Perceptions and obsessions
As long as Greek Cypriots don’t change their mental setup and continue assuming Turkish Cypriots would sooner or later succumb to Greek Cypriot numerical majority and thus agree to become a nuance in the “Greek nation of Cyprus” there cannot be a Cyprus settlement.
Looking to the Turkish Cypriot north from the Greek Cypriot south in Nicosia, one may see a “minority” living at the house next door, the owner of which believed to have been kicked out by force by the elder brother of that “minority” by force. Looking to the south from north, on the other hand, one may thank God that finally he has a secure house in the north and thanks to his muscled elder brother the obsessive former partners living in the house in the south can no longer even dream of exterminating him. For the southerner, the relationship between the two ought to be one of majority, embracing affectionately the minority but for the northerner the relationship must be one of two equal peoples sharing the same homeland.
Besides the hardcore Cyprus issue, there are definitely also some sharp differences of perception and expectation between the two sides on the island. When Turkish Cypriots say “Cypriot-owned, Cypriot-led process” for example they mean a negotiations scheme that would tackle, in a reasonable period , all issues, and provide the two peoples of the island a sustainable formula of a peaceful and quality co-existence on Cyprus. That could be a federation, confederation or a two-state settlement. For the Greek Cypriots, the same term appears to mean “talking with Turkish Cypriots” but indeed constantly postponing a resolution on Cyprus in hopes that the Turkish Cypriots would eventually give up their equality and partnership demands and agree to become privileged, minority subjects of the “all Greek” Cypriot Republic. That is trying to solve the “Turkish problem” of Cyprus through osmosis while in the meantime seeming to be negotiating a settlement.
The majority of Turkish Cypriots, irrespective of which political school of thought they subscribe to, want a “sustainable” compromise and settlement for the island. How can a Cyprus deal be sustainable? If both peoples embrace that deal and agree to drink the bitter compromise, then they will believe it is the best for them. During Annan’s involvement in the Cyprus matter, intense pro-settlement-spirited Turkish Cypriots were made ready to buy whatever was offered to them. It was assumed that Greek Cypriots were pro-settlement; no effort was made to encourage settlement hopes in the south and the end result? Turks accepted the plan; Greeks overwhelmingly rejected it.
Greek Cypriot media accurately underlined over the past few days in many articles that statements from Ankara regarding Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister, Özdil Nami, exposed once again the sharp perceptional differences in the targets of the two sides on Cyprus. Nami was talking of a fast track resolution; he was talking about territorial arrangements more or less in line with the Annan plan, despite difficulties it posed by the past nine years; Greek Cypriots are yelling they would never ever agree to terms similar to that of the “British-devised Turkish plan.” Nami was talking of “an agreement by January, simultaneous referenda by end-of-March”; Greek Cypriots are yelling that Turks are imposing dates and schedules on them.
Nami said talks would resume from where they were left by former Greek Cypriot leadership while Greek Cypriots cry and demand fresh talks from scratch.
And some day dreamers still talk of a quick fix in Cyprus.