Prime Minister of Turkey

Speech made to the Assembly

Thursday, 10 May 1979

Mr President, Mr Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, distinguished members of the Assembly and the Committee of Ministers, I should like to start by thanking you, Mr President, for your very kind words of introduction and for the constructive and objective evaluation that you have made with regard to Turkey’s position in the world and the possible contributions that Turkey may make to world peace and to the dialogue between the East and West and the North and South.

It is an honour for me to be given the opportunity of addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. It is a great pleasure and an added honour for me that this opportunity coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of this important organisation. It is the first international parliament of account and its moral authority has increasingly asserted itself during those thirty years.

Allow me, Mr President, to congratulate you and the distinguished members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Ministers on this occasion, as well as all those democratic nations which have contributed to the success and influence of the Council of Europe. I regard the Council of Europe as a living monument of the member countries’ attachment to democracy and as a pioneer institution constantly gaining and consolidating new grounds in the way of enriching the contents of democracy and enlarging freedoms and human rights.

However, democracy has survived and will survive in Turkey because the Turkish society is already well beyond the point of return and because the people would not put up with any alternative regime.

Turkey, where democracy is practically of the same age as the Council of Europe, has been proud to be a member of this institution since its year of inception. She is the only country at the stage of development in which democracy has continuously survived during these three decades. It is no easy matter to make democracy live and to live by democracy for a country grappling with the tremendous difficulties and handicaps of being at the stage of development. The temptation may often be aroused, in the face of such difficulties, to look for deceptive short cuts that unwittingly may cause the society to drift away from the course of democracy – a course that requires patience, perseverance and tolerance.

Therefore, the democratic process and progress has had its ups and downs in Turkey, and during the periods of “downs”, when the ebb of economic and social forces tried to pull us away from the course of democracy, our membership in the Council of Europe has at times served as a compass helping us to keep to that course. The main safeguard of democracy in Turkey – as in any other democratic country – is, inevitably, the people’s attachment to democracy and freedom, but there have been times when our membership in the Council has served as a compass that helped to prevent us from losing our bearings.

In view of these considerations, I would like to concentrate my address to the Parliamentary Assembly on certain problems that Turkey has been facing in recent years and on the trials that democracy has been subjected to in the course of these problems. By concentrating on such problems I shall be referring to certain issues and difficulties that any democratic country determined to achieve its development objectives within the democratic framework may have to face. In this sense, healthy solutions to Turkey’s problems at this stage may provide a source of encouragement to others who may wish to follow a similar path.

Turkey has been one of the most rapidly changing societies of this age. Problems and conflicts arising out of change and transition have therefore been rather acute in Turkey. Change in Turkey did not start at the infrastructural level alone. Infrastructural and superstructural change have been taking place simultaneously. In some cases superstructural change has even preceded infrastructural change. The shocks and tremors of such a process of comprehensive and accelerated change were to some extent alleviated by the democratic regime which gave vent to the frustration caused by difficulties of adaptation, while at the same time increasing the difficulties of preserving democracy.

Particularly during the last three decades, Turkey has been passing through a period of rapid but at the same time rather disorderly and unbalanced economic development. More recently, the constraints that came with the world economic crisis of the seventies have had certain shock effects on the economy and the society.

Turkey has a rather high rate of population increase, which is another factor that has aggravated our social problems during this period of change. There have been great waves of migration to big urban centres. The first generation of migrants were quite content with their lot, because they were able to compare their new opportunities in urban centres with the difficulties and limitations of the way of life that they had left behind in the neglected rural parts. The second and third generations, however, could not be expected to console themselves with such a comparison. They felt in their minds and hearts the frustrations of the contrasts in urban centres, particularly as unemployment reached critical levels. In the meantime there has been an accelerating increase in the demands for higher education, coupled with a decrease in satisfactory job opportunities for the educated.

Then, of course, there has been the great migration of the unemployed and the underemployed, particularly from rural areas and from the neglected parts of Turkey, to the highly developed countries of the West. People were transplanted overnight from the distant villages of Anatolia – from villages cut off from the rest of the world – to the highly industrialised and sophisticated centres of the Western world. While they did not lose much time in adapting themselves to these new and completely different surroundings and ways of life and cultures, they maintained close ties with their villages and towns in Turkey.

They have become opinion leaders, or mentors of new values and of a new way of life with rather costly aspirations, in their old surroundings back at home, which they visited regularly or with which they faithfully corresponded through letters or mailed tape. They have become agents of even more accelerated and dramatic change in Turkey. This has had a collision effect in some cases, particularly in the underdeveloped parts of the country, not only between utterly different levels of development and different cultural milieux but also between different ages. It was as if they annually commuted or regularly communicated through a time tunnel.

As a result of all these factors, there emerged, during the last ten or twelve years, the frustration of the impatient who search for too radical or even miraculous solutions to all the intricate and accumulated problems of a pluralistic society in rapid transition. On the other hand, there has been the even greater frustration and reaction of those circles which wanted to reap the material benefits of rapid economic development and change while struggling in vain to prevent or evade the unavoidable social, cultural and political consequences of such rapid economic development and change.

These conflicting groups at the opposite fringes of the political spectrum could not hope to achieve their loosely-defined and untenable objectives within the rules of the existing democratic regime or by peacefully trying to change that regime. Therefore they both resorted to force, and escalating terrorism ensued. They could not hope to be able to change the existing political framework peacefully, because the great majority of the people remain firmly attached to democracy and because democracy in Turkey has well-entrenched constitutional and institutional guarantees and sanctions.

Among such guarantees and sanctions, I can mention the completely independent judiciary with an autonomous appointment and promotion system, independently elected high courts that can abrogate laws and annul administrative decisions, autonomous universities, a free press and independent radio and television, and a free and strong labour union movement.

As a result of the people’s attachment to democracy and thanks to these constitutional and institutional safeguards, the Turkish democracy has withstood the extreme trials of years of terrorism as well as of the grave economic and social problems that we have been facing.

More recently, the turmoil in the Middle East which has reached new dimensions and the vacuum of authority that has emerged in Iran have added fuel to the unrest in Turkey, as some of the impatient and radicals of either the Right or the Left have been encouraged to think that they could exploit this new atmosphere prevailing in our part of the world to expedite the attainment of their objectives.

Although it is too early yet to predict the future consequences, the developments in Iran are of historic significance, basically reflecting the Iranian people’s desire for a free, democratic and more self-reliant society. But what happened in Iran obviously cannot be duplicated or imitated in Turkey, because wide differences exist between the two neighbouring countries’ social and political structures. For instance, the mass opposition in Iran was aimed at replacing an authoritarian regime with a democratic one, whereas in Turkey democracy already existed and the fringe groups that opposed the regime sought authoritarian regimes of sorts against the will of the masses. In Turkey economic development had proceeded simultaneously with the social, political and institutional changes that should go with development, whereas in Iran such changes had been prevented from accompanying economic development. Again, in Turkey secularism had been deeply rooted and the people’s attachment to religion had been comfortably reconciled with the rules of a secular state, whereas in Iran this had not been the case.

All the same, geographical proximity provided inspiration for several groups to try their hand at similar ventures in Turkey. They could not succeed but they could increase unrest and terrorism just by trying. This was an added factor that made the precautionary measure of declaring martial law inevitable in some provinces.

In spite of the differences between the social and political conditions of Turkey and Iran in some respects, there are deeply rooted historic and cultural ties between them and I believe that a fruitful and extensive co-operation that could and should flourish between the two neighbouring countries would be an important factor for stability and progress in the Middle East as a whole.

I am convinced that, with their long history of statehood, the people of Iran will overcome their present difficulties and ensure a bright future for their country. It is essential, in the meantime, that Iran should preserve its unity and integrity. This is of great importance not only for Iran but for the peace and security of all the region. I therefore strongly hope that any attempt to disrupt that country’s unity will be doomed to failure.

The unity of the Turkish nation is based on the fact that ethnic differentiation is alien to the traditional attitudes and social relations of the people of Turkey. Throughout history, ethnic or religious conflicts emerged in Turkey only when there were provocations from outside. In recent years, particularly in recent months, such provocations have been coming again from several quarters abroad – provocations that are directed not only to Turkey but to several countries of the region. Sometimes opposing forces vie with each other in provoking, and in trying to control, the same ethnic or religious groups, with the obvious objective of keeping divided or further dividing, thus weakening and dominating, the region and some of the regional countries.

The Middle East certainly does not provide a comfortable milieu for democracy, with several governments or political forces and interest groups of account in the world constantly trying to involve themselves in the internal affairs, as well as the external relations, of the regional countries. The strategic importance and the oil riches of the region are at least as much of a burden as a boon for these countries, and Turkey is one of the very few among them that have to put up with and resist such trends from outside without having the advantage and leverage of rich oil resources.

Under the circumstances, it needs constant diligence and vigilance to prevent the open doors and windows of a democratic open society such as the one existing in Turkey from being used as channels of conflicting extranational and international currents gusting their way in and further confusing the country’s innately unsettled and complicated political and social problems at the strenuous stage of rapid transition and development.

However, democracy has survived and will survive in Turkey because the Turkish society is already well beyond the point of return and because the people would not put up with any alternative regime. I am also hopeful that shortly we may be in a position to end, or to reduce the scope of, martial law.

