World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, has cast doubt on the Cyprus peace process after he said that giving the Turkish Cypriots more than 25% of the island's territory would be a 'red line' for the church.
Speaking to the Greek Cypriot Fileleftheros newspaper, the archbishop said that he didn't believe the Cyprus problem would be solved.
'The Turks are not the only ones with red lines,' he said, adding 'we too have red lines. For the church, the red line is giving the Turks - who only make up 18% of the population - mpre than 25% of the land.'
He also said that should more than 25% be granted to the Turks, we would call upon the Greek Cypriots to vote 'no' on any referendum regarding the re-unification of the island.
'If the Turks continue with their demands, it is certain that the peace talks will end,' he warned.
Chrysostomos II, who has been partaking in a number of religious dialogue events with the Turkish Cypriot Religious Affairs Minister Talip Atalay and deputy Sakir Alemdar, additionally called on migrants from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to leave the island. 'Only those married to Turkish Cypriots should stay,' he said.
'So far there has been no progress in the peace talks. The main points remain unchanged,' said the archbishop.
'We are 82% of the population and they are 18%. They want 50% of the power. Where is the justice?' he asked.
The issue of Turkish Cypriot representation was also a hotly disputed issue in the run up to the establishment of the 1960 Cyprus constitution in which both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots formed a joint government upon the island gaining its independence from 82 years of being a British colony.
During the Ottoman times, Turkish Cypriots were at one point said to make up almost half of the island's population. However, during the British occupation, a large proportion of the Turkish Cypriot population migrated to Turkey to flee from poverty which was inflicted upon them by high taxes and the seizure of the Turkish Cypriot Foundations' (Evkaf) assets by the British authorities.
Although the constitution - which stipulated that Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders would rotate the presidency and vice-presidency positions every two years - was originally accepted by the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots were expelled from the government in 1963.
While efforts continued to revive the constitution, the rise of the Greek extremist militant group EOKA, which sought to unite the island with Greece, forced Turkish Cypriots into enclaves to flee from mass killings.
A coup conducted by EOKA on the government in 1974 led to Turkey exercizing its constitution-given right as a guarantor. Turkey landed its troops in the north of the island, where Turkish Cypriots sought refuge.
Failure to reunify the island led to the TRNC declaring independence in 1983, which is today only recognized by Turkey.
A 2004 referendum saw Turkish Cypriots vote 'yes' to reunify the island, but plans failed when the vast majority of Greek Cypriots voted 'no'. Nonetheless, the Greek Cypriot administrated southern Cyprus was accepted into the EU while the TRNC remained under international embargoes.
Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2014, 12:58