The inability to establish a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation in Cyprus was because of the Greek Cypriot obsession with the idea that Cyprus is Greek, President Tatar’s Special Representative Ergün Olgun said.
Kibris Postasi reports that Olgun was speaking at an online seminar titled “The Future Of Cyprus”. Olgun, who was a chief negotiator in past Cyprus talks, added that this attitude had put an end to all opportunities to establish a federation.
He went on to say that under these conditions, President Tatar is looking towards a two-state solution or confederation. Olgun added that the Turkish Cypriots are willing to cooperate with the Greek Cypriots as regards a two-state solution.
Olgun noted that the aid of the Geneva Summit to be held in April, is to see if there is any common ground to restart negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
The Greek Cypriot view of Turkish Cypriots as a minority has created a difference of opinion, he said.
The President’s Special Representative pointed out that the EU was unable to be impartial in any way. This is because Cyprus and Greece are member states. Olgun said that he did not want the EU to take part in the Geneva Summit, not even as an observer.
Olgun emphasised that there are two states in Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots should accept this. The continuation of the status quo would be in everyone’s interest, he said. Olgun noted however, that the TRNC should not be left to exist in isolation.
UPDATE: Other points raised in the discussion were external influences of other countries, Turkey, Greece, the USA and Europe.
As already reported, it was believed that Europe would not agree to a two-state solution because the island of Cyprus is a member state [although the Turkish Cypriots do not enjoy the same benefits as the Greek Cypriots]. Therefore there are legal implications of formally dividing the island and recognising North Cyprus as a separate, sovereign entity.
It was also suggested that Britain, which is no longer a member of the EU, could raise its voice in support of formal partition or at least engage in free trade and open direct flights between the UK and North Cyprus. On the other hand an argument was made that Britain would not wish to upset the Greek Cypriots because it has military bases on the island.
A significant point was raised regarding the Greek Cypriots’ success in PR and how they have convinced many in the UK that theirs is a just cause. It was agreed by participants in the seminar the TRNC needed to raise its game regarding influencing world opinion on the topic.
Another issue raised was conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean and disputes about hydrocarbon rights. If the Cyprus problem was solved, it would go a long way to easing tensions in the E. Mediterranean, it was said.
The full seminar is available to watch on You Tube.
The online seminar was organised by the British Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations and the British Turkish Cypriot Association, in cooperation with the London School of Economics Turkish Think-Tank Circle Foundation and hosted by former UK minister Brooks Newmark.
Kibris Postasi, LGC News