Deal for Cyprus not possible: Archbishop
YUSUF KANLI NICOSIA
A resolution for Cyprus appear not to be possible due to the ‘grandiose expectations’ of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, says Archbishop Chrysostomos.
The key demands of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are almost impossible to unite, a very influential Greek Cypriot said, adding that he did not believe a resolution to the almost half-century-old Cyprus problem would be possible soon. Still he said no one should expect a divorce of the two communities on the island either.
Talking with the Hürriyet Daily News in a rare interview with the Turkish media, Archbishop Chrysostomos said Turkish Cypriots and Turkey were after the creation of a bizonal and bicommunal Cyprus federation which in fact would be a confederation where 82 percent of the population (Greek Cypriots and Christian minorities) would be held hostage by the 18 percent (Turkish Cypriots). He said that was simply not possible.
Greek Cypriots on the other hand, he said, wanted a resolution based on fundamental individual rights and liberties; a federation not held hostage by communal demands and one that had a strong central government. He said that unless all settlers and the Turkish military were withdrawn from the island and the 1960 guarantees system providing Turkey, Greece and Britain guarantor status with unilateral rights to intervene on the island was terminated there could be no viable Cyprus settlement.
He said that even if somehow a Cyprus accord was signed with such fundamental issues missing in it and even if Turkish Cypriots accepted in their entirety all the other demands of Greek Cypriots, as long as mainland settlers and Turkish troops stayed on the island there just cannot be a settlement. He further stated that Greek Cypriot expectations to see a Cyprus resolution appeared not to be possible because of the “grandiose expectations” of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.
The archbishop said minority rights were important, referring to Turkey’s Kurdish problem. “In Cyprus we want a unitary state. We want everybody be equal in this state. But the Turks don’t want that. Though they are 18 percent of the state and we offer them 25 percent participation in state, they don’t want it.”
He said such a resolution to the Cyprus problem would not be possible because of the “Grand Turkey idea” of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He said in his “Grand Turkey idea” Erdoğan considered Greek Cypriots a burden or an impediment to that idea.
Asked whether the time had come for a divorce of Turkish and Greek Cypriots and for them to take independent, separate roads and seek “unity” under the EU roof, the archbishop said, “There can be no divorce, no two states on the island.” He said Cyprus was a member of the EU and any settlement would just be a continuation of the current EU member state, the Cyprus Republic. “I say it in all sincerity, there can be no two-state settlement. Perhaps we may have a federation, but definitely not a confederation… But, the Turks don’t want this either.”
The archbishop did not specify a solution, but it was apparent he wanted the continuation of the status quo until Turkish Cypriots give up and integrate into the all-Greek Cypriot Cyprus Republic with some minority rights but full “individual rights.”
Accusing former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktaş of being a “representative of Turkey” whose aim was to establish his own state, the archbishop said, “Denktaş succeeded in creating that fake state, but it is fake and no one recognizes it.” He said he very much wanted Denktaş to have lived longer and have seen a settlement reached on the Cyprus problem.
Chrysostomos said it was Erdoğan’s “grand dream” to have a Turkish population exceeding 100 million in 2023, the centennial of the Turkish republic. Though he did not explain what the correlation was, he said that was the reason Erdoğan did not want a settlement on Cyprus. “Erdoğan is preparing to mark the centennial of the occupation of Smyrna [the centennial of the Greek defeat at İzmir that terminated the Greek occupation of Anatolia] with grandiose celebrations.”
“He believes by then Turkey will be among the top 10 advanced economies in the world. In his Grand Turkey dream he [Erdoğan] simply does not take the Republic of Cyprus into consideration. Adding to that, Erdoğan does not even consider the European Union.”
Praising Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan for steering Turkey into the G-20 group over the past 10 years through successful economic policies that have totally transformed Turkey, the archbishop said he considered Erdoğan a very charismatic and successful leader. Chrysostomos said as a man of religion he condemned the attacks and insolence against the prophet of Islam.