Cyprus is an interesting issue for jurists. Numerous legal opinions have been issued by the two parties (Turkish and Greek) and also by third parties that wish to clarify the legal situation on the island. (1) The Cyprus question is prone to polemic, sloganeering and propaganda. In that regard, this article does not intend to give a complete summary of the arguments and the chronology of the incidents that took place on the island but rather is intended to discuss and evaluate the opposing legal positions. In this regard, the assertion of this article is that the Europeanization of the Cyprus question has blocked any prospect of a solution. Thus, an analysis of this Europeanization is in order.
Before the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, both Turkey and Greece were invited to a tripartite conference held in London in 1955 where they discussed the modalities for shaping the future of the island with the United Kingdom (UK). (2) With this tripartite conference excluding any other country, it was established that the parties to the Cyprus issue were the UK, Turkey and Greece. Turkey has tried to comply with this 1955 tripartite status in the Cyprus question, whereas Greece has sought, with some success, to engage more states and international organizations in the Cyprus equation. Prime examples of these successes are interventions by the European Union (EU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
The vexing question at this juncture is that, apart from the United Nations Security Council, does the EU and the Council of Europe have legitimate authority to determine the legal government on the island? From a legal perspective, the answer should be no. First, the Republic of Cyprus was founded by three guarantor countries. (3) The agreements between these three countries cannot be amended by outsiders without the approval of these three. In contrast to Turkey, the UK and Greece have never objected to the recognition of Cypriot Greeks as the legitimate government in the island. (4) According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and customary international law, the approval of Turkey is required for the validity and the legality of the representation of island solely by the Cypriot Greeks, because it would represent an amendment to the 1960 Settlement. (5) The approach of the EU and the Council of Europe or the other two guarantor powers, legally, does not bind Turkey. (6) Therefore, one cannot speak of the amendment or the invalidity of the 1959-60...