I read Alper Ali Riza’s article in the Sunday Mail of August 29 and would like to make the following comments.
I do not think that it is easy for the layman to read and understand it as it involves many legal and difficult issues.
I was impressed by the fact that Ali Riza himself is in conflict with some of his own positions.
The first statement which he makes is that Turkish Cypriots are citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. This is an undeniable fact. The question which arises immediately is which Cyprus Republic? The answer is given by international law. It is the sovereign independent state which was created when its colonial bonds with the UK came to an end. Its territorial integrity is also undeniable. It is the whole island as it was under British rule.
All Cypriots, Turkish and Greek, owe allegiance to the Republic of Cyprus, the one and indivisible island under international law. The one that is also recognised by the EU and the United Nations.
I disagree that the fact that the “Turkish side” declared UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) is irrelevant. It is a potentially lethal blow to the Republic of Cyprus and, in my opinion, also to the status of Turkish Cypriots as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and the EU.
I agree that the citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus is not the gift of any government. It is the status of being a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus and in consequence of Europe.
International law, the United Nations and the EU recognise one government, that of the Republic of Cyprus. This is the government which rules the Republic. This is the government which creates relations with other states. This is the government which enters into agreements with other states, under international law.
I agree that passports must be issued without discrimination. And, indeed, they have always been issued to Turkish and Greek Cypriots alike.
Ali Riza quite rightly states that the restriction to having a passport must be based on the conduct of the individual on the ground that he presents a genuine and serious threat to the fundamental interests of the state. Is there any doubt in the mind of a reasonable person that the Turkish Cypriot leadership has been undermining the Republic of Cyprus and presents a serious threat to its most fundamental right, its status as a sovereign and independent state within Europe?
Any Turkish Cypriot, not only the 14 members of the leadership, may take their case before a Court of Justice.
The reciprocal obligations of individuals who possess passports of the state may be summed up thus: the state offers protection and the individual owes allegiance. Have the 14 leaders shown allegiance? I have no doubt in saying no. On the contrary, they pursue the break-up of the Republic.
There is rich jurisprudence on this question. It is not the right time to go into it.
Barrister at Law