Two states in the EU

Two states in the EU

Everyone has an idea about the intractability of the Cyprus problem as well as the need to find a resolution for it. What kind of settlement should the island have? More than 50 years of intercommunal talks have failed many times in many attempts to resolve the problem.

Once upon a time, the discussion was to give Turkish Cypriots some autonomous rights without disrupting the effectiveness of governance. That exercise failed with Greek Cypriot objections. For some time a “cantonal resolution” was considered. That faltered as well. The Acheson plans and such bids devised by the Americans and the British for a partition of the island could not be found acceptable either. Since 1975, the two sides, under the auspices of the goodwill mission of the United Nations Secretary-General were negotiating how to forge a federal Cyprus. In 2004, a UN-negotiated federation plan was flatly turned down by Greek Cypriots at a referendum. Turkish Cypriots accepted that plan, yet there are two needed to tango and there was no partner. Renewed efforts and a Turkish Cypriot president full of empathy toward Greek Cypriot feelings did not work either. This last federation bid hit the rocks again with Greek Cypriots delivering yet another “oxi” (no).

The last exercise was a futile attempt anyhow. Back in 2004, Greek Cypriots made their decision and declared they did not want a federal solution that required the participation of the governance of the island with Turkish Cypriots on the basis of political equality. Although, it is still questionable whether Albert Einstein did indeed use such an expression, can anyone refute the saying, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?” On and on, the Greek Cypriot side repeatedly clearly refused all prospects of a partnership state many times and once achieved, used force to kill their partners, the Turkish Cypriots, from 1963 to 1974. More than 50 years of negotiations have produced no results and if another 50 years are spent for a Cyprus federation there will be no results unless Greek Cypriots change their mindset and stop believing they own the island and Turkish Cypriots are some “aliens” who deserve nothing more than advanced minority status.

The International Crisis Group and many others have been penning articles for years suggesting that perhaps a confederal settlement or a two-state in the European Union–which indeed amounts to some sort of effective confederation–must as well be considered. Finally, for the first time, it was great to listen to Mustafa Akıncı clearly sending a loud message to the Greek Cypriot side that time was up for them to make a decision. Akıncı said the Greek Cypriot electorate must see that time was not working for the unity of Cyprus. In the next presidential elections (in February), they should make a wise decision and elect a leader willing to achieve peace and prepared to make some painful compromises. “If there will be a federal solution, there has to be two politically equal constituent states and a rotation of the presidency. They have to accept this,” he said. As Akıncı underlined, Turkish Cypriots have been determined not to become a patch up as a minority to a unitary state administered by the Greek Cypriots or to become a province of Turkey.

Thus, Akıncı stressed, perhaps the time has come to consider two states in the EU… What can I say, even a wrong clock might show the exact time once a day.

Two states in the EU might be painful for both sides. Greek Cypriots must accept a Turkish Cypriot state next door. Turkish Cypriots must accept the price of having such a state by making some generous territorial concessions. Apart from that, from special relations with Turkey to Turkey’s military presence and guarantees, all thorny issues which have been very worrisome for Greek Cypriots will only become the issues of the Turkish Cypriot state. Thus, the island will be united in the EU.

Torture is a crime

A tall, bald, bold and angry man was yelling the other day. He was heralding to his supporters that the government was considering some new “democratic” measures for tens of thousands of people facing court on charges of involvement in the July 15, 2016 failed coup or membership in a terrorist organization. He was quoted as saying “No more coming to court wearing whatever they want,” and added that two types of uniforms will be introduced for suspects: jumpsuits for “coup plotters” and jackets and trousers for “terrorists.”

Why are special uniforms considered? The obvious aim is to sentence those people in the eyes of the public before the courts deliver verdicts against them. Can such things happen in democratic societies? Who knows, tomorrow, the government might decide to place a certain sign on the arms or the lapels of a certain religious or ethnic minority. As he was discussing today which color might be best for a “putschist outfit” today, the officious, bootlicking “writers” might argue what a great job the government was doing by making them more visible, thus promoting that particular minority.

Summary execution of all sorts is torture and torture is a crime.