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Vicious Cyprus Questions #CyprusTalks

Vicious Cyprus Questions <a class="hashtagger" href="">#CyprusTalks</a>

Many friends, diplomats, colleagues are asking a web of questions.

Some are relevant, some are if not totally irrelevant, reflect a deficiency in understanding fundamentals of one of the top three problems of this antagonism-rich neighborhood. Most of the questions, unfortunately, cannot be answered by a journalist but anyhow in the absence of a major game changer, even a fortune teller cannot say or a magician cannot see in his/her glass ball whether there is hope for a reincarnation of the dead and buries federation hopes or even if there ever will be a Cyprus settlement.

What I said might be considered as a reflection of a pessimistic approach. However, it is a repeatedly proven fact that if the two sides insist on all outstanding issues on their peculiar description of white and refuse to meet at a gray area and if they spent more than four decades in such an exercise, can there be hope of success if they continued visiting the same outstanding issues with the same mentality, methodology and worse stubbornness?

Asked an international politics professor friend, “Why would the Greek Cypriot administration and people agree to a two-state resolution, or a federation and share power with Turkish Cypriots?” If we accept the 1977 High Level Agreement – at which the two sides agreed the Cyprus settlement will be a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation – as the starting point, 41 years of talks failed achieving a federal state because at repeated many rounds of talks Greek Cypriots refused to accept sharing power that they hijacked with use of force and violence from their Turkish Cypriot partners back in 1964. In private talks top Greek Cypriot personalities of various political clans have told this writer that rather than seeing a Turkish Cypriot president for five minutes at the helm of the Cyprus state, they would prefer a two-state resolution. Still, while a federal resolution requires a miracle, a two-state resolution will be very difficult, if not impossible. Political will and immense efforts will be needed to roll the rotary of such a process.

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For the Turkish and Greek Cypriot left federation appears to be an obsession. However, if power sharing a fundamental requirement of federation and Greek Cypriots have never ever wanted power sharing since they usurped power in 1964, insisting on federation is tantamount to sticking on to the status quo.

On the other hand, even though there is a serious doubt about his sincerity, Nikos Anastasiades, a leader coming from a “National Organization of Cypriot Fighters” (EOKA) terrorist gang background, has started floating the idea of loose federation or even two states in the European Union as a resolution formula. As EOKA was the gang that murdered so many Turkish Cypriots to achieve ethnic cleansing and to unite the island with Greece (Enosis), Anastasiades making such statements reflect how deep rooted “better we may have two stats rather than sharing power with Turks” understanding of the Greek Cypriot political elite.

If Greek Cypriots tilted towards a two-state settlement, why – as was seen in his very recent interview with Politis – Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and he Turkish Cypriot left categorically object two states – within EU or outside EU – as an option for settlement? If they are not against a settlement, why are so categorically against a resolution option voiced by the Greek Cypriot leader as well? Difficult to understand.

There are problems for the conservatives regarding the “two-states in EU” settlement prospect as they are scared that if north enters the EU as part of a unitary state or as a separate state Greeks benefitting from four freedoms (freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labor) would achieve Enosis through the EU door. To avoid such an eventuality, of course they ask until Turkey completes its EU accession four freedoms should be granted to Turkish citizens, naturally limited with Cyprus.

Also read:  A New Exercise #Cyprustalks

At this point perhaps it become easier to answer a question why the EU has been appearing as if it was against a two states in EU even if only with such an undertaking peace might be achieved in an endurable manner on the island.

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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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