Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, which forced Christians out of their ancestral homes, has created the phenomenon of ‘bizonality,’ a geographical separation between Muslims and Christians. Strangely, this new reality has even become the basis of the UN-led Cyprus negotiations — despite the Security Council’s own resolutions condemning Turkey’s actions.
By Kyriacos Kyriakides
In 1974 an illegal coup instigated by Greece’s junta caused the deaths of almost 100 Christian Cypriots. The ensuing unilateral Turkish invasion of Cyprus, ostensibly to protect the Muslim minority, was a sheer catastrophe, causing several thousand deaths.
The historic Christian majority of the 37% occupied northern part was forced or intimidated out, and the Muslim minority island-wide was later invited in.
“Bizonality,” a pure ethnic-religious geographical separation, became a new reality, strangely even the basis of the UN-led Cyprus negotiations, despite the Security Council’s own resolutions (353 (1974), 541 (1983), 550 (1984)) condemning Turkey’s actions and calling for the respect of Cyprus’ “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.” No wonder Cyprus has “been dubbed a graveyard for peacemakers.”
In 2004, just prior Cyprus’ entry to the EU, over 62% of Cyprus’ population and a prodigious 76% of the over four-fifths Greek-educated, Christian majority rejected the sexed-up, bi-zonal deal on offer.
Nonetheless, bizonality remains center stage. Lord Haney, the plan’s British architect had warned “If the Greek-Cypriots say ‘no’ to the Annan plan, we will take them to a new referendum, until they say ‘yes’.”
No doubt he had his own country’s interests in mind, specifically the British military bases, a trademark of the island’s colonial heritage and root cause of the Cyprus problem itself. (‘Sovereign British Areas’ (SBAs) make up roughly 3% of the island’s territory.)
There is no definition for bizonality in international law. The Muslim Turkish-Cypriot minority — in perfect beati possidentes form (i.e. blessed are those who possess, since “possession is nine-tenths” of the law) — interprets bizonality as guaranteed majorities in both property ownership and population in “its zone,” an area historically Christian-populated and Christian-owned.
Moreover, Turkish Cypriots expect derogations from the acquis communautaire, the European “constitution,” for political and geographic segregation to be enshrined in Cypriot and European law. “Natural rights,” they say. Both Nelson Mandela and Adam Smith, each for his own reasons, must be turning in their graves.
On the other hand, Christian political leaders are united in emphasizing the critical importance for the full respect of the human rights of all Cypriots. Christians have titles to over 85% of all properties in the illegally occupied north from a land registry the British established back in the late nineteenth century.
EU institutions, while tacitly tolerating the bi-zonal basis, reiterate that an upgraded charter for Cyprus must be fully in line with EU law, an indirect answer to Turkey that controls — lock, stock and barrel — the Turkish Cypriot political will.
Bizonality demands of Cypriots to vote away ownership in their ancestral lands and properties, thereby legitimizing a Muslim zone where none ever existed, establishing a 50-50 political arrangement between majority and minority. (Approximately 85% of property in all of Cyprus — free and occupied parts – belongs to Christians.)
Refusing to comply allows the perpetuation of the status-quo, amidst rampant colonization of the north — an unfolding, unpunished war crime.
Turks already outnumber the more “progressive,” mostly secular, local Muslims in the occupied northern Cyprus ghetto. Turkey’s Erdoğan considers them the new “improved,” i.e. more pious, Cypriots.
Unmistakably, segregation coupled with an ill-conceived, flawed understanding of “political equality,” has been the cornerstone of the Muslim Cypriot minority’s thinking. Segregation in various forms is also the coat of arms of the religion-political ideology known as Islam, not least of which separates between Muslims and kafirs (non-Muslims).
The Turks’ idea is unabashedly simple: nothing goes unless Muslims agree to it. Juxtaposed with the Islamic totalitarianism we witness in Raqqa, Riyadh or Tehran, it may seem delightfully liberal. Nonetheless, in any dialogue or negotiation, “our Western notions of truth, logic, reason, and facts” invariably fail to infiltrate.
