This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
From card catalog: Zenon Rossides, Ambassador of Cyprus to the UN talks about the Cyprus crisis. Traces its origin to British colonial policy and Turkish intervention. Explains why partition is impossible and calls on the UN to insure self-determination for the Cypriot. Questions and answers.
Host introduces Rossides. Rossides gives brief history of Cyprus, specifically the Cyprus constitution and clashes with Turkey and Great Britain. Denial of people of Cyprus to their rights and independence. Origins of the trouble in Cyprus rely on the policy of divide and rule: Greeks and Turks cannot live together. Petitioning the island with the purpose of annexing part of it has been the main cause of trouble in Cyprus. All citizens had to be identified as either Greek or Turk to receive rights, which left out many minorities. Integration of courts. Violation of democratic norms. Cyprus wants full independence, majority rule, and self determination.
Q&A: Why is Turkey so interested in Cyprus? Withdrawing UN forces in Cyprus? Would Turkey approve changes in the constitution?
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 70490
Municipal archives id: T593
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
The Overseas Press Club of course is more than happy to have the ambassador of Cyprus here to give us the position of his country in the in the crisis that has not yet unfortunately been resolved our guest of honor here who has had a long career at the United Nations has been intimately related to the crisis of Cyprus. I don't know whether we should blame him for the fact that we haven't been more successful in resolving this issue or not perhaps we'll discover that in the course of the state and that he's going to make and the replies that he will give us to his questions best C.D.'s You may be interested to know returned very late last night. From his country he had gone to the Cairo conference. And I hope he's going to have something to say about that from Cairo he went back to his country from his country he arrived late last night here is a mess and Rosie. I'm just German ladies and gentlemen of the Overseas Press Club I'm very happy to be with you today it is always my wish to keep to the present if some of the press as much informed as possible as to the circumstances of the question of Cyprus. And in this in this idea I'd like to see if you words today as the chairman has said I am just returned from Nicosia and I made a point to be here in time for this luncheon. I had in Cyprus I was in consultations with my government and the question of Cyprus and before that I was a participated in the Nonaligned conference as a member of the subject the Legation to that conference I would like to say a few words about the conference later on but first I think I said that it cursorily touch upon some of the aspects of the problem of Cyprus and after what which I shall be pleased to answer any of your questions as you all know Cyprus achieved independence after a long struggle against British colonial rule. Shuttles However Perper to be placed upon its independence by signing by the signing of the London and during her grievance in one nine hundred fifty nine these agreements have not been the result of the free expression of the will of the Cypriot people they were imposed upon them from outside in the prevailing circumstances at the time there was no choice rejection of the agreements would have meant denial of Independence continued colonialism and increased bloodshed under these agreements an impossible constitutional structure was imposed and workable in many of its provisions subjecting the majority to the minority and calculated to bring division and antagonism to the island. The people of Cyprus who were never given the opportunity to approve the constitution were deprived even of the right to amend it in those respects at least which was absent proved absolutely unworkable in addition to unequal and oppressive treaties were imposed upon them the so-called treaty of guarantee. Which purported to give three other countries the right to interfere in the internal affairs of Cyprus and the treaty of alliance by words of which foreign troops were stationed in the island both this street is where imposed again without the free consent of the people of Cyprus who did not have either the opportunity of ratifying the first duty of guarantee is in direct conflict with the principles in specific provisions of the charter of the United Nations the second has been repeatedly violated by Turkey and therefore duly terminated by Cyprus both after an indefinite period and the vast contrary to the legal rule against perpetrators they are both invalid under international law and under the charter of the United Nations now there is no doubt that the problem of Cyprus a pretty appears frightfully complicated and involved but in a sense it is a very simple one it stems from the virtual denial to the people of Cyprus of its fundamental right to self-determination and from an effort to deprive the Republic of Cyprus of the substance of its independence that's all what I have said that what is summed up to since the establishment of the United Nations forty seven new countries emerged to independence and joined the organization in all except Cyprus the right of self-determination was applied in all except Cyprus the structure of the external and internal independence of the country conformed with the universally accepted democratic principles of majority decision and majority rule in all except Cyprus the principles of the charter were respected hence the regrettable situation in Cyprus threatening world peace. Of course it might be said there were was difficulty and there were problems in the Congo but in the Congo there was not in the Constitution itself ingrained violation of democratic rights nor violation of the norms and principles of the charter there were difficulties inherent to the situation in the in the in the in the territory of. Course exacerbated by outside interference but it nothing was like Cyprus where it was imposed by treaties and by agreements a situation which was in itself inviting trouble causing preventing the people from integrating even causing continuous division among the people and leading eventually leading necessarily to trouble now the trouble the origins of the trouble in Cyprus lie. Basically in the colonial policy of divide and rule What do you what do you what is presented in the world is that the people of Cyprus the Greeks and Turks. Cannot live together this trouble is an artificial creation brought from outside it was really started in one thousand fifty five to fifty six when the question came to the United Nations and the first year it was shelved there was frustration the armed resistance started then Turkey was encouraged to become an interested party contrary to the Treaty of Lausanne under which it gave up all rights and interests in Cyprus was invited to become an interested party in order to use its influence. In. Promoting a vision in Cyprus and creating a situation which would stall the right of self-determination which will stall the application of the right. Event there during that struggle for independence then the Turkish minority extremists of the Turkish minority acting as the agents from Turkey fanaticized in some terrorizing the rest. Tried hard to break the good relations that existed between the two communities then eventually the influence of Turkey directed towards division in Cyprus had one objective the partition of the island with the night under. That idea of partitioning the island by one way or another with the purpose of annexing a part of it has been in the main the cause of the trouble in Cyprus. If there if there is taken away there is no trouble in the other if there is no prodding from outside the people of Cyprus Greeks and Turks can live happily together and already there is there are definite signs in that direction we have had now. Over two weeks of calm