Political spinning on Cyprus
Could there be a Cyprus settlement if the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives were to convene and decide there would not be a Cyprus settlement endorsing the “0 Turkish guarantee, 0 Turkish soldiers” position of the Nikos Anastasiades government? Why and how was there no word from the Greek Cypriot legislators on the continuation of the British bases, thousands of British troops, use of those two sovereign British bases by France, United States or by any other state approved by the British government without even needing to inform the Cypriots? Was there any talk of Greek soldiers, advisors who have been amalgamated with the Greek Cypriot National Guard, intelligence agency, special warfare units and other segments of the “security” apparatus of southern Cyprus? Unfortunately not.
The latest Cyprus talks exercise collapsed, among many other vitally important reasons, because of the refusal of the Greek Cypriot leadership to understand the existential importance of Turkey’s security guarantees—including the right of unilateral intervention—for the Turkish Cypriot people. As Anastasiades was the leader of the Democratic Rally Party (Dimokratikós Sinagermós or Dimokratikós Sunagermós, DISI) founded by former guerrillas of the notorious EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston or National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) gang held responsible for the cold-blooded murder of many Brits and the Turks, he must be pretty aware of why Turkish Cypriots attached so much importance on the continuation of Turkey’s guarantee and presence of Turkish troops on Cyprus. If troops and guarantee were a “sine qua non” for Turkish Cypriots for very legitimate reasons and if their attacker was demanding an end to them, can anyone really talk about goodwill there?
To be reelected, Anastasiades has been flirting with pro-settlement segments of the Greek Cypriot society claiming he would return to Cyprus talks once the election was over. He was even trying to propagate that the Greek Cypriot side withdrew everything put on the table over the past years of talks and new talks would start on the basis of António Guterres’s guidelines, which included “0 soldiers, 0 guarantees.” Obviously, Anastasiades has been telling his people lies, while on the Turkish Cypriot side, Mustafa Akıncı has still been day dreaming in a sea of empathy, sparing no effort to understand why Anastasiades kept giving him a slap in the face at the latest rounds of talks in that went on in Swiss winter tourism towns, by walking away from each and every convergence achieved on almost everything over the past two years.
Funny enough, in reaction to the latest decision of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives that shunned all settlement prospects that did not include “0 soldiers, 0 guarantees,” Akıncı’s spokesman said the development was “unfortunate.” This reflected the reality that Greek Cypriots were not yet ready for a compromise deal but said the Turkish Cypriot side would wait for the day when Greek Cypriots will realize the importance of a compromise settlement.
Smells awfully bad, does it not? How could a Turkish Cypriot leader pursue such a policy of surrender? Yet, Northern Cyprus is not just Akıncı. There has been a center-right coalition in power and for a long time the president and the coalition government, particularly conservative Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu have been publicly engaged in a war of words. A group of deputies of the two coalition partners and some independents filed a motion immediately after a provocative move by the Greek Cypriots, declaring the Greek Cypriot parliamentary decision null and void. A comedy. Who are you to declare the decision of another parliament null and void? If you could, why don’t you declare the goal of the federation dead and there would be no deal with the Greek Cypriots as long as they accept the continuation of the guarantee system and agree to a rotation of presidency?
Obviously, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have been playing to the galleries in full awareness that the Cyprus talks cannot go anywhere as long as the same format, which has proven unproductive on many occasions, has been maintained since 1968.
Anyhow, not all things are that pessimistic on the Cyprus front. There was indeed a very bright development, which once achieved will “enlighten,” if not all of Cyprus, at least Northern Cyprus. Without much hustle and bustle, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has taken yet another gigantic step, which might be a new milestone in improving the living quality of Northern Cyprus, if not all of Cyprus for now. Contrary to expectations that the electricity line from Anatolia to Cyprus would be parallel to the suspended water pipeline, the two countries have decided that the undersea electricity line will be between the fuel-powered Teknecik Power Station, 15 kilometers east of Kyrenia and the Akkuyu transformer station, near the Turkish city Mersin.
Greek Cypriots and pro-Greek leftist groups in Northern Cyprus will condemn the development but receiving cheaper and continuous electricity from Anatolia will be a precious life source for the tourism and university centered economy of Northern Cyprus as well as a step forward in integration with Turkey.