Time for fresh ideas for Cyprus

Time for fresh ideas for Cyprus

A clear message was delivered to Jane Holl Lute, the special Cyprus adviser to the United Nations’ secretary-general, in Turkish Cyprus. Unlike the Greek Cypriot side’s obscure “we are ready to resume wherever we left in Crans Montana last year” statement, Lute was told at the Turkish Cypriot presidential office that the resumption of the Cyprus process required a major mentality transformation on the Greek Cypriot side.

Rather than discussing why the process collapsed in Crans Montana, it might be wiser to look at why there wasn’t a Cyprus deal after so many decades of talks since they first started in 1968.

Obviously, if the aim is to find a way to resolve the Cyprus problem, perhaps it is high time to consider what went wrong in all attempts since then.

Rehashing the same old process and expecting a different result this time would be odd, if not insanity. Sixty years must be more than enough to prove to everyone that the methods and the results targeted of the Cyprus talks’ process were unproductive.

Why all Cyprus initiatives failed becomes easy to understand if the aim of one of the parties has been to buy time, consolidate its status as the Cypriot government – a title usurped by force – in the meantime, and expect the Turkish Cypriot people to become exhausted and agree to patch up to that government as a “privileged minority.”

If, of course, the Greek Cypriot side insists the whole island belongs to them and only they have the right to singlehandedly rule it, obviously there can never be a Cyprus deal. Cyprus, as was once written by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is the home of the two people that share the same homeland. As long as the Greek Cypriot side insists on perceiving the equality of two people as the majority surrendering to a minority, there can never be a Cyprus accord.

As anticipated, Lute was told by the Greek Cypriot side that if Turkey agreed to withdraw its troops, terminate its guarantor rights, including the right to unilateral intervention, and talks resumed from where they collapsed in Crans Montana, there was a high prospect of success in the Cyprus talks this time. Neither the guarantee system, nor the Turkish intervention in 1974 or the Turkish troops or “settlers” on the island, however, are among the root causes of the Cyprus issue. The root cause is and was the Greek Cypriot greed to make Cyprus a Greek island and refusal to share the land and administration of Cyprus with the other community. Why? Because the Greek Cypriot administration’s mentality never grasped the reality that Turkish Cypriots have the same rights as the Greek community.

In Greece and Turkey, Lute will continue talks and listen to different aspects of the Cyprus problem. But this has already marred the possibility of a settlement. Can she change it? Can she convince the Greek Cypriots to agree to the political equality of Turkish Cypriots?

A federation has been proven to be a target impossible to achieve. A new basis and target are needed for the Cyprus talks. It is time to think about “two states in the EU” or similar settlement ideas.

Yusuf Kanlı, Greek Cyprus,