The first round of talks between President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Mont Pelerin in Switzerland raised great expectations. They finished in a euphoric mood that an agreement was within reach and a new meeting was set for the following week to exchange maps. A very good start!
The euphoria was short lived! No sooner had the parties returned to Mont Pelerin a few days later but the talks collapsed. The Turkish Cypriot leader dropped a bombshell; he negated his agreement to provide maps! But not only that, he insisted on a five-party meeting instead of a UN multi-party conference! Backstabbed, the President of Cyprus had no other option but to discontinue the negotiations.
No sooner had the dust settled that Mr. Anastasiades made a U-turn. Some hidden forces persuaded him to organize a “get-together” dinner with Mr. Akinci complete with the entire UN entourage in Nicosia. He was anxious to resume the talks. Nobody knows exactly what was discussed during that night but Mr. Anastasiades announced afterwards that a third set of Mont Pelerin talks were to resume on the 9th -11th of January, 2017. He reiterated that maps were to be exchanged – for sure this time! The gathering of heavyweights would then sit down the next day (12th of January) to “seal” the Agreement for a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) and a New Cyprus.
Turkey showed its willingness to participate subject to the Republic of Cyprus not being anywhere in sight at the negotiating table! A weak president agreed to receive further humiliation by Turkey!
However, nothing is clear about the entire fiasco! There is political confusion and without transparency both sides keep sending contradictory messages on the sly. The people are utterly confused! Mr. Anastasiades claims that a UN multi-national conference will take place, while Mr. Akinci and Turkey, insist they are attending a five-party conference. Is there a difference? Absolutely, and a vast one at that! The UN on the other hand, has avoided confirming or denying the quandary and so has the European Union.
Meanwhile to sweeten the deal, Ankara and Mr. Akinci announced they had “no objection” on EU attendance on the periphery as an “observant” party but not to participate in any way – that would mean recognition of the Republic as an EU member state! It would not be surprising if Turkey now deceitfully plans to use a BBF agreement to enter the EU institutions from the side door. It shows that Ankara is dictating events while the rest follow suit.
At the stroke of a pen the Republic of Cyprus would be reduced down to a “Greek community” on equal footing with the 18% Turkish Cypriot ethnic minority. The objective of the conference is to destroy the Republic and under parthenogenesis, Mr. Anastasiades would sign an agreement on behalf of the “Greek community” – a very clever Ottoman conspiracy indeed!
The plot thickens. Contrary to public statements, Mr. Anastasiades in fact has clandestinely agreed to a five-party conference on the quiet and he would be attending and negotiating as the leader of the Greek Cypriot “community” and not as the president of the Republic.
Pressure on a conceding Cyprus government continued with a vengeance. Turkey played its cards very cleverly but so did the “impartial” UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide. He has been busy weaving his fine web of poisoned political intrigue and manipulation. He saw an opportunity to squeeze the noose even tighter!
He announced that Mr. Erdogan was “ready to play ball” and he would personally take part at the January conference. Why now? The answer lies somewhere between gobbledygook and reality. Artfully, the UN envoy has consistently avoided confirming if the UN Security Council members would be “invited” to take part at such a critical conference. Instead he vaguely assured everyone that “other relevant parties shall be invited as needed”. Whatever that means it’s anyone’s guess and the plot gets murkier!
Mr. Erdogan’s role at the conference opens up a new chapter in the never-ending Cyprus negotiations. Only a mastermind in shrewd diplomacy can face the Ottoman assault and cunning. Can the Cyprus team deal with Turkey’s skill in diplomacy backed by strength and political decisiveness? Very doubtful!
Meanwhile, Ankara did not waste time to go on the attack with its usual provocative rhetoric; Tugrel Turkes, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey announced that: “We are guarantors not only of the Turkish Cypriots, but of all the island, all the territories and all the population”. He is in fact; introducing a preamble claiming rights to the entire island to be revealed during the Geneva negations and horse-trading.
But Mr. Turkes did not stop there and reiterated Ankara’s position that no matter what happens at the Mont Pelerin conference, Turkey has no plans to remove all its troops or the illegal settlers from Cyprus and neither does it plan to abandon its guarantor status. Turkey’s position could not be clearer!
There is a nasty political game being played against Cyprus and some believe the timing it’s perfect for a “good kill”. Most of the political parties have been questioning the wisdom of Anastasiade’s obsession to negotiate under such treacherous conditions aimed to eliminate the Republic.
But, in the spirit of “political correctness,” there seems to exist an ungodly policy of not “offending” the Turkish Cypriot side or Ankara. Even the leader of the opposition party AKEL Mr. Andreas Kyprianou, has recently stated publicly that: “Cyprus is not Greek and has never been Greek, but a Bi-communal state”. Such political regurgitation belongs on rubbish heaps and does not help matters.
The 120.000 secular Turkish Cypriots – as opposed to 400.000 imported settlers – are facing ethnic extinction. The Muslim fertility rate, demographics, religious radicalism and nationalism would see to its annihilation! Erdogan’s Hala Sultan, the largest mosque built on the outskirts of Nicosia to accommodate 3000 worshippers is a prime example of what is happening in the occupied area. Unless averted, whether the Turkish Cypriots like it or not, the secular TC community would be phased out. One million mainland Turkish settlers would replace them under Erdogan’s instructions in line with his long-term geopolitical plans.
The continuation of the Republic of Cyprus is the only safeguard Cyprus has to stop Turkey in its tracks and protect the country. Destroy that safety net and one destroys the island to the influence of extremist and radical forces. Today, all Cypriots as EU citizens have their rights enshrined by Rule of Law and Justice, which allows them to work and travel throughout the EU in safety without a hindrance – lose that safety net and a can of worms will come to the surface!
However, under the current political developments, there are critical political scenarios that cannot be ignored:
(a) For a start, Turkey would not be accepted to join EU membership – not under Sultan Erdogan who has boasted in parliament of imprisoning 140.000 Turkish citizens and wants to bring back the death penalty to justify a murdering spree of his “enemies”;
(b) The Greek Cypriots would never approve a BBF to legalize the partition of the island and a “NO” Vote in a Referendum would leave the Anastasiades government in limbo and a call for his resignation in demand for new elections to safeguard the Republic;
(c) Akinci may decide on a closer relationship with Turkey and sever the relationship with the Republic of Cyprus. In doing so, Turkish Cypriots would lose their EU passports and all EU privileges provided by the Republic. An exodus of Turkish Cypriots would soon start to cross over into the Republic as Cypriot nationals;
That would be the start of the reunification of Cyprus and a Revolution of the Mind enforced by the people for the people. It would be done within the boundaries of the law and human rights and not by the decisions of a bunch of local and foreign inglorious politicians aimed to eliminate the Republic of Cyprus for geopolitical interests and natural gas deposits!
The Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation will not work because it’s based on chaos and nothing can survive chaos; it would certainly not work in Cyprus but bring about more chaos!
Andreas C Chrysafis
December 15, 2016