We have entered a period of deep crisis surrounding the Cyprus problem. This is due to the collapse (of the negotiation procedure) at Mont Peleran and Crans Montana.
An attempt to solve the Cyprus problem has – I say supposedly – been made without the proper preparation and with masquerading both on the part of the Turkish side and it appears from our side too. Those who say that we went to these meetings unprepared and with deceptive goals are right. In my view, a sincere effort wasn’t made to solve the Cyprus problem by our own side. I believe we were once again guided by the blame game doctrine, since the Turkish side’s intransigence is given.
There is something else too. That is, the virus that infects certain circles and forces whenever elections are approaching. The same illness struck in 1992 and led to the burial of the Ghali Set of Ideas, which took Denktash out of the difficult position he was in, at the same time as the former UN Secretary-General Secretary had put him in the corner. There followed a barren period of confidence building measures, followed by the policy of “protaxis” (Note: the policy of setting “preconditions” that predetermine the results of negotiations), defence dogmas, the “active volcano” theory on the Cyprus problem and other adventurist policies. This resulted in the regression of the problem and the resolution approved by the UN for “everything is on the table”. In the 1998 presidential elections, we had the S300 missiles crisis issue, the re-election of Clerides and we ended up with the Annan plan, with all the aftermath. The Cyprus problem and the principles of its solution were sacrificed for the sake of considerations and expediencies. Expediencies are constantly on the agenda of the same political faction. The same faction, which I think today too, is sacrificing the possibilities of a solution of the Cyprus problem for the sake of re-election.
There is no doubt that Turkey continues to be intransigent and is promoting its own goals with regards the Cyprus problem. In the blame game, however, it seems to have maneuvered better than us, covered its back and indeed found itself steps ahead. This is what the discontent of the United Nations demonstrates, which is evident and does not seem to be directed exclusively at the Turkish side or even directed at the Turkish side, but is in all probability pointing the finger at our side.
Cavusoglou was covered even according to our side’s minutes as well, with the position “the UN Secretary-General knows”. What does the phrase the Secretary-General knows imply? I will give my own arbitrary interpretation. I believe that Cavusoglou assured the Secretary-General that Turkey accepts the annulment of the guarantees as we knew it, as well as the right of unilateral intervention. It requested the staying of 650 Turkish soldiers and 950 Greek soldiers to be in force for 15 years, that is to say what is provided for in the Treaty of Alliance and a revision – not annulment – in 15 years. This sounds unacceptable to our ears. And it is.
The question, however, is the following: Could we not have negotiated a change or differentiation of this position of Turkey, so that after a period of time, through the talks and with the help of the UN Secretary-General, an annulment of the presence of any troops would be defined? Did we really demand “zero army, zero guarantees”, as the Turkish side claims? The call for zero guarantees is understandable. However, the zero army, without a withdrawal clause and the extracts provided by the Treaty of Alliance, for a specific amount of time that will be agreed upon, is far-fetched. If that is the case, we are indeed behaving as if our troops are on the outskirts of Constantinople and Ankara and are ready to charge and seize them. I believe that this gave Cavusoglou the possibility to slip away, saying to the Secretary-General that he did not tell him such thing and to claim that it is several steps ahead.
One would say that if the responsibility lies exclusively with Turkey and its intransigence, at the same time or subsequently, the UN Secretary-General should have taken a clear position denouncing Cavusoglou’s behaviour. Why didn’t he do so? Was it because he was deceived by Eide? Whatever Eide says, and whatever we may say, the UN Secretary-General was present and formed his own opinion.
According to my own reliable sources, both Mogherini, as well as high-ranking UN representatives, with positions just under the UN Secretary-General, are dissatisfied with us.
