Annexation not an option

Annexation not an option

Why did a senior Turkish Cypriot politician make such a remark? He was frustrated, fed up with some “leftist” Turkish Cypriot politicians supporting — in a perfectly defeatist mentality — the Greek Cypriot calls for a federal settlement to the Cyprus problem. Were they not aware that for the past so many decades such a goal could not be attained because of the refusal by the Greek Cypriot leadership to accept power sharing, let alone sovereign partnership? Still saying, “If you ask me whether I would agree to patch up to the Greek Cypriot state as a minority or support to be with Turkey, of course, my answer will be to be with Turkey.”

It was a conditional sentence, but definitely a very ill advised one. It was wrong for a person in the caliber of Özer Kanlı – not my relative but a close friend – to make such an odd statement as if he was not aware of the sensitivities over the word “annexation.” A journalist of so many years, a strategist and a member of the party executive board of the National Unity Party must know better than anyone else how explosive the word annexation is.

Annexation has never ever been in the cards of Turkey or the Turkish Cypriot leadership even though such an eventuality might develop if the quagmire continued and international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot state, from economy to politics, sports, health and even education, compels consolidation of integration with Turkey. If Greek Cypriots continue as the “sole legitimate government” of the entire island, capable as an EU-member to veto EU-Turkey deals even though it is not the legitimate constitutional government of the island, should Turkish Cypriots wait out in the cold for their mercy one day? Since March 1964, a Security Council resolution recognizing the all-Greek government as the government of the island under necessity clause so many decades past, enough is enough. Yet, integration and annexation are two different things.

Former President Mustafa Akıncı knows it well that annexation has never been in the cards yet probably to attract some attention by scaring his followers he claimed in a TV interview last week that federation must be the sole target because if talks start on a two-state resolution, the end result would be the annexation of the north with Turkey. Not a wise statement at all.

I have an important question for Akıncı: As a former president, do you really have a fear of annexation of North Cyprus by Turkey? Or are you making these statements to spread anti-Ankara propaganda amongst your supporters, who are mostly skeptical of Turkey anyhow?

Akıncı is an important politician and although he no longer has the capacity to meet with anyone in Ankara, he may know some things that we journalists and ordinary people might not know. Instead of shadow boxing, he should come out and say, “Yes, the issue of annexation is on Ankara’s agenda, and that’s what I know.”

But if he doesn’t know anything, he should say, with a brave heart, “It’s just my fear.” Then someone who’s been president until yesterday shouldn’t be afraid of something he doesn’t know. He, at least, should not engage in speculative claims. If an issue such as annexation is not on Turkey’s agenda and Akıncı knows about it, he should not mention it like this. If annexation was considered a possibility during or after his time and he has sufficient and credible information on such a probability, he should speak more clearly.

Someone who was once president should not be in a position to provoke the people against Turkey or any other country. Friends high at Turkey’s decision-making mechanism regarding foreign policy said Turkey has never ever had such intentions. “Absolutely, absolutely, an annexation policy has not been on Turkey’s agenda. Such charges can only be products of a farce aimed at creating confusion and discord.”

Yusuf Kanlı,