Cyprus summit left to daisy fortune
You remember the story of the Cyprus 5+2 informal summit? First, in mid-February the informal summit to seek ground for a new round of Cyprus talks was to convene in Europe in the non-EU Switzerland. That did not work out. Then it was said it might convene in now non-EU member Britain, in London. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres apparently did not want to travel because of the pandemic. The U.N. farm in the Greentree area of New York City was considered suitable for a summit in early March. This time, guests other than Guterres, began to say, “We don’t know, when the secretary-general can’t travel because of the pandemic, don’t we have any concerns, why should we take risks?” Now it is said that the 5+2 summit may convene in Greentree in the second half of March. I am sure that may change soon as well.
From what I’ve heard, Guterres is tired of this new exercise before it even begins. It was whispered in my ear that he sent a message to the Greek side in which he allegedly said, “If you do not plan to share sovereignty, do not come in vain.” Also, he reportedly sent a message to the Turkish side. “If you call it a two-state solution, if you’re closing the door on everything else, don’t bother coming all the way to New York. There’s no point in having a meeting that is doomed to fail.”
Will this summit convene? Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar met with diplomatic reporters last week. I organized the e-conference together with the chairperson of the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association, Özgür Ekşi. We also acted as moderators. “Now the informal 5+2 conference is down to the second half of March. I don’t know if it is ever going to happen,” Tatar said. But his position was clear, as was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who made quite a clear statement only the day before our meeting. “I only talk about a two-state solution. I can’t talk about anything else until our sovereignty is accepted. Of course, there may be some moderations in our position, but let them accept our sovereignty first,” Tatar said, stressing that he never saw the federation as an option.
“The biggest problem for us is that in a federation, Turkey will have to withdraw from the island in five to 10 years after a deal. If there is a federation, Cyprus becomes a place within the EU where the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo are running horses. In a federal deal, on both sides of the island, autonomous administrations will be created at the point of municipal services, but the center of sovereignty will remain with the central administration.”
However, the demand for a two-state solution does not match U.N. Security Council resolutions on Cyprus talks. Almost every country has minorities, and separate state demands do not tune well to ears as they could “set an example.” If a solution is desired, how will the Greeks be convinced to accept a two-state deal?
“The two states are the Denktaş line that we defend. Until now, we had to go through various stages. They’ve been made. Now, with Turkey’s support, we will continue with our heads high.” So how will Turkish Cyprus be well-met? According to Tatar, that next issue is that there is no need to rush. “My priority,” he says, is to remove transport barriers, to provide direct flights to North Cyprus in some way.
“A resolution to the Cyprus problem requires the approval of the two people sharing this island as their homeland. We won’t surrender. If there’s no deal, we stay who we are. If recognition comes later, it’ll come. Just because recognition doesn’t work out the way we want it to, we shall not succumb, surrender to Greek Cypriots. We shall not patch up to their state.”
Tatar is aware of the challenges. He emphasizes his determination by saying, “No giving up, no resentment.”
Now, will the informal summit convene? There’s not much point in tearing the leaves off in case it’s like a daisy horoscope or not, but it’s important to remember that if there’s going to be a solution, a federal, confederal or separate two-states within the EU or out of it, it will have to be achieved through negotiations.