TRNC reunification – different horizons

Last week it was stated by Lord Kilclooney, a member of the House of Lords, in an interview on Bayrak Radio, that it would be currently very difficult to reach a settlement in Cyprus because of the status and stance of the Greek Cypriot Administration. He went on to say that, “the international community, exerting pressure on the “Greek Cypriot side” and standing closer to the Turkish side, is the only way to pave the way for the solution of the Cyprus problem“.

Lord Kilclooney said that the “Greek Cypriot side’s” unilateral membership into the European Union has been the scenario of a disaster which added another mistake to the history of the EU.

South Cyprus has got all that it wanted. I don’t think they will approach an agreement with the Turkish Cypriots under such conditions”, he said.

He also criticised the Republic of Cyprus for not being willing to share natural resources found around Cyprus, this in reference to the discovery of gas fields off the southern shores of Cyprus.

Further, he said that an anti-Islam stance was behind the EU’s treatment of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

All of this rings true, although he does not mention the stubbornness of the Turkish Cypriot side. However, as events in this country develop, my feeling is that the Turks, that is to say both mainland and Cypriot Turkish politicians, do not expect or really wish to have a settlement. As to the general populace, Turkish newspaper ‘Zaman’ conducted lengthy interviews with 50 young Turkish and Greek Cypriots. The outcome of which was that the Turks wanted to keep their independence and did not wish to be dominated by mainland Turkey. However, they did want ‘guidance’ from them. Perhaps that is wishful thinking, given the large amounts of Turkish lira handed over to the TRNC.

Mainland Turkey has invested and continues to invest millions of Turkish lira in the North. There are moves towards privatisation, new roads are being built, a water pipeline is being constructed to go between Turkey and North Cyprus and the EU will be giving 27.2 million Euros for further development. Turkey may be also planning to drill for oil on and offshore North Cyprus. The first attempt onshore found no reserves of oil or gas. But I imagine they will keep on looking.

So it seems that there is much less incentive for the north to try and co-operate to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. Doubtless they are heartsick, as are the other protagonists and onlookers, over the long and seemingly endless saga that is the Cyprus problem. I also wonder who wants a resolution to the problem more, the Greek or the Turkish Cypriots?

It would appear that the TRNC and Turkey are looking to a different horizon. The game is afoot!

Lord Kilclooney is a former spokesperson for Trade and Industry 1992-97 and then Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 1997-2001

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