By Niyazi Kızılyürek
Today Cyprus is once again going through a difficult time. Apart from the tensions caused by Turkey in the Cypriot EEZ, there seems to be no prospect of resuming the talks. This situation does not surprise, and the (non) developments were specified.
The responsibility lies with both President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkey.
Since Crans Montana onwards, Nicos Anastasiades did not make any real effort to resume negotiations. He systematically referred to various ideas such as the “decentralized federation”, the “parliamentary model”, etc. From time to time he expressed other positions, but not once did he explicitly express that he accepts the Guterres Framework.
He did not respond to Mustafa Akinci’s clear position to sit at the negotiating table, in order to turn the Guterres Framework into a strategic agreement. He limited himself to taking his time. He believed that thanks to the cooperations in the region, Cyprus has become a geopolitical force and could try drilling for natural gas undisturbed to the end. It was clear that this policy would lead to Turkey’s involvement, something that President Anastasiades himself already knew.
Whatever he says today, he is also responsible for the impasse that started the illegal natural gas exploration actions of Turkey in the Cypriot EEZ. He did not show a willingness to return to the negotiating table, he tried to challenge the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots and keep Turkey out of the energy game. Despite the warning that “escaped” from DISY president Averof Neophytou, that if talks are not resumed “it will result in a tsunami,” and despite AKEL’s systematic warnings, Nicos Anastasiades did not back down.
On the other hand we have a Turkey which, after Crans Montana, made verbal statements through Cavusoglu that the idea of a federation has died. He made a clear announcement to the public that the time to search for a solution within the parameters of the United Nations has passed. That is, the solution of a federal state. Cavusoglu wanted to use the words of Anastasiades, who said behind closed doors, that he was open to a two state-confederation solution, etc. His goal was to create a prospect of a “two state” or “confederation” solution. Thus, by neglecting and underestimating Mustafa Akinci, he brought to the fore confederate enthusiast Kudret Ozersay.
This partnership, Anastasiades-Cavusoglu, deconstructed the only basis for talks that is the Guterres Framework and, by extension, the federal solution. It is no coincidence that the Secretary-General of the UN’s special envoy, Ms. Lute, despite her best efforts, has failed to find a common ground between the two sides in order for talks to begin. And that, because the coveted basis had already been abandoned by both Anastasiades and Cavusoglu.
The two competitors have to put an end as soon as possible to this dangerous game. Exiting the vicious cycle and resuming the negotiation process is very critical. Here, perhaps, Mustafa Akinci has to again transcend and take some initiatives. Without compromising on the issue of the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot, he can make proposals on the issue of “effective participation”. Of course, in a federal state it is not possible to make decisions without the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the executive, judicial and legislative bodies. But the request for a positive vote in every federal body, important or insignificant, can be revised.
Such an opening by Mustafa Akinci will be appreciated by both the UN and the EU. It will also close the door to some “rational” arguments of Nicos Anastasiades.
Cyprus is going through difficult times. It is our duty to be creative./ibna
Kizilyürek Niyazi is a Turkish Cypriot MEP with AKE.