A stillborn Cypriot deal

A stillborn Cypriot deal

The signing of an agreement of any sort between the two antagonists of Cyprus is definitely a very serious and important development worth praise. If the agreement signed is one aimed at putting an end to 58 years of discrimination and cut off of a section of the population of Cyprus from not only the rest of the island but also from the international community, then it becomes all the more of an event to celebrate.

Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (CTFA) chief Hasan Sertoğlu would prefer to call it a draft accord, the content of which would be changed. An announcement, which included the text of the accord as well, placed on the Website of the Cyprus Football Federation, on the other hand underscore that what was signed on Nov. 5 in Zurich was a “landmark unification agreement.” Was it indeed so? Would the signed agreement put an end to a separation that started with the Greek Cypriots placing signs at stadiums, writing “Dogs and Turkish Cypriots cannot enter” in 1955?

Obviously one needed to check and make sure where he was placing his signature. If it was a draft, why would the FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and the UEFA President Michel Platini appear in front of the media with Sertoğlu and the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) President Costakis Koutsokoumnis to announce what they described “a major milestone in the history of Cypriot football?” No one, of course, should question the good intentions of Sertoğlu and his very strong desire to see an end to the decades old sports embargo on his people. Yet, as is said, the way to hell is often paved by good intentions. From the moment Sertoğlu realized what a grave mistake indeed, suicidal step he undertook has been maneuvering faster than a belly dancer to “explain” that corrections might be made into the text he signed because it was a “draft”. Nonsense.

Of course, the agreement made cannot enter into force immediately and it needs to be approved by the relevant bodies of both two football federations on the island. Irrespective of the outcome of that separate processes, however, Sertoğlu made it into history by signing an agreement which inflicted lethal damage on the Turkish Cypriot political demands.

What was the outline of the agreement? First and foremost, under the agreement, the CTFA becomes a member of the CFA as an “association” in accordance with the CFA’s statutes and regulations. That is, the agreement was not one of a merger, the creation of a federal football federation or something else, but a “surrender” of the CTFA to the CFA’s demand of resolving the problem through osmosis… Well done. Two, under the deal “the CFA will continue to be a member of FIFA and UEFA, as well as the governing body responsible for organizing, servicing and administering football in Cyprus and for all international football activities in the country.” The CTFA? It will only be represented in CFA organs.

Well, it was stated in the agreement that it was based on the FIFA and UEFA statutes and only concerned with football-related matters, aimed to unify and facilitate the progress of football within the football communities on the island of Cyprus “through a relationship based on trust, mutual respect and goodwill,” but definitely will have far further implications.

Now, most likely this agreement will be a stillborn one and will not be approved by the CTFA board, or general assembly. Already many Turkish Cypriot clubs, including Çetinkaya (the oldest club, established in 1946) declared their disapproval of it. It is already dead…

If the CFTA was to be an “association” of the CFA, why was this cut off for 58 years?