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Cyprus Talks: Not Anytime Soon #CyprusTalks

Cyprus Talks: Not Anytime Soon <a class="hashtagger" href="">#CyprusTalks</a>

Cyprus diplomacy in New York produced nothing different than expected: A reaffirmation that there is neither a base nor political intention at the Greek Cypriot leadership for a compromise federal resolution of the Cyprus problem within the U.N. parameters of political equality, bi-zonality and bi-communality.

Apparently, on the Greek Cypriot side, only Andros Kyprianou, the leader of the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL), remains committed to a federal resolution, while President Nikos Anastasiades pays lip service to the idea but, under the disguise of federation, has been trying to promote a unitary resolution on the basis of individual rights rather than communal rights.

Even AKEL, on the other hand, wants a federal resolution under which Greek Cypriots will have absolute power, while Turkish Cypriots are patched up to the state with some advanced autonomous rights as a minority. Like the leftists in Turkish Cypriot areas, AKEL believes in “Cypriotness” and discards ethnical or sub-identities. In his latest remarks, Kyprianou underlined that the Greek Cypriot right was still aloof of the fact that Turkish Cypriots cannot resist forever to a gigantic and powerful Turkey.

For Kyrpianou, refusing federation and suggesting a two-state solution might be an existential mistake.

Recently, however, at a closed-door meeting, Anastasiades delivered a firm “oxi” (no) to a question on whether they would agree to a federal resolution giving Turkish Cypriots “partnership rights” if Turkey withdrew its soldiers, rotation of presidency was dropped from the cards and Ankara agreed to give up its guarantor status. This awkward situation was reported by a Turkish Cypriot journalist who has more Greek Cypriot comrades than his fans in Northern Cyprus.

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That was apparently the conclusion reached by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after separate round of talks with Turkish, Greek as well as Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders, and there was an informal get together of the foreign ministers of the three guarantor powers, Greece, Britain and Turkey.

According to Greek Cypriot sources, during a 20-minute meeting with Anastasiades, Guterres reportedly stressed he did not take up the Cyprus issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while his other contacts, as well as contacts by his temporary special consultant on Cyprus, Jane Holl Lute, showed for the time being there was neither sufficient ground nor an intention for a compromise resolution.

What’s said is of course of great importance as there are already claims that – fed up with the failure all through the past more than half century of all efforts to solve the Cyprusproblem, the Donald Trump administration might agree to terminate the presence of Cyprus peacemaking troops on Cyprus. U.N. troops were first dispatched to the island in March 1964 with a U.N. Security Council resolution recognizing for compelling reasons all Greek Cypriot governments as the Cyprus government even though the constitution as well as the founding agreements required a bi-communal government.

Such a move might be a game-changer. For different reasons, AKEL is aware of the impeding danger, Anastasiades and his conservatives still insist under duress Turkey would abandon Turkish Cypriots and compel them to patch up to the Cyprus republic as a minority.

Let’s hope the decision of Guterres that there was no common ground for the resumption of Cyprus talks reflects awareness of this mental fatigue. This fatigue should be removed for a Cyprus settlement rather than some sort of a formal divorce.

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Originally published in

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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