Time to face reality

Time to face reality

Failure was obvious right from the beginning. Yet the Greek Cypriot leader was pretending as if he might eventually agree to some sort of a federal resolution. The Turkish Cypriot leader – apparently under duress from some European Union executives opposing a two-state resolution – was reaffirming he would not negotiate anything but federation. Thus, a temporary special advisor was appointed by the United Nations secretary-general to make a last check if federation in Cyprus was indeed possible.

Most people considered that exercise was a waste of precious time, but what is abundant in Cyprus more than time? Almost six decades have passed in search of a federal resolution deal despite repeated assertions by Greek Cypriots that they were not interested at all in delivering a key component of any sort of a federal deal: Power sharing on the basis of political equality of the two people of the island.

Now, efforts to come over the impasse in Cyprus peacemaking have again concluded in failure. The U.N. temporary special adviser for Cyprus has not yet officially reported why she failed to achieve some sort of a convergence to kick off a new round of talks or resume the process stalled in Crans Montana. She has not yet disclosed either why the Greek Cypriot side rejected flatly an offer by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for a four-party conference – Turkey, Greece and two sides on Cyprus – to explore ways forward.

At this important junction of the Cyprus peacemaking process, the offer of Çavuşoğlu was precious. Greek Cypriot refusal of such an offer reflects as well the uncompromising mentality incompatible with a claim that they want a deal on Cyprus. Irrespective of what the Greek Cypriots say, however, the Turkish Cypriot side, with contributions from Turkey, must produce some new ideas, as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, for a Cyprus resolution.

If what the Greek Cypriots have in mind has become clear, that is nothing different than a “Greek Cypriot state” disguised as partnership republic, they must be told in all clarity that such an approach will never be accepted. Brushing aside the rotation of presidency principle and offering a rotation of prime ministry under a Greek Cypriot president cannot be considered an offer conducive to any sort of peacemaking.

Thus, either a confederation or a deal based on the establishment of full-fledged two states must be in the cards. Confederation as well appears to be rather difficult as, though a very limited and symbolic manner, there still will be power sharing between the two component states. Thus, the confederal state will not be a totally Greek Cypriot state. Greek Cypriots will not accept that.

The idea of two full-fledged separate states, on the other hand, appears to be the only way out, although with some serious problems. First will be the irritation European Union states might get regarding the separation of a state into two. For them what is worse is having to admit the two states into the club. Of course, Cyprus was wrongly given membership despite the continued problem. Greece holding the union hostage, all sorts of blackmail to obstruct eastern expansion if Cyprus was not admitted and such tactics produced this anomaly. Why would Greek Cypriots pay the price of such a situation?

On the other hand, EU membership might be a security guarantee for Greek Cypriots against Turkish Cypriot demand for Turkey to remain on Cyprus militarily. Two, EU membership would be a guarantee for Turkish Cypriots not to become a second Hatay, a southern province in Turkey which was once disputed territorially, and swallowed by Turkey momentarily after gaining independence.

It is high time to face reality and come up with some new and applicable ideas.

Yusuf Kanlı, Cyprus issue, Turkish Cypriots, Greek Cyprus