A third path for Cyprus

Even though there seems to be a softening in the internal politics of the Greeks, the idea of Cyprus joining with Greece is still alive.

A third path for Cyprus

Sinan Ozdemir - Brussels

 The Cyprus talks which had started 18 months ago with much hope, came to a stand still in the Mont Pelerin town of Switzerland last week.  Even though the sides are of the belief that this is not the end and the meetings will continue from the point that it was left at, the meetings which have been continuing since the days of the cold war have given the feeling of 'deja vu' every time.  The Cypriot Greek side are trying to avoid any responsibility by putting all the blame on the Turkish side.  When you look at the explanations of the Greek - Cypriot Greek side the talks which include five sides seem to come to a halt when the topic of guarantees that needs to be discussed comes on the agenda.

Athens regards this topic as the red line.  Even though the statement made on the weekend by the Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias shows signs of mellowing, the temporary guarantee which he recommended is another sign of cunningness.  Even though there is no possible recurrence in international relations, to think of a stable peace without the guarantees and to abolish political equalness, will open the door to a process similar to the one that ended the Republic of Cyprus during 1960 – 1963.

 In this perspective, Turkey and the Cypriot Turks are looking for a solution which is based on equality, freedom (residential, property, transport...) and security.  Based on the United Nations good will mission, the negotiations which have been continuing since 1968 with some breaks, is aiming to achieve a partnership with two states on an equal status, where political equality and two sidedness is considered.  In this perspective a Federation model was agreed upon.  There was other times when the Federation model was discussed.  The most far fetched amongst these was the Bosnian model presented by Richard Holbrooke who is known as the 'architect of Bosnian peace'.  Holbrooke's model which has been applied in Bosnia and partially in Kosovo is now accepted by everybody as not a permanent solution.  The project was put on the shelf due to the reaction of the sides.  At one stage, apart from the Bosnia model there was mention of a Belgium model.  Even though it was feasible for two sidedness, it was discarded because it was unable to provide political equality.  The Annan Plan, offered a different model both with its positive and negative sides.  However, as it was rejected in a referendum by the Cypriot Greek side in 2004 (76 percent), it was not applied.

 Now the sides are trying to set the foundations for a prospective Republic of Cyprus, starting from the beginning with the talks that had started 18 months ago.  The negotiations have been conducted within six topics: administration and the sharing of power, property, land, EU, economy and guarantees.  The last meeting was to have included the topics of administration and power, land and property.  The fact that the Cypriot Greeks had opened as the first topic land which was to be considered together with security and guarantees by the five sided conference, before making any progress on property, administration and power sharing, was evaluated as cunningness. While the Turkish side had left the topic of land for last discussions aiming to have the upper hand in the negotiations, the fact that the Cypriot Greeks had wanted to finalize the issue of maps before the discussions on property and administration was finalized resulted in a negative reaction.  When the demands of the Cypriot Greek side were not met, who had based their whole strategy on land and guarantees, this time once again they pulled out of the game.

 The guarantees, are to be negotiated when the sides sit around the table again at a future date to be agreed upon, in a conference which will include Turkey, Greece and England.  The statements made by the Cypriot Greeks that insists that there is no need for gaurenties for the new Cyprus that is to be formed and the 'Turkish army should pull out' shows signs that they are continuing with their previous attitude.  Athens sees the subject as a red line.  Even though the statement made by the Greek Foreign Affairs minister Nikos Kotzias on the weekend shows signs of mellowing, his proposal of a temporary guarantee system is another sign of cunningness.  Kotzias has expressed that just as in the case of Germany, when the Berlin wall was knocked down as the two sides of Germany were unified the Russian soldiers in the East had retreated after four years, which is a suitable scenario for Cyprus he claims.  However, what has been missed out is that the two sides which had re united were of the same culture.  It is a fact that the oppression faced by the Turks during the independence process and afterwards, were not met by the Germans before the two sides of Germany were united and after they were united.  It is been neglected that the guarantees are so that there is no return to the violence prior to 1974, not related in any way to economics but rather related to fear and hatred.

