Annan Plan for Cyprus

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The Annan Plan was a United Nations proposal to settle the Cyprus Dispute of the divided island nation of Cyprus as the United Cyprus Republic. It was named in recognition of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who largely devised the proposal in conjunction with Didier Pfirter.


The 5th revision of the Annan Plan proposed the creation of the United Cyprus Republic, covering the island of Cyprus in its entirety (except for the British Sovereign Base Areas). This new country was to be a loose confederation of two component states – the Greek Cypriot State and the Turkish Cypriot State – joined together by a minimal federal government apparatus.

This federal level, loosely based on the Swiss confederal model, would have incorporated the following elements:

  • A collective Presidential Council, made up of six voting members, allocated according to population (per present levels, four Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots), and selected and voted in by parliament. An additional three non-voting members would be assigned 2:1.
  • A President and Vice President, chosen by the Presidential Council from among its members, one from each community, to alternate in their functions every 20 months during the council's five-year term of office.
  • A bicameral legislature:
    • A Senate (upper house), with 48 members, divided 24:24 between the two communities.
    • A Chamber of Deputies (lower house), with 48 members, divided in proportion to the two communities' populations (with no fewer than 12 for the smaller community).
  • A Supreme Court composed of equal numbers of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot judges, plus three foreign judges; to be appointed by the Presidential Council.

The plan included a federal constitution, constitutions for each constituent state, a string of constitutional and federal laws, and a proposal for a United Cyprus Republic flag and national anthem. It also provided for a Reconciliation Commission to bring the two communities closer together and resolve outstanding disputes from the past.

It would also have established a limited right to return between the territories of the two communities, and it would have allowed both Greece and Turkey to maintain a permanent military presence on the island, albeit with large, phased reductions in troop numbers.


In January 2002, direct talks under the auspices of Secretary-General Annan began between the Republic of Cyprus President Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash.

In November 2002, Secretary-General Kofi Annan released a comprehensive plan for the resolution of the Cyprus issue. It was revised in early December. In the lead up to the European Union's December 2002 Copenhagen Summit, intensive efforts were made to gain both sides' signatures to the document prior to a decision on the island's EU membership. Neither side agreed to sign. The EU invited the Republic of Cyprus to join on 16 December 2002.

Following the Copenhagen Summit, the UN continued dialogue with the two sides with the goal of reaching a settlement prior to Cyprus's signature of the EU accession treaty on 16 April 2003. A third version of the Annan plan was put to the parties in February 2003. That same month the Secretary-General again visited the island and asked that both leaders agree to put the plan to referendum in their respective communities. Also in February 2003, Tassos Papadopoulos was elected as the fifth president of the Republic of Cyprus. On 10 March 2003, this most recent phase of talks collapsed in The Hague, Netherlands, when Denktash told the Secretary-General he would not put the Annan Plan to referendum.

In February 2004, Papadopoulos and Denktash accepted the Secretary-General's invitation to resume negotiations on a settlement on the basis of the Annan plan. After meeting with Annan in New York, talks began on-island on 19 February 2004. The two community leaders, Rauf Denktash and Tassos Papadopoulos, met nearly every day for negotiations facilitated by the Secretary-General's Special Advisor for Cyprus, Álvaro de Soto. In addition, numerous technical committees and subcommittees met in parallel in an effort to resolve outstanding issues. When this stage of the talks failed to reach an agreed settlement Rauf Dentaksh refused to attend the next stage of meetings which were scheduled to take place in Bόrgenstock on 24 March 2004 and sent as his agents Mehmet Ali Talat (then Prime Minister, later Denktash's successor as President) and Serdar Denktash (President Denktash's son, later Prime Minister). The talks collapsed and no negotiated agreement was reached by the two communities. The Secretary-General then stepped in as arbitrator and on 31 March presented to the two sides a proposed final settlement. Rauf Dentaksh rejected Annan's proposal immediately and Tassos Papadopoulos rejected the plan a week later while Mehmet Ali Talat supported it.


The plan was placed before the two communities in a simultaneous vote in the reunification referendum of 24 April 2004. Whilst the proposal received a 65% favorable vote from the Turkish community, the Greek Cypriot community rejected it by over 75%. Since implementation of the plan was dependent on its approval by both communities, reunification did not take place. Had there been a positive vote on both sides, a unified Cyprus would have acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004.

