TRNC must be restructured
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been in severe administrative deficiency for decades irrespective of whether the so-called nationalists or friends - who in the name of being leftists don’t even believe in the existence of the state and rather defend Greek views - are in the government. In pursuit of individual or party interests, it would be immensely arduous to claim, if not impossible, to serve the Turkish Cypriot people and state by applying every color of nepotist understanding -- the largest partisanship in the drunkenness of power. Criticism may sound harsh, but this conviction is a product of years of experience that verified in all vividness that irrespective of whether there is a conservative, leftist or mixed coalition government, they have been equally awful.
Of course, it is significant to know which channel the Cyprus issue is moving toward for a solution or whether there is any hope for a solution. However, structural decay and severe management weakness in the TRNC are the most fundamental problems that need to be addressed. Irrespective of a resolution prospect, this is an urgent necessity.
The TRNC is like proof of failed governance; a system in which almost half of the population either works directly to the state or pensioners from the public sector cannot be a sustainable one. The TRNC has become “counselors’ paradise” where many top-level bureaucratic people are paid without going to work – some serving at party headquarters, most enjoying a defacto pensioner life with full salary. Being expelled from the partnership administration by the Greek Cypriots and facing hardships of the resistance period, Turkey is generously trying to offset the difficulties of the Greek Cypriot-imposed isolation on the Turkish Cypriot state, along with perhaps a list of several other dozens of reasons that might be considered as the culprits of this situation. However, the result does not change; The TRNC state is in very bad need of restructuring.
If there is a solution, whether it’s a confederation or a two-state one, it’s unsustainable; the continuation of this inflated state structure cannot be possible. Turkey’s financial support will not last forever either. Now, due to isolation, it may be understandable to need Turkey. However, if there is a solution or not, it is obvious that this anomaly must be dealt with. Both central and local governments, i.e., municipalities, should be stopped from being the “farms of politicians” and should be made rational and sustainable.
In fact, the biggest economic sustainability guarantee of the Turkish Cypriots after a solution will be the transformation of the TRNC into a state that can stand on its own two feet. Will that be possible?
These issues were not discussed at the 5+1 informal conference in Geneva. In response to the six-point Turkish unconventional proposal, the Greeks Cypriots continued echoing the same story they have been narrating for the past 60 years as if a federation had the possibility of realization, but the Turkish side rejected it. The Turkish Cypriot opposition is accusing President Ersin Tatar’s administration of going outside of the U.N. parameters, suggesting a two-state settlement and derailing a new process even before it started. However, they must have been very much aware of why Tatar offered state-to-state talks and for rescuing the 1964-dated U.N. resolution, recognizing the all-Greek government as the Cyprus government. Was it not clear that inter-communal talks between a “state” and a “minority” – based on the assumption that they are equal at the talks – have not been successful since 1968? Does it not mean that if different results are desired then this starting point needs to be changed?
The U.N. secretary-general can say that this request is outside the parameters of the U.N. However, it is necessary to see and understand that this new approach - which is indeed not new and was proposed first in 1998 but at the time Turkey did not stand firmly behind Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktaş – is the natural result of Greek bigotry and hopes that were all exhausted by the obsession of not sharing both the power and the resources of the island.
The informal conference is scheduled to convene for the second time in three months. Until then, both indirect talks and confidence-building measures will be held. What’s the result? If the Greeks’ basic approach does not change, then failure will again be inevitable. The Greek side does not believe that they can gain anything from a solution.
Therefore, it is necessary to show the Greek people that unless they change their mindset, they might lose if this problem is further dragged on.