Former Cyprus talks negotiators Osman Ertug and Ergün Olgun, in a joint statement, have said that a two-state solution and equality with the Greek Cypriots is the way forward.
Referring to the last round of talks at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, which pursued a federal solution and collapsed in 2017, despite the compromises offered by former President Mustafa Akinci, they said that any new negotiations should continue from the point where they were left. However, both sides can determine whether there is any common vision as a basis for negotiations, they said. The two former negotiators also accused the international community of emboldening the Greek Cypriot side to carry out unilateral activities in the search for hydrocarbons and excluding the Turkish Cypriots from any engagement in those activities.
Osman Ertuğ and Ergün Olgun that “the last round of the fifth set Cyprus Conferences held in the town of Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in June-July 2017 failed and it was known that the discussions based on a federal solution that had lasted for decades, had collapsed at the end of these meetings. It will be remembered that after the collapse, the relevant parties made statements confirming this result, and even President Akıncı put an end to the search for a federal solution by saying ‘this is the last attempt of our generation‘ ”.
Ertuğ and Olgun stated that negotiations between the two communities that started in 1968 for the first time and continued intermittently until the middle of 2017 should be questioned with an open mind and the necessary lessons should be learned by all parties concerned:
“The primary reason why these processes fail to produce a solution is the refusal of the Greek Cypriot side to share authority and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots on the basis of equal status, as well as the failure of the international community, in particular the United Nations, to provide the necessary conditions for a solution. As a matter of fact, the United Nations Security Council, with its resolutions on Cyprus since 1964, continued to treat the Greek Cypriot side, which had seized the Republic of Cyprus by force of arms in 1963, as the legitimate Government of Cyprus, and by doing so, did not leave any goals or motivation. Moreover, the Greek Cypriot Administration, encouraged by this, has maintained and still continues a relentless isolation and restriction policy against the Turkish Cypriot people.”
They also accused Akinci of giving concessions that endangered the rights, status and interests of the Turkish Cypriots. Ertuğ and Olgun stated the following:
“In fact, especially at the five-party conference in Geneva, which constitutes the last phase of the negotiations. and at the Crans-Montana meetings, Mr. Akıncı made concessions that endangered the rights, status and interests of our people by exceeding the limits of reasonable flexibility in terms of both substance and method, and even carried these concessions to the point of mapping without any compensation. However, even these concessions were not enough for the Greek Cypriot side to accept the equal status and legitimacy of the Turkish Cypriot side as one of the equal founding parties of the partnership aimed at the road to federal partnership.”
Ertuğ and Olgun concluded by stating:
“The conclusion is that the Greek Cypriot side prefers the continuation of the status quo, which allows it to maintain its so-called ‘legitimate government’ status, rather than a compromise of equal status, and uses the negotiation process as a means to maintain the status quo. While international actors, especially global powers, say that the status quo is unsustainable, they not only allow it, but also help the Greek Cypriot side to spread its hegemonic attitude in cooperation with Greece, under the pretext that the federation is being negotiated. The most obvious proof of this is the unilateral activities of the Greek Cypriot side, which are insisting on the discovery, extraction and utilisation of hydrocarbon resources offshore the island and exclude the Turkish Cypriot side.
“Nevertheless, it is a correct approach that the TRNC government and some political party officials bring alternative solution models, especially sovereign equality and a two-state solution, to the agenda…. We consider that the statement by the UN Secretary-General that he wanted to convene a five-party conference after the elections in the TRNC should only be considered within this framework.”