Time running out for Cyprus deal
It is awkward to say “this is the last chance” for the resolution of any problem, provided there is awareness of the existence of the problem and the need to resolve it. If not resolved today, there ought to be a fresh attempt tomorrow or the day after. Efforts to solve the Cyprus problem have been continuing since the 1968 first meeting of representatives of two peoples of the island in Lebanon.
Over the past half century many golden opportunities and last chances were missed and new chances and opportunities emerged.
While that being so, it is a fact that with the passing time a bi-communal and bi-zonal settlement, as agreed in the 1975 and 1977 high-level agreements, is unfortunately becoming a target more difficult to achieve. It is unfortunate but the new generations of Turks and Greeks of the eastern Mediterranean island have rather little in common, and the aspiration of a common future on the common homeland under one roof, federal or confederal or whatever it might be, is becoming less and less appealing for the young generations.
Thus, while there can always be a fresh hope for a Cyprus deal provided there is political will on the two sides of the island, reaching such a deal with very bitter compromises will become more and more difficult dues to the “all mortals will taste death” rule of life. The old are passing away and the young have no memory of living together with “the other.” Time is running out for a Cyprus deal not because there won’t be new opportunities for resolution but rather resolution would not be to the appetite of the new generations. Thus, time is precious and a resolution must come as early as possible.
Turkish and Greek foreign ministers meeting in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting agreed on the reciprocal visit of representatives from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot-run Cyprus Republic to both countries over the solution in Cyprus. The idea was originally tabled by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a 2011 meeting in Geneva with Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders. The Turkish Cypriot side had immediately accepted the proposal on the condition that representatives of the two leaders were treated equally. The Greek Cypriot side asked for time to consider the proposal but left the issue unanswered. It has been a permanent demand of Greek Cypriots to meet “directly” with Turkey but when such an offer was made it took them years to answer back and through Greece. Not shocking at all.
Anyhow, with an optimistic approach and with time running out in the current push of Cyprus diplomacy, such contacts between the island’s two peoples and Turkey and Greece might help to diffuse some doubts, help build confidence and thus facilitate a resolution.
Precious time was spent with the wishy-washy excuses of the Greek Cypriot side. As if the economic collapse would get better, months were wasted for Nikos Anastasiades to make up his mind and sit for talks. Even after months, if he manages to find an excuse he appears ready to cynically ask for further postponement of the talks. Whereas time is running out. Of course no timetable is announced, no deadline is fixed for the new Cyprus exercise but there is a natural deadline: The March 2014 local polls in Turkey. There is no need to go into details of why that date is important if we take into consideration the impacts of the Cyprus presidential election in the process. From March 2014 to July 2015 there will be three elections in Turkey.
Time is running out and the next effort will be even more difficult.