Worse than old nightmares on Cyprus

Worse than old nightmares on Cyprus

As is said, “The bravest of the gypsies lists his crimes when boasting what a great man he is.” Turkish Cypriots sacked Mehmet Ali Talat from the presidency, kicked his party out of government and thus declared a firm “No” in 2009-2010 to officious and treacherous “cross voting” suggestions that aimed at creating a diabolical Cypriot nation as part of an effort to cleanse Turkishness from the island.

After legendary founding President Rauf R. Denktaş, the election of Talat to the presidency in 2005 was considered a reaffirmation of the 2004 pro-resolution resolve of the Turkish Cypriot people. Similarly, the 2010 electoral defeat of Talat or electoral victory of Dr. Derviş Eroğlu, was a reaffirmation by the Turkish Cypriot people that they wanted a solution but an honorable one in which they and their Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus would be able to have an honorable presence as one of the two politically equal, respectable, distinguished founding partners. Another sine qua non of a resolution of the Cyprus quagmire was continued and effective Turkish guarantee for the safety, well-being and constitutional status of the Turkish Cypriot founding member of the prospective Cyprus federation.

All along this long and difficult road of Cyprus peace, building a key Turkish Cypriot demand, “parthenogenesis” or ”virgin birth” disappeared from the negotiation table because of the wrong approaches of Talat during the 2005-2010 period. Yet, even if it was not raised officially at the talks, the understanding of the Turkish Cypriot side has always been that in a Cyprus settlement the present two states on the island would be converted into “founding states” and a new federal Cyprus would emerge.

Another important element of Cyprus peace making has always been the status of the guarantor powers or the fate of the 1960 guarantee scheme. While Greek Cypriots, though the faulty party that killed the 1960 partnership state by attacks on Turkish Cypriots from December 1963 on, have been demanding termination of the guarantee system, for Turkish Cypriots not only has Turkey’s guarantor status been of existential importance, they wanted a continuation of Turkey’s military presence on the island “at least for a reasonable period” after a resolution as well. 

The size of the Turkish Cypriot state and how the property issue would be resolved were other contentious subjects. A failed Israeli-Palestinian style “land for peace” approach was rejected by Turkish Cypriots all along as well as the “individual approach” to the property issue. Obviously a Turkish Cypriot state should have a certain defensive depth, must be integral (no cantonal deviation), must be economically sustainable and as regards to the individual property aspect of the problem, those living on the properties for the past four decades must have rights (as agreed by the European Court of Human Rights also) as much as the “first owner.” The property issue, thus, must be approached with a wholesome understanding rather than leaving it to individuals and turning it into probably a source of contention and violence. Besides, if the new state were a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation – which was agreed to back in the high level agreements of the 1970s and since then has become part of the U.N. parameters of a resolution – the number of Greeks who will return to northern Cyprus, as well as the ownership of property in the north, must reflect that fundamental condition. Furthermore, during the Eroğlu presidency an understanding was developed at the talks that if the Turkish Cypriot properties left on the Greek side – and in contrast to Turkish Cypriots that sprawled the former Greek properties, most of which were barren or very badly used and decayed since then – were handled with a Turkish Toki-style approach, a revalued compensation option could become rather probable.

Now, not only is the malicious cross-voting apparently back on stage, Talat reincarnated to active politics as the leader of the ruling Republican Turks’ Party (CTP) and is appealing for people to say “yes” in a referendum he expects will be put in front of people in May at the latest. He has been saying, “Our ‘no’ will be different than a Greek ‘no,’ say ‘yes’ otherwise we will face a calamity.” Typical Talat. Such a defeatist understanding cannot take Turkish Cypriots anywhere but total surrender and extinction.

Britain is ready to give up its guarantor status for Cyprus, as far as it is understood from the London contacts of Nikos Anastasiades. Greece is unable to pull its pants anyhow and cannot be hope for anyone. Pressure will be on Ankara to give up its guarantor status. Worse, was it not Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı’s press spokesman who told Greek Cypriot media that the “guarantee issue is no longer a Turkish Cypriot priority?”

I would say I have seen this film but the situation is heading to total failure. The Turkish Cypriot people will not say “yes” to such a deal on Cyprus which will not bring peace but only be a source of renewed bloodshed.