If we don’t get along, let’s go to a tavern!
I always say North Cyprus is an interesting place. I don’t understand why some people call Prime Minister Hamza Ersan Saner as HES. We saw him play good drums. But we haven’t seen generate energy yet, as HES is a Turkish abbreviation for hydroelectric power station.
Jokes aside, there are very interesting people in North Cyprus and very interesting political party leaders who pretend to be calling the shots there. I’m not saying to criticize, but is it healthy for Saner to go to the office of the presidency in the morning, present his resignation on the ground that “the dispute in the junior partners of the coalition affects the performance of the government” and put the blame of a failed government on junior partners and meet with the same partners in the tavern several hours later for some moments of joy at the bottom of a bottle.
No... I’m not criticizing. Maybe it’s a lot healthier to say “we don’t get along” and look for compromise at the bottom of a bottle instead of fighting. At least there’s no action, no fighting, no fuss and no noise.
In fact, the tavern has always been an important stop in Cypriot politics. For a while, not so long ago, there was a very serious polarization before referendums were held on the Annan Plan in 2004 between politicians and layers of society on both sides of the island. Many fellow journalists from Turkey came to the Greek part via Athens, watching the situation on both sides and being surprised that the politicians who had been carrying out the serious verbal attacks on each other all day were doing bottle-bottom research in joy in the same tavern in the evening.
It was no different in the North. By evening, the politicians who had been stirring up a tantrum were becoming friends again in the evening. This situation is not the weakness of Cyprus with its north and south, but its strength. It allows for the display of understanding, tolerance, togetherness despite all the odds. Islandic character? Probably. Nowhere to escape.
Also during an election period, when we invited political leaders who criticized each other all day from morning to night to the shed-restaurant next to a butcher to eat “Kleftiko” (Thief kebab) at the initiative of a journalist friend, within a few hours I was very impressed that from the far right to the most left-wing journalists and political leaders would come together to share memories and joke as if they were members of the same family. I saw a similar view among Greek politicians as I was following the failed presidential campaign years ago of Ioannis Kassulides.
There was a similar relationship between the late Rauf Denktaş and Glafkos Clerides. Even when they were at their most angry times vis a vis the other, they always had a “brotherly” approach to each other.
Why couldn’t we, as two communities, achieve the same situation? How did we fall into a situation like ignorant brothers pursuing inheritance Famous sociologist Vamık Volkan should examine this “angry brothers” syndrome in Cyprus like he did the “Birds in a cage” feeling among Turkish Cypriots.
By the way, the waters are getting warmer again, and I’m going to say, “When did they get cold?” There’s a new movement these days. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ letter to the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken complaining about Turkey, U.S. secretary of state expressing support for Greece’s regional leadership in his response, while claims that Greece and the United States are preparing a military base in the Sea of Islands have been alarming developments.
Meanwhile, after an informal Cyprus meeting attended by the U.N. secretary-general, the joint statement, which could not be published, was no longer on the agenda, but the issue did not end. The Turkish side could not agree on the appointment of a special representative to report to the Security Council, while the Greek leadership could not agree on the appointment of a U.N. special representative reporting only to the secretary-general. The secretary-general is apparently set to aim to solve the problem by expanding the jurisdiction of Canadian diplomat Colin Stewart, who is expected to replace U.N. resident representative and UNFICYP Mission Chief Elizabeth Spehar. In the end, the U.N. is not implementing this method for the first time in semantics-obsessed Cyprus...
Another important development is the U.K.’s intention to step in again after the failed U.N. informal efforts. Ajay Sharma, the British Foreign Office special director, who will hold talks on the island this week and perhaps later in Ankara and Athens, has previously suggested a decentralized federation, a formula between the federation and the confederation and in a sense encompassing partly the Turkish side’s two-state approach. Besides vising some old ideas, Sharma might concentrate on some new confidence-building measures and some new ideas that might open new long-term discussions.
However, the resignation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) government, which is severely weakened by its nature, the need for an electoral government to replace it, inflation and exchange rate developments in Turkey and the fact that the capacity of the TRNC to act will be very limited regardless of who comes to the TRNC administration may lead to the need for early elections to be held not in February as already scheduled but perhaps in December, within months. This, naturally, increases uncertainty and also leads to a significant loss of momentum in settlement efforts throughout Cyprus.
If it’s going to stop the arguments, at least temporarily, rather than fighting in these conditions, maybe it’s best to go to a tavern.