Hearing a senior executive of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) stressing that “no settlement is not a settlement on Cyprus” would be unthinkable. Or, at a time when the government has been stressing that there was no merit in continuing the Cyprus talks after Greek Cypriots assume the European Union term presidency, could the CHP still underline talks somehow must be continued without interruption? The “settlement oriented” approach of the “new CHP” was not apparently limited to the separatist terrorism problem.
It has been almost two weeks since CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met with chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the prime minister, over the CHP’s latest proposal on how to deal with the terrorism menace. Would not the CHP meet with other parties, particularly the MHP? But did it request an appointment from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) or the far right Nationalist Movement (MHP) parties? “Not yet,” said Faruk Loğoğlu, the deputy chairman of the CHP. Why? “Our aim is to get an affirmative reply. An invitation request is made in front of cameras. The MHP said they would not even drink tea with us. I joked and said ‘We are fit for a glass of water.’ Discussion in society is continuing and we hope the MHP, with encouragement from society, will eventually become more positive… Then we will make a formal appointment request.”
That is, the CHP is not trying to win some political advantage by cornering or antagonizing other parties, rather it has been trying to forge a consensus atmosphere. Unbelievable, is it not? In a country of rampant confrontation culture, in a party with a history of opposing everything for the sake of just being an opposition party, there is a push to forge a national consensus to deal with fundamental issues of the country headed by separatist terrorism. This is perhaps the “new CHP” that Kılıçdaroğlu has been talking about.
“We have become a pro-settlement party. We have ideas and proposals for the resolution of the problems of this country,” said Loğoğlu. As if just few years ago a CHP official sitting in the very same chair was not condemning Turkey’s support for the 2004 UN peace plan, or the Annan Plan, lamenting that if Turkey were to accept that plan, it should have accepted it 1.5 or two years earlier than it eventually did and use the EU accession of Greek Cypriots as a tool to resolve the Cyprus problem. Indeed that was one of the tools Annan Plan wanted to use but the Turkish side, for various reasons, was slow in acting on it.
“We have ideas for every problem. For example, the [deserted former holiday resort] Varosha issue. It can be returned to Greek Cypriots only in an overall settlement. As an interim resolution, besides the Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot and sovereign British base administrations a fourth administration, an international consortium might be created to administer the area so that hoteliers and former residents return. Similarly, the international consortium might be empowered to deal with hydrocarbon riches as well.”
Shocking, was it not? The CHP was coming, irrespective whether one can hail or condemn them as absurd, with some ideas to help the resolution of a problem without bagging itself down in nationalistic rhetoric.