Failed again, no surprise
Sunday was a rather busy day on both sides of Cyprus. Jane Holl Lute, the special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, met the two communal leaders separately in a last-ditch effort to kick back from the death of the Cyprus intercommunal talks process. The process collapsed in July 2017, when the Greek Cypriot side refused to accept effective political equality of the Turkish Cypriot side in a federal resolution, while Turkish Cypriots refused to present in written security arrangements to, besides a radical decrease in the Turkish military’s presence on the island, open talks on the eventual termination of the 1960 guarantee scheme 12 years after a peace deal is initiated.
At the end of day-long talks of Lute with the two sides, it became clear that Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades not only maintained his refusal for effective political participation of the Turkish Cypriot side, but took a further step back and expressed his refusal for a rotation of the presidency and instead offered Turkish Cypriots rotation of the seat of prime minister between the two communities, on a one-third basis.
The indigestion of the Greek Cypriot leadership to accept the effective partnership offered by the 1959-1960 agreements and the constitution of the land was instrumental in opening a genocidal campaign in December 1963 against Turkish Cypriots to compel them to accept a privileged minority status. After 11 years of on and off attacks, in 1974, following a Greece-engineered coup, Turkey intervened and saved the Turkish Cypriot people, exercising its guarantor rights. Repeated efforts to reach a deal between the two sides have all failed because of Greek Cypriot greed to concede political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.
Briefing reporters on the contacts of Lute, a Turkish Cypriot presidential spokesman said it became clear from the discussions with the U.N. diplomat that the Greek Cypriot leader “has so far not been able to give up” his negative attitude regarding effective participation of Turkish Cypriots in the governance of the island under the principle of political equality of the two people.
While the failure of the latest attempt as well was no surprise for people with some realism, it was of course a great disappointment for Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, who has been defying calls to abandon federation talks, stressing he could discuss nothing with Greek Cypriots but federation.
However, except the Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) and Akıncı’s Communal Democracy Party (TDP) including the ruling coalition’s two conservative members – the People’s Party (HP) and the Democrat Party (DP) – all opposition parties have been vocally supporting a two-state resolution.
Now what will happen? What will be the nature of the report of Lute to the secretary-general? What will the secretary-general report to the Security Council? Will he suggest the termination of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) or will he forget about everything Greek Cypriots have so far done to stall a resolution and suggest the awarding of them, similar to the 2004 EU accession, even though they refused a U.N.-brokered peace plan at the time as well. Or will he be courageous enough to come up with a clear “Turkish Cypriots have done more than they could to reach a deal, they should not be left out in the cold again” statement.