I regret to note that the minutes forwarded to us by the President of the Republic, prepared by Andreas Mavroyiannis, did not convince the United Nations of our just demands. Fortunately, the UN Secretary-General is a flexible person with the best intentions to help Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to solve the problem. However this is not enough. As our ancestors said, “God helps those who help themselves”. It seems at least to me personally, that we have made a move, but in the wrong direction
President Anastasiades has proceeded to concessions of our own side, according to many of those present, by offering the rotating presidency with a common election list, I would like to believe with a cross and weighted vote, setting a number of terms, given that he first had demonized the rotating presidency in the eyes and minds of the Greek Cypriots. The members of the National Council must understand that a solution to the Cyprus problem without the rotating presidency – and we must strive for it to be applied in the correct dimensions – will not exist.
For me, it is clear that the whole procedure in Mont Peleran and Crans Montana was led to a break down in such a way so as to give Turkey the possibility to start implementing Plan B and indeed unhindered. What Turkey is preparing to do now violates United Nations Resolutions 541 and 550 yet again, but without the immediate reaction of the United Nations, and one wonders why this is happening. It seems that we also have ourselves to blame as well. Has the Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis convinced during his mission to the United Nations, or did he come under heavy criticism? I’m very afraid it’s the latter. Of course, as far as Mavroyiannis is concerned, it’s the case of not blaming someone who is simply carrying out orders he is not responsible for.
How does our side react to the new fait accompli that Turkey is ready to implement, first of all in relation to Famagusta and with what it is implementing as a prelude concerning the Maronites, calling on them to return to the Maronite villages under Turkish Cypriot administration?
For reasons of history, I would like to recall the following, saying first that arrogance was never a good counsellor to us and we have paid a heavy price. AKEL, in 1983 because of its connections with the Turkish Cypriots and internationally, warned the late President Spyros Kyprianou that we were on the verge of the declaration of a “state” in the occupied areas. Spyros Kyprianou felt so confident and so strong that he ignored these warnings, saying that he knew better and that there was no such danger. I translate this as arrogance, which we have paid a heavy price for. The whole behaviour of the government and ruling forces today resembles the behaviour of the then President.
Do we comprehend that we are one step away from the final partition or/and annexation of the occupied territories to Turkey? Instead of formulating a program to prevent such developments that are before us, the government and ruling forces are behaving as if nothing is happening and are sending out the message that the only version of events is the one given by our own side. However apart from the version presented by the President and government, there is the occupying power too, and beyond that, the United Nations as well, headed by the UN Secretary-General Guterres. There is also the European Union, which on the one hand sometimes points its finger at Erdogan and at the same time appeases him.
I am very afraid that a very bad and destructive scenario for Cyprus is being repeated; a scenario similar to 1992 and to the burial of the Ghali Set of Ideas, which cost us heavily and led to regressions (confidence building measures, the “active volcano” theory, defence dogma, up to the S300 missiles issue) which led us to the Annan Plan, with the consent of everyone.
At this point I would like to note that the history of the Cyprus problem does not have the last 9 years as a starting point, as some are claiming. And I am ready to substantiate this by putting forth arguments, and not aphorisms.
I am regret to note that in the face of developments, our government seems to be panicking. One can’t explain otherwise the conflicting statements made by government officials, as well as the positions expressed like we will prepare ourselves to address developments. We should already have had a plan in place to deal with new fait accompli. At the same time, both the President of the Republic, as well as the members of the government that are handling the Cyprus problem, must send out clear signals demonstrating a readiness for a resumption of the negotiations with goodwill. By acting in this way we will send messages and prevent new fait accompli as regards our rights to extract and trade hydrocarbons from the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus. The Foreign Minister correctly states that the exploitation of hydrocarbons will generate revenues part of which will be allocated to the Turkish Cypriots. This, of course, on the precondition of the solution of the Cyprus problem, is something that is not new, since it is agreed and included in the convergences recorded.
Any initiatives that have to be taken must be free of considerations and convince that we first wish and are embodied with a good will to solve the Cyprus problem, otherwise we are worthy of our fate.