Het EU-beleid lijkt weinig consistent als men de Israelische en de Turkse bezettingen met elkaar vergelijkt.
De EU heeft zelfs een ondersteuningsprogramma voor de Turks-Cyprioten, waarbij geen onderscheid wordt gemaakt tussen Cyprioten en Turkse immigranten die feitelijk illegale kolonisten zijn volgens internationaal recht.
Natuurlijk zijn er ook verschillen, met name dat de Turkse immigranten tot dezelfde etnische groep behoren als de Turks-Cyprioten en zich ermee vermengen, anders dan de Israelische kolonisten op de Westoever. Of er ook bezwaren en fricties zijn met de Turkse immigranten op Cyprus weet ik niet, de media berichten hier nooit iets over...
The demographic character of Northern Cyprus changed after the Turkish invasion in 1974 and especially during the last 10–15 years. The TRNC census carried out in April 2006 showed that out of a total population of 256,644 in Northern Cyprus, 132,635, or 52%, were Turkish Cypriots in the sense that they were born in Cyprus of at least one Cyprus-born parent (for 120,007 of these both parents were Cyprus-born). In addition, 43,062 TRNC citizens (17%) had at least one non-Cypriot Turkish-born parent, 2,334 TRNC citizens (1%) had parents born in other countries, 70,525 residents (27%) had Turkish citizenship, and 8,088 (3%) were citizens of other countries (mainly UK, Bulgaria, and Iran). Based on these census data, it can be argued that 113,687 TRNC residents, or 44% of the population, are not Turkish Cypriots properly speaking, but are in fact "Turkish immigrants" or "Turkish settlers" from Anatolia. Alternative sources suggest that there are 146,122 Turkish settlers from Anatolia in TRNC (2007 figures) and that the Turkish Cypriots in Northern Cyprus are today outnumbered by the Turkish settlers, contrary to the picture presented by the 2006 TRNC census.
Almost one-third of the Turkish settlers in Northern Cyprus have been granted TRNC citizenship by the authorities of Northern Cyprus and have thus been naturalized. Settlement in Northern Cyprus, especially if accompanied by naturalization, is a violation to the Geneva Conventions Protocol of 1977, since the Turkish occupation has been declared illegal by the UN. The Republic of Cyprus government regards these Turkish immigrants as "illegal settlers" and does not include them in the population estimates for the entire island published by the Republic of Cyprus Statistical Service.
So given that roughly half of the residents of northern Cyprus are illegal settlers, and the land is under illegal occupation by Turkey, certainly the EU would never consider investing in the illegal occupation, right?
Not really. Here is a glossy brochure from the EU that brags about all of the projects it is proudly sponsoring there:
Nowhere in this brochure, nor in the 2006 EU resolution to help the Turkish Cypriots, is any distincton made between the natives and the illegal settlers - all of them benefit equally from the EU programs to help the environment, co-existence, farming, education, infrastructure and so forth.
By any measure, the EU is funding the Turkish settlement enterprise.
Eugene Kontorovich describes the hypocrisy in a JPost op-ed (in yesterday's linkdump)
Under guidelines prepared earlier this summer, euros would not be allowed to go to Israeli entities located cross the Green Line – or to those that have any operations there. All Israeli entities applying for funding would have to submit a declaration that they do not have such operations.
Europe claims that such a move – unparalleled in its dealings with any other country – is mandated by international law. The EU does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories, and thus has an obligation to keep its money from going there. Those who celebrated the move said that Israel is finally paying the international price for its occupation.
Yet it turns out that despite the guidelines, the EU still knowingly and purposefully provides substantial direct financial assistance to settlements in occupied territory – in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, that is. So the EU funds the occupation of an EU member state. Turkey’s invasion and occupation of Cyprus in 1974 was condemned the UN Security Council, and the EU’s official policy is that the Turkish occupation is illegitimate, and Turkey must completely withdraw. The EU does not recognize the Turkish government in Northern Cyprus.
Nonetheless, the EU maintains an entire separate program to direct funds to Northern Cyprus.
Projects include study abroad scholarships for students at the numerous Northern Cyprus universities (imagine such funding for students at Ariel University!); developing and diversifying the private sector through grants to small and medium- sized businesses; various kinds of infrastructure improvements (telecom upgrades, traffic safety, waste disposal); community development grants, funding to upgrade “cultural heritage” sites, and so forth. They even put on a concert.
The program basically gives grants to the Turkish business and private entities, and builds the infrastructure of the occupying government. The EU is doing exactly what its claims, in the settlement guidelines, international law prohibits.
The relevant EU resolutions and reports make no mention of any international legal question about such funding.
There are real differences between the EU’s funding policies toward Turkey’s occupied territories and Israel’s territories: the former is a much starker contradiction of the principles the Europeans proclaim to uphold. The settlement guidelines aim to regulate groups based in Israel proper, and goes out of its way to make sure no money might be incidentally spent in the West Bank (or Golan or, oddly, Gaza). Yet the Northern Cyprus project is not simply an outgrowth of standing arrangements with Turkey or Cyprus, but rather a particular funding program that by definition funds 100% occupation activities.
Indeed, the EU maintains an office in Northern Cyprus to oversee its over “1000 grant contracts...to NGOs, SMEs, farmers, rural communities, schools and students,” according to an EU report.
This office liaises directly with the Turkish occupation regime in the territory.
Hmmmm. One standard for Israel, another for everyone else. Sounds very familiar.