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Cyprus Anxiety Over ‘Fresh Ideas #CyprusTalks

Cyprus Anxiety Over ‘Fresh Ideas <a class="hashtagger" href="https://sigmaturkey.com/tag/cyprustalks/">#CyprusTalks</a>

Anxiety is brewing regarding the prospect of a Cyprus resolution.

Why? Has there been any change regarding the fundamental positions of the two antagonists of the island?

Indeed, there are contradicting signs. On one hand, the leaders of Egypt, Greece and Greek Cyprus met in Crete for what was perceived in Turkey as a “gathering of evil elements.” On the other hand, although not currently, it has been revealed Greek Cypriots began floating the idea of an establishment of a two-state loose federation, or a confederation on Cyprus, as early as summer of 2017, when Cyprus talks collapsed at Crans-Montana.

According to some well-informed claims, Greek Cypriots even pondered to offer a formula of “two states in the European Union” to Turkish Cypriots and shared most of these ideas, not only among themselves in closed-door meetings but also with the United Nations secretary-general and representatives of some governments interested in a Cyprus deal. Also, it was claimed both at Crans-Montana talks and later at a recent April meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı that such proposals had clearly been discussed.

Interesting, is it not? If such ideas were floating around even as early as the Crans-Montana collapse of talks, why is Akıncı still insisting on a federal solution even though after the Swiss talks, it was he who also boldly declared prospects of a federal deal were dead and buried because of Greek Cypriot antagonism?

For a deal on Cyprus, there is obviously a need for fresh ideas and constructive proposals that take into consideration the realities on the island. Even if Greek Cypriots do not want to acknowledge the Turkish Cypriot state, or how the Cyprus problem evolved over their greed to achieve union with Greece (Enosis), the future can only be built on conceding reality.

On the other hand, security concerns of Greek Cypriots as well as Turkish Cypriots requires reconsideration, rewording or overhaul of the 1960 guarantee system. If one side cannot give up the guarantee system while the other cannot live with it, in a loose federation, a confederation or two-state resolution, roles of guarantors or the entire system must be reconsidered.

So far, disclosures in the Greek Cypriot media regarding “fresh ideas” the Nikos Anastasiades administration is promising, fall short of sincerity, as they had not been publicly disclosed. If and when these ideas are officially placed on the negotiation table, of course there will be a new and promising basis for talks. On that day, however, if the Turkish Cypriots still have a president like Akıncı in office, I am afraid any new initiative will also be a golden opportunity missed.

Could anyone continue to have confidence in the Turkish Cypriot president, if had known about the “loose federation” and such ideas of the Greek Cypriot leadership as early as the Crans-Montana talks? In the meantime, he has insisted on a federal resolution while almost everyone is aware of the sensitivities, divergent positions and complexities that have marred a resolution for over the past 60 years.

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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