Tired of Cyprus

Tired of Cyprus

The first crisis at the Greentree Cyprus trilateral summitry erupted when at the end of the talks on the first day a top U.N. official described the Cypriot participants as “Greek Cypriot” and “Turkish Cypriot” leaders and issued a warning that as “Greek Cypriot EU term presidency” will commence on July 1, there ought to be a resolution by that date. The uproar was from the Greek Cypriot side. They immediately started complaining that they were “downgraded” to the level of the Turkish Cypriot “community.” 

That was indeed the summary behind the failure of the Cyprus peace efforts since the 1968 start of the “intercommunal talks” between the two peoples of the island to forge a new partnership that would replace the 1960 partnership state. That partnership state fell victim in December 1963, just three years after it was established in 1960, to the Greek Cypriot greed of not sharing governance with Turkish Cypriot partners, or annexing the island to “Motherland Greece” or at least converting Cyprus into a “Hellenic Republic.”

Under a 2008 framework for the talks the sides agreed to work toward “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as defined by relevant Security Council resolutions.” It is assumed that the new partnership will comprise a federal government with a single international personality, along with two constituent states, a Turkish Cypriot one and a Greek Cypriot one, which will be of equal status. Furthermore, under several U.N. resolutions, Cyprus talks are being continued between “two equal communities” of the island. Yet, all through the more than past 50 years of talks the Greek Cypriot side never ever understood that sine qua non of success of the talks would be their acceptance of “political equality” of the two peoples. That was why the Greek Cypriot side so much exploded over the “Greek Cypriot term presidency” term used by Alexander Downer, the Cyprus special envoy.

In explaining why at the “robust and intensive” discussions at the Greentree summit only “limited progress” was achieved – as disclosed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – President Derviş Eroğlu and his chief representative at the talks, Kudret Özersay, said they did whatever possible, came about with many alternate proposals but all their offers were flatly rejected by Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and his team, who did not make any counter offers. “Christofias came there to reject everything… Right at the beginning he said he rejected our proposals and would need time to reveal his offers and thus condemned Greentree [to failure].”

Now, Ban made clear that he is tired of Cyprus as well. He gave the sides two more weeks to discuss remaining “domestic aspects” (the election of the executive, property and citizenship) and will review progress at the end of March. If there was sufficient progress he will call a “multilateral conference” in late April or early May to discuss the outer aspects of the problem headed by the guarantee system. That is, Ban has not given leaders a new appointment but just a last chance to do their homework. Otherwise they will face the consequences.

Like his predecessors Ban is tired of Cyprus as well.

Cyprus issue, Nicosia, TMT, EOKA,