Time for a new Cyprus assessment

Time for a new Cyprus assessment

It is not at all abnormal to be a supporter of a federal resolution to the Cyprus problem even if what a federation is in itself a contentious issue between the two sides on Cyprus. What is wrong and poisonous is to be obsessed with federation and discard all other probable ideas for a resolution even when power-sharing, a fundamental requirement of a federal solution, is flatly rejected by the party that holds power under an unfortunate “Doctrine of Necessity” application – though it usurped power from its partner in March 1964 following bloody attacks that started in December 1963. 

Without power-sharing or limiting power-sharing to such an extent not to harm the single-handed rule of the majority – under the pretext of effectivity in governance – there can be no federation. Indeed, at the very roots of the Cyprus problem lie the attempt by Greek Cypriots to annihilate the power-sharing rights in the governance of the Cyprus Republic under the founding agreements and the constitution. If after so many decades of negotiations Greek Cypriots see power-sharing as a majority succumbing to minority rule, neither a unitary state with effective federal arrangements (like the Cyprus republic) nor a federal resolution might be possible.

It is clear for now that the Cyprus talks cannot be rehashed anytime soon. U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute will make a new trip to the island within days. Some pundits in the Greek Cypriot media claim she might bring together a new Cyprus plan. Nonsense. She has no such mandate. She has been trying to understand the positions of the two sides – as if there is anything unclear – if possible to write down some “reference points” that might guide the start of a new Cyprus initiative. She doesn’t have a mandate to mediate or conduct Cyprus talks.

Now, apart from disinterest to share power with Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriot administration has no intention of sharing the resources of the island either. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı repeated this on many occasions. Why then does he still insist that a federal resolution is the only option if Greek Cypriots have no intention of sharing power, executive positions or the hydrocarbon riches of the island? Is there any effort by anyone on this planet, let’s say by the Brexit-maimed British or the European Union – that made the Cyprus problem far worse by allowing the unilateral admission of the Greek Cypriot-administered Cyprus representing the entire island – that might force Greek Cypriots to change their antagonist position? Unfortunately, no… Does the Turkish Cypriot side have a tool to force Greek Cypriots to change their position? No.

If that’s the case, can we have a federation on Cyprus just because Akıncı and some other people with some romantic and ideological obsessions, besides the fear of being swallowed down by Turkey, demand the creation of a federation with Greek Cypriots? Can it be achieved with the will of one side even if we assume that the entire Turkish Cypriot people somehow decided to go for federation?

Unfortunately, the situation is as clear as that. Insisting on a federal solution is tantamount to insisting on the continuation of the Cyprus problem as it has been so for the past more than six decades. And, with the problem, the continuation of the status quo will persist as well. Can that be acceptable? No. Thus, we are condemned to look for some other ideas for a Cyprus resolution.

We have to do something to take out the Turkish Cypriot people out of the hellish twilight zone they have been trying to survive in since they were expelled from the partnership state by force. They cannot continue as they are, cut off from the international community, suffering under economic, political, cultural embargoes imposed on them with the instigation of Greek Cypriots. They cannot continue with a process of becoming a province or sub-province of Turkey either.

The U.N. parameters were established through over 60 years of U.N.-facilitated negotiations between the two sides. They may continue guiding a new process. But there is need for a game changer on Cyprus. Something must be done to show Greek Cypriots that they must make up their mind: Either agree to sharing power and resources with Turkish Cypriots and walk the federation road, or let’s start talking about the conditions of a velvet divorce which might take the island to a two-state EU resolution which indeed will still be a federation, through a bigger family arrangement.

Cyprus issue, Politics, Diplomacy