Looking at the eastern Mediterranean via Cyprus and Iraq

Looking at the eastern Mediterranean via Cyprus and Iraq

Two hot developments happened simultaneously concerning the eastern Mediterranean. One is from Cyprus, the other from Iraq. 

Don’t consider that what happens in Iraq is far away from the eastern Mediterranean… Syrian ports, the Persian Gulf and indeed Turkey’s Mediterranean shores are on the same “strategic fault line.” 

After viewing the region this way, then one can see that the blood coming from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) massacres in Fallujah and the blood from Syria’s clashes pour into the Mediterranean in the end. 

Let’s go respectively. 

The other day, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades made a first on the island. They strolled together down the Turkish and Greek markets in Nicosia. More importantly, the two leaders walking on the streets talked to both peoples. Peace slogans were chanted.   

Indeed, this was a long-awaited scene. And maybe it is the sign of preparation. Maybe, in the near future, the EU will play an active role for the Turkish and Greek sections to integrate in a federative structure. 

As a matter of fact, the first signal came from Anastasiades. The Greek leader told a German journalist: “The two communities have been tied to the joint administration vision. If Turkey wants a solution, then she should heed the words of the Turkish Cypriots.”

And immediately after, this sentence came: “Cyprus no longer needs guarantor countries. An EU delegation can in principle make research. Also, all the EU principles apply to all Cypriots. For this reason, the EU would provide the utmost security.”

These words bring to mind the possibility of the EU replacing the guarantor countries for the solution of the Cyprus problem. 

The message is that Akıncı and Anastasiades have a joint intention.  

Because of the dust raised by the general elections, these developments are not visible in Turkey yet, but they are significant signs of a new era in the eastern Mediterranean. 

It is obvious that Turkey is going through tough diplomacy talks with the EU each time on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In terms of Turkey’s EU membership and its strategic interests in the eastern Mediterranean, the EU taking initiative for a solution, especially debating Turkey’s guarantor status, will completely change these equilibriums.   

Following the two leaders’ stroll together, my attention was drawn to the street interviews which were broadcast. Actually, I have always believed, “When people talk, peace rises; when people are silent, then power-adjusted dimensionless interests and weapons talk.” As a person who believes in the self-determining rights of people, I should ask this question: Well, can the innocence of peace be questioned? 

The answer to this question is in parallel with the cost of the peace to the sides. In other words, as a consequence of peace, do the sides have equal gains? This should be looked into. Otherwise, “a peace theater” which has become a toy of imperialism and strategic power equilibriums cannot be the fate of the people. 

In the coming era, we may hear more frequently the peace demands of the people from the Turkish and Greek sides. There may be a referendum on the entire island, or maybe a couple of referenda; First, on a joint federative structure, then on EU membership.

The other day, the Iraqi army launched a counterattack against ISIL in order to inflict a blow aiming to reach Baghdad. ISIL, on the other hand, is proceeding to the east of Ramadi, trying to create a corridor along the Euphrates. Fallujah is only 60 kilometers west of Baghdad. ISIL’s aim is to reach Baghdad from Fallujah. If the Iraqi army is not able to succeed in stopping them, then NATO will need to deal with a new region: The ISIL region…

If we add this to the advancement of ISIL in Syria, then a more comprehensive NATO intervention may be in question. For this reason, the eastern Mediterranean will warm. And if the eastern Mediterranean warms like this, then its heat will certainly hit Turkey. 

We already feel this burden throughout our 900-kilometer-long border with Syria.