Reasons for approval by the Turkish Cypriots

  • Reunification was desired for economic reasons.
  • Many Turkish Cypriots no longer perceived the Greek Cypriots as a threat, especially in the light of the strictly bi-zonal proposition of the Annan plan.
  • Turkish Cypriots would receive considerable constitutional power in the United Cyprus Republic that the Annan plan proposed, over-proportional to their percentage of the population.
  • The Turkish Cypriot component state would still, even after territorial cessation of some areas to the Greek Cypriot component state, make up 28.5 percent of the total area of Cyprus, including large economically important areas that where inhabitated exclusively by Greek Cypriots prior to the division of Cyprus in 1975.
  • The right of return of Greek Cypriots to their homes in the areas coming under the control of the Turkish Cypriot component state would be strictly limited if not, insome cases, forbidden, thus the possibility of Turkish Cypriots becoming a minority in their respective component state would not exist.
  • The guarantor powers to the constitution of Cyprus would retain their powers as such, thus Turkey would still have the arguable right to intervene in Cypriot affairs, most definitely on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots.

Reasons for rejection by the Greek Cypriots

  • The Ethnic groups in Cyprus are Greek 77%, Turkish 18%, other 5% of the population. (2001) The Annan plan equates the representation of the two major ethnic groups in the to be Senate and in the Supreme Court giving 50-50 representation to the two communities. The majority becomes minority in important decision centers.
  • The plan created a confederation even though it utilized the term "federation" because there was no hierarchy of laws, while central authority emanated from the so-called component states. Note that the United States abandoned its original confederal structure because it was unworkable. In 1789, a federal constitution was established containing a clear federal supremacy clause. The Supreme Court composed of equal numbers of Greek Cypriot (77% of population) and Turkish Cypriot (18% of population) judges, plus three foreign judges; thus foreign actors would cast deciding votes.
  • The Plan did not include a settlement regarding the repatriation of Turkish settlers living on Greek Cypriot owned land in the 'Northern Cyprus', while after 19 years, the possibility of abolishing the derogation of 5% of Greeks and Turkish citizens who could settle in Cyprus, is obvious, and the danger of a permanent mass settling of Cyprus by Turkey is visible.
  • Nearly all the Turkish settlers would be granted citizenship or residence rights leading to citizenship. The central government would have limited control towards future Turkish Immigration. Those settlers opting to return to Turkey would be compensated by Cyprus and Greek Cypriots. Even though Turkey systematically brought in the settlers to alter the demography of the island, it had no responsibility for their Repatriation.
  • The Plan simply disregarded the plain language and clear meaning of the Geneva Convention of 1949, section III, article 49, which prohibits colonization by an power. Article 49 states in its last paragraph: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
  • The Plan did not deal in full with the demilitarisation of the illegal 'TRNC', and Greek Cypriots felt they had no reason to believe Turkish promises concerning the withdrawal of troops.
  • Cyprus would be excluded from the European Common Defense and Foreign Policy, while Turkish troops would remain in Cyprus even after the accession of Turkey to the EU with intervention rights (euphemism for a military invasion) in the Greek Cypriot component state.
  • Many Greek Cypriots interpreted the Right of Return policy as to be seriously flawed, meaning only 20% of Greek Cypriot refugees would be able to return over a time frame of 25 years, whereas Turkish Cypriots would have had full right of return.The plan denied to all Cypriots rights enjoyed by all other EU citizens (right of free movement and residence, the right to apply to work in any position (including national civil services, the right to vote).
  • Turkish Cypriots would have gained all the basic demands it made, from the first day of the implementation of the solution. To be exact, 24 hours after the holding of the referendum. In contrast, everything that the Greek Cypriots were aspiring to achieve, would have postponed without guarantees and depend upon the good will of Turkey to fulfil the obligations it undertakes. They are also subject to the precondition that all would have gone well.
  • The return of the Turkish occupied land will take place in the period between three and a half months and three and a half years from the moment the solution is signed with no guarantees whatsoever that this shall be implemented. The Cypriot-Greek proposal of placing these areas under the control of the UN Peace Keeping Force and not the Turkish army has been rejected.
  • The Plan did not address the issue of the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) on the island, although parts of the SBAs would be transferred to the governments of the two consituent states.
  • The British were granted rights to unilaterally define the continental shelf and territorial waters along two base areas and to claim potential mineral rights. Under the 1959-1960 London Zurich agreements, Britain did not have such rights (see the 2nd annex to the Additional Protocol to the 1959 Treaty of Establishment).
  • The plan absolved Turkey of all responsibility for its invasion of Cyprus and its murders, rapes, destruction of property and churches and looting and forcing approximately 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property. The Cyprus government filed applications to the European Commission on Human Rights on September 17, 1974 and on March 21, 1975. The Commission issued its report on the charges made in the two applications on July 10, 1976. In it the Commission found Turkey guilty of violating the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

