The Cyprus issue is so much more than `Who will be actively controlling the Eastern Mediterranean region`, it involves the security and welfare of the people of Turkey and those of Cypriot Turks. It is vital to the future of TRNC, the Blue Motherland and Turkey itself.
Turkey and the TRNC both have to reconsider and apply the necessary changes for their strategies under the current Eastern Mediterranean geopolitics.
It must first be stated that the security of TRNC comes from Turkey. Similarly Turkey’s security depends on Cyprus.
This is the irrevocable, unalterable, unyielding principle of this issue.
We feel obliged to add the following statement to this principle:
The welfare of Cypriot Turks comes from Turkey just as Turkey’s welfare depends on TRNC.
The `Final Word on Cyprus` conference was organized by the Turkish Bar Association with the objective of “contributing towards a new road map that will ensure our rights and interests in Cyprus.” The conference also aimed to bring sound legal arguments to the issue at hand.
The Cyprus conflict has gone beyond a simple disagreement between two peoples thanks to Greeks’ and Cypriot Greeks’ commitment to the Hellenistic ideology that surfaces in their attempts to enlarge their dominance in and around Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean as well as the escalated conflict with regards to marine jurisdiction. This conflict/competition that is taking place in one of the most strategically important locations in the world, may in a way, shape the future balance of the world.
Under the current conditions the staples put forth by the Doruk Agreements of 1977-1979 as well as the UN parameters to resolve the Cyprus issue can no longer be considered valid. Similarly, there has not been any meaningful developments in the federal partnership negotiations that have been going on for 42 years. The main reason behind this is the Greeks’ refusal to grant equal political jurisdiction for both peoples of the island as well as their reluctance to honor the international Guaranty Treaties.
Last Word on Cyprus Conference which took place on 20-21 September 2019 ended with the following main resolutions:
The federal partnership structure that would guarantee two-sided political equality and was put forth by the Doruk Agreements of 1977-1979 can no longer be the road map going forward.
Under the current conditions, it appears that the only way to establish a partnership with the Greeks would be to write off any federation and instead focus on alternative negotiations. It would not be prudent to pursue any kind of federal solution under the Guterres documents at this point.
The Turkish side has to concentrate on developing and implementing plans and strategies that will eliminate the current status quo which is heavily favoring the Greek side. Turkey’s recent steps to kick start the drilling project in TPAO’s licenses granted by the TRNC, as well as the administration’s attempts to reallocate Varosha, Famagusta region to its previous inhabitants, are seen as positive developments. More steps similar to this are needed.
Unfortunately, none of the third parties involved in the conflict have so far offered any constructive plans.
Since a federal structure for Cyprus is out of the question, we must focus on a two-state solution that will guarantee the absolute freedom and equality of Cypriot Turks. While doing this, we must also thrive to buoy TRNC’s economic and political independence and work to have more states recognize TRNC. In this regard, the conference also deliberated on a possible `velvet separation` with the Greeks. All things considered, the TRNC is a 36 year old sovereign state. It has been established that the Greeks will only accept the Turks as a minority group rather than an equal partner, and this is fundamentally unacceptable.
It has been established that these facts have to be better communicated in the international arena.
The conference concludes that the legal status in Cyprus was disrupted by the Greeks in 1963 and the UN was complacent in the disarray.
During the meeting about the new energy policies in Eastern Mediterranean, it was established that for semi-closed seas like Eastern Mediterranean, every effort must be made to ensure that the size of territories comply with international maritime laws. This also involves the islands that are in close proximity to territorial waters and the need to limit their reach and jurisdiction. In order to accomplish this the length of the coastline, as well as the population of the islands, have to be considered. For example, an island like Meis which is only 2 km from Turkey mainland and is inhabited by only 300 people should not have the same rights and jurisdictions as the authority in the mainland.
Other recommendations stemming from the conference include:
- A swift switch from a services economy towards a manufacturing economy for TRNC,
- Cultivating agriculture and stock farming by better utilizing the water obtained from Turkey,
- Easing of trading restrictions between Turkey and the TRNC,
- Finalizing the subterranean electricity line that will carry power from Turkey to Cyprus,
- Eliminating the Greek efforts to curtail TRNC’s exports by utilizing all the technologies at hand,
- Appealing to the international arena to have the air transportation restrictions on TRNC which clearly violates basic human rights,
- Supporting TRNC’s tourism and education sectors that help the country integrate with the international community,
- Taking steps to halt TRNC