Today’s laundry cannot be dried under yesterday’s sun
It is almost clear when and where the conference, which has now evolved into a 5+2 format with the U.N., the European Union will be participating as an observer, will convene in New York in the second half of February.
So, what’s to talk about? According to the Greek Cypriot leadership and Turkish Cypriot leftists speaking from the comforts of their houses, the “federation is the only way,” but now U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is aware that a meeting ground is needed that will not deny the actual reality on the island. Is that real? From now on, there must be a solution model to be built on the model of co-operation between the two states on the island.
Please be careful. The words federation and even confederacy are not used. In Crans Montana in 2017, the federation idea died and was buried when Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades, in pursuit of his personal interests and the upcoming presidential election, rejecting all the vital concessions generously made by former Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, who defended more Greek interests than any Greek Cypriot leader. Guterres, and the entire world, has also seen that there cannot be a federation with a political understanding that cannot agree to share sovereignty, power, and can only consider granting its partner some sort of a “privileged minority” status. Crans Montana was the last chance for a federal settlement. Anastasiades refused, and said, “I cannot convince my people to vote in support of this solution.” He was right. It would only be a romantic pursuit to think of being able to form a federal partnership based on power, resources and land sharing and equal partnership with a mentality that thought the island was all its own.
Whether or not Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot romantic leftists and Greek nationalists grasp it or not, the Cyprus issue entered a new era with the 2017 Crans Montana collapse of the talks. In this new era, perhaps the confederacy may still be given a chance, but it is also rapidly running out. This new era requires a new page on the model of co-operation between the two states on the island.
It’s a new process not only for left-wing politics, but also for the right, who are used to politics through populism and other than seldom rhetorical lip service on the national issue, have totally preferred to entrust it to either founding President Rauf Denktaş, up until his demise nine years ago, and then to a small group that grew up next to him. When the “bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution” idea, which was a cliché for decades, became meaningless, shallow politicians who were not accustomed to developing an idea or position on any issue put aside tangible ideas for progress turned into rabbits frozen under flash.
Although they seem to embrace the idea of a “two-state solution” they hear from someone, they do not have the ability to naturally defend this idea, which they could not even imagine what it was. The most painful examples of this situation are the recent presidential election process and the swings after the election.
It is imperative that President Ersin Tatar be supported in this process. More importantly, the presidential staff should enter the orientation regarding this new concept and goal. At the same time, both federalist, confederate advocates and at the same time trying to defend the politics of “two-state solution” are clearly indicators of a mental wobble.
No one should say, “The U.N. parameters do not cover the two states, the federation goal must be maintained.” The U.N. is neither categorically opposed to the approaches to the Cyprus issue, nor does it have such a mission. The U.N. is tasked with supporting the solution on the island. Like me, the U.N. still sees that there is no common ground on the Cyprus issue and is working on finding new ground.
What’s branded “impossible” today could be perfectly plausible tomorrow. As the late Süleyman Demirel, who served as Turkey’s ninth president, had said, “Today’s laundry cannot be dried under yesterday’s sun.” Let’s focus on today, the reality of today.