Is the climate changing?
The separate meetings with Turkish and Greek Cypriot negotiators held by French Foreign Ministry executives in Paris created some nerve on the Greek Cypriot side. In the very near future, negotiators Kudret Özersay and Andreas Mavroyannis will travel to London, for talks at the foreign office there…
Worse is in the bag for Greek Cypriots; the British are already working on plans to invite President Derviş Eroğlu of the Turkish Cypriot state for a “working visit,” during which, not with the queen or the prime minister, but the foreign secretary and some top executives of British foreign policy mechanism will have negotiations on the settlement prospects in Cyprus with their guest from the Turkish Cypriot state.
The details and timing of Eroğlu’s London visit have not yet been completed, but neither Britain has such an intention, nor do Turkish Cypriots have an expectation to see a change in the Cyprus policies of the United Kingdom.
As was demonstrated during the trip to the island by American Vice President Joe Biden, Greek Cypriots are obsessed with their “sole legitimate government of Cyprus” status and always live with the phobia that some outside elements might help Turkish Cypriots elevate the status of their non-recognized state.
The visit to South Africa, social contacts in Brussels, trips to elsewhere, including European bodies, including heavyweights of the European Union such as France, Britain and Germany are heralding the opening of a new era that might seriously upset the nerves of the micro-nationalists and fascists in the southern part of the island, as Turkish Cypriots are becoming more visible on the world stage, even though their state is not yet recognized.
These contacts are all side products of the “cross visits” of the first-ever trip to Ankara by the Greek Cypriot negotiator and the Turkish Cypriot making a maiden trip to Athens and holding landmark talks with top Greek executives. Obviously, if Greece can talk with the Turkish Cypriot negotiator, why shouldn’t other countries do it as well? That was the genie Greeks – though it was them who first suggested the cross visits – did not want to let out of the bottle for a long period. The genie is now out of the bottle. In the past, Eroğlu made many visits to London – as the city is one of the biggest electoral constituencies of Turkish Cypriot politics – but never was officially invited to meetings or was hosted in a social event that could be considered worth mentioning.
As one of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and its past record as a staunch ally of Greek Cypriots, France considering it fit to talk to Turkish Cypriots alone is indeed an indication of a climate change. Will it be enough to help a resolution? That is indeed the most important question. Will Greek Cypriots perceive these developments as footsteps of an eventual lifting of the isolation of northern Cyprus? Only then, perhaps, may they seriously engage in peace talks as they would finally have something to lose, even though they might still believe they can earn nothing in a deal…