships' time and I could spend that time in answering in detail the various speeches which have been made. I do not propose to do that. All I want to do is to thank all the speakers for their contributions. I think what we have heard today has been, and will be, very useful.
There is only one little thing I am sorry about. That is Lord Trefgarne's last statement that the British Government are going to try to seek to reverse the situation that happened yesterday. I do not believe that they will be able to do it and I think they will be wasting their time. What is much more important is using that situation to bring the two sides together, and I am quite certain that the Turkish Cypriots are willing to negotiate on the basis of the partnership which they have now established, by creating this separate state.
May I quote just two or three extracts from the part of the declaration which I was given yesterday:The Proclamation of the new State will not hinder but facilitate the establishment of a genuine federation. The new Republic will not unite with any other State. The new State will continue to adhere to the treaties of establishment guaranteeing alliance. The good offices of the United Nations Secretary-General and negotiations must continue.".I am quite certain that that is what the Turkish Cypriots want to happen. They do not want to become part of Turkey. They want to remain in Cyprus, but they want to remain as their own separate community in Cyprus dealing with their neighbours, the Greeks, with as much friendliness as is possible between the two. I wish them all the goodwill in the world in their endeavours for something like that to be brought about. My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.