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Federation in Cyprus Is Dead and Buried #CyprusTalks

Federation in Cyprus Is Dead and Buried <a class="hashtagger" href="https://sigmaturkey.com/tag/cyprustalks/">#CyprusTalks</a>

Ending the over half-century-old with cannot be described with that “searching a calf under an ox” cliché.

Fifty years of on-off Cyprus intercommunal negotiations must be enough to understand that one of the two parties to the problem has never had any intention to compromise and share power on the basis of political equality.

Greek Cypriots love to compare the situation of the Turkish Cypriots with the Kurdish problem in Turkey. Obviously, Kurds in Turkey and many other countries have a problem with the central government, but every problem has its own peculiarities and must be dealt with accordingly.

As Kofi Annan once said, the relationship between Cyprus’ Greek and Turkish communities is not one of “majority and minority,” but rather one of two peoples sharing the same homeland. There has never been a Cypriot nation and the Turkish Cypriots have never engaged in a secessionist campaign; rather, they were militarily attacked by Greek Cypriots and were subjected to an annihilation campaign. Everything else, including the Turkish intervention of 1974, settlers, territorial aspects, refugees and so on was a byproduct of the original crimes relentlessly committed by the Greek Cypriots between 1963 and 1974.

Federation was never the first choice of the Greek or Turkish Cypriot political authorities. It was simply the only option that the two sides considered both “possible” and “livable,” excluding the Greek Cypriot wish to converting the Cyprus republic into a totally Greek state and the Turkish Cypriot demand to have their own state. Another option, “double enosis,” or annexation of one half to Greece and the other to Turkey, was also on the cards for some. But among most Turkish Cypriots, particularly since the ascent to power of the Islamists, annexation to Turkey has become a rather unpopular, if not hated, option.

Fifty years of federation talks have produced some rather promising possible compromises. At the latest talks Turkey even (verbally) agreed to end its guarantor status and withdraw almost all Turkish troops from Cyprus. The return of sizeable territory to the Greek Cypriot side, including Morphou (Güzelyurt) was also tentatively offered. Yet the Greek Cypriot side could not agree to rotation of the presidency and other clauses reflecting the political equality and effective participation in governance of Turkish Cypriots. The negotiation car was thus driven into yet another dead-end.

It is obvious that we have now come to a new junction. One element to be considered in deciding which road to take should be the hydrocarbon riches off the island. Linking the island with an undersea cable to the Turkish – or from Crete to Cyprus to Israel – electricity grid is another. Opening Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot ships and energizing maritime commercial traffic between the eastern Mediterranean and the rest of the globe might be another. The resources, opportunities and capacity unleashed with a Cyprus resolution must as well be taken into account in concentrating on how to resolve the Cyprus problem.

Some may think it is beneficial for a country to ignore developments and continue living in its own small world, with its head buried deep in the sand. But neither the Turks nor the Greeks are ostriches; they are aware of the huge potential a Cyprus deal could unleash. The recent case of the Eni company’s failed drilling demonstrated clearly the futility of unilateral fait accomplis by the Greek Cypriot side, as if they are the only decision-makers regarding Cyprus’ natural resources. The acknowledgement of Turkish Cypriot rights under the 1960 agreements, and developing mechanisms for the mutual benefit of the two people of the island has become a must.

If reaping the benefits of the resources of the island on the basis of the 1960 partnership terms is so difficult for the Greek Cypriot side, how can there ever be a federal partnership state? It seems the concept of “federation” is now finally dead and buried.

Published in http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/yusuf-kanli/federation-in-cyprus-is-dead-and-buried-129914

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 www.hurriyetdailynews.com). 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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