Akıncı is right
Is there any reason to remain chained to the utopia of a Cyprus federation if the Greek Cypriots have no intention to share power with their Turkish Cypriot compatriots? Can a federal solution exist without power-sharing, sovereignty-sharing and land-sharing, on an island inhabited by two peoples?
Negotiating a federation while remaining committed to a unitary state cannot produce any sort of resolution. Over the past half century, Cyprus talks have failed to achieve a federal deal. Can Cyprus talks ever achieve a final resolution without either Greek Cypriots undergoing a radical mindset transformation or Turkish Cypriots giving up and agreeing to become a privileged minority in a Greek Cyprus? Neither is going to happen, even if talks do continue for another century.
Some shallow analysts continue defending that July 5 night when Cyprus talks seemed minutes away from a deal but collapsed when Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades could not clasp the golden opportunity. Why? He feared he would not be able to sell a deal that provided power sharing with Turkish Cypriots.
It is nonsense to believe the rhetoric that the talks collapsed because of Turkish troops and guarantees. Revelations and leaked minutes of a key meeting between Anastasiades and Espen Barth Eide, the special envoy of the U.N. secretary-general, clearly showed what great concessions were made on both guarantees and troops by President Mustafa Akıncı and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. But Anastasiades rejected all Turkish concessions that night of July 5-6. Why? He conceded he could not sell a deal based on power-sharing to his people, though none of this is “on the record.”
Why did the Turkish side refuse to write down the concessions they pledged? Did they realize at the previous Mont Pelerin round that even if a map and territorial percentage were presented to the Greek Cypriot side – for the first time in the entire history of Cyrus talks – Greeks would remain as adamant and stubborn as ever? Or were the Turks acting according to the “Greeks would reject anyhow” belief, generous in compromising but refusing to place offers in writing?
Whatever the reason, Anastasiades saved Turkish Cypriots by rejecting a deal that would have been suicidal for them anyhow. Without Turkey’s guarantee and troops in Cyprus, no Cyprus deal can ever be sustainable. Recent history testifies to the fact that such a deal would be detrimental to the very existence of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot President Akıncı declared last week that there was need for a shuttle diplomacy between the two sides under the representative of the UN secretary-general. Why? Because he believed there was need to prepare the frame and modality of talks expected to resume as early as March.
Akıncı is “semi-right” because he remains captive to leftist Turkish Cypriot groups still committed to the goal of a federal Cyprus. But the federation option is dead, they just cannot see the writing on the wall. Why? Because communists on both side want a deal that ignores ethnic differences and is based on “Cypriotness” instead, as if there ever was such a thing as a Cypriot nation. Indeed, on both sides of the Cyprus divide, the conservatives disapproved of a federation with a strong central government.
Whether the mood is new or old, resuming talks with the aim of establishing a federation in Cyprus means losing another couple of years to a lost cause. In such a situation, before the new round of talks resume, Turkish Cypriots should be clearly informed on various matters.
Firstly, how long will the new talks continue for. Secondly, what will the status of the Turkish Cypriot side be if the talks collapse again or if they are still inconclusive on a certain date. That is what Akıncı has been stressing recently, and for once he is right.
Of course, the new round of Cyprus talks should not be rushed. A chance should be given to second track diplomacy to produce an alternative to federation as a goal of the talks. Could it be two EU states, or a confederation of two Cypriot states or a velvet divorce? Discussions on possible alternatives are already ongoing on the Greek side, while in Northern Cyprus politics has focused on the upcoming Jan. 7 elections.