Efficiency of the internal security forces has been gradually but steadily improving and an increasing number of terrorists are being caught and sentenced. Such developments should sooner or later exert their deterrent effects. Peace has already returned to schools and universities after years of fighting and interrupted education in many of them. Mass clashes have not recurred since the tragic events that took place towards the end of last year.

We do not delude ourselves by thinking, however, that terrorism can be eradicated by the increased efficiency of security forces and measures alone, and we are also aware that no country can or should indefinitely and exclusively rely on the people’s attachment to democracy or on the efficacy of constitutional and institutional guarantees.

The degree of economic difficulty that Turkey has been encountering in recent years would cause social unrest and create fertile ground for terrorism in any country. I suppose one can even say that in few countries could democracy stand the trials of about 50% inflation and 20% unemployment for as long as Turkish democracy has done. We therefore have to find a way out of the economic crisis – the worst that we have faced during our republican history.

Although certain mistakes were made in the past in the structuring and handling of the Turkish economy, it would be unfair to put all the blame for the present difficulties on those mistakes. The world economic crisis has been a more important factor, for Turkey is one of those non-oil-rich developing countries that are increasingly squeezed between dramatically increasing oil prices on the one hand and the industrial intermediate and investment goods prices on the other hand – the kind of goods that we have to import in substantial quantities in order to run many of our existing industries and maintain the momentum of growth.

By restructuring the economy and by better exploiting our natural resources, we can increase considerably our foreign exchange earnings, not only through exports of goods but also through exporting engineering and construction services to some of the regional countries and through tourism, for which Turkey is one of the best endowed countries.

In fact last year, although we could use only about half of our industrial capacity because of electricity cuts and shortage of imported inputs, we were able to increase our export earnings by over 30%, and during the first three months of the current year the rate of increase has reached the level of 38%. Recently we were also able to end years of daily electricity cuts by better exploiting our own natural resources for energy production.

Turkey obviously has considerable potential for increasing her economic self-reliance, and her geopolitical position also affords great possibilities for tripartite co-operation that should fruitfully bring together Turkey’s industrial basis and manpower with the under-utilised technological capacity of some developed countries and the under-utilised capital being generated in several countries of the region.

Turkey provides ample opportunities for foreign investment, particularly in view of the promising markets in some of the regional countries, and we are willing to promote with an open mind such investment to the extent that it contributes to our economic and technological development and balance of payments, as well as to our regional co-operation. But we need a breathing space and some fuel to put our economy on a sounder basis and to recover from the immediate crisis.

Thus far, our partners and friends in the West, with few exceptions, have remained passive, even if sympathetic, spectators. It was declared by some of our friends after Guadeloupe at the beginning of this year that Turkey needed credit aid in substantial amounts very urgently. More than four months have passed and “urgent” aid has not been forthcoming yet, although recently there have been some encouraging signs that may yield results soon.

Turkey has had to spend almost all her export earnings of those four months on oil imports alone. On top of that, she had to pay the equivalent of all her annual export earnings from tobacco and cotton – her two main export items – as foreign debt instalments during those four months. Some observers in the West express their wonder that the Turkish economy and democracy can still survive, but we cannot help thinking that something more substantial than expressions of wonder and sympathy could and should be expected from our friends if partnerships or alliances are supposed to cater for solidarity in times of difficulty.

Last year and especially this year we have taken such measures of economic stabilisation as would entail great political risks for any democratic government. We have taken those political risks willingly. But we cannot afford to take social risks to a degree that would critically aggravate the already existing unrest in Turkey.

In a democratic country at our stage of development, the social feasibility of stabilisation measures is at least as important as their economic feasibility. In such a country a static stability does not work or, even when it seems to work, it backfires at one stage. It has to be a dynamic stability, ensuring a certain momentum in growth and development.

Turkey, in particular, has to maintain a rather high rate of growth, and she has to follow a balanced and healthy development strategy, for the following reasons:

– she has to preserve her democracy while putting the economy on its feet, and for this purpose she has to be able to meet the basic requirements of an increasing population in an open and free society;

– she has to attack social unrest and terrorism at the roots by lowering the high rate of unemployment and reducing social injustice;

– she eventually has to narrow down to a tolerable degree the gap between herself and her partners with highly developed economies in order to be able to continue with this partnership on a viable basis;

– she has to increase rapidly her foreign exchange earnings in order to be able to pay her accumulated debts and to finance essential imports;

– she has to widen and strengthen the infrastructure of her economy, which is hardly able to carry the burden of her industry any more;

– and she has to maintain a viable degree of defence capability in a region beset with disputes, turmoil and uncertainties.

As I said earlier, Turkey’s economic potentials are large enough to give her a chance of achieving a dynamic stability on these lines, and, inevitably, the future of our relationship with the West will be influenced, in spite of our will, by the extent to which Turkey can depend on her allies’ and partners’ support in her efforts to overcome her present economic difficulties while carrying on such a stabilisation and development programme.

I use the word “inevitably” in the sense that Turkey does not intend to weaken her ties with her partners out of political choice but that economic factors in themselves could weaken those ties. In fact, as a result of the difficulties caused by the shortage of hard currency that Turkey has been facing in recent years in maintaining her volume of trade with the West, the composition of her external trade relations has already started changing considerably, indicating a drift away from her Western partners.

Such a drift would, of course, hamper our efforts to proceed with the successive stages of our partnership with the European Economic Community, particularly in view of the tendency among some member countries to render it difficult to reach a fair and viable association arrangement with Turkey.

Among some – certainly not all, but some – of our allies and partners in the West, the temptation to take advantage of Turkey’s economic difficulties seems to be greater than their willingness to help her out of her immediate and critical economic difficulties. Some seem to try to take advantage of these difficulties in order to suggest either certain policies or restrictive development strategies on Turkey.

One of the reasons, perhaps the basic reason, for such a temptation seems to be the concern felt by some of our Western allies and partners about the re-evaluation that the Turkish nation has been making of her international and particularly regional relationships in order to better accommodate herself to changing world conditions, as well as to the requirements of geography and history.

As you have indicated, Mr President, Turkey is both in Europe and in Asia, with historic roots in parts of Africa also. Turkey is a secular state with a largely Moslem population. Turkey is at the crossroads of the East and the West in both the geographical and cultural senses of the term. Turkey is also at the crossroads of the North and the South, in the geographical and socio-economic senses of the term.

In an age when the world is becoming increasingly closer-knit, when the distances between the East and the West are becoming narrower in every sense and the declared objectives to narrow down the gap between the North and the South more vocal, Turkey is destined to perform certain functions of universal relevance.

A country bordering the Soviet Union and in geographical proximity to the East European socialist countries – with several of which she formed until recently a single state – a country so placed could not be expected to remain aloof from or ignore the increasing rapprochement between East and West and the transition from cold war to détente. She could not be expected to continue for ever to lag far behind her allies and partners in the West in normalising her relations and expanding her economic co-operation with these regional countries. On the contrary, it should be considered as her primary function to contribute to the process of détente and rapprochement – a process which is the only hope for mankind’s future in this nuclear age.

It is, therefore, unfair to raise questions about Turkey’s intentions as she takes steps in this direction, particularly when one considers the steps already taken in large measures over the years by many of her Western allies and partners.

Turkey is, at the same time, a country with a largely Moslem population and with close historic ties with Islamic and Arab countries. She was part of the same state with many of these countries until the beginning of the century – a state in which we lived as equal partners and in which ethnic differences hardly counted.

It is, therefore, at least equally unfair to ask whether it is Turkey’s intention to drift away from its partnership with the West when she wants to revitalise her ties and extend her cooperation with Islamic and Arab countries. It is particularly unfair if one considers the fact that many countries of the West have been vying with each other in establishing close ties and cooperation with them.

Instead of expressing or nourishing such unfair and anachronistic doubts and concerns, our allies and partners in the West should consider in what ways Turkey, with her unique geopolitical position and historic heritage, could make her own contribution to détente, to the East-West rapprochement in general, to the North-South dialogue and to a healthier relationship with the Middle East as a whole.

I believe that the problems of the Middle East, which are obviously of great concern for the whole world, have been rendered unnecessarily complicated and explosive, basically for the reason that the regional countries have not had a chance of trying to settle them peacefully among themselves. When problems in such an internationally important region are suspended for too long and allowed to deteriorate, several non-regional countries tend to be involved and every such involvement further complicates the problems, for the simple reason that the involved party’s own problems and aspirations are added on to an already complex situation.

It was because of this observation, as well as our desire to live peacefully with all our neighbours, that my government lost no time in taking steps to ameliorate the strained relations between Turkey and Greece and to ease the way for a solution to Cyprus.

In connection with the basic problems of the Middle East – namely, the Israeli-Arab issue and the plight of the Palestinian people – I would suggest that it might have considerably eased the way for peaceful and satisfactory solutions and for a comprehensive agreement if the regional countries themselves were in a position to take the initiative and if the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people were to be given priority.

It would, of course, be essential, in using such initiatives in general, that the solutions to be sought should not only be in the interests of all the regional countries but should also reflect a sense of responsibility for the rest of the world, because any irresponsible or inadvertent step in a strategically important region could conceivably lead to a highly dangerous confrontation between the major powers, in spite of these powers’ commendable care to prevent such a confrontation.

This care on the part of the United States of America and the Soviet Union is of vital importance for mankind, and I am hopeful that the perseverance of both these major powers in trying to make a success of the SALT II talks may mark an important new stage in the way of preventing a nuclear catastrophe.

