Zürich and London Agreement

Zürich and London Agreement

The Zürich and London Agreement was the agreement which took place on the 19 February 1959 between Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and the Cypriot communities leaders under the leadership of the Archbishop Makarios III for Greek Cypriots and Dr. Fazıl Küçük for Turkish Cypriots, in Lancaster House in London and closed an agreement was signed for the final settlement of the Cyprus dispute. The purposed constitution was agreed on 11 February in Zürich.

On the basis of the Zürich and London Agreements, which were in fact imposed on the people of Cyprus, a constitution was drafted and Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state on 16 August 1960. It has often been asserted that the Zürich and London Agreements were freely signed by the representatives of the Cypriot people; but the only reason the Cypriot people's representatives signed them was because the sole alternative would have been the continued denial of independence and freedom, continued bloodshed and, possibly, the forced partition of Cyprus.

Government and legislatures

The Constitution provided for, under the Agreements, divided the people into two communities on the basis of ethnic origin and the Turkish Cypriot minority was given rights disproportionate to its size. The President had to be a Greek Cypriot elected by the Greek Cypriots, and the Vice-President a Turkish Cypriot elected by the Turkish Cypriots. The Vice-President was granted the right of a final veto on fundamental laws passed by the House of Representatives and on decisions of the Council of Ministers which was composed of ten ministers, three of whom had to be Turkish Cypriots (although only 18 per cent of the population) and be nominated for appointment by the Vice-President.

In the House of Representatives, the Turkish Cypriots were elected separately by their own community. The House had no power to modify the Constitution in any respect insofar as it concerned its basic articles and any other modification required a majority of two thirds of both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot members. Any modification of the Electoral Law and the adoption of any law relating to municipalities or any fiscal laws required separate simple majorities of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members of the House. Thus 8 Turkish Cypriot members of the House could defeat a bill voted for by 35 Greek Cypriot members and 7 Turkish Cypriot members. In fact in 1963, when the fiscal laws according to Article 78 of the Constitution expired, the 15 Turkish Cypriot members defeated an income tax bill voted by the 35 Greek members, thus depriving the state of one of its main sources of income.

The highest judicial organs, the Supreme Constitutional Court and the High Court of Justice, had to be presided over by neutral presidents - neither Greek Cypriot nor Turkish Cypriot - who by virtue of their casting votes were supposed to maintain the balance between the Greek and Turkish members of the Courts. Whereas under the colonial regime Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot judges tried all cases irrespective of the origin of the litigants without any complaint ever having been made, the above Agreements provided that disputes among Turkish Cypriots be tried by Turkish Cypriot judges only, disputes among Greek Cypriots by Greek Cypriot judges only, and disputes between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots by mixed courts composed of both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot judges. Thus for a petty offense which involved a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, two judges had to sit and try the case. The procedure, apart from being unnecessarily expensive, was conducive to creating a biased judiciary.

In addition to the above provisions, which proved to be both unreasonable and impracticable, separate Greek and Turkish Communal Chambers were created with legislative and administrative powers in regard to educational, religious, cultural, sporting and charitable matters, cooperative and credit societies, and questions of personal status. Separate municipalities were envisaged for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the five largest towns of the island. Such separation, apart from being impracticable, as the population and properties in many places were intermixed, made their functioning disproportionately expensive for small towns such as those of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots held 30 per cent of the posts in the Civil Service and comprised 40 per cent of the Police Force and Army.

As a result of the Zürich and London Agreements, as briefly shown above, the proper functioning of the state became virtually impossible through a constitutional structure conceived at a time of tension and suspicion and based on notions aiming at divisions rather than cooperation and unity.

Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance

But apart from the Zürich and London Agreements, two treaties were also signed which constituted an infringement of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus and which became part and parcel of the package deal agreed upon in Zurich. These were:

The 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, a pact designed to preserve the territorial independence of the Republic of Cyprus. The guarantor powers (the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Greece) promised not to seek annexation or partition of Cyprus, and to assist their communities on Cyprus in the event of major clashes between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It was the July 1974 Greek-backed coup d'etat that gave Turkey the pretext to intervene militarily, arguing that the Treaty of Guarantee made their intervention fully legal. The legality of the invasion has been seriously challenged. Article Four of the Treaty of Guarantee which refers to conditional rights of intervention, does not implicitly or explicitly refer to military intervention because according to the United Nations Charter, no member state has the right to intervene militarily in another state without the consent of the UN Security Council. [ [http://www.mfa.gov.cy/mfa/mfa2006.nsf/All/484B73E4F0736CFDC22571BF00394F11/$file/Treaty%20of%20Guarantee.pdf. Treaty of Guarantee of Republic of Cyprus] ]

The Cyprus Government has always supported the above position and called upon Turkey, which doubted it, to recourse, together with Cyprus, to the International Court of Justice at The Hague for a decision on whether Turkey legally invaded Cyprus. Turkey, however, refuses to do so. [ [http://www.cyprus.gov.cy/moi/pio/pio.nsf/All/22638F36A046D6A2C2256DC9002FE01F?OpenDocument&print Cyprus Government position] ]

On the 12th May 1959, the Legal Department of the United Nations issued an opinion on the request of the Greece regarding the validity and status of the proposed Treaty of Guarantee with relation to articles 2 paragraph 7, 3 paragraph 3, 74, 53 and 103 of the UN Charter. According to the opinion, the proposed Treaty of Guarantee did not give the guarantor powers "an absolute right to intervene with the use of military force in case of a breach of the provisions of the treaty. Such violence is justified only in case of self-defence or under the authority of the United Nations or on the invitation of the Republic of Cyprus. A right of an armed intervention does not automatically arise out of the provisions of the Treaty..." [ Opinion of the Legal Department of the United Nations opn the Treaty of Guarantee of Cyprus on the one hand and Greece, the United Kingdom and Turkey on the other hand, 12th May 1959, set out in Leonidas G. Papadopoulos, To Kipriako Zitima, Keimena 1954-1974, University Studio Press, Salonica 1999] Another opinion issued by Sir Frank Soskice, former Attorney General of the United Kindgom, on the 1st November 1963 in which he stated amongst others the following: " [I] t is my opinion that the wording of article IV of the Treaty of Guarantee, even if it could be said that under any particular circumstances permit a unilateral military intervention, under the present circumstances do not leave any room for such action to Turkey, unless it is approved by the Security Council." [Opinion by Sir Frank Stoskice on the Treaty of Guarantee, set out in Papadopoulos, ibid] According to the above, it is opinioned that Turkey could not have taken any direct military action under the Treaty of Guarantee in accordance with the principles of International Law without the prior sanction of the Security Council, a sanction that had never been sought.

In any case following the first phase of the intervention, constitutional order had been restored in Cyprus and therefore Turkey could not claim any further justification under the Treaty of Guarantee to continue its military operations in Cyprus. As Harvard University professor Dennis Skiotis, who served as a member of a Senate study mission sent to the Eastern Mediterranean in September 1974, said in his report: "For whatever the merits and dubious legality of the initial Turkish landings, the second phase of the Turkish Army's so-called "peace operation" on the island--particularly after the Sampson regime had given way to the moderate and constitutional leadership of Glafkos Clerides--was an unjustifiable violation of the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus. In fact ... in simple language, it was aggression." [Quoted in Paul Y. Watanabe, Ethnic Groups, Congress, and American Foreign Policy: The Politics of the Turkish Arms Embargo, Greenwood Press, Westport, 1984, page102]

The second phase of the intervention resulting in the occupation of 37% of the island was condemned by UN Security Council resolutions.

It should be noted that these Treaties were never presented to the House of Representatives for ratification as the House very likely would never have ratified them; an impasse would have been created from the earliest days of the birth of the Republic.The Treaties, moreover, were in direct conflict with the basic principles of international law and morality, with the principles of the United Nations Charter and with the right of every state to full sovereignty and independence. They authorized foreign powers to take such action as would constitute an unprecedented intervention in the domestic affairs of an independent state and member of the United Nations, and violated the internationally accepted principles of democratic government, majority rule and equality among citizens. The United Nations Mediator on Cyprus, Dr. Galo Plaza, in paragraph 163 of his report to the U.N. Secretary-General in March 1965, described the 1960 Constitution, created by the Zürich and London Agreements, as "a constitutional oddity", and in paragraph 129 he stated that difficulties in implementing the Treaties signed on the basis of those Agreements had begun almost immediately after independence.

