YUSUF KANLI > Is a Cyprus settlement discernible?

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Luncheons and dinners were thrown, toasts were exchanged, leaders and their representatives held many hours of long deliberations regarding every minute detail. In the latest search for a Cyprus settlement, the time has come for the fifth summit of the United Nations secretary-general with the two Cypriot communal leaders.

Even though it might require the optimism of the ignorant to expect a quick fix on the island, no one can ignore the ground covered in these talks during which, for the first time in the almost half-century history of the Cyprus problem, the two sides have put their viewpoints and demands on paper – pertaining to every aspect of the Cyprus problem – and recorded their convergences. 

Yet, can we say after following almost a half-century of deliberations that left no stone unturned on the island and, most recently, almost four-year intense direct talks for a “settlement for Cypriots by Cypriots,” that a resolution to the Cyprus quagmire has become discernible?

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay was together at breakfast with diplomacy reporters. As he is currently also the minister in charge of Cyprus, I asked him, “Are you optimistic about the success of the process?” Atalay said he wanted to be optimistic and still believed a surprise might emerge from the scheduled Jan. 22 to 24 trilateral Greentree, New York, summit between the two communal leaders and the U.N. secretary-general.

What surprise? A decision to carry the direct talks process to a higher-level international meeting or conference, very much like the Burgenstock stage of the failed Annan Plan process of 2004. That is, a meeting drawing the active participation of Turkey and Greece – and if it wants a third guarantor country, Britain as well – with the EU and some other countries making contributions while sitting in the back as observers.

 To do what? To sort out the remaining differences of the sides, particularly on property, territory, refugees (or settlers), the last touches to the power-sharing scheme and, naturally, the guarantee system.

Does Turkey think a settlement is within reach? Why not? But irrespective of the outcome, Turkey will continue standing firm politically and economically supporting the Turkish Cypriot people and consolidate the Turkish Cypriot state, which reached a per capita income of $15,000 in 2010 and around a 4.5 percent growth rate last year.

In a letter sent to the two leaders last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded the two sides in a rather pessimistic tone that only a few days were left until the Greentree summit between Jan. 22 and 24 which he has declared an “end-game” to the current process. For the success of the upcoming summit, Ban asked the leaders to utilize well the remaining few days and increase their convergences on the “domestic aspects” of the problem so that they can come to New York prepared to carry the process to a higher, Burgenstock-style level.

The Greek Cypriot side? Still talking with a triple tongue, Demetris Christofias is saying, “Naturally, we will come” during the talks, “What’s the point of going there?” to the Turkish media and “I say we should go if we are going to obtain a result” to the Greek Cypriot media.

You answer, is Cyprus close to a deal?


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Notice on comments

alexandros daLezios

1/12/2012 12:08:02 PM

@Murat: The Annan Plan was exactly what its name was. The only UN backed plan was Gali set of ideas which have been rejected by the TC side. Greeks rejected the 5th revision of the Annan Plan, I'm wondering who was rejecting the first 4?

Chris Green

1/12/2012 11:03:29 AM

My Panayiotou, the compensation issue you mention is a valid point: It is indeed time that the Greek Orthodox church paid for their crimes against Turkish Cypriots! Optimism for permanent Taksim is also very strong!

Another View

1/12/2012 3:12:30 AM

The agreed principles for negotiations are single nationality, Cypriot, two communities with local governments, Greek and Turkish in accordance with UN resolutions The Turkish side backed off those principles. Now they blame the Greeks?

Peter Panayiotou

1/12/2012 12:10:53 AM

With the gas wealth coming and probably a lot more to find as exploration continues we now have the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle (how to fund compensation). So a solution is now much closer. I am optimistic.


1/11/2012 7:34:49 PM

Mr. Kanli is able to write whatever he purports to be facts, as he is unimpeded by a virtually mysterious limit of 250 characters. An unfair advantage indeed to all who wish to challenge his antiquated and biased Turkish sentiments. Regards

Harman Hani

1/11/2012 5:51:49 PM

For Greek-Cyprus, there is much more to win without a deal, otherwise they would have voted yes in 2004. They see it as a bazaar trade. And the EU will cover for them anyway. Hungary proofs that minorities are unprotected, Turkish Cypriots be aware.


1/11/2012 2:39:25 PM

There was a UN plan! Soundly rejected by Greeks. It is over. 74 solution stands and Greeks seem to be perfectly ok with it. TRNC is here to stay, can we put an end to this charade?

Bawer Mend

1/11/2012 2:15:39 PM

The Kurdish citizens of Turkey must be looking at the rights, freedoms and political status enjoyed by a handful of Turkish Cypriots with envy! Is there a real reason why millions of Kurds are deprived of these rights, freedoms and status?

Chris Green

1/11/2012 12:06:28 PM

The Greek stand point is a 100% claim on the entire island; any ground they therefore concede, to them, is ground lost which is why, just as with Clerides/Denktas, Christofias will ultimately not agree anything! The only hope for these talks is none!

alexandros daLezios

1/11/2012 10:47:51 AM

The settlement can be reached if all sides apply UN resolutions and respect international law and the Geneva principles on war.
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