The hot potato is with Anastasiades

The hot potato is with Anastasiades

A myth collapsed last week with Greek Cypriots walking the extra mile in oddity to legislate celebrating the anniversary of the 1950 “Enosis” (union with Greece) plebiscite in schools. The modern Cyprus problem is a byproduct of the obsessive utopia of the Greek Cypriot side, which Turkish Cypriots suffered from greatly until they were saved from total annihilation of Greek Cypriots with Turkey’s 1974 intervention after a Greece-engineered coup. The development angered Turkish Cypriots and made them question the sincerity of the settlement resolve of Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades’ administration.

It was not expected from him but Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, seeing that from left-to-right the entire Turkish Cypriot people were in fumes against the development, rolled the ball to the Greek Cypriot court saying unless Anastasiades vetoed it, continuing Cyprus talks would become meaningless. Such a unified position, to say the least, was not an accustomed situation in northern Cyprus.

One of the main problems of the Turkish Cypriot left has been their obsession with rejecting Turkish nationalism. Leftist parties have been so much obsessed with this allergy toward Turkish nationalism that their politicians often talk no different than their Greek Cypriot compatriots and even use a language as if they were nationalist Greek Cypriot politicians.

Is this because of the genetic “opposition to everything” code that the Turkish Cypriots have? As islanders, both Turkish and Greek Cypriot people are stubborn, they believe what they think and say it is the only truth, and they love to be self-sufficient. Opposition to the mightier, or at least sounding as if they reject any sort of allegiance relationship with the stronger one, has always been the most loved game to play.

Being self-sufficient, standing without any help, surviving alone all the difficulties might be virtues of yesterday’s secluded and isolated island life, but today the globe has turned into a big village with no independent countries but an interdependent global community of nations. If a leftist party is still living in the Cold War era and has not realized that not only the wall in Berlin, but the wall in the brains, is long due to come down and become torn into dust, they must have been suffering from an acute problem.

For the first time in decades, the Turkish Cypriot main opposition Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) came up with a clear condemnation of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives’ legislation. The Democratic Community Party (TDP) of President Mustafa Akıncı as well was very critical of the same legislation. These Greek-loving groups surprised the Turkish Cypriot public, who were not accustomed to such statements critical of Greek Cypriots or their undertakings coming from their leftist groups.

Of course CTP leader Tufan Erhürman was perfectly right in his assessment that the legislation for the commemoration of the Enosis plebiscite not only hurt the current settlement talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and his counterpart Anastasiades but also damaged the prospect of peace between the two people all together.

TDP made a little bit of a shy statement, but yet it as well criticized the legislation as “sheer provocation” that became law with the active support of a coalition of nationalist parties and passive support of Anastasiades’ Democratic Rally Party (DISI). A leftist unionist who has been representing Anastasiades at the board of the prestigious English School, on the other hand, vowed to take the “provocative law” to court.

The conservative, nationalist and traditionally apolitical segments of the society who have been alarmed for some time with the generous concessions the Akıncı presidency has been making without getting anything substantial from the Greek Cypriot side, was panicked with the enosis commemoration resolution of the Greek Cypriot legislature anyhow. Thus, it became a must for Turkish Cypriot leader Akıncı to demand Anastasiades to veto the legislation otherwise the talks would vanish in thin air. The response of Anastasiades was a stubborn rejection saying if Turkish Cypriots objected enosis commemoration they should first stop commemorating the anniversary of the Turkish intervention.

Thus, the planned meeting yesterday of the negotiators of the two sides was called off while Akıncı announced that if he did not receive an affirmative response to his call to Anastasiades not to sign the law, he would go to the scheduled meeting of the two leaders to tell his Greek Cypriot counterpart personally that there can be no peacemaking with such hostile undertakings.

Is there anything new in what I described so far? I have been stressing all along that the Greek Cypriot side has been giving the impression that they are negotiating a settlement but in reality they are just playing for time and waiting for the Turkish Cypriot side to get exhausted and surrender to them. Greek Cypriots have always believed that Turkish Cypriots, being left out of the partnership government in 1964, condemned to an international isolation, scorned even by Turkey from time to time, will eventually agree to patch up as a “minority with advanced rights” and thus agree to second-class citizenship in an only Greek Cypriot sovereign state.

As Akıncı has said, Anastasiades must now either stand up to defend the enosis resolution that his party shyly and passively lent support to, or take the steps to demonstrate his resolution for a partnership state with Turkish Cypriots. The hot potato is in his hands now.