Long live the TRNC

Long live the TRNC

Some people might have difficulty in counting passing years. Forty years have passed since the 1974 Turkish operation in Cyprus after an Athens-engineered coup by Greek Cypriots. This weekend, Turkish Cypriots were celebrating the 31st anniversary of the proclamation of independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Even if the Turkish foreign minister of the time, İlter Türkmen, might have believed on Nov. 15, 1983 that the proclamation of independence was a “tactical maneuver to strengthen the hands of the Turkish side in Cyprus talks, the TRNC is a reality today; one of the two realities of Cyprus together with the Greek Cypriot administered Cyprus Republic. Which is valid, which is void is an irrelevant question; for a settlement on Cyprus, the existence of two separate, but equal democracies, peoples, religions, languages must be acknowledged.

Whatever might be the underlying reason and irrespective of how “politically correct” the frequent efforts might be of Greek Cyprus in getting an international body to condemn Turkey for this or another reason for its “arrogance” or “refusal” to abide with decisions, resolutions and recommendations adopted at platforms where Turks were absent or not heard. Such attitudes, of course, reflect the “all mine” mentality, incompatible with peacemaking on a territory where there are more than one peoples and the relationship between them “is not one of minority and majority, but of two equal communities sharing the same homeland.”

That is indeed a key phrase that may help a resolution or block a Cyprus settlement forever. Greek Cypriots continue believing they constitute well over 70 percent of the population of the island, while Turkish Cypriots are less than 20 percent and thus the relationship between them ought to be a majority-minority relationship and the state ought to reflect the right of Greek Cypriots to have the sole say for the future of the island, with of course some privileged status for the Turkish minority. Greek Cypriots have been so stubborn on this issue that consulting Turkish Cypriots, asking their consent or without prejudicing the overall settlement, establishing a joint committee to work on natural resources or to explore, drill and benefit from natural resources through a joint company to be established on the basis of the “political equality of two peoples” does not even deserve consideration. Whatever is on, off above or below Cyprus belongs – without any limitation – to the Greek Cypriot government and people. That is a sick mentality.

Americans are advising Greek Cypriots to return to talks, as “tomorrow might be less advantageous for a compromise resolution,” while continue telling Turks they should remove the Barbarous seismic ship from its anchored place in the disputed waters of the Mediterranean. The same Americans are telling Turks they should withdraw their ships, as well as a Nawtex issued by the Navy, and facilitate the Greek Cypriot return to the Cyprus talks process.

To what purpose will talks serve if the mentality has not changed in the Greek Cypriot side? If they continue expecting to achieve miraculous developments through one-sided resolutions from platforms where Turkish Cypriots were not able to have their voices heard, one should tell them to wake up. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, but one would need more effort than lighting a candle at a Greek orthodox church for any success in any area.

It has been 52 years since Turkish Cypriots were expelled at gunpoint from the partnership government, 40 years since the 1974 Turkish intervention, 31 years since the creation of the TRNC and 10 years since Turkish Cypriots accepted a U.N.-peace plan with 65 percent “yes” vote, but Greek Cypriots rejected it with a 75 percent “no.” Has the time come for a Cyprus deal? It’s probably long overdue… However, as two are needed to tango, political will for a bitter compromise deal is must for a Cyprus settlement before acknowledging political equality and the peoples’ equal partnership status in the sovereignty and governance of the island, or a settlement will not be discernible. If somehow with outside pressure, intervention or such becomes within grasp, it will not become a reality until Greek Cypriots wake up to the reality that Cyprus is not totally theirs; they have partners in northern Cyprus.
Suggesting 21 percent territory, expecting Turkish Cypriots to give up on earlier agreed rotation and accept Greek Cypriot presidency, accept Greek Cypriots to have a say in the election of the Turkish Cypriot vice president, and accept giving up the power to veto and making such lunatic “pro-settlement” statements will definitely not help a settlement, but make Turkish Cypriots shout more strongly, “Long live the TRNC.”