Ambush in Cyprus

Ambush in Cyprus

Indications are that at the scheduled Feb. 26 “social gathering” the presidents of the two sides on Cyprus might start an initiative which might carry them to a new Cyprus process. The majority of Turkish Cypriots, most political parties, more than two-thirds of parliament and Turkey are against engaging in a futile federation talk with the Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı is saying he could discuss nothing but federation.

Can Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart resume talks in April or May? Can such a thing indeed happen despite domestic and Ankara’s opposition? What might it mean if they resume talks, knowing that differences between the two sides are as big as ever? Can there be any hope of success? Particularly if the latest revelations of the Greek Cypriot leader reflect his negotiation position, why talks will get underway appears to be a rather legitimate question. If he really is no longer interested in power-sharing and what he understood from power-sharing is not to give Turkish Cypriots the right to have a say in the decision-making, what kind of a federation might he have in his mind? A federation without power-sharing and effective contribution of parties to it in the decision-making is nothing but a unitary state administered by the majority element. Akıncı says that won’t happen on Cyprus. Well then, why are they still pondering to resume federation talks and not considering engaging in a new exercise, as lately apparently suggested to Anastasiades by EU leaders. After all, was it not Anastasiades who revealed that EU leaders have clearly told him he must not reject any of the options right away? What are the options discussed? Two states with full-fledged sovereign states, two states within the European Union therefore forming some sort of a federation through the EU, or confederation? Shall we include federation in the cards? No, because for the past almost half century, the sides have made several failed federation attempts. They all failed because Greek Cypriots refused to share power.

There are worries, however, that Cyprus might become prey to a playboy extravaganza. Akıncı already made some serious mistakes – or fait accompli I may say – during the Mont Pelerin and Crans Montana stages of the failed last exercise. He presented a portion of territory that he wanted for them to remain with the Turkish Cypriot state, as well as a map clearly showing the territorial concessions he might agree to despite most political party leaders accompanying him and Turkish officials strongly advising not to undertake such adventures. Worse, after demonstrating all such political dyspepsia syndromes, he came up with the excuse that the late President Rauf Denktaş as well made such odd compromises. Poor guy did not know Denktaş never ever officially made such offers, and when he did it was limited with a timeframe.

Reading between the lines of statements by both Akıncı and Anastasiades, it appears that the two might be in efforts to deceive everyone. Akıncı already apparently traded territory as well as property issues without getting anything and political equality, which indeed has long become a U.N. parameter for the Cyprus talks, have now become an item to be traded in exchange of security and guarantees. That is of course a very badly staged fait accompli that cannot succeed.

Still, can the two bacchants ambush all of us with news of the resumption of a new round of futile federation talks?

Cyprus issue, Diplomacy, Turkey