I realise, of course, that the SALT agreements and arrangements cannot stand on their feet unless supported by a reduction of tension and of armaments in all the strategically important parts of the world. European security is of great importance from this angle, and it is my hope that a geographically more comprehensive arrangement than the one envisaged in the mutual and balanced force reduction talks may follow suit in due course.

In this rapidly changing world and in this age of détente, the nature, values and possibilities of Turkey’s partnership with the democratic countries of the West should not be measured in terms of her willingness to continue performing the role of a solitary frontier guard still bearing the banner of the cold war period of the past, and still carrying to a large extent the outdated armaments of the Korean war or even the Second World War years.

Such an expectation would be a contradiction in terms, a contradiction with the changing times and an overlooking of the function that Turkey could and should play regionally and internationally for world peace and for a fairer and healthier world economic order, as well as for the spreading of the principles and values of democracy and freedom.

I would like to end my words, Mr President and distinguished members, by reminding you that Turkey, in a sense, has a more enduring bond with the democratic countries of the West than any alliance or formal partnership can provide. This bond is the Turkish people’s proven determination to make democracy live and to live by democracy against all odds. If Turkey can prove that such a determination is viable, if she can prove that it is politically, socially and economically viable for a developing country, much could change in the world.

It is on account of this enduring and basic bond that Turkey attaches great importance to her membership in the Council of Europe – an institution which, in her eyes, represents the collective determination of the member countries to preserve and continuously update democracy and to spread further the virtues and values of the democratic way of life.


Thank you, Prime Minister, for your most interesting and, in many ways, most stimulating address.

Mr Ecevit will now answer the thirty-one questions tabled in Document 4334. The Prime Minister has kindly agreed to stay until at least 12.45 p.m. I ask all members of the Assembly to ensure that this valuable time is used to maximum advantage and to exercise the greatest possible self-discipline in keeping their supplementary questions very brief indeed.

If Representatives are not correctly signed on the register, an answer can be given by the Prime Minister but no supplementary question will be allowed. I refer to Substitutes who could not sign the register because the full members had already signed it.

I now call the Prime Minister to reply to Question No. 1 from Mr Coutsocheras. This is a general question on Cyprus, which reads as follows:

“Mr Coutsocheras

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether the Turkish Government will be complying as soon as possible with the UN resolutions concerning withdrawal from Cyprus of the Turkish army of occupation and the 40 000 Turkish settlers who have moved into the occupied territory, and concerning the resettlement in their homes of the Greek Cypriots who have been refugees since the invasion.”

I call Mr Ecevit.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Thank you, Mr President. As you are aware, many of the questions were received only this morning and, therefore, I may not be able to provide extensive answers to them. Many of the questions on Cyprus could have been more authoritatively answered by the Representative from the Turkish-Cypriot community, had such a presence not been prevented by the Greek-Cypriot attitude. Parliamentarians from Greece seem to be closely and actively concerned with the Cyprus issue, and I am glad of that. I wish that the Government of Greece also exerted efforts in this direction, together with the Turkish Government. Both Turkey and Greece have to give their encouragement to the respective communities on the island in order to speed up a solution.

If you will allow me, I will answer Question No. 1 and some other questions also because they seem to be repetitive in some ways. If you will allow me, I would like first to answer the questions put forward by different distinguished members, Mr Coutsocheras, as you have indicated, then Mrs Tsirimokou and then Mr Papaefstratiou and Mr Frangos.


In that case, Prime Minister, allow me to read Question No. 2 from Mrs Tsirimokou, and Question No. 16 from MM. Frangos and Papaefstratiou:

“Question No. 2

Mrs Tsirimokou,

Recalling that the Prime Minister of Turkey has stated that the ‘operation’ against Cyprus of July and August 1974 was not a conquest but a peaceful mission in application of the Zürich and London Treaties of 1959;

Recalling that in Greece it is strongly felt that these treaties do not give the legal right of unilateral military action to any of the guarantor powers;

Not being personally in a position to argue whether this right exists or not, but noting that, in accordance with the Treaty of Guarantee, any form of intervention may take place ‘for the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present treaty (Article 4, paragraph 2 of the Treaty of Guarantee),

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey:

why Turkey, twenty-five days after the first invasion, undertook a second invasion, and conquered the richest part of Cyprus, while the dictatorial regimes both in Cyprus and in Greece had been overthrown, and Archbishop Makarios and Prime Minister Karamanlis (who played the leading role in the drawing up of the Zürich and London Treaties) were ready to apply them, that is to say, to re-establish the status quo ante;

why nearly five years have passed since the invasion of Cyprus and the Turkish Government has made no move or even discussed the re-establishment of the status quo ante;

why the Turkish Government is not simply asking for more guarantees for the Turkish community, but for a total reversal of the situation established by the Zürich and London Treaties;

how one can reconcile all the above with the assurance that the ‘operations’ of July and August 1974 were a peaceful mission based on the Treaty of Guarantee.

Question No. 16

MM. Frangos and Papaefstratiou

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey to explain the reasons for which Turkey maintains a large occupation army in the Republic of Cyprus, especially in view of the economic difficulties with which his country is faced, as he claims, and despite the resolution of the United Nations and the rules of international law.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

The questions are about the withdrawal of Turkish forces from northern Cyprus. It has been stated on several occasions by my government and by myself that the Turkish forces in Cyprus will be withdrawn within the framework of a final solution. These forces are on the island for the sole purpose of ensuring the security of the Turkish-Cypriot community. As soon as security is assured and conditions preventing the oppression of one party by the other are created within the framework of a final solution – a just, workable and lasting solution – there will be no more need to station forces on the island, except those to be mutually agreed upon by the parties concerned.

Since 1974, as a gesture of goodwill, Turkey has gradually and steadily withdrawn a major part of its troops stationed on the island. With the most recent withdrawal of 1 500 troops, our withdrawals amount to almost 19 000.

There is no direct or indirect relationship between the presence of the Turkish forces in Cyprus and the economic difficulties which Turkey is presently encountering. We would have been encountering them in any case, because, as I have already explained, the major part of the Turkish troops on the island have already been withdrawn, and the remaining number is not great enough to cause any strain on our economy.

Furthermore, the presence of the Turkish troops on the island for reasons that I have already put forward cannot have a negative effect on Turkey’s NATO force contribution.

Mr Coutsocheras has also posed a question about settlers from Turkey in the northern part of Cyprus. The Turkish federated state of Cyprus, for the implementation of its programme of reconstruction and rehabilitation, needs some manpower for certain economic activities, at least for some time. As I understand it, the situation is due to the fact that prior to 1974, due to the known conditions then prevailing on the island, the Turkish Cypriots could not gain the necessary skills, or some of the necessary skills, in various fields.

Consequently, a certain number of Turkish workers are employed in northern Cyprus to fill the gaps in certain areas. Moreover, a large number of Turkish Cypriots who were forced to leave the island before 1974 have returned to their homes. These two influxes, when taken together, would not amount to 40 000 as indicated in the question. Altogether, the workers from abroad are far fewer in number than the Cypriot Turks who had to leave the island because of years of oppression, and many of them still remain dispersed all over the world.

I should like now to try to answer Mrs Tsirimokou’s question relating to the reestablishment of the status quo ante on the island. I do not think anyone can claim that the status quo ante in Cyprus was a happy one for either of the communities. For years before the summer of 1974 there had been constant strife and conflict, not only between the Turks and Greeks but among the Greeks themselves. Therefore, a return to the status quo ante in Cyprus would mean the creation or re-creation of conditions which would lead to a recurrence of past tragic events, which consisted of constant conflicts and oppression, particularly of the Turkish community – and one must not forget that it was largely because the Greek Cypriots tried by force and by military aid from mainland Greece to change the status quo ante that the tragic recent events in Cyprus occurred.

It was again, one must remember, the Greek- Cypriot side which, during the period between 1963 and 1974, did everything systematically to violate and, in the end, to demolish the 1960 constitutional order. In fact, long before July 1974 the existing constitution had ceased to function, at least as far as the rights of the Turkish Cypriots were concerned.

As a result of the Turkish action in Cyprus, which was undertaken by Turkey as a guarantor power, two autonomous administrations were formed. This fact is embodied in the Geneva Declaration of 30 July 1974, which was signed by the Foreign Ministers of both Greece and Turkey. I would like to point out that in 1976, when a Select Committee of the House of Commons suggested to Mr James Callaghan that Britain could or should have averted the tragedy in 1974, he replied that if Britain had intervened under the relevant article of the Treaty of Guarantee, she “would have been obliged to restore the 1960 constitution... The restoration of the status quo ante would not have been possible...it would have recoiled on our heads and we would have found ourselves back in the situation of the 1950s”.

I now pass to the second part of Mrs Tsirimokou’s question – namely, the reasons for the second military operation during the summer of 1974. With your permission, I will deal with this matter somewhat extensively because I hope that I may be able to shed light on a relatively unknown episode of the unfortunate events and lost opportunities of the summer of 1974.

After the first Turkish military action at the end of July 1974, in response to the coup d’état backed by the junta in Athens, there was a meeting in Geneva between Turkish and Greek representatives. We discussed the conditions for ensuring a cease-fire and peace and stability on the island. I was Prime Minister of Turkey at the time and, with my colleagues, I insisted that a reasonable security belt should be established, under United Nations supervision, around the small pocket controlled by the Turkish forces between Kyrenia and Nicosia. We said that unless such a security belt of sufficient length was established, and at the same time, unless the security of the Turks left in enclaves in those regions controlled by the Greeks was ensured, it would be rather difficult to maintain the terms of the cease-fire and make progress towards a peaceful solution.

