A difficult game

A difficult game

It wasn’t Rauf Denktaş or any other Turkish Cypriot who first used it. It was the former Greek Cypriot leader Glafkos Clerides who said “a non-solution is also a solution in Cyprus.” Still, the phrase became synonymous with Denktaş, together with his “Mr. No” title. Was he the one obstructing a resolution on the island, or was he just highlighting the naked truth when he said Greek Cypriots would never agree to a Cyprus settlement based on political equality?

Writing in the Turkish Daily News (now the Hürriyet Daily News), former Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos A. Rolandis wrote an article (Feb. 2, 2008) stressing the lack of enthusiasm on the Greek Cypriot side regarding a resolution to the Cyprus problem. Look what Rolandis wrote back in 2008. 

“The dove and the branch of the olive tree have been our emblems since 1960. Still, prior to the elevation of the dove to the pinnacle of our statehood, we started clipping its feathers. The mere recording of the proposals we had over the years for the solution to our problem and the negative outcomes (we rejected all of them) causes sheer awe. I set out the various instances with no comment.

“Peace moves rejected by Greek Cypriots:

1) 1948: Consultative Assembly: We rejected it.
2) 1955-56: Harding proposals: We rejected them.
3) 1956: Ratcliffe Constitution: We rejected it.
4) 1958: Macmillan Plan: We rejected it.
5) 1959-60: Zurich-London Agreements: We rejected them in 1963 (through the efforts to amend the Constitution) although we initially accepted them.
6) 1964: Acheson Plan: We rejected it.
7) 1972: Agreement of Clerides-Denktaş: We rejected it.
8) 1975: Bicommunal Arrangement: We rejected it.
9) 1978: Anglo-American Canadian Plan: We rejected it.
10)  1981: Evaluation of Waldheim: We rejected it.
11)  1983: Indicators of Perez de Cuellar: We rejected them.
12)  1985-86: Consolidated Documents of Perez de Cuellar: We rejected them.
13)  1992: Set of Ideas, Boutros Boutros-Ghali: We rejected them in 1993.
14)  1997: Kofi Annan’s proposals at Troutbeck-Glion: They could not go through.
15)  2002-2004: Annan Plan: We rejected it.

“I do not record the stance of the Turkish side. What matters is our position, because we have been the weak link in this game.” 

While a Greek Cypriot political mentor was so clear in identifying the faulty player in the Cyprus game long before intercommunal talks started in 1968 at a Beirut Hotel, Turkish Cypriot leftists and mainland Turkish political Islamists have somehow – particularly over the past 15 years – preferred self-torture rather than admitting Greek Cypriot greed and seeing the need to defend the Turkish Cypriot state. Thus, there is a Turkish Cypriot state which ever since its proclamation in 1983, has not been promoted at all, with only Turkey recognizing its own unique fashion… Unique fashion because Turkey recognizes the Turkish Cypriot state, but even a third-grade bureaucrat from Ankara might deem himself big enough to issue instructions to Turkish Cypriot ministers, the prime minister or the president, while Ankara has officially been attempting to explain to the country’s friends that it was better not to recognize northern Cyprus for the sake of a resolution to the Cyprus problem.

This awkward coalition of Turkish Cypriot leftists and mainland Turkish Islamists hit a wall in April 2004 when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. peace plan for the island, even as they still continued to believe it was possible to have a “win-win” situation on the island, ignoring that one side has been refusing all along to admit the existence of the other as a political equal or insisting on seeing the other as a “minority” to be appended to their state.

Now, new contracts will soon be signed regarding hydrocarbon reserves off the island. Tenders have been completed in at least three areas that are partly within the Turkish Economic Exclusive Zone. Will Turkey sit back and enjoy the development? Or will it send the Barbaros ship back to the region?

Seeing all these developments, would it be inappropriate to ask whether the “Enosis” commemoration law, Turkish Cypriot reaction, Nicos Anastasiades’ storming out of the meeting room and other developments are sheer coincidence?