1.. Article 2 - by the killing of innocent civilians committed on a substantial scale;

2.. Article 3 - by the rape of women of all ages from 12 to 71;

3.. Article 3 - by inhuman treatment of prisoners and persons detained;

4.. Article 5 - by deprivation of liberty with regard to detainees and missing persons - a continuing violation;

5.. Article 8 - by displacement of persons creating more than 180,000 Greek Cypriot refugees,and be refusing to allow the refugees to return to their homes.

  • The plan failed to provide payment by Turkey:

1.. for the lives of innocent civilians killed by the Turkish army;

2.. for the victims of rape by the Turkish army;

3.. for the vast destruction of property and churches by the Turkish army; and

4.. for the substantial looting by the Turkish army.

  • The Plan subverted the property rights of the Greek Cypriots and other legal owners of property in the occupied area:

•by prohibiting recourse to European courts on property issues;

•by withdrawing all pending cases at the European Court of Human Rights and transferring them to local courts;

•by allowing Turkish Cypriots and illegal mainland Turk settlers/colonists to keep Greek Cypriot homes and property they were illegally given following Turkey's invasion of Cyprus and not having to reimburse the rightful owners of the property for 30 years of illegal use;

•by a highly complicated, ambiguous and uncertain regime for resolving property issues and which is based on the principle that real property owners can ultimately be forced to give up their property rights which would violate the European Convention on Human Rights and international law. The Greek Cypriot property owners would have to be reimbursed by the to be federal treasury which would be funded overwhelmingly by the Greek Cypriots, meaning that Greek Cypriots would be reimbursing themselves.

  • The Plan would have the effect of protecting those British citizens who illegally bought Greek Cypriot property from settlers or persons who are not owners; in the occupied north of Cyprus. They would, in effect, not be held responsible for their illegal action.
  • The cost of economic reunification would be borne by the Greek Cypriots. The reunification cost has been estimated close to $20b
  • Following Annan 5 plan the Greek Cypriots would not have been allowed to make up more than 6% of the population in any single village in the Turkish controlled areas in the north thus they would have been prevented from setting up their own schools for their children and would not have even been able to give birth once this quota was reached.

According to UN 260 resolution Genocide is: (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

  • The agreement places time restrictions in the right of free, permanent installation of Greek Cypriots back to their homes and properties in the to be Turkish Cypriot state, which constitutes a deviation from the European Union practices. Those Greek Cypriot refugees that would return to their homes in regions under Turkish Cypriot administration would have no local civil rights, because the political representatives of Turkish Cypriot state would be elected only from Turkish Cypriots.
  • The functional weaknesses of the Plan endanger, inter alia, the smooth activity and participation of Cyprus, with one voice, in the European Union. While the Greek Cypriots have with many sacrifices achieved Cyprus accession to the European Union, the Greek Cypriots could very easily be led to the neutralization of the accession until the adoption of all necessary federal and regional legal measures or the loss of the benefits of the accession or the facing of obstacles in Cyprus participation in the Economic and Monetary Union and other European institutions.
  • The Economy of Cyprus would have been separate with the plan. There will be no common Monetary policy, fiscal policy and no investments by Greek Cypriot businesses shall be allowed in the Turkish Cypriot constituent state.

Recent developments

(1) On 6 April 2005 the European Court of Human Rights decided that, "even the adoption of the plan would not have afforded immediate redress" of the Greek Cypriots property rights.

Admissibility of Application no. 46347/99 by Myra XENIDES-ARESTIS against Turkey

Loukis Loukaides the Cypriot judge on the European Court of Human Rights, has since called on the Greek Cypriot political leaders to stop backing the Annan Plan as a basis for negotiations, because its basic philosophy violates fundamental human rights and the EU acquis. (Cyprus Weekly 15 April 2005)

He recommends the following action be taken:

1 - The drafting of an official information bulletin on the violation of the EU acquis by the Annan Plan.

2 - To declare clearly that the Plan is incompatible with the European Human Rights Charter and other International Human Rights Treaties, which are already binding on us and also as a result of our EU accession.

3 - To cease at last to refer to the Annan Plan as a basis for a settlement, or negotiations. So long as this continues, foreign officials and organisations that could assist us achieve a good settlement, will not do so.

See also


External links

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