Unfortunately, our requests were not heeded and it became a problem to maintain the ceasefire. Later, in August, a second Geneva conference was convened between representatives of Turkey and Greece, attended also by representatives of the Turkish and Greek communities in Cyprus. During the course of those discussions we put forward several constructive proposals. One of them was a multi-cantonal formula. Unfortunately, it proved very difficult to reach an agreement or to attain an atmosphere conducive to an agreement because, obviously, after Greece’s fortunate return to democracy, our Greek friends had come to think that now that they had regained the confidence of their friends in the democratic countries they could take a more intransigent stand.

When, towards the end of the conference, they wanted some time to go back to their respective countries and consult their governments regarding the new Turkish proposals, we suggested that we could wait not for days or weeks but for months, provided that the security of the Turkish forces encircled in a very small area between Kyrenia and Nicosia was ensured, and provided that the encircled Turkish villages in the region between the Kyrenia-Nicosia pocket and Famagusta could be ensured, because we had heard rumours and news that those Turkish Cypriots thus encircled were facing grave danger of massacre – and that, unfortunately, later proved to be true.

In order to ensure the security of our forces and the security of the Turks encircled in the so-called “Chatos” area between the Kyrenia- Nicosia pocket and Famagusta, we suggested in the discussions that the area between the Kyrenia-Nicosia pocket and Famagusta should be demilitarised under United Nations supervision. The demilitarised zone that we suggested did not include Karpas. Some of our friends and some observers regarded this interim proposal as very reasonable, and we were asked what guarantee Turkey could give that Turkish units would not proceed to that demilitarised area. I personally replied that we would be willing to give any guarantee asked of us and that the United Nations would in any case supervise the zone.

The zone that we suggested should be demilitarised and the area which was controlled by the Turkish units between Kyrenia and Nicosia constituted only 17% of the island. Unfortunately, this goodwill proposal was rejected outright, and in the circumstances we had no option but to proceed with the second military action to ensure the security of our units encircled in a very small area and to ensure the security of the Turkish villages encircled between that area and Famagusta. However, during the course of the second military action we discovered that we were, unfortunately, too late to ensure the security of many of the villages in that area because their populations had been massacred.

I still regard this as a relatively unknown phase of the events of 1974 and as a lost opportunity, so I would like to thank the distinguished member from Greece for having given me the opportunity to tell of this phase of recent history.

Mrs Tsirimokou says in her question that the Turkish action of 1974 could not be defined as a peaceful mission. Whether one likes it or not, I suppose one has realistically to admit that the years that have ensued have been the only peaceful five years on the island in our age, although, of course, I wish that better ways of ensuring such peace could have been found.

Now, I would like to answer the question...


On a point of order, Mr President...


There will be no points of order during the speech and the answers. You will have an opportunity later.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Mr President, I would like to answer jointly some questions put by Mr Frangos, Mr Papaefstratiou, Mr Jessel, Lady Fleming and Mrs Gradin about the so-called missing persons in Cyprus.


Prime Minister, allow me to read the questions tabled by those speakers you have just mentioned. They are Questions No. 3 from Lady Fleming, No. 14 from Mr Jessel and No. 15 from MM. Frangos and Papaefstratiou:

“Question No. 3

Lady Fleming

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey:

what is the fate of the 2 000 persons who disappeared in Cyprus after the events in 1974 and who were entered on the international Red Cross lists of missing persons; and

if he has no information on this subject, what steps does the Turkish Government intend to take so that a satisfactory reply may be forthcoming.

Question No. 14

Mr Jessel

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if he will make a statement on persons stated to be missing in Cyprus.

Question No. 15

MM. Frangos and Papaefstratiou

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey to inform the Assembly of the fate of the 2 000 Greeks and Greek Cypriots reported missing since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Both communities in Cyprus have claims concerning missing persons. President Denktash of the Turkish-Cypriot community in a recent letter on this matter to the Secretary General of the United Nations has stated that after the Greek coup d’état on 15 July 1974 the number of Turkish-Cypriot missing persons rose to about 800. The great majority of these people were civilians, who included breast-fed babies and 90-year-olds. The Greek-Cypriot administration has to this day declined to account for the fate of these people. About 300 bodies belonging to the missing Turkish-Cypriots were exhumed from mass graves at Aloa, Maratha, Sandallaria and other places on the island. The Turkish community also has a long list of missing persons as a result of the intercommunal strife of 1963 and 1967.

These are all problems caused by the conditions of the status quo ante. Although the Greek-Cypriot side has perhaps tried to exploit this humanitarian issue for propaganda purposes, to my knowledge the Turkish-Cypriot side has never tried to do so. In fact, in 1977 joint work on this issue was undertaken by the two communities and a United Nations General Assembly resolution pertaining to this question was adopted, with the agreement of the two communities, to set up a committee to trace missing persons. However, this committee could not be set up and carry out its work because of problems which were not created by the Turkish side. The Turkish-Cypriot side is still ready to co-operate in the creation of the committee foreseen in that General Assembly resolution and fully supports the work of that committee.

I would like, Mr President, to answer jointly again certain questions put by Mr Rendis, Mr Karvelas, Mr Papaefstratiou and Mrs Tsirimokou.


In fact, you refer to Question No. 4, tabled by MM. Rendis, Karvelas, Papaefstratiou and Mrs Tsirimokou, which reads as follows:

“MM. Rendis, Karvelas, Papaefstratiou and Mrs Tsirimokou,


a. that the Turkish side had accepted, back in 1976, that the 14 000 Greek Cypriots living in the Karpas peninsula under Turkish occupation be granted various liberties, such as the freedom of education, religious freedom, medical care, etc.;

b. that the number of the aforementioned Greek Cypriots has in the meantime been reduced to 1 600;

c. that reports by the Secretary General of the UN make obvious that these liberties have either never been granted or have been accorded in such a restrictive manner that nine-tenths of the Greek Cypriots of this area have preferred the very unpleasant option of becoming refugees to the even more unfavourable one of remaining in their villages under an arbitrary Turkish military administration, an example being the fact that pupils who were forced to go to the south for the reason that the promised freedom of schooling was not granted to them, have not been allowed to visit their parents during vacations, so that the latter were compelled to abandon their homes in Karpas and join their children in the south;

d. that the attitude of the Turkish military and administrative authorities has recently, if not improved, at least not deteriorated,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether a substantial improvement of the attitude of the Turkish administration in Karpas towards the Greek Cypriots of the area, entailing the respect of basic freedoms, could be expected and, in the affirmative, whether the return to their homes of those who left after 1976 may be envisaged, or whether their homes have already been given to Turkish settlers from Anatolia.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

These questions concern the living conditions of the Greek Cypriots in the Karpas peninsula. After the Turkish action in Cyprus, a number of Greek Cypriots living in the Karpas peninsula emigrated to the south, of their own free will, in accordance with the agreement reached between President Denktash and Mr Clerides in Vienna in 1975. Those Greek Cypriots who are presently living in the Karpas area have chosen to opt out themselves from the 1975 agreement. They number about 1 600. They are not subject to any oppression and their living conditions are similar to those of the Turkish Cypriots living in the same area. The United Nations Secretary General’s report of 1 December 1978 stands witness to this fact.


We now come to Question No. 5 by MM. Venizelos, Rendis, Frangos and Mrs Mantzoulinou, which reads as follows:

“MM. Venizelos, Rendis, Frangos and Mrs Mantzoulinou,

Considering that in 1936 a Muslim minority of 106 000 were living in Western Thrace and a Greek Orthodox minority amounting to 111 000 persons in Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos, both minorities being protected by the Treaty of Lausanne;

Considering that since, the number of Muslims living in Western Thrace has increased to about 120 000, whereas the Greek Orthodox minority of Turkey decreased to 6 000-8 000,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey:

how the Turkish Government explains this unilateral change in the balance of the two minorities, it being fair to assume that the exodus of the Greek Orthodox minority continuing systematically over the last decades is due to administrative and other measures taken by the Turkish authorities, especially in view of the fact that those who left Istanbul, Imvros and Tenedos were Turkish citizens who have been led to abandon their properties in Turkey;

how the Turkish Government envisages the reestablishment of the balance and what measures they intend to take to introduce a feeling of confidence and security among the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

This question contains claims about the unilateral change in the balance of the respective minorities in Turkey and Greece. It would be erroneous to approach the two minorities in our respective countries in terms of sheer numerical balance. Rather, this matter should be taken up in terms of their internationally guaranteed rights and the actual practices both in Turkey and in Greece in this respect.

In Turkey, a Greek Orthodox Turkish citizen enjoys the same rights before the law as any other Turkish citizen. There are no administrative or any other discriminatory measures taken by the Turkish authorities, and my government is wholly prepared to contribute to the creation of conditions so that the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey constitutes a bridge of friendship between the two countries. In fact, since taking over, my government has been in regular contact with the leaders of the Greek community to learn of their grievances, if any, and to try to solve all their problems promptly. We have, I am glad to say, been able to establish a very good and constructive dialogue with them.