While the internal politics of the Cypriot Greeks shows signs of mellowing, the idea of Cyprus uniting with Greece (enosis) is still very much alive.  While the Cypriot Greeks have said on one side that Cyprus is not the same Cyprus of 1960, the reason there is no change in their reflexes shows intentions, even if only symbolically, that they still have the idea of 'enosis' on their minds.  The Greeks are keeping alive their idea of 'Megali İdea' with Cyprus (while it has no relation) after they thought that it had ended when they were defeated during our War of Independence.  In this perspective it does not seem possible that they will give up on their idea of enosis.  The role the church plays to keep this idea alive can not be denied.  Recently in an interview given to a media organization named 'Ethniko Kirika' in New York, the archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church Hrisostomos the 2nd. has explained the Mont Pelerin meetings with the following sentences:  'I had requested on every occasion to President Anastasiadis to be more demanding because the theory of the Turks will not go past the people (approval).  I told him that if you give approval to the wishes of Ankara - because what is on his hand is not Raider it is Ankara - these will not go past the people.  As the church because we have given you full support, we want you to be demanding on the highest level so that we can have a state which is functional.'

 

On the Turkish side history is an important reference.  Serdar Denktas's evaluation of the Mont Pelerin meetings 'the games played in Crete want to be played in Cyprus' can be shown as an example.  Even though Crete does not have the same effect subconsciously on a social level as it had on the Turkish side and Turkey 60 years ago, from the point of view of the meaning which it entails, it shows signs of a drama.  People are not unchangeable, however from a political point of view it is difficult to think that the idea that Cyprus will be joined with Greece just as Crete was joined to Greece will change.  The war games (Nikiforos) which is considered to be a symbol of 'enosis', that have been continuing for the past twenty years between Greece and Greek Cyprus, which has been canceled this year is seen as a sign of good will.  However, these signs of good will were not continued at Mont Pelerin. Not continued; because as much as they are open to games of diplomacy, they take a lot of care to show no deviation for their attitude and/or claims.

 When you consider the history of the Cyprus negotiations, it can be said that after it has gone through two and a half periods it has come to where it is today.  A world with two poles, the world with no poles that we are going through now and the globalization period.  Things were more simpler during the Cold War years.  The fact that Turkey and Greece were members of the Western block made things easier.  The Soviet Union was an actor as a balance element which brought the sides together from time to time and apart.  From the point of view of America, while the existence of British and Turkish soldiers in Cyprus strengthened the balance of NATO in the East Mediterranean, it was also a relief that the island was inside the Western block.

 While the big nations who are within the international system are concentrating on their hinterlands, we are witnessing secret diplomacy between the big powers and the little powers, just as in the 19th century, in a manner which is suitable to the balance of power in the World without Poles whose problems were not paid any interest to.  An example that can be shown is the fact that EU made Cyprus a member and later on wanted to take part in the negotiations.  Because of the fact that Cyprus was put forward as a prior condition to Turkey's negotiations with the EU and turned into a form of blackmail, while it drove the Greek Cyprus side further away from a solution, it has enslaved thousands of Turks who are living their lives under difficult conditions due to the embargoes in place.

 It was believed that economics built bridges in the period of globalization.  New technologies and communication networks that encompassed the world, made it easier to obtain knowledge of the public opinion of near and distant sides.  Liberal approaches were more prior to realist approaches.  Evaluations from centers of power were put aside to make way for the needs of societies hopes and dreams to be included in analysis.  The concept of sovereignty was mellowed down. Even today, the thought that the crude oil which is extracted from the Mediterranean Sea can act as a catalyst for peace is not far fetched for some people.  At a time when Greek Cyprus was thought to be closest to 'peace', they were against sharing (76 percent) and rejected the Annan Plan.  Amongst the societies which were to be transformed because of Globalization, while the Turks had transformed ( 65 percent was a yes vote), to see that the Cypriot Greeks had not changed much was heart breaking for the side that wanted peace.  Hence together with a new round of negotiations there was a return to the starting point.

 From this perspective, the exclusion of the enosis and taksim ideas from the London and Zürich agreements has consolidated the status quo.  In the last rounds, Mustafa Akinci, was the third President to experience the negotiation process (Mehmet Ali Talat and Dervis Eroglu) after the Annan Plan was rejected.  Even though it is not possible to consider an action similar to when Russia annexed Crimea, in an environment that moves further away from a desire to live together, there should be new discussions which consider a transition from a federation to a confederation.  It should be conveyed to those who are in a position of responsibility in the next 'meeting rounds', that the Turks who have been enslaved for over forty years have no time left to be lost!

Last Mod: 04 Aralık 2016, 14:19
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