75+% of Greek Cypriots are in favour of a federal Cyprus

The numerical data set out in this note have been extracted from the recent study of the Universities of Cyprus and Kent (UK), under the guidance of professors Charis Psaltis and Neophytos Loizides, based on a representative sample of 800 Greek Cypriots and 800 Turkish Cypriots. 

We wish to thank the researchers for their kindness to allow us to utilise their findings for the purposes of this Petition.  The responsibility for the remaining information, set out in this note, rests with Mr. Christos P. Panayiotides, a member of the coordination team of this project, who has authored the note.

What is a Federation and what does it entail?

A “federation” is a form of a state structure and of state governance, which – at the local level – provides for a degree of autonomy.  The degree of local autonomy varies from case to case and, as a consequence, there are no two federations that are identical.  Nevertheless, the common features, which are shared by all federations, are the following:  There is only one ultimate state authority (executive, legislative and judicial); the economy of the entire federation is integrated; the ideals governing the federation are shared by all the constituent states.  A federation has a single sovereignty; a single nationality and a single international personality.

The citizens of a member state of the European Union automatically acquire the citizenship of the EU.  The citizenship of the EU grants equal rights (and obligations) to all the citizens of the member state, which has the structure of a federation, as is the case with Austria, Belgium and Germany and – hopefully soon – Cyprus.  In the case of Cyprus (which is also the situation with all the other member states of the EU) most of the legislation regulating the operation of the state (some estimate the extent to be 70-80%) emanates from the institutions of the EU and, as a consequence, the possibility of departing from these rules, at the local level, does not exist.

It is an undisputed fact that the European Union represents the ideal mechanism for resolving possible conflicts, particularly during the first phase of the functioning of the federal structure of Cyprus, until the time that a climate of trust and cooperation becomes prevalent.  An equally important parameter is the fact that the ultimate judge of the proper and fair application of the laws of each member state is the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  This possibility, which did not exist prior to 2004, should be fully utilised.

A recent study of the universities of Cyprus and Kent, directed by professors Charis Psaltis and Neophytos Loizides, concluded that the only state structure that would be acceptable by the Greek Cypriot community (to the extent of 76.2%) and the Turkish Cypriot community (to the extent of 71.2%) is the federal structure, which is supported by the international community and, in particular, by the UN and the EU. (A more comprehensive report on the study can be found at: https://ucy.ac.cy/dir/documents/dir/cpsaltis/Options_for_Solution_to_the_Cyprus_issue_2020_ENG.pdf).

However, why are 71.5% of Greek Cypriots in favour of the unitary state?

Many Greek Cypriots consider the fact that they are being deprived of the right to govern themselves (despite the fact that they represent 80% of the total population of Cyprus) as a form of a gross injustice, at their expense.  This is an explanation of the reason that most GCs (when confronted with an abstract and theoretical question as to which is the state structure of their choice) come out in favour of the “unitary state”.  However, for reasons which are beyond the scope of this article, this option is not available today and the possible insistence of the GCs on such an arrangement is certain to lead to the partition of the island into two separate states.  This is precisely the thinking which has led 75+% of GCs to supporting a federal structure, as a good way of reconciling the aspirations of the GC community with the fears and the goals of the TC community, particularly in view of the failure of the GC side (over the past 60 years, since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960) to convince the TCs and the international community that the unitary state should be their preferred option.

Why is 20% of the Greek Cypriots in favour of partition?

The university study referred to above has shown that 20% of GCs are in favour of the partition of the island into two separate states.  The composition of this segment of the GC society is heterogeneous.  There are certain GCs, happily few, who oppose the possibility of a reunited Cyprus because their short-term economic interests induce them to fear that they may be adversely affected by such a development.  Then, there are certain GC politicians who are aware of the fact that their political career will end abruptly in the event of the reunification of Cyprus.  Likewise, there are few very senior civil servants, who are concerned that their promotion prospects will be adversely affected.  Lastly, there are certain GCs (as well as TCs), who have lost loved ones or have painful memories from the intercommunal incidents of the past 70 years.  In these cases, there are justified fears, which can be overcome only by designing and activating safety valves capable of preventing the recurrence of such ugly incidents.

What is at stake for the Greek Cypriots citizens?

An interesting element of the study – from a GC perspective – is that the most important parameters of a solution that would render it acceptable were identified as the issue of the land that would be allocated to each constituent state, the issue of property (including the compensation payable to those that would be unable to repossess the property they have lost) and the issue of physical security but also the security that the solution adopted would be properly and fairly implemented.

What is at stake for the politicians?

In contrast, the politicians appear to be primarily concerned with the structure of the state and are preoccupied with issues such as the rotating presidency and the one positive vote.  As already mentioned, the concern of certain politicians with respect to the prospect of losing certain of their powers and privileges, not only leads them to shift the emphasis of the negotiations onto issues that are of no concern to the ordinary people but – in at least certain cases – induces them to undermine the negotiation process.

What are the inherent risks of prolonging the currently prevailing uncertainty and instability ad infinitum?

The tangible proof that maintaining the status quo for an extended period of time is unfeasible is the comparison of the situation prevailing today with the situation prevailing a few years ago.  Today, we are fighting tooth and nail to hold onto UNFICYP.  The TCs are emigrating to other EU states.  The settlers are constantly increasing.  The total islamification of northern Cyprus is advancing steadily.  The political and economic embrace of northern Cyprus by Turkey is tightening.  A military incident (even the accidental firing of a rifle) along a confrontation line, which is 200 km long, could set the place on fire that would be difficult to extinguish.

Cyprus happens to be located at a turbulent and politically unstable part of the world.  If the island’s internal situation is also uncertain and unstable, anything can happen (as it did happen in 1974).

The Greek Cypriot Choices - 2020

The Turkish Cypriot Choices - 2020





































Not Acceptable