Most would be quick to point out that religion was not a direct factor in the Cypriot quagmire. And they would be right. Nevertheless, the religious underpinnings of the permanent segregationist calls and interpretations of the charter by the Muslim Cypriots cannot be disputed either.
It is under this light, with much of the West facing new, emerging demographic realities and ever-increasing non-assimilated Muslim communities, that we need assess the repercussions of bizonality if embodied in Cypriot, European and international law.
When people of an entirely different weltanschauung (worldview) become a sizable minority in their city, district or state, will these communities not aim to achieve some sort of political status or recognition predicated upon their “religious” uniqueness? Is such a course not demanded of them in their “sacred” politicized texts and preached by many of their religious leaders?
Legal precedents to validate such pursuits would be invaluable. And none more powerful than a potential EU-member Cyprus precedent, embedded in the highest law, one that affords religion-based privileges to a sizable Muslim minority, starring “political equality,” as misconstrued by Muslims, enabling their own gated politico-geographical enclaves, where their “otherness” can be shielded from the “racism,” “Islamophobia” and “decadence” of kafir ethos and traditions.
Europe’s uneasiness about the “’perceived’ invasion” is not new. Daniel Pipes warns of ominous consequences should the plethora of existing partial no-go zones in Europe’s majority-Muslim areas be left unchecked.
“Indeed,” Pipes stresses, “it is not farfetched to foresee them turning into Muslim autonomous zones applying Islamic law and challenging the authorities” predicting “future unrest, crises, breakdown and even civil war.” Has this not been the case in Cyprus?
Unsurprisingly Muslim Cypriots consider it “natural” for no less than 100,000 illegal Turkish settlers to be granted Cypriot citizenship. To put this figure in European perspective, the equivalent would be the naturalization of 70 million illegal Muslim migrants in the EU.
Compare this hypothetical number to the effect the influx of one million Muslim migrants has so far had on Europe, or even the three additional million predicted for 2016, and you begin to appreciate Cypriots’ despair as they witness a medieval demographic conquest unfold inside their home.
For Cypriots, Western silence or outright complicity in pushing for bizonality is incomprehensible, to say the least. Would Germans accept a federal Muslim länder, in an equal partnership with the other 15, its original German inhabitants relocated or forced to either sell their properties or settle for reduced political rights?
Would the French afford their Muslims full exclusive education in Arabic or Turkish without ever learning French? Would the British, Swedes, Dutch or Americans cede Muslims veto powers or separate ballots? Why then expect, beguile and even coerce Cypriots to do so?
If Cyprus’ “moderate,” “Westernized” Muslims go as far as to issue concealed threats unless their “equality” and land-grab “zone,” are recognized, how will Europe’s Muslims behave once they reach critical mass?
The Cypriots’ existential dilemmas should sound the alarm for all. “Religion-rooted” arguments cannot possibly be allowed to creep in to become the neo-Western legal norm. The Muslim Ottomans’ military advance in Europe was stopped 333 years ago at the Gates of Vienna.
Today’s demographic, cultural and political Islamic advance must be resisted and defeated diplomatically at the fabricated zones of Cyprus by refusing a bi-zonal legal precedent carved out of historically Christian towns.
In Cyprus, time has supposedly entrenched inescapable “facts on the ground,” as some surely had hoped or even designed. Common sense however must prevail. International diplomacy should have never heeded legalized apartheid under the federation euphemism for the heart of Europe no less.
Cyprus may still define Ban Ki-moon’s legacy after all. Long overdue as it may, the secretary general should urge the Security Council to turn its back to perilous, self-defeating diplomatic nonsense by courageously admitting nostra culpa (our fault) and seeking an upgrade to Cyprus’ 1960 charter, for approval by the Cypriot people in a unified referendum, much like the Cypriot president had attempted to do as far back as in 1963.
As both the USSR and Germany examples proved, sometimes going back is the only rational escape to the future.
First published at: clarionproject.org
Kyriacos Kyriakides is a political activist, current events expert and blogger based in Limassol, Cyprus. He blogs in English (http://antifon.blogspot.com/ ) and Greek (http://syllogiemai.blogspot.com/ ). Follow him on Twitter (https://twitter.com/no2bizonality) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KyriakidesK).