Turkey did not have a right of intervention in Cyprus

Turkey claims that, according to the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960, it had the right to intervene militarily in Cyprus to restore the constitutional order, which was disturbed by the coup d’etat conducted by the Greek junta against President Makarios, on 15 July 1974.

Article Four of the Treaty of Guarantee 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.

Although Article Four of the Treaty of Guarantee refers to the right of intervention, it does not refer to military intervention for the simple reason that, according to the United Nations Charter, no state has the right to intervene militarily in another state without the consent of the UN Security Council.

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 simply because it is aware of the fact that its military intervention in Cyprus was contrary to the principles of the Security Council.

For a country to intervene militarily in another country, it needs the permission of the Security Council. Even if, hypothetically and for the sake of arguing, Turkey had the right to intervene militarily in Cyprus, then – as a Guarantor Power – guaranteeing the territorial integrity, independence, unity and constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus, it should have intervened to restore all the above principles.

What Turkey did, in fact, was to turn one fourth of the Cyprus population into refugees, invoking the Treaty of Guarantee. In essence, Turkey forced the expulsion of one in four Cypriots, completely ruined the economy, caused countless problems and intolerable pain and deprived all Cypriots of the fundamental freedom of movement, settlement and right to property.

The Treaty of Guarantee clearly states, under Article Four, that in the case of an undertaking of action, this action must occur “with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty”. If indeed Turkey was seeking the restoration of constitutional order, then it should have withdrawn from Cyprus. Not only did it not withdraw, but it also recognised the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which was declared in the occupied part of Cyprus, and which was clearly condemned by the Security Council, with Resolutions 541 and 550, as a legally non-existent entity. In addition, the Security Council called upon all nation-states to avoid any action which would, directly or indirectly, lead to the recognition of this break-away entity or would facilitate it. In reality, Turkey invoked the Treaty of Guarantee to intervene in Cyprus, while violating it at the same time.

Consequently, by recognising the “TRNC”, Turkey flagrantly violated the Treaty of Guarantee, which itself had signed to guarantee the territorial integrity, independence and unity of the Cyprus Republic. With this action, Turkey makes it manifest that the cause of the military intervention was not the differences between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots, but rather specific Turkish geopolitical and military interests.

Moreover, in an interview to the Turkish TV channel TRT1, the Turkish Prime Minister said that the “΄TRNC΄ is of vital importance not for the safety of the Turkish Cypriots but for the safety of Turkey itself” (Kibris 26.11.2001), clearly implying that Turkey’s interest in Cyprus is related to the fulfilment of broader strategic considerations in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than to the protection of Turkish Cypriot interests.

Source: Press and Information Office