Monday, January 07, 2013

EU Condemns Israeli Settlements, While Europeans Build Settlements In Turkish Occupied Cyprus

[I]t appeared that the international community should have judged the dispute over Northern Cyprus far more severely than the way it viewed the dispute over the West Bank, where Israel had multiple rights that it could exercise if it decided to do so.
Dore Gold

Writing about European settlements and double standards, Dore Gold notes that Europeans flocking to buy a villa in Northern Cyprus are creating a legal problem:
It should be recalled that in 1974 the Turkish army invaded Cyprus, which had been an independent state since 1960 and took over 37 percent of the island. Tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots were expelled in this period in what they viewed was a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing by the Turkish army. In the aftermath of the invasion, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 353 which demanded "an immediate end to foreign military intervention" and called for "the withdrawal without delay from the Republic of Cyprus of foreign military personnel."

The Turkish Cypriots declared their independence in 1983 by forming the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," an act that the U.N. condemned as "null and void." Over the years, an estimated 160,000 "settlers" who came from Turkey moved into Northern Cyprus. In many cases, properties that had been left behind by Greek Cypriot refugees were given by the Northern Cyprus administration to Turkish Cypriots and to the Turkish settlers, who sold them to European buyers. To date, some 5,000 British citizens have purchased homes in Northern Cyprus despite it being a clear-cut case of an "occupied territory." According to a BBC report, as many as 10,000 foreigners have bought up former Greek Cypriot properties in Northern Cyprus.
Gold draws a comparison between settlements in Turkish occupied territory in Cyprus and the issue of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria:
  • Israeli entry into Judea and Samaria (now known as the West Bank based on Jordan's illegal control of the land for 19 years from 1948 to 1967) was a result of a war of self-defense in 1967 against the Arab armies amassed against it.

    In contrast, Turkey did not face any threat of attack from Cyprus, but instead invaded Cyprus out of concern for intercommunal tensions.

  • Israel did not violate any established sovereignty in the West Bank in 1967, since no Palestinian state existed. Jordan's claim to sovereignty over the area following the 1948 war was rejected by most of the international community -- except for Britain and Pakistan. In addition, the earlier Jewish rights under the British Mandate never expired.

    In contrast, before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Republic of Cyprus had undisputed sovereignty over the entire island, including the area of Northern Cyprus which Turkey took for itself.

  • After the Six-Day War, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 242 -- which did not call for an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories captured, but rather for negotiations, so that the old armistice lines could be replaced with secure and recognized borders.

    In contrast, the UN did not qualify its demand for Turkey's withdrawal from Northern Cyprus -- it did not allow the Turkish military to remain in even part of the island.
Gold writes that while issuing the standard condemnations of Israel, the EU ignores the tens of thousands of Turkish settlers that have moved into Northern Cyprus nor is anything said about Europeans building their "settlement" villas in territory that is technically still under Turkish occupation.

These European "settlers" have been warned that the former Greek residents of Northern Cyprus may initiate legal proceedings in European courts against them, but Europe has not expressed its opposition to the principle of Europeans moving into the territories to build vacation homes.

Eugene Kontorovich -- who has written about other countries' with settlements -- writes about this hypocrisy of Turkey’s Settlements, the ICC, and European Vacation-makers:
Cyprus was a state with clear borders when Turkey invaded in 1974, and is a charter member of the ICC. If anyone should be losing sleep over settlements suits in the ICC, it would be Turkey. Interestingly, no one has suggested in the past decade that Cyprus’s ICC membership would scare the Turks out of N. Cyprus, or get the Turks to agree to a peace deal). But a referral by Cyprus would not face the various thorny, temporality and territoriality issues of a Palestinian complaint. Moreover, Cyprus is a particularly gross case of changing the demographics of occupied territory through settlement, with settlers now outnumbering protected persons in the territory.

... Because Cyprus is an ICC member, ANY member state can refer the situation of Turkish settlements to the ICC (or the prosecutor could begin an investigation on his own motion, which would be more exceptional). It does not have to be Cyprus – they’ve already consented to jurisdiction by signing the treaty. Given the great odium the international community attaches to settlement, it is interesting that there has not even by serious discussion of a such a referral.
The issues of international law that apply here may not be clear.
The hypocrisy of the European countries that single out Israel on the issue of settlements, is not.

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