By Dr Aris Petasis
God forbid that Greek Cypriots (G/C) agree to the Turkish/British-inspired Bizonal-Bicommunal-Federation (BBF) plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem because if they do they will gift to the Turks their freedom as well as their occupied properties.
For better understanding I suggest strongly that G/C elected representatives start reading about the fate of the properties in Asia Minor of the two million Greeks that were evicted in 1922. They will quickly realise that the Asia Minor Greeks got only promises and useless signatures and nothing else.
Interestingly enough, hundred years after the 1922 nightmare some 2850 Greeks got something that looks like compensation. But, not from Turkey! Unexpectedly, seven years ago, New York Life announced that it would start paying out compensation to descendents of 2850 Greeks (0.001425 of those evicted) who before 1922 had insured their properties in Asia Minor. But, as it turned out the levels of compensation are more of a joke than a serious attempt to provide compensation because sums offered range from $800 (sic) to $5641.27 (sic.)
What the New York Life offer means is that the descendants of a 1922 wealthy Greek commercial farmer in Asia Minor will be getting enough compensation to buy eighty sacks of onions at today’s prices! The chairman of the Greek Property Restoration Committee of 1922, Charles B. Eddy, had this to say about lost properties in his book, Greece and the Greek Refugees, “Although the agreement between Greece and Turkey explicitly stated that the properties left behind by the evicted Greeks would be liquidated in favor of the Greeks by a special mechanism defined by the [Lausanne] Treaty, the Greeks finally got nothing. On the contrary, Greece was forced to pay £425,000 for compensation to Turkish settlers who settled in Greece on stolen property after 1453. Eddy lays blame on Greek naïveté and moroseness considering that just a few years earlierTurkey had carried out genocide and stole the properties of the dead and the evicted. Yet, Venizelos and his team, in full knowledge of Turkish history and barbarity, fell gullibly for Turkey’s empty promises. What can one say?
The 1922 agreement brings to mind what has been happing in the last ten years in the negotiations over G/C property rights. Oblivious to Turkish history and what happened in 1922 G/C elected representatives agreed with the Turks to set up “property compensation committees,” just as in 1922, and to compensate Greek property owners with useless papers called “Guaranteed Financial Entitlement” (GFE) certificates that will ultimately be used as tinder one would think. The G/C elected representatives know that they are selling their fellow-men down the drain and adamantly refuse to release the agreements (known as convergence papers.) They know that the nonsense they agreed to will be destroyed in a referendum. Yet, they are gullible and amateurish enough to agree to such rubbish.
There is now general agreement that the value of the occupied Greek Cypriot properties is in the region of € 60bn to € 70bn with the loss of income from illegal occupation in the last 43 years amounting to €18bn. The agreed convergences on property rights basically allow Turkey to escape scot free from paying a single penny in compensation for the above loss.
Anyone gullible enough to believe otherwise needs to register right away in two fast-track educational courses on Turkish behaviour: a) “Turkish compensation to evicted Greek, Armenian and Jewish property owners” (b) “Turkish compliance with international agreements.” They will soon realise that Turkey never compensates nor does it honour any international agreements that do not suit her. Nor does it ever acknowledge any wrongdoing. And because of its strategic position, the West sees nothing wrong. As a British diplomat writes in his book, “Kissinger and the Invasion of Cyprus,” “Turks pocket what is given to them and then lay their next claims until they get it all.” Anyone gullible enough to believe the purveyors of hot air who say that property compensation will come from foreign governments needs to be reminded of what happened in 2004 when attempts were made to hoodwink G/C into voting in favour of the Annan Plan for Cyprus that would have spelled their demise. Thankfully the plan was crushed resoundingly by a 76% majority. Just before the referendum European Commissioner Giunter Verheugen [who posed as neutral and eventually ended up consultant to the Turks] went around placating Greek fears that lost properties would be compensated by foreign governments. He even arranged a donors’ conference to aid the BBF.
Britain led the donor efforts and promised the “tantalizing” sum of € 31 million (enough to refurbish three hotels!) The US promised a first installment of €100 million (enough to build 7 kilometers of road.) The EU pledged € 306 million, 85% of which would have gone to the Turks (not to the Greek victims of Turkish aggression.) Turkey’s strong supporter on the Cyprus issue, Sweden, promised €600,000 and her neighbor Finland € 500,000. The promised amounts (it is doubtful whether 10% of these amounts would have materialized in the end) would have not been enough to build a football stadium the size of the stadium Manchester United and Ajax played their final which, as I understand, cost Sweden €300million to build.
Anyone naïve enough to believe in bizarre “convergences over Greek property rights” agreed to by gullible G/C elected representatives needs a reality check urgently and Turkish history lessons. When Eleftherios Venizelos realized that in the final analysis he handed all Greek properties in Asia Minor to the Turks free he began looking for scapegoats but none were to be found; the League of Nations representative Dr Fridtjof Nansen for one, [rightly] accepted none of the blame. It was all the fault of gullible Greeks. With Venizelos’ signature the Asia Minor Greeks surrendered their properties in Trebizond, Samsun, Smyrna, Cappadocia, etc to the Turks in exchange for a refugee tent in Nea Ioania. Either G/C get their properties up-front, no questions asked, or they will get absolutely nothing. It may do G/Cs good to remember that, “when history repeats itself it does so at a higher price” (anonymous.) So, “whoever has ears [among G/Cs], let them hear”.