Comment by Dr Christian Heinze of November, 2014, on a speech made by Mr. R.R. Denktas in the UN Security council meeting No. 2500 of 18th November, 1983, and reproduced in "Cyprus Scene". a Cypriot Internet Journal
The speech by Denktaş of November 1983 and displayed on Youtube was made in the context of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) of 15th November 1983. On the same day, the Greek government of South Cyprus had appealed to the Security Council of the United Nations Organization to take some unspecified action. Their application, not much longer than one page, contended that the proclamation was an act of secession violating resolution 367 of 12th March 1975 of the Security Council. In this resolution the Security Council had called on all “parties concerned” to respect the sovereignty of the “Republic of Cyprus” and to refrain from any attempt at partition of the island. The Greek request of the 15th November also stated that the proclamation threatened the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a “Republic of Cyprus”, and that by “acts of harassment and forcible expulsion perpetrated by forces of occupation, the Greek Cypriot population has been uprooted from their ancestral homes and lands and rendered refugees, while Turkey implanted thousands of alien settlers to usurp the homes and lands of the expelled.” No further details were given in this application (1).
The Security Council convened right away to discuss the application made by the Greeks of Cyprus. At the beginning of its meeting No. 2497 in the morning of 17th November, the Secretary General of the United Nations made it known that he had already beforehand issued a statement condemning the Turkish declaration of 15th November as contravening acts of the United Nations Organization and affecting adversely the situation in Cyprus. After this, the floor was given to the Greek side for repeating their well known distortion of the facts constituting the Cyprus Conflict, which had resulted in the siding of the “family of nations” with the Greek position from 1964 onwards (2). In the next meeting (No. 2498) of the Security Council in the afternoon of the 17th November (3), Mr. Denktaş brought forth an elaborated statement comprising about 20 typewritten pages, explaining the conflict in more detail. He pointed out that it was the premeditated application of Greek force of arms that had deprived the Turkish Cypriots of a statehood protecting their rights which constituted the Cyprus conflict, and that, through this aggression, the Greek leadership had also deprived itself of the status of a legitimate government of Cyprus. It followed that the formation of the Turkish State of Cyprus was an act of self determination as the only way of restoring basic rights to the Turkish Cypriots. Mr. Denktaş told the Council that the Turkish side was open for negotiating reunification of the island under terms securing the rights of his people but that negotiations were hampered by the hostility of the Greek party and by a general refusal of granting any legal position to the Turkish side at all. The deliberations of the Security Council continued with its 2499th meeting in the morning of 18th November, 1983, in which the representative of Pakistan made a remarkable statement showing much understanding for the Turkish position (4).
Neither the Security Council or any other branch of the United Nations Organization nor any government supporting the Greek appeal has, on this or any other occasion, endeavoured to establish the true and relevant facts underlying the Cyprus conflict, or to evaluate the position in international or constitutional law in some detail, not to speak of dealing with the arguments brought forth by Mr. Denktaş on the 17th. November. The Council has, instead, ruled in its Resolution 541 passed in its 2500th meeting of the afternoon of the 18th November, 1983, that the formation of the Turkish State amounted to “secession”, that it was incompatible with the Treaties of 1960 and “worsening” the situation. The resolution implies that the only just and lasting “settlement in Cyprus” consisted in sovereignty of the “Republic of Cyprus”, but identifies, once again, this Republic with the government of the Greek State of South Cyprus. It disregards the fact that this “government” was composed of the authors of violent attempts at usurping Greek power over the whole island from 1955 and 1963 onwards and dedicated, as concerns the Turkish Cypriots, at harming them to the utmost degree within their power. In particular, the Security Council did not take notice of the fact that, in 1963 and the following years, it was by Greek acts of harassment and forcible expulsion perpetrated by forces from the island and from mainland Greece, that the Turkish Cypriot population had been uprooted from their ancestral homes and lands and made refugees in their own country.
The speech by Mr. Denktaş of November 1983 which is reproduced in the Youtube clip referred to in the present presentation by Mr. Chris Elliott in the “Cyprusscene” Homepage is part of another statement of Mr. Denktaş made immediately following the passing of resolution 541 while the 2500th meeting of the Security Council was still in session (5). It is true, as mentioned by Mr. Elliott, that the antagonism between the Greek usurpation and strife for realizing their desired rule and possession of Cyprus without being restricted by particular rights of the Turkish Cypriot community on the one side and the Turkish Cypriots insisting on a State securely protecting their basic rights on the other, has been in 1983 (as in 1955 or 1963) and still is to the present day the gist of the Cyprus conflict.
The conflict is one of sharing Cyprus. The discovery of natural gas and oil underneath Cyprus waters in 2011 has changed the interests involved and their quantitative importance, because the object of sharing is now known to comprise a natural gas- and oil-field underneath Cyprus waters which was unknown in 1983. But it has not changed the basic substance of the conflict. Sharing has different meanings. Sharing may describe the common use of goods, like enjoying in common the law and order and protection of a State, or using in common the same roads. But there are goods the nature of which prohibits their being shared by way of common use, like a cake. With reference to such goods, sharing means distribution of parts of the goods in question which, as parts, come into existence by some sort of partition. If one considered Cyprus, as the United Nations Organization continues doing, as one whole, while two communities exist in the island, then sharing of this whole of Cyprus would imply sharing the natural gas found in its waters or the returns from its use between these communities.
(1) Video document No. S/16150 of the United Nations Security Council.
(2) A protocol of Session 2497 is available on the internet via http://www.un.org/en/documents/ods/ as document No. S/PV.2497(OR) [eng] Title: SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL RECORDS, 38TH YEAR : 2497TH MEETING, 17 NOVEMBER 1983, NEW YORK, Publication Date: 1 Aug, 1992.
(3) The wording is available via the address quoted in footnote (1) as document No. S/PV.2498(OR) [eng] Title: SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL RECORDS, 38TH YEAR, 2498TH MEETING, 17 NOVEMBER 1983, NEW YORK, Publication Date: 1 Jan, 1992.
(4) The record is available as document No S/PV.2499(OR) Title: SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL RECORDS, 38TH YEAR : 2499TH MEETING, 18 NOVEMBER 1983, NEW YORK, Publication Date: 1 Nov, 1992.
(5) The wording is available as document No. S/PV.2500(OR)Title: SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL RECORDS, 38TH YEAR, 2500TH MEETING, 18 NOVEMBER 1983, NEW YORK, Publication Date: 1 Jan, 1992.