Results of the Agreement

13 Amendments proposed by Makarios III

Nevertheless, the people of Cyprus did their best to ensure the smooth functioning of the new state, but their efforts were doomed to failure. In November 1963 the then President of the Republic, Archbishop Makarios III in his desire to improve the situation, suggested thirteen amendments to the Constitution - amendments not involving any radical changes but designed rather to remove some of the more obvious causes of friction.As the president had stated, "to resolve constitutional deadlocks".

#The right of veto of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be abolished.
#The Vice-President of the Republic to deputise for or replace the President of the Republic in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties. In consequence, therefore, all the constitutional provisions in respect of joint action by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be modified accordingly.
#The Greek President of the House of Representatives and its Turkish Vice-President to be elected by the House as a whole and not as at present the President by the Greek Members of the House and the Vice-President by the Turkish Members of the House.
#The Vice-President of the House of Representatives to deputise for or replace the President of the House in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties.
#The constitutional provisions regarding separate majority for enactment of Laws by the House of Representatives to be abolished.
#The constitutional provision regarding the establishment of separate Municipalities in the five main towns to be abolished. Provision should be made so that: (a) The Municipal Council in each of the aforesaid five towns shall consist of Greek and Turkish Councillors in proportion to the number of the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of such town by whom they shall be elected respectively. (b) In the Budget of each of such aforesaid towns, after deducting any expenditure required for common services, a percentage of the balance proportionate to the number of the Turkish inhabitants of such town shall be earmarked and disposed of in accordance with the wishes of the Turkish Councillors.
#The constitutional provision regarding Courts consisting of Greek Judges to try Greeks and of Turkish Judges to try Turks and of mixed Courts consisting of Greek and Turkish Judges to try cases where the litigants are Greeks and Turks to be abolished.
#The division of the Security Forces into Police and Gendarmerie to be abolished, (Provision to be made in case the Head of the Police is a Greek the Deputy Head to be a Turk and vice versa).
#The numerical strength of the Security Forces and of the Army to be determined by Law and not by agreement between the President and the Vice-President of the Republic.
#The proportion of the participation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the composition of the Public Service and of the Forces of the Republic, i.e. the Police and the Army, to be modified in proportion to the ratio of the population of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
#The number of the members of the Public Service Commission to be reduced from ten to either five or seven.
#All the decisions of the Public Service Commission to be taken by simple majority. If there is an allegation of discrimination on the unanimous request either of the Greek or of the Turkish members of the Commission, its Chairman to be bound to refer the matter to the Supreme Constitutional Court.
#The Greek Communal Chamber to be abolished.

Makarios said the justification for the Thirteen Amendments was:
"The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, in its present form, creates many difficulties in the smooth government of the State and impedes the development and progress of the country. It contains many sui generis provisions conflicting with internationally accepted democratic principles and creates sources of friction between Greek and Turkish Cypriots".

Those amendments were submitted to the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot minority in Cyprus, However the Turkish Government - to which the amendments had been communicated simply for information - said they were unacceptable, thus compelling the Turkish Cypriot leadership to follow suit.

Turkish Cypriot reaction and partition

The Vice-President publicly declared that the Republic of Cyprus had ceased to exist, and along with the three Turkish Cypriot Ministers, the Turkish Cypriot members of the House as well as the Turkish Cypriot civil servants, withdrew from the Government. Negotiations efforts for finding solution to the problem did not succeed. Makarios refused all the purposed solutions which would have resulted the partition of Cyprus. For that reason Greek Junta, which was governing Greece between 1967-74, organized a coup d'état and that gave reason for Turkey to intervene. As a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Cyprus remains since 1974 under "de facto" partition.

In 1983, Turkey and Turkish Cypriots declared the Independence of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but that was not recognized internationally. In fact the UN has declared TRNC as legally Invalid and asked for its withdrawal. The UN Security Council has issued multiple resolutions stating that all states should refrain from recognizing the protectorate of Turkey in Cyprus.




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