It is true that the Greek Orthodox minority in Turkey has been reduced to a much smaller number than that of our minority in Western Thrace. Unfortunately, this fact seems to have come about as a consequence of the deterioration of relations between the two countries over the years. One might add that economic and employment factors are also involved. A large number of the Greek Orthodox minority who emigrated from Turkey are now living in Greece, but whether they live in Greece or any other part of the world they are, as long as they so wish, Turkish citizens. They are entitled to use this privilege fully and as they desire. In other words, there are no legal or political obstacles in their way, should they choose to return and live in Turkey. In fact, since I became Prime Minister at the beginning of last year I have suggested to the Greek authorities several times that any person of Greek origin who is a Turkish citizen would be welcome if he wished to return to Turkey.

On the other hand, one can also note the fact that, given the normal birth rate, the Turkish minority in Greece would have already reached the level of 250 000 if similar emigration had not taken place from Greece to Turkey.

Apart from the administrative difficulties which the Turkish minority has been encountering in Greece, I regret to note that, for example, Turks have not been allowed to buy real estate since 1965 in Western Thrace. This is a deprivation which contradicts basic human rights. On the other hand, due to administrative pressures, discriminatory practices and nationalisation of their property under a variety of pretexts, the Turks in Greece are restless and are uncertain of their future.

My government is in constant contact with the leaders of the Greek minority in Turkey, as I said earlier. Apart from that, we have been contacting the Greek Government on this issue and we have been suggesting that the problems of the respective minorities should be treated as humanitarian rather than political issues and that the solutions to these humanitarian problems should not and need not be postponed until after solutions have been found to our political problems. But we are given to understand that, unfortunately, the Greek administration does not intend to adopt the same attitude vis-à-vis the Turkish minority in Greece – that is, they do not want to bring solutions to the problems of the Turkish minority in Greece before all our bilateral problems are settled. However, in spite of the lack of response from the Greek side to our suggestion that we should dissociate humanitarian issues from political issues, we have been acting in line with this principle without waiting for the Greek Government to act likewise.


The next question is Question No. 6 from Mr Roper as follows:

“Mr Roper

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey, a country which not only belongs to the European Western family of democratic nations but also to the Middle East region, how he considers the situation in the Middle East in the light of recent events.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Mr Roper has asked a question about the situation in the Middle East in the light of recent events. As I have already dwelt on this topic rather extensively in my opening speech, I do not intend to take more of your time except to add perhaps a few remarks.

As I indicated earlier in my opening address, it is difficult, in my view, to ease the way for viable solutions to the Middle East problems as long as opposing and clashing outside interventions continue in that region and as long as the legitimate rights of the Palestinians are not granted. It would also be difficult to find peaceful and viable solutions to the Middle-Eastern question as long as attempts to disrupt the unity of some of the regional countries continue. In order to be able to find lasting, universal, satisfactory and acceptable solutions to the problems of the Middle East, it is essential to ensure better and reliable futures for the peoples of the region, particularly for the period when the oil riches of the region may expire.


I will now read Question No. 7 from Mr Aano:

“Mr Aano,

Appreciating the declared willingness of the Turkish authorities to uphold human rights and taking into account the unrest amongst Turkish Assyrian immigrants in several Western European countries,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if he will explain his views and the policy of his government towards this Turkish Assyrian religious minority in his country.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I do not want to go into pedantic discussions on a subject on which I am not sufficiently well informed in any case, but there are people in Turkey who react when they are referred to as Assyrians in some of the Scandinavian or West European countries. They say that there are several groups. One of them is referred to in Turkish as Süryani, which possibly may correspond to Syrians, and then there are supposed to be the Assyrians.

When I was in the Nordic countries a few months ago, some Süryani or Syrians came to me complaining that the so-called Assyrians were claiming to represent them as well in order to present their numbers as being larger than they actually were.

Having said this, I would add that approximately 45 000 Turkish citizens of either Assyrian or Syrian origin and of the Christian religion live mostly in the south-eastern area. I say “mostly” because some of them have settled in Istanbul or other big urban centres and have become quite successful, particularly in business and in some professions. They have about seventy-two churches, monasteries and foundations, and their management boards are elected by themselves from their own communities. To this day nobody in Turkey has heard of an Assyrian or Syrian problem. Until such a problem was raised in some Nordic or West European countries, we simply did not know that such a problem could exist and we never thought of differentiating between the people of Turkish origin and those of Assyrian or Syrian origin. To this day no formal complaint in Turkey has ever been recorded from this community, although I have been personally in constant contact with their community leaders, not only when I have been in government, but during the years of opposition of my party.

I am confident that this so-called problem has arisen in some countries of Europe for the following reason. After the world economic crisis which started as a result of the dramatic increases in oil prices in the early 1970s, many European countries stopped bringing labourers from other countries. Some people in the countries where there was unemployment began to search for pretexts that might be acceptable in the industrialised countries, and some used the pretext of political oppression whether or not such oppression existed in their home countries.

I believe that this explanation of mine is true, because I am sure that Representatives from the Nordic countries or the Netherlands would agree that they themselves possibly had not heard of such a problem before the world economic crisis, because before that these people were able to obtain employment in those countries without claiming that they were suffering from political oppression.

I have personally invited several politicians or groups of journalists and television people from these countries to come to Turkey and see for themselves, roaming about freely in the country and talking freely with members or leaders of the so-called Assyrian or Syrian communities. Mr Aano was one of the distinguished Representatives who came to Turkey and saw things for themselves, and I am hopeful that Mr Aano will not contradict me when I say that he returned with rather favourable impressions.

The Swedish Government accepted about 2500 Assyrians or Syrians not as political refugees, because they did not accept that such political oppression existed, but on purely humanitarian grounds. Sweden decided that no more Assyrians or Syrians would be accepted unless they were directly related to those who were already in Sweden.

A representative of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs visited Turkey in 1978 and indicated that none of the Turkish Assyrians that he met claimed to be persecuted. He also said that he found no signs that Assyrians or Syrians returning to Turkey from Sweden were punished or met any difficulties.

During a panel discussion on Swedish television in May 1978, the Minister of Labour said that the Assyrians or Syrians in Turkey were not persecuted on religious grounds or any other grounds. At a political party congress a motion to grant political refugee status to Assyrians was not carried because of these reasons. A Swedish newspaper, on 19 February 1979, carried an article based on data from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs which indicated that no political or religious pressure was brought to bear upon the Assyrian or Syrian Turkish nationals.

In 1977, the Netherlands granted residence permits to about 400 Assyrians or Syrians from Turkey and announced that this was purely on humanitarian grounds and that it was clear that no pressure was exerted upon them in Turkey. In 1978, according to my knowledge, in the Netherlands it was decided not to grant permission to those asking for political asylum.

The Norwegian authorities also did not accept applications by Turkish Assyrians or Syrians for political asylum and considered their case within the scope of the law stopping the entry of migrant workers. An official of one of the interested governments has informed the Turkish authorities that, following their experience on this matter, they have definitely concluded that no pressure of any sort was exerted on the Assyrians in Turkey, because if this were the case they would have neither left their families behind in Turkey nor have gone to Turkey to spend their vacations with their families. He also observed that if allegations of official harassment were true, the Assyrians or Syrians could not easily have obtained passports from the Turkish authorities and travelled abroad so freely. In short, they are free to return to Turkey.

The main reason for their grievances in Turkey is common to all the people of the region – namely, south-east Turkey. It happens to be the most underdeveloped area where the majority of the people of any ethnic group are poor and have few employment opportunities. For this reason, since my government took over early last year we have concentrated substantial state efforts on development in that part of the country.

I would add that those Assyrians or Syrians who remain in Turkey regret very much that some of their friends and relatives make use of such an unfounded pretext in order to be able to find employment in some of the West European and Nordic countries.


To save time, I will read, in numerical order, Questions Nos. 8 and 9 from Mr Carvalhas:

“Mr Carvalhas,

Having been informed of statements to the effect that the Turkish Government is making use of the state of emergency in order to stifle the progressive press, such as the newspaper Urüq and the youth paper Progressive Youth, whilst extreme right-wing papers such as Hergün are allowed to circulate freely,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether he can provide any explanations on this point.

Mr Carvalhas

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey how a member country of the Council of Europe can justify the fact that it is the only country in Europe in which the Communist Party is illegal, and what is the principle behind the foundation for this anti-democratic situation.”

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Mr Carvalhas has asked whether the Turkish Government or the martial law authorities have not been suppressing the press or discriminating amongst them. It is true that action has been taken against some small newspapers, but it has been against only some illegally published periodicals or those publications provoking the people to militant or terrorist action. There are in Turkey extensive juridical sanctions against the misuse of administrative or even court decisions against newspapers, even when such decisions may have been taken under martial law.

The periodical mentioned in Mr Carvalhas’s question was prosecuted not because it undertook communist propaganda but because it published the statutes of an illegal party. Mr Carvalhas has indicated that Turkey is the only democratic country in Europe where a communist party is illegal and asks me whether I can justify this. To be frank, I cannot justify the illegal status of a communist party in any democratic country. I cannot justify it either personally or as a member of my party, the People’s Republican Party. I believe that in a democratic country ideologies or associations cannot be banned or limited, nor can ideas or expressions of ideas be banned or limited. Only certain actions can be restricted or prevented.

I admit that the point to which Mr Carvalhas has referred constitutes the only remaining shortcoming of our democracy. In fact, however, even this limitation does not exist because there are several parties in Turkey which would normally be categorised as communist parties. Both I and my party believe that it would be much healthier if everyone were given a chance to call himself what he is and to call his party what it really is rather than disguising the real name or purpose. This legal limitation is one of the last remnants of our past, and when my party attains a majority in parliament we shall put this right.


The Prime Minister has been kind enough to interrupt his statement because I think it would be most useful if we could now have supplementary questions. There were six main groups of questions and they have nearly all been answered. We are grateful to the Prime Minister for having taken them together. We now have at least half an hour for supplementary questions. I hope that members will be very brief in order that most of those who put questions have an opportunity to ask a supplementary question. I shall take them in the order in which they were tabled, and I call first Mr Coutsocheras. I am doing this because I would like to give the Prime Minister a rest in between and also give members the chance to ask supplementary questions.

Mr COUTSOCHERAS (Greece) (translation)

Prime Minister, your replies are not all satisfactory. You were Prime Minister at the time of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. On the pretext of countering a coup d’état organised by the Colonels to overthrow Makarios, your real intention was to put into operation the Attila plan, which led to the occupation of 40% of the territory of Cyprus. This is proved by the fact that the invasion has continued even after the fall of the Colonels’ dictatorship, even after the UN resolution demanding the withdrawal of your troops. Further proof is the fact that Turkey has not yet complied with the many resolutions of the UN or with the Final Act of Helsinki.

Thus, Prime Minister, the Turkish occupation army...

THE PRESIDENT (translation)

Mr Coutsocheras, you are allowed to put a brief supplementary question, not to make a speech.

Mr COUTSOCHERAS (Greece) (translation)

The Cyprus problem cannot be solved until the UN resolutions are put into effect. With regard to the Greek-Cypriot refugees, you gave no answer...

THE PRESIDENT (translation)

No, Mr Coutsocheras, I cannot allow you to continue, for several colleagues, from Greece and elsewhere, still wish to put questions.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I do not intend to challenge the views expressed by the distinguished member Mr Coutsocheras. I shall merely try to answer his question.

One of the basic elements in the various United Nations resolutions is that a negotiated settlement should be sought. If the Greek-Cypriot side co-operates in seeking a negotiated settlement, it may be possible to reach one and to fulfil other conditions.


The Prime Minister’s answers only confirm once more how much talent there is in Turkish propaganda. My arguments are confirmed by the fact that the United Nations resolutions have been totally ignored by the Prime Minister’s democratic country, which has shown a complete disregard for justice and morality.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

There is a propaganda element in that statement, and I do not know how to answer it.

Lady FLEMING (Greece)

The Prime Minister said that he was ready to co-operate in finding the missing Greek Cypriots who were transferred to Turkey. I would be able to help him. We have photographs and names which we could give the Prime Minister. The photographs appeared in Turkish newspapers, and among them were people who were young and healthy and who have not returned. What has happened to them? Turkish reporters took the photographs, and the people in those photographs have been recognised by their relatives. What is the fate of these people? It would have been better for them and their relatives if they had been killed. Did they try to escape, and were they shot? If so, what happened to their bodies? As regards the minorities, the Prime Minister forgot to mention any figures. There were 200 000 Greeks in Turkey in 1933; now there are 10 000 to 15 000. Equally, there were 100 000 Turks in Greece and now there are 120 000.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Thank you, Lady Fleming. I am afraid that your claims about missing persons in Turkey are completely unfounded. Such a thing could not be kept a secret in such an open society as Turkey. Such allegations have been proved incorrect by the reports of representative organisations. In any case, the problem of missing persons has been dealt with in a United Nations resolution, which has been agreed upon, and the Turkish administration has already said that it is ready to adhere to that.

Mr RENDIS (Greece)

I had hoped that Mr Ecevit would have given more constructive answers. His answers do not make me optimistic. I wish to put a supplementary question about persons living on the Turkish island of Imros. In 1965 Imros was declared an open prison and long-sentence prisoners were transferred there from inner Turkey. They were left free on the island, and as a result many of the island people fled in fear. Today there are fewer than a hundred people living on the island. I had hoped that the Prime Minister would say that he would try to transfer those heavy-sentence prisoners from Imros and thus enable the island people to live there peacefully.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Imros island is not an open prison, although there may be a prison there. I dwelt on this matter extensively at an earlier stage and I do not intend to take up any more time of the Assembly. I have tried to be constructive in repeating what I have said to the Greek authorities. We would welcome any Turkish citizens of Greek origin who wished to return to Turkey.


Mr President, I must first put on record that I do not agree with the procedure. Prime Minister Ecevit has delivered a monologue for one and a half hours...


This is normal procedure. The questions can be answered in groups or one at a time. Had the Prime Minister taken up all the time this morning and had there been no time for supplementary questions, your complaint would have been justified. But that is not the case.


The Prime Minister has raised enormous issues which need answering, and it is not possible to answer them in these few minutes.


The purpose of this meeting is not for you to answer the Prime Minister. He is here to answer your questions.


The Prime Minister has raised questions and made statements which do not coincide with reality. He has said that democracy exists in Turkey. I believe that it is doubtful whether Turkey has a democracy as we in Europe define that term. It is not possible to say that democracy exists under martial law. The Prime Minister said that martial law existed in only a few provinces, but two of those provinces contain the greater part of the population. They are the provinces which contain the cities of Constantinople and Ankara.


That is not a supplementary question. Will you ask a supplementary question on Question No. 5 which you tabled?


It is obvious that the Assembly is trying to evade the issue. The Prime Minister said that he took steps to solve the Greco-Turkish problem as soon as he took office. What are those steps? The main difficulty between Greece and Turkey at present is Cyprus, which has been discussed. Other differences include the continental shelf, airspace over the Aegean, and the minorities. I want to explain to the Assembly how outrageous it is...


We are not evading issues. We are following the procedure and do not intend to change it. This is not a debate. You have asked your supplementary question, and I ask the Prime Minister to answer it.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

The distinguished member said that a country could not be considered democratic if there was martial law there. However, if he will allow me to remind him, martial law is included in Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and member countries are requested to register the fact with the Council of Europe when they declare martial law – as we, in fact, did.

I should like briefly to answer the distinguished member’s question about what steps Turkey has taken in the way of easing solutions to our problems with Greece. He mentioned four areas of problems as the main issues between Turkey and Greece: first, the problem of Cyprus; secondly, the continental shelf; thirdly, the question of airspace; and fourthly, minorities.

I wish that this was the view of the Greek Government as well. Thus far, we have not been able to make the Greek Government agree that the question of Cyprus should be taken up between Turkey and Greece. The Greek Government in Athens seems to be interested only in what it refers to as the “bilateral” questions between Turkey and Greece, and it does not include Cyprus among those bilateral questions.

I also wish that we were able to take up in our discussions with the Greek Government the fourth item that the distinguished member mentioned, namely, minorities. When we tried to do so, the response of the Greek authorities was that they would not take up this issue until after the settlement of other disputes between the two countries.

I wonder, too, whether it would be exactly correct to call a country completely democratic when in its northern part, in Northern Thrace, a minority group is not even allowed to move freely.

Mr ROPER (United Kingdom)

I thank the Prime Minister for his full discussion of the problems of the Middle East in his initial remarks and for his answer to my question. May I ask him to say specifically what he feels the next step should be in the resolution of the remaining problems in the Middle East, following the signature of the Israeli-Egyptian treaty?

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Thank you, Mr Roper. I think that the next step should be what should have been the first one, namely, meeting the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Mr CARVALHAS (Portugal) (translation)

Prime Minister, thank you for replying to my questions but, if you will excuse me, I do not understand your replies. Take for example, the review Hergiin. You say that it is no longer in circulation because it published the statutes of a party. What party? Take, for example, the Communist Party. You say. “My party is in favour of the legalisation of the Communist Party”. Does this mean that the other parties in the coalition are against? Or does it mean that you do not think that you are strong enough to legalise this party?

How can we believe that a party which is strong enough to impose a state of siege and martial law is not strong enough to legalise a party?

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

Thank you, Mr Carvalhas. This is a very pertinent question. The other parties in the parliament at the moment are all opposed to the legalisation of a communist party. The government party does not have an absolute majority. We have been able to obtain an absolute majority only with the support of some Independents, many of whom do not agree with such a move. That is the only reason.

THE PRESIDENT (translation)

Mr Péridier, do you wish to ask a supplementary question?

Mr PÉRIDIER (France) (translation)

I should like to put a supplementary question, Mr President, but I should first like the Prime Minister to reply to my written question.


Then it would be better to ask the Prime Minister to be short and to answer together all the remaining questions, as printed in Document 4334, that he has not yet answered, that is, Questions Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31.

I like to give members of the Assembly time to ask supplementary questions, for the sake of equilibrium.

I call the Prime Minister.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I had not yet come to Mr Péridier’s question. I shall be glad to answer it.


Prime Minister, will you now answer briefly the questions that you have not yet answered? I emphasise “briefly” because I want members of the Assembly to have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions in the time that is still left.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I was trying to finish answering various questions that Mr Carvalhas asked. I shall answer another one briefly. He asked whether ex-United States intelligence equipment in Iran is to be transferred to Turkey and whether facilities were granted to Germany for military training in Turkey. My answer to both questions is “No”. The questions are obviously based upon reports which are not founded. The AWACS system to which Turkey has become a party is an exclusively defensive NATO arrangement and has nothing to do with Iran as was indicated in Mr Carvalhas’s question.

