Tuesday, 5 January 2010


The following appeared in the Turkish Daily News. For those who do not know it, Yusuf Kanli is a T/C related to Denktash. He attended the English school and he has been living in Turkey for many years. He is usually well informed and the T/C leaders usually confide in him. What he writes should be read by those who would love to have the negotiating process terminated.

Is it Cyprus plan B?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010
In this column, over the decades, I have continuously stressed the same things whenever I wrote about the Cyprus problem. These include the issue of downgrading the status of the Greek Cypriot-run Cyprus Republic to the status of the Turkish Cypriot state, and upgrading the Turkish Cypriot state to the level of the Greek Cypriot state as a prerequisite for a settlement on Cyprus. Otherwise, I have stressed that as long as Greek Cypriots are treated as the sole legitimate government of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots as a minority demanding privileged status from that government, there will never be a power sharing settlement on the island on the basis of political equality between two peoples. If I were a Greek Cypriot, I would never ever vote “yes” to a power sharing deal as long as there was a price to voting “no.”
Over the past decades, current Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat and his socialist Republican Turks’ Party, or CTP, claimed that it was because of the “hard-line” position of former President Rauf Denktaş that a settlement on the island could not be reached.
Now, the same Talat has told reporters that because Greek Cypriots enjoy international recognition and EU membership, as the sole legitimate government of the entire island they lack the motivation to compromise enough to establish a new partnership federation with Turkish Cypriots – a partnership based on political equality. Talat has strong doubts that, unless told by great powers that if the current exercise collapses as a result of them, international recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state might be in the cards, Greek Cypriots will never ever agree to compromise. “They must be told what they might lose if they remain adamant,” he is quoted as saying during a closed-door meeting with some select journalists as part of a veiled start of his reelection campaign.
Has Talat indeed changed? Has he realized that unless the basis of the talks between the two sides is replaced with a real “equality of the two prospective partners” understanding there can be no success? Or, was this just a glimpse of plan B in the making?
Interesting enough, less than half an hour after that closed-door meeting with a group of select media reporters, Talat met with Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias for the first meeting of 2010. He presented him a set of proposals on “governance and power sharing” to be discussed during next week’s accelerated talks. Among those proposals, there was the much-discussed “cross-voting” for the election of the president and the vice president of the future partnership state. Cross-voting was demanded by the Greek Cypriot side. Talat, though initially against the idea, was supportive of the proposal with some conditions. These include providing Turkey and Turkish nationals the very rights the EU countries and EU nationals would enjoy in Cyprus after a settlement. Prime Minister Derviş Eroğlu was totally against the idea. Ankara partly supported Talat and partly supported Eroğlu.
During Eroğlu’s recent visit to Ankara it was decided that a technical committee composed of population, statistical and other experts from the Turkish Cypriot presidency and the Prime Ministry would examine the possible pros and cons of the proposal before Talat’s upcoming visit to Turkey on Thursday, in which a final decision will be made.
Now, according to some unverified claims on Jan. 1, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu phoned Talat and told him to “go ahead” and present the controversial nine-point package on governance and power sharing heading to Christofias.
Talat said: “But, we have not discussed the issue with Eroğlu yet … I do not want to have a public fight with him over the issue.” Davutoğlu phoned Eroğlu and informed him of the decision. He received: “I am still against it, but, if political responsibility rests on Talat and you, ‘go ahead.’” He then phoned Talat for a second time to say, “Eroğlu is still against it, but will go ahead despite his opposition.”
For example, if Christofias has already told Talat that his “cross-voting” proposal cannot be part of a give-and-take process and no conditions can be attached to it [that’s what it says in the minutes this writer read a while ago], what might be the meaning of Talat now saying “yes” to that proposal provided that the Greek Cypriot leader agreed to give Turkish nationals free entry, freedom of circulation all over the island, freedom of settlement and freedom of owning property as if they are EU nationals? Would not that mean provoking Christofias to say “no” to his own proposal?
Then, is Talat aiming to force Christofias out of the talks and tell the world: “You see, Christofias has walked out of the process. They have to pay a price. Now it’s time to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state?”
Is this plan B of Talat and Davutoğlu?

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. As far as I know this is the first time there has been a plain language description of a possible Turkish plan B, regarding the downgrading of the RoC. On the other hand I understand that the government has already started considering possible reaction to this scenario...
    A scenario that will fundamentally change the parameters of the Cyprus issue, and will indeed prove that it will cost dearly to the GC side if it is charged with the responsibility of losing another settlement chance.

    We all know that demanding that the Turkish nationals have equal rights with other EU nationals in a post solution Cyprus, is a non starter. If Talat has actually come up with this suggestion, it really means, (and I turn to Greek here) ότι το πουλλίν επέτασεν!