Something rather odd is unfolding for the future of Turkish Cypriots on their homeland. Even though recent developments are often camouflaged as “promising,” indicating optimism for a quick resolution to the over half-decade-old Cyprus problem, what is actually on the menu is an unconditional surrender of Turkish Cypriots.
The British and Greek governments may have problems understanding why the Turkish government is not at all enthusiastic about the termination of the 1960 guarantee scheme. Was it not the Greek government of the time that demanded the guarantee system, with the backing of the British, compelling Turkey to accept the three-nation guarantor scheme for the 1960 Cyprus Republic? Why do the British and the Greeks want to give up their guarantor status for Cyprus today? Why are they also pushing Turkey to accept an end to the 1960 guarantee system?
The aim is obvious: Pushing Turkey out of Cyprus. The British will retain their two sovereign bases on the island – though with less territory – while the Greeks will have advanced defense arrangements with the Greek Cypriots and a sizeable military presence in various forms on the island. Turkey, meanwhile, should just accept an end to its guarantor status, pack up and abandon the island and the Greek Cypriots.
Furthermore, as members of the EU, Greece and Cyprus will enjoy all the benefits of free circulation of goods, money, labor, and population, but non-EU member Turkey will be deprived of everything. All this despite the fact that the U.K. is many thousands of kilometers away and Greece is almost 1,000 kilometers away, while Turkey’s Anatolian coast is only 40 miles away. The guarantee system should only end when Turkey joins the EU, and when the “external balance” between Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean is achieved through the EU framework.
In fact, contrary to “leaks” from the Greek Cypriot side, the guarantees issue has so far not come up in the ongoing talks. So the Turkish side has yet to show its hand on the issue. But it is no secret that for Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his negotiating team, the guarantees must not be the issue to end the process if there is agreement on all other issues. When it is put to vote, however, the Turkish Cypriot people will not accept such a development, which is existentially important for their future on the island. Of course, no one should be condemned to live in history, but recent history and fresh revelations in the Greek Cypriot media about how they butchered Turkish Cypriots in 1974 must serve as a warning to Akıncı’s team as to why Turkey’s guarantee and the right to intervene are existential issues for the Turkish Cypriots.
Since 1974, the Turkish Cypriots have not faced any physical threat. There has been peace on the island. Turkish Cypriots have built a life that they were deprived of by the Greek Cypriots for more than a decade in 1963-1974, on the land in the north left by the Greek Cypriots. Now, Akıncı and his team have successfully negotiated a formula to solve the “property” aspect of the Cyprus problem, with the “first owners” due to have a say in the resolution of the property issue - as the Greek Cypriots have been demanding for a long time.
Naturally, from the humanitarian point of view all that appears fine to the ears. But the reality is very different. How can we have a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal resolution if the northern Turkish Cypriot state is to hand back 85 percent of its territory to Greek Cypriot “first owners” or their descendants? Can the people who have been living on those properties for the past 50 years accept such a thing? Do we have only a “financing of peace” problem? Can a society accept a peace deal that will make them refugees for a third or fourth time in a lifetime? What would happen if the Turkish Cypriot people vote “no” in a referendum – which is said to be coming by May? What will happen if this time we have a double “no,” as opposed to the only-Greek Cypriot “no” vote in 2004? Will the world punish the Turkish Cypriots and compel them to isolation? Are not the Turkish Cypriots already in isolation?
The cunning Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades and Akıncı have reportedly agreed that an international fund would be created, with generous contributions from the United States, Britain and Germany, to fund compensation requirements and also to build new towns for Turkish Cypriots who would be displaced by a peace agreement.
Last but not least, it should be said that the new citizenship law of northern Cyprus that aims to freeze the northern population at 210,000 – as has apparently been pledged to Anastasiades – is a piece of treacherous legislation that will result in the cleansing of thousands of mainland Turks from Cyprus, or otherwise transform them into serfs with no citizenship rights.
These are just some of the issues that are “anathema” for Turkish Cypriots, as well as for Turkey.