Mr Carvalhas also asked about the arrests on 1 May. I should like to say, to clarify the situation, that the 1 May demonstrations were not banned in Turkey. However, all public open air meetings and rallies were banned when martial law was declared in the provinces where martial law was in effect. Obviously, an exception could not be made for 1 May demonstrations. Those who challenged the martial law authority’s decision on that occasion knew that legal action would have to be taken against them. Forty- three 1 May rallies, large ones, were held in various parts of Turkey outside the martial law provinces. Some of those who were put under arrest for violating the martial law ban have been released already, and it is possible that soon many, or all, of the others will be released because their case has already been taken up by the martial law court of Istanbul. Neither the government nor the martial law commanders can intervene once court proceedings have started.

Another question by Mr Carvalhas was about whether a clearing agreement existed between Turkey and Libya. The answer is “No”. We have mutual trade accounts with several countries, but not on a clearing basis.

About his question on our discussions with the IMF, we believe, as I have already indicated, that international financial organisations should take into account the social conditions and problems of countries, which cannot be completely dissociated from economic problems. They should also take into consideration the differences in the levels of development. Our discussions with the IMF are still continuing, as I have indicated.

Mr Péridier asked what interest Turkey has in occupying part of an island which is devoid of petroleum, uranium or any mineral resources. It is true that vast mineral resources do not exist in Cyprus, but sufficient human suffering did exist, which compelled us to take action as a guarantor power. The Turkish troops are not stationed on the island for the purpose either of capturing territory or of exploiting the island’s resources.

I have answered the questions put by Mr Jessel, Mr Frangos and Mr Papaefstratiou. I have also answered some parts of Mrs Mercouri’s question. I turn now to the other parts of her question. She said that the coup d’état of 15 July 1974 was short-lived, and that is true. But I wonder whether it would have been short-lived had it not been for the Turkish action. I believe that had it not been for the Turkish action even the junta regime in Greece would not have been short-lived. It might have become entrenched both in Greece and in Cyprus.

Mrs Mercouri also asks whether the Turkish action in Cyprus befitted the morals of a socialist. I wonder whether the socialists of Greece or of the Greek community in Cyprus ever thought of treating the Turkish Cypriots equitably and with social justice before 1974.

It is general knowledge that army units from mainland Greece had been stationed in Cyprus for a long time before July 1974, contrary to all international agreements and to the constitution then in force. I understand that Mrs Mercouri does not like the idea of the continuing presence of Turkish troops on the island. We would be very willing to help to create the conditions whereby they could all return to Turkey – indeed, we have been reducing their number constantly. I hope she will agree that, after all that has happened on the island over the last two or three decades and earlier, we simply cannot leave the security of the Turks there to chance again.

I turn briefly now to questions by Mr Stoffelen. In order to help create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence between Turkey and Greece, we have made several attempts towards that end. Soon after my colleagues and I came to office in Turkey last year, I took the liberty of inviting Mr Karamanlis, the Greek Prime Minister, to discuss with me the problems of mutual concern to our two countries. He kindly accepted and we had a rather helpful meeting in March 1979 in Montreux. That meeting has been followed up at various levels.

There has, I believe, been slow but promising progress in the right direction in the course of all those discussions. I am glad to say that both the distinguished statesman Mr Karamanlis and I have been showing every care to refrain from straining the psychological atmosphere in our two countries. I believe that the atmosphere between Turkey and Greece is perceivably better than it was at the end of 1977. More recently, we have both given encouragement to our journalists to come together and exchange visits and ideas, with the help of the International Press Institute, with a view to improving further the psychological climate between the two countries. Both Mr Karamanlis and I agree that it is essential to establish a psychological atmosphere that is conducive to fruitful negotiations.

I believe that there is no basic conflict of interests between Turkey and Greece. On the contrary, I am convinced that both countries have every interest in friendly relations and co-operation, so we should exert every effort to clear the psychological atmosphere and clear the way to a negotiated settlement of our problems. I think that it is fair to say that difficulties and delays in the way of a solution have not been coming from Turkey, particularly since my government took office.

I have been asked about the refugee problem in Cyprus by Mr Stoffelen, Mr Coutsocheras and Mr Venizelos. It is well known that many Greek Cypriots moved to the south under an agreement reached between Mr Denktash and Mr Clerides during their third Vienna talks in July and August 1975. Also in compliance with that agreement, 65 000 Turkish Cypriots came north, all of their own free will, leaving their homesteads in the south.

The refugee problem is related to the solution of the Cyprus problem as a whole. Meanwhile, it should not be forgotten that, in addition to the 65 000 Turkish Cypriots I have mentioned, tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots were forced to become refugees or to migrate during the years between 1963 and 1974. In this matter, any just solution that will be found for the Cyprus problem should be one that will enable both communities not to suffer again the tragedies that they lived through before summer 1974, and the relevant provisions of the Denktash-Makarios agreement of 12 April 1977 should constitute an added basis for a solution of this aspect of the problem.

More recently, in a statement made on 20 July last year, Mr Denktash went further and expressed his administration’s willingness to consider a resettlement of the Varosha district of Famagusta by Cypriots of Greek origin soon after intercommunal negotiations start. That would ensure a solution to the resettlement problem of large numbers of Greek refugees because of the extensive economic possibilities of that district.

I should like to end the questions on this topic and others relating to Cyprus by saying that the questions and answers have shown how essential it is to resume intercommunal negotiations between the Turkish and Greek communities in Cyprus in trying to find answers and solutions to the questions and problems raised at this meeting.

I think that these problems should be taken up primarily at the proper place – namely, the intercommunal negotiations which have, unfortunately, been delayed for years because of Greek-Cypriot intransigence.

Mr Stoffelen has kindly asked constructive questions about our expectations from the European Economic Community and OECD. I thank him for his concern, but because I dwelt upon these points in my opening talk I shall not take more time of the Assembly on them now.

Mr van Waterschoot has kindly expressed concern about conditions in Turkey and the prospects that Turkish democracy would face if the expected external aid were not to be forthcoming. He asks what would be my expectations. I have already expressed my expectations in a rather understated approach, so I shall not take up your time any more, but I thank him all the same for his concern about the fate of democracy in Turkey.

Mr van Waterschoot also asks whether we might expect to enlarge the basis of our government in parliament. One never knows, but I would like to remind him that nearly all governments in the democratic countries of Europe are based on small or shaky majorities these days and that some do not even enjoy a majority at all. At present we have no government problems in Turkey, although we have difficulties in passing legislation in parliament because as a party we do not have an absolute majority, although as a government we enjoy the support of the majority.

Mr Lewis has asked some questions about the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul. I have already referred to this question in my talk and in my answer to certain questions. I am sure that his concern on this matter has been aroused by the negative propaganda that has been made on this issue in certain quarters. In Turkey, there is complete equality of religious rights, and the practice as regards the Orthodox Patriarchate fully conforms to the provisions of our constitution and laws. Furthermore, since my government took over, as I stated, we have established a permanent dialogue not only with the representatives of the Greek community but with the Orthodox Patriarchate as well, and we have been trying to find immediate solutions to any problem that they may happen to bring before the government. I am sure that the claims referred to originate not from the Greek minority in Turkey but largely from certain circles in the United States, where they always have to provide fuel to keep the Greek lobby against Turkey lively.

I have already answered the question by Mr Venizelos while answering other questions.

I think that I have already answered Mr Bardens’s very constructive questions about the prospects for better relations between Turkey and Greece. He kindly referred to a poem that I wrote in my younger days expressing my hopes for the time when we could recreate an Aegean civilisation between the Turkish and Greek peoples. I was reprimanded in parliament in early 1974, before the Cyprus action, for having written that poem in my younger years, in the years before I became involved in politics. I went to the rostrum in parliament and said:

“That was a poem I wrote when I was a young man not in politics, but I would sign it even now.”

Whenever a Turk and a Greek meet, they cannot help warming to each other. I think that we should all try to do our best to attain that kind of atmosphere when they meet nation to nation.

Mr Gessner asked a practical and relevant question about the difficulties that Turkey has been facing over the payment of certain foreign debts which Turkish firms have incurred. It is a real problem, and we have already taken it up. There have been some rescheduling efforts for our debts, and recently we have convinced our friends to take up the problem of rescheduling the so-called non-state guaranteed commercial debts. We are hopeful that an agreement will be reached on this problem.

Mr Schulte asked about Greece’s reintegration into the military structure of NATO. Let me state emphatically that we do not oppose Greece’s return to the military structure of NATO at all. On the contrary, we think that it would be nonsense to talk of a continued South-Eastern wing of NATO if either one of the wing countries – Turkey or Greece – was not incorporated in the military structure of NATO. We believe that it is in the interests not only of the two countries but of NATO that Greece should return. The problem stems from the fact that Greece, while returning to the military structure of NATO, wanted the organisation to approve its claims regarding certain military command and control arrangements in the Aegean, although such an arrangement had never been formalised by NATO and had never been recognised in Turkey. This is primarily a NATO issue.

It is against that background that we approach the issue, and we have shown great flexibility. Talks between General Haig, the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe, and the parties concerned are going on, and it is my sincere belief that we may soon be able to reach a solution. I should like to take this opportunity to say that Turkey has done all that it can, particularly during recent weeks, to ease a way for Greece’s return to the military structure of NATO.

