The unification of Cyprus: what is the next step after the failed negotiations? | European News
Athens, Greece – A few weeks after the UN-led talks in April failed to restart Cyprus reunification negotiations, the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister told Al Jazeera that the UN process was dead.
“As long as the Greek Cypriots are regarded as the Republic of Cyprus, as long as the Turkish Cypriots are regarded as only a community of the Republic, there will be no negotiations,” Tahsin Ertugruloglu told Al Al Jazeera.
“Equal international status is a must.”
The Turkish Cypriots declared Northern Cyprus the Turkish Republic in 1983, officially known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), but the UN Security Council immediately condemned it as “invalid” and “inconsistent with the 1960 treaty establishing Cyprus”. Independence from Britain.
Therefore, only Turkey recognizes it.
The internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus is the place where Greek Cypriots live.
Since then, the UN resolution called on the two parties to form a two-district, two-community federation.
Turkish Cypriot President Elcintatar came to power in October last year, announcing the failure of the UN negotiations and promising a two-State solution.
However, the federation was originally an idea of ??the Turkish Cypriots. They declared a federation in 1975. A few months later, the Greek coup in Nicosia attempted to trigger the Turkish invasion.
Turkey still occupies the northern third of the island, saying it needs to protect its ethnic minorities.
In 1964, inter-ethnic conflict has separated the two ethnic groups.
Ertugruloglu said: “We have established the Turkish Cypriot Federation and hope that the Greek Cypriots will establish their federation.”
“But the Greek Cypriots have no reason to accept this solution because they themselves are accepted by the world as the Republic of Cyprus, so they can enjoy the benefits they recognize… Why should they accept less than this? ?”
For 30 years, the Greek Cypriots have been negotiating a federal settlement. In 2004, the EU recognized the entire island, but suspended EU laws in the north until the problem was resolved.
Ertugruloglu opposes the view that TRNC is part of the European Union.
However, half of the citizens hold a Cyprus passport.
“Individual Turkish Cypriots may have obtained passports and identity cards for themselves from Greek Cypriots, but this does not mean [they] Recognize the Greek Cypriots as their country,” he said.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he will try to bring Greece and the Turkish Cypriots back to the negotiating table within a few months. Ertugruloglu said he will participate.
“Based on the results, we will determine the way forward together with our home country Turkey,” he said.
‘We are very close’
Four years ago, Guterres wrote in a report that it is closer than ever to reach an agreement.
“The essence of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem is actually there. The two sides are close to reaching a strategic understanding on safety and security and all other prominent core elements of a comprehensive solution,” Guterres conducted the final round of substantive in the Swiss resort of Kran. Write to the UN Security Council after the negotiation. Montana in 2017.
A senior diplomat who has in-depth knowledge of the talks said, “The outstanding issues left by Crans Montana… are trivial.”
“We are very close,” the diplomat, who asked not to be named, told Al Jazeera. “Everything Turkey does is avoidance because they want to avoid solutions.”
According to the diplomat, Turkey this month made the Cyprus Agreement a “hostage” for the European Council’s economic concessions.
“Turkey will get some concessions on immigration issues, and may even have a conditional statement that, if conditions permit, the complete customs union will be reviewed, but they won’t get anything beyond that.”
The Turkish lira plummeted between 2020 and 2021, reflecting investor concerns about rising unemployment, slowing growth and political uncertainty, as the rift between Turkey and its Western allies intensified.
The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, reserved the possibility of him vetoing any unilateral concessions in the EU.
Guterres could not evade his Security Council authorization to seek a federal plan. Former Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator Ozdir Nami believes that Tatars and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Eldo Ann is aware of this reality.
“Turkey and our current president are very clear that no country except Turkey is willing to recognize TRNC as an independent sovereign country on an island that has been accepted as a member of the European Union as a whole,” Nami told Al Jazeera.
“I think they just want to put forward this extreme position of recognizing TRNC a priori, and then accept the negotiation, and hope that someone, whether it is the American or the United Nations or the United Kingdom, will try to find a middle ground.”
He believes that there should be a time limit for discussions and consequences of the communities that voted against the plan.
On which side is the United States?
The Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected the UN plan that the Turkish Cypriots accepted by an overwhelming majority in 2004, but the two sides did not negotiate the plan.
Guterres told the Security Council that this process must change, from a bottom-up approach that first agrees on smaller issues, to a top-down process—agreeing on the most controversial issues.
“The early agreement at the strategic level will immediately provide all parties with the necessary assurance that the overall solution will contain those elements that are critical to each community, thereby providing impetus to complete the remaining technical details,” he said in his article Wrote in. report.
In essence, this is a reference to critical security issues, and non-Cypriot actors have a say in this.
Under the terms of independence, Britain, Turkey and Greece have the right to unilaterally intervene in the island. It was based on this guarantee treaty that Turkey invaded in 1974.
After becoming a member of the European Union in 2004, Cyprus stated that the guarantor is unnecessary and poses a threat. It calls for the abolition of these treaties and the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Turkey has expressed its willingness to modify but will not cancel its security rights.
“For the Turkish Cypriots, not having any security links with Turkey is considered an extremely dangerous situation,” Nami said, because they account for only one-fifth of the population.
Guterres said that in Crans Montana, a strategic agreement on security “begins to emerge.”
The key concession must be made by Turkey, which has an overwhelming military advantage.
“If Turkey — and Erdogan in particular — has a chance to become a champion of the Eastern Mediterranean peace process, Erdogan is once again seen as a legitimate and serious adversary. There is no need to wait for the call from Biden by the phone, but as A close ally in redesigning the great architecture of the Eastern Mediterranean…I think he will play,” Nano said.
However, Joe Biden’s administration has indicated that the US President is unwilling to appease Erdogan. It took him four months to call the President of Turkey.
His Secretary of State Anthony Brinken emphasized that the United States supports a federal solution.
“It is very important that the United States… insists on resolving any disputes peacefully and diplomatically, not through military means, and certainly not through provocative actions,” Brinken told Congress in March.
Last month, the US State Department stated that “the cooperation between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus is at a historic high.”
Since 2018, Cyprus has begun to conduct joint military exercises and training with the United States, dispatched its first security commissioner to Washington, and began to receive U.S. troops and ships.
Turkey is also expanding its military presence.
According to reports, Erdogan will build a new airport next month for Turkish-made TB2 drones that can carry bombs. In terms of geopolitics, the incident does not seem to be moving in the direction of restoring Erdogan in the West, but away from it.
Should Turkey not make concessions on security issues, and what will happen if the Cypriots cannot reach a comprehensive agreement?
Nami is not optimistic.
“Whether it’s formally annexed [to Turkey] Or actually Northern Cyprus in Turkey,” he said.