Time to think outside the box

The Conference on Cyprus held in Crans-Montana, Switzerland on July 7 appeared to offer the most hope for a solution, after decades of failed negotiations to solve the Cyprus issue. However, this too was closed down by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when participants clashed over the way forward.

In an opinion piece titled ‘What next in Cyprus?’ Turkish daily ‘Hurriyet’ journalist Mustafa Aydin suggests that a level playing field would supply more fruitful territory on which to hold negotiations.

Since the Republic of Cyprus is recognised by the international community and is also an EU member, the south had far less to lose and was therefore less motivated to make compromises at the talks. Meanwhile, the TRNC exists in isolation and under embargoes, giving the Turkish Cypriots a much weaker hand in the negotiations.

The parties, yet again, have descended into the blame game, which, he said was naive, given that everyone was repeating the same formula, yet expecting different results.

It was also unrealistic to expect two communities who basically distrust each other, to unite under a one-state system, he writes.

Furthermore, the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the 2004 Annan Plan, while the Greek Cypriots rejected it. Time to think outside the box, says Aydin.

The way to do this is for the TRNC, with support from Turkey, to work for recognition of the TRNC state. Even if only a few countries recognise it, it would provide some leverage in possible future negotiations.

Another concession to induce the Greek Cypriots to compromise would be to invite the former occupants of Varosha/Maras to move back to live under TRNC administration.


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