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Old fellows in Cyprus #CyprusTalks

Old fellows in Cyprus <a class="hashtagger" href="">#CyprusTalks</a>

Nothing has changed in Cyprus.

Our old friend Nikos Anastasiades was reelected in the Feb. 5 run-off polls for a second five-year term as the president of Greek Cyprus, adding his name to a short list of Greek Cypriot leaders who managed to serve two terms as president. The caliber of Anastasiades, of course, is neither a match to Makarios or Glafkos Clerides, but as a leader who managed to get reelected for a second term his political success must be saluted.

Was it because he was a successful president that Greek Cypriots reelected him? Economy-wise Anastasiades’ first term might have been a success. After all, he inherited a collapsed economy from the socialist Demetris Christofias and achieved incredible success in leading the country to a recovery, which is still ongoing.

But politically, Anastasiades failed to achieve anything substantial because of his constantly flip-flopping tactics, indecisiveness, and the lack of political will to find a comprehensive federal resolution for Cyprus. Did the Greek Cypriots reelect him in hopes that he might reach a federal deal on his second term? No. On the country, he was elected with the pledge of continuing talks with a “zero soldiers, zero guarantees and zero settlers” position that guarantees a permanent nonsolution for the Cyprus deal.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı most probably, who – like his comrades in northern Cyprus – would have preferred to see socialist candidate Stavros Malas reelected, called Anastasiades to congratulate him and tell him: “It’s high time to talk of something new.” What would Anastasiades’ reply be? What could he say after all that campaigning of very rarely talking on the Cyprus problem, and even when he does he just mentions how frustrated he is with the failure to convince Turkey to withdraw its troops and agree on giving up its guarantor status in Cyprus. Were those the only subjects that failed in the last round of Cyprus talks? What were the reasons that made all round of Cyprus talks since 1968 end in failure?

Also read:  Turkish Cypriots Have More Rights on Cyprus than Greek Cypriots, Denktaş Says #Cyprustalks

It requires great ability now to return to Akıncı and ask to resume the Cyprus federation talks from where they were left on the evening of July, 6, 2017, when a dinner was hosted by the U.N. secretary-general. Could Anastasiades convince Akıncı that time has come to make a U-turn and accept Turkish Cypriot political equality, including rotation of presidency, in return for handing back Morphou (Güzelyurt), an end to Turkey’s guarantor status, a phased withdrawal of Turkish troops down to 650 (the requirement of the 1960 treaty of alliance) and even opening talks on withdrawal of that figure after 12 years?

There was good chemistry between Akıncı and Anastasiades, but that was gone. Could they rehash it now once again? Could there be something new between the two old fellows? It is often said that no man ever steps in the same river twice. Times have changed. But the two leaders are the same. Turkey and Greece are the same. Conditions are the same. Of course, no one can refute the probability that the two leaders might concoct a new process. I cannot rule that out, but it will be very difficult to rebuild the collapsed bridges.

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About The Author

Yusuf Kanli

Born in Cyprus in 1959, Yusuf Kanlı is a graduate of the English Language and Literature Department of the Faculty of Letters of the Ankara University. He started journalism with the Turkish Daily News in 1978. Until he briefly left the paper in 1985 (for military service in Northern Cyprus) he served as diplomatic correspondent, assistant foreign news editor and assistant editor. During this period he was as well one of the two co-authors of an annual reference book on Turkey, “Turkey Almanac”. After completing his military service he returned the Daily News as assistant editor. In 1989 he became executive editor and also started writing daily opinion articles. He continued to be one of the co-authors of the “Turkey Almanac” annual reference book. In February 1993, over differences with the publisher on editorial policy, he quit the paper and joined the Anatolia News Agency (AA) as deputy foreign news chief. He stayed with the Anatolia News Agency until September 1995. In this period, he covered the Armenia-Azerbaijan war over Nogorno-Karabagh, covered developments in the post-independence Central Asian republics. Because of his refusal as the duty editor to run a manipulated news story demanded by the then lady prime minister of the country, he was fired from the AA, a development that Kanlı considers as his “medal of honor” in the profession. On his return to the Daily News for a third time in October 1995, he first became an editor at large but soon assumed the responsibility of electronic publishing and established Turkey’s first daily updated English language news web site, the TDN Online on May 19, 1996 (now In January 1997, he became executive editor of the Daily News for a second time and stayed in that post until he was appointed as editor-in-chief in June 2004. In February 2007, he quit all executive duties and became a contract columnist of the newspaper. He has been also writing weekly articles in Turkish for a variety of newspapers and news portals in Northern Cyprus. He is a former chairperson and the honorary chairperson of Diplomacy Correspondents Association (DMD) of Turkey, an active member of Association of Foreign Policy Council, a member of the executive board and vice chairperson of the Association of Journalists and coordinator of the Press for Freedom project, which has been monitoring and reporting on press and freedom of expression issues in Turkey since 2013. He has been a member of several associations and foundations, mostly established by Turkish Cypriots living in Turkey or abroad. He is married to Dr. Aydan Kanlı and has one daughter, Cansu. He has Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Cypriot triple nationality.

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