Mrs Gradin’s questions have already been answered while I was answering other questions.

Sir Frederic Bennett asked certain pertinent questions about whether I have any new proposals to improve national or regional security and stability in our part of the world. As I have already dwelt extensively on this matter in my opening talk, I shall not take up much of your time. I summarise the matter by saying that, in order to improve the situation in the Middle East, outside involvement should be reduced, the integrity of the regional countries should not be disrupted through outside influences, and these countries should seek solutions to their own national or regional problems with due regard to world problems in general and with a sense of responsibility towards the whole world. I believe that the development problems of many of the regional countries are rather intermixed with the motives behind some of their external policies. This is a matter of real concern.

Most of the oil-producing countries are concerned about the time when their natural oil resources will run out, and they recognise the necessity to speed up their development efforts in order to ensure a stable and better future for their peoples.

On the other hand, some of them face certain problems during the process of development, because in some countries steps in the way of economic development may create immense social and political problems. Some countries, such as Turkey, may be in a position to face them, but for some it may not be so easy.

I am afraid that there are no short-cut solutions to as complicated a situation as exists in the Middle East, and, as I said earlier, I believe that the Palestinian question should be given priority to ease the solution of all the other problems in the area.

I thank Mr Valleix for his concern for Turkey’s problems from a democratic angle. In my opening statement I dwelt upon these problems from the angle of our common concern for democracy. We all need greater solidarity to preserve our democracies, not only by expressing our attachment to democracy but by helping each other when there is need in order to help make democracy viable in some member countries in spite of the grave economic difficulties.

I should like to add on this occasion that the role, functions and importance of the Council of Europe should not diminish as the importance of the European Economic Community increases, particularly with the transition to an elected European Parliament, because I believe that the various European organisations do not contradict or duplicate each other. They have different orientations and functions. For instance, one can say that NATO is a security- oriented organisation and that the European Economic Community is an economy-oriented institution, whereas the Council of Europe is a value-oriented organisation. If we want to preserve the democratic values that we so much cherish, we should give added importance and added weight to the Council of Europe after the transition to an elected European Parliament within the framework of the Community.

I think that I have answered most of the questions by Mr Delehedde. He asks whether I am satisfied with the system of our association with the European Economic Community. Frankly, my answer would be “No”. Our relationship with the Community, particularly in recent years, and in particular in recent months, has been rather discouraging, although there are some small signs – I always try to be optimistic – that there may be some improvement in the future.

I think that Turkey has been very unfairly treated, for instance in the area of agricultural concessions. In fact, some of the concessions given to some non-associate countries of the Mediterranean are far greater than the concessions granted to Turkey. Theoretically, there ought to be no obstacles to exports of industrial items from Turkey to the other European Economic Community countries, but whenever we happen to find an opportunity to export some industrial products in sizeable amounts to a member country, one or other obstacle is immediately set before us.

Although it is our written right to benefit from the possibility of freedom of movement for our workers, this right is not in effect granted to Turkey, and I am afraid that some of the important social rights of our workers in European countries, such as their right to transfer their old-age premiums to Turkey in case, because of unemployment, they want to return to Turkey before the age of retirement prevalent in the countries where they work, have been prevented. The reduction in children’s allowances for children left in the home country resulted in the emigration of almost all the children to the industrialised countries, creating immense cultural, educational and social problems, and these also have not thus far found any solutions during our discussions with the member countries of the Community.

Mr Page asks what is the present unemployment position in Turkey and whether the reduction of those employed in agriculture is balanced by those engaged in new industrial projects. No. I am afraid that agriculture in Turkey was unduly neglected for many years so that people, as I said in my opening talk, had to migrate in great numbers to certain urban centres, and yet sufficient industries were not built in those urban centres to absorb all the migrating workers, and so we face this huge unemployment problem.

In order to remedy the situation, my government has been concentrating on rural and agricultural development. We believe that a country at the stage of development need not and should not make a choice between more modernised agriculture and greater pace of industrialisation. On the contrary, a more productive agricultural sector could, I believe, be a greater spur for industrialisation, and for that purpose last year we started establishing rural growth centres in village groups, which we hope will not only give the peasants the possibility of joining their resources and forces for more productive agriculture but will enable them to proceed to the stage of agri-industries or other industries.

Mr Warren asks what my assessment is of the Soviet bloc threat to Turkey following the termination of the CENTO defence alliance. I must say in reply that CENTO did not really have any military or defensive effectiveness, and so its disappearance did not change the situation considerably. Threats to Turkey cannot be dissociated from the world situation in general because of Turkey’s critically important geopolitical position. Therefore, we attach great importance to détente and rapprochement between the East and the West and we have been doing our best to help create a better atmosphere of mutual confidence between the East and the West.

Are there more questions, Mr President?


No. Thank you, Prime Minister, for answering these questions very well. We have little time left, because of social reasons. We have to be careful of the interpreters, who have been working very hard and very long.

Anyhow, I have Mr Péridier and Mrs Mercouri on my list. Mr Péridier, would you like to ask a supplementary question?

Mr PÉRIDIER (France) (translation)

I consider that the Prime Minister has not replied to my questions, since he forgot to answer the second one which was as important as the first.

The explanation which you gave might have been satisfactory just after the occupation of Cyprus, but not five years later, when the EOKA no longer exists, when the policy of Enosis has been abandoned by Greece and when Mgr Makarios is dead. It would therefore have been far more interesting if you had said how much the occupation of Cyprus costs Turkey. This was very important for you. We are quite happy that the European Economic Community should help you, but help you to improve the situation of Turkish workers and not to pay the soldiers who are occupying an island, an occupation which only adds to the economic and social difficulties of Turkey.

But I should have been particularly glad, Prime Minister, if you had replied to my second very important question, which deals with the meeting that President Kyprianou has agreed to hold with Mr Denktash. I asked you to tell me whether Turkey thought that this meeting could lead to a result in conformity with the resolution adopted by the United Nations, a resolution which, I venture to remind you, was voted by all the countries represented in the Council of Europe.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

The Turkish forces in Cyprus do not constitute any visible burden on our economy. They would have been maintained in any case, in view of the fact that Turkey has to maintain a large army in such a geopolitically critical part of the world and there is no great distance between Turkey and Cyprus. Mr Péridier should not, therefore, worry too much about this. I agree with him that there would have been no need to go on keeping those Turkish forces in Cyprus, even in greatly reduced numbers, if it had been possible for any agreement between the two communities to be reached during the course of the last five years. Unfortunately, in this respect the Greek-Cypriot administration has not been very co-operative, to say the least, and they seem to think that as long as they can rely on outside support against Turkey they can take it easy and not rush into a negotiated solution which would conflict with their often declared long-term objective. As an optimist, I hope that the forthcoming talks between Mr Kyprianou and Mr Denktash will yield positive results.


I am extremely sorry that I now have to come to the last supplementary question due to the time limit we have set for ourselves. Committee meetings start at two o’clock and the interpreters must have a rest period, which is already too short.

I now call Mrs Merkouri.

Mrs MERKOURI (Greece) (translation)

You have the art, Prime Minister, of replying to questions which are put to you by subtle subterfuges which do not deal with the substance of the problems, but give an impression of ambiguity in your decisions and incoherence in your attitudes in regard to your declarations of general policy and those of your government.

Moreover, I would ask you, Prime Minister, how you, a democrat and a socialist, can reconcile the noble aims which Europe is pursuing in electing its Parliament with the military occupation going on in Cyprus and how you can hope to have the support of any democratic European organisation. I would add that the application of martial law is permitted as a temporary measure and not eternally.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I agree with Mrs Merkouri that martial law should not be declared either permanently or for long periods in any country, and I expressed the hope in my opening remarks that we may soon reach a position where we shall feel inclined and able, without any risks, to end the martial law which was declared at the end of last year.


Mrs Merkouri said she was speaking about the occupation of Cyprus.

Mrs MERKOURI (Greece) (translation)

How much longer is the occupation of Cyprus to last?

Greece is doing all it can to achieve a reconciliation with Turkey. But how much longer is the occupation of Cyprus to go on? How much longer will there be people who disappear? We have an enormous list of people who have disappeared, a list supplied by the Red Cross which we could read out.

Mr Ecevit, Prime Minister of Turkey

I was intending to come to that part of your question. If there had been a chance of taking up all the questions and problems that you and your distinguished friends from Greece have put forward during the course of this meeting on their proper platform – that is, intercommunal talks in Cyprus – we might long ago have reached the stage where we would willingly withdraw all our troops from the island. If it were our intention to occupy or to invade Cyprus, we have had plenty of opportunities to act differently from the way in which we have acted since the summer of 1974.


Prime Minister, may I express my gratitude to you.


Mr President...


No, I have already referred to the fact that it is getting very late and that the interpreters need a rest before the committee meetings start. I am very sorry that not all those who asked questions of the Prime Minister were able to put a supplementary question, but I think that those who put the most critical questions have had this opportunity. They have had it only once, but it is not the purpose of this meeting to have a full debate with the Prime Minister, only to ask questions.

I want to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister and I know that I speak on behalf of all of you when I thank him for having answered at such great length all the questions put to him. Not everyone will be quite happy with your answers, Prime Minister – I must say that to be fair – but we are very happy that you answered them in such an extensive way. I must thank you also for your excellent statement and for your presence here. I hope that the rest of your stay in Strasbourg will be a successful one.