Since Kyprianou is coming to town

Since Kyprianou is coming to town

It will not be the first time a Greek Cypriot political leader will be visiting Turkey. From Nikos Anastasiades himself to others, visiting Istanbul is no big deal. Greek Cypriots, at various levels, sometimes make public or discreet trips to Ankara. Anastasiades made one such trip—when he was an opposition leader—and met with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) executives, including then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Andros Kyprianou, the leader of the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), was in Ankara a few years ago as well. 

Now, this week, Kyprianou will be in Ankara once again. On Nov. 23, he will even be delivering a speech at a Turkish think tank to a group of select guests. To what purpose will the visit serve? That will be seen in the days ahead. What is clear so far is that the winter will be rather hot with Cyprus related developments, which have indeed already started.

Behind closed doors, something is being cooked. That is apparent. Is the United Nations really preparing to launch a new and invigorated Cyprus exercise? According to some claims, within a very short period, Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar will take a magical formula out of her purse that will aim to resolve the Cyprus problem, or at least provide a framework agreement within three months. What can I say, other than wish her and the rest of romantic opportunists “all the best.”

Interesting enough, there is talk that ExxonMobil—planning to start its exploratory activities within days at plot 10 of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)—will complete its works within three months. What a coincidence. The next three months will be very interesting, obviously.

On the other hand, no one should take the statement from Ankara lightly that Turkey will not tolerate hydrocarbon activities undertaken unilaterally by the Greek Cypriot government and will undertake its own exploration activities as well. Naturally, as Ankara has just made the threat but has been unable to put it into action so far, no one is taking Turkey seriously that the companies involved in the clandestine and unilateral hydrocarbon activities of the Greek Cypriot state might face its wrath, by being barred from Turkish tenders.

The deficiency in the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the four-way coalition government unable to effectively rule Northern Cyprus are complicating factors. The apparent friction between the president and the foreign minister is nothing further than the ice-cold relations between the Turkish leadership and the Turkish Cypriot president. Can this cold spill be sustainable? Shouting, “I do not want anyone who does not want me” at cold walls cannot solve the problem.

If something will be undertaken “within three months” for a long overdue resolution on Cyprus, that three-month period ought to start either after President Mustafa Akıncı goes and renews the confidence of his people in him, win Ankara’s renewed support, or a new president replaces him. For that, perhaps the biggest service Akıncı might undertake is to step aside gently. Was he not, after all, the one who had declared in the first place that his whole aim as president would be to solve the Cyprus problem in a federation and would step down if he failed? He failed.

Whatever formula the UN secretary-general and his special advisor might come up with, repeated statements by the Greek Cypriot leadership demonstrate he is way behind, even from the collapsed Crans-Montana deadlock. He still insists on zero soldiers and zero guarantees but has added a third condition to that, claiming that for effective governance, Turkish Cypriots should give up power-sharing and effective participation in governance demands.

Can there be a resolution with such oddities? No way.

Cyprus Conflict, Politics, Diplomacy,