Third way, Greek Cypriot perspectives
Not only Turkish Cypriot opposition leader Kudret Özersay, some Greek Cypriot politicians also have been talking about a “third way” in Cyprus peacemaking. These proposals, obviously, not necessarily match, but still in the absence of a common ground to move forward, very much like the British “non-plan,” they might indeed be explored.
“Land for settlement” might be the summary of the proposal unveiled recently by Democratic Rally (Disy) deputy leader Harris Georgiades recently during an interview with Kathimerini newspaper.
Suffering from the typical phobia of most Greek Cypriot politicians, Georgiades stressed that in a federal settlement the Turkish side would get “the sole thing we have, the Cyprus Republic.” Yet, he stressed that only if Turks agree to give back Morphou (Güzelyurt) and Varosha towns, total withdrawal of troops and an end to the guarantee system he could be supportive of a federal settlement. That is, as they say, when fish climbs a tree.
But what does he suggest if he is against a federation? Would he support a two-state resolution? Definitely not. The third way suggested by Georgiades is unfortunately what all Greek Cypriot leaders have been doing all along: They appear as if negotiating a settlement but play on time, build international pressure on Turkey, exhaust Turkish Cypriot struggle for political equality, effective participation in governance and gradually with a step by step move “convince” Turkish Cypriots to a privileged minority status in the Cyprus Republic, without compromising from “effectivity in governance.”
When asked how he considered the “intermediate and evolutionary approach” of Polis Polyviou, an eminent lawyer and member of the negotiations team of Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades, Georgiades said: “Very interesting.”
On a lengthy analysis he wrote back in 2018, a year after the Greek Cypriot leader was shocked during the so-called Crans Montana process, Polyviou suggested the sides some radical changes in the methodology of the talks: To drop the “comprehensive settlement” as well as the “wholesome approach” according to which “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.” That is, he suggested, the “compartmentalization” of the problem and move forward step by step. On the
Turkish Cypriot side, there are as well quite many customers to buy such an approach.
Furthermore, Polyviou, who is believed to be the “voice” of Anastasiades, wrote, “Sometimes a self- examination is needed and possibly an overturn of existing beliefs, approaches and tactics. It was Lincoln, who at a certain point of the civil war in America, claimed that sometimes ‘we must think anew’.”
Polyvou’s very strong concerns regarding a federal settlement built on the principles of “political equality” and “effective participation in governance” on grounds – as Anastasiades sometimes also underlines – they would place the majority under the rule of the minority community demonstrate a handicapped mentality: Not to share sovereignty, and power with Turkish Cypriots and to preserve at any cost the Republic of Cyprus because if a friction flares between the two component states in a federal Cyprus, the Turks might get out with their own state with a legitimate place in the international community.
So, what does Polyvou suggest? He indeed suggests going to a Cyprus Republic with an autonomous Turkish Cypriot area of around 28.6 through stages that he describes as “intermediate and evolutionary approach.”
The Turkish side would probably object the end result Polyvou has in mind, but he indeed offered a different approach, very much like what Özersay has been suggesting.