perfectly calm because there has been no threat of invasion from Turkey and there have been no products from Turkey to start trouble again in one section or another in this respect the nonaligned conference has had a sobering inference there is no doubt that a conference of forty seven nonaligned countries and the number of other observers who participate in the discussions represent almost half of the members of the United Nations came out with a declaration a very emphatic that oration. I would love to further to other matters but I would refer to the question of Cyprus very unfair to get to ration stressing the importance of the territorial integrity of Cyprus the unity of the people of the sovereignty of the Republic. It's right it's right to be protected under the charter from any kind of threat or use of force from outside and for the right of the people of Cyprus to self-determination now there has been a very strong declaration in support of our cause and the model force of world public opinion as represented at least by the nonaligned countries in that objective approach of the problem is bound to create to have a sobering effect upon the situation in Cyprus now the whole concept I would like to say a few words what are the difficulties that have been created by this idea of division because the Constitution and everything which was created in Cyprus under the influence of Turkey insisting upon those agreements upon those divisions without which there could be no independence and continued blood to the whole concept of the Constitution was based on separation between the Greeks and Turks thus creating innumerable causes of friction So Mark it was this concept of the vision that all other minorities a minion's matter alliance left and were obliged under the Constitution to opt to belong to either of the two communities the Greek of the Turkish in order to have the rights as citizens under one of these two communities in this respect perhaps some statistical data would be relevant in this connection the population of Cyprus is nearly six hundred thousand consist of eighty two percent of Greeks and eighteen percent of Turks in the Greek community are the other communities the Turks are dispersed over all parts of the island. And have in the past live with the Greeks as I said peacefully and amicably there is no compact Joe graphic Turkish area or any area inhabited predominantly by Turks there is no part that is of the island where the Turks form a separate entity where they could say we want this part of the targeted to be our own because there is none the island is divided into five districts and none of them has a Turkish majority none of them has anything which approaches even an equal number they are all in a minority needs part now that the idea of partition in Cyprus either by way of continents or by any other contrivance is absolutely impossible in order to create those circumstances you would have to shift populations and it has been ascertained that the number of the people who Greeks and Turks that would have to be forcibly shifted would be equal to the number of the Turkish minority itself and secondly you could not shift people by force so that hopeless and sinister idea of partition which would bring nothing but disaster to the island because partition has proved disastrous everywhere where it was a plight particularly in a small country like Cyprus and with a population interest first would be absolute destruction and yet there is the purpose and the object which is behind the policy of Turkey hardly concealed and that is really the difficulty which arises because the Turks in Cyprus are prevented from cooperating with the Greeks by force. They have been shifted taking advantage of the trouble in Cyprus they shifted a great number of village Turkish villagers from their homes and villages where they lived happily and peacefully with the Greeks in order to create compact. Compact populations in certain parts of the island and that is why there is the problem of what is called the refugees the so-called refuse were not refugees they are unwilling refugees they have been forced to move out and now arrangements are made by the government to protect them to return to their villages and there have been repeated voices from Turkish people. I would call it three or four externally and two or three others speaking on behalf of these people saying we have terrorized and kept here by Turkish terrorists and we want to go back to our villages and we are not allowed to now the government has proclaimed in general will please proclaiming general amnesty they have taken a decision to rehabilitate all the Turkish people who have been taken away from their villages and go back to their homes and this has really is receiving very great response from the Turks and we have already the administration of justice and under the rebellion would start wars started all the Turkish employees of the government were removed from their position forced to be removed by the Turkish terrorists therefore the courts of law could not function now the new new order new law of the administration of justice provided for integrated cause the Greeks and Turks to be integrated. And there are now have returned and they are working together very peacefully very effectively and we have already established an integration in the course others are following but in order to attain that we want we need the Turkish intervention the problems for division to be stopped the moment that stops we have the solution of the problem of Cyprus the Cyprus problem is now before the United Nations for the purpose of promoting a peaceful solution of the problem in accordance with the top the government of the Republic has made every possible effort to facilitate the task of the United Nations in Cyprus it has cooperated with the UN for C.P. never any possible way it has cooperated with the mediator and is cooperating with prison with generals. In every way to get pacification and normalization and I hope we are returning to that situation we hope that the the tragic events in the anomalous situation created since December with it will be a thing of the past. We hope that Turkey which has been taken as a pretext the proport purport of right under the treaty of guarantee and sometimes under other pretext and has constantly and repeatedly threatened armed intervention in Cyprus will not do so again nor will repeat its aggressive actions we hope that the aggression or there in August one thousand nine hundred fall when Turkish aircraft indiscriminate it raided Cyprus villages and towns killing and wounding unarmed populations including women and children with bombs and incendiary and the problems will not be repeated again. Some villages were then completely destroyed and hospitals and ambulance clearly marked with Red Cross were reduced to ashes we believe these are things of the past and we are entering now a new era we expect from the United Nations to examine the question of Cyprus with the objectivity deserves for the problem of Cyprus is a problem that a nestled will be threatening not only the peace in that area but world peace it was allowed to develop because of these violations of moral principles because of those violations of the principles of the charter thirty first to Indy in denying Cyprus up to me nation in imposing opponent the constitution which was unworkable divisive and unbalanced creating a minority with the right to control and to over over run the will of the majority because of those violations of democratic norms we have had a problem in Cyprus moment the situation returns to normal the moment Cyprus has the same rights as all the other forty seven countries that have emerged independence then there is no problem because there is no inherent problem in Cyprus it was for it to do so from outside as I said before by the colonialists policy of divide and rule taken up and continued by Turkey with a view to attaining partition and with an eye to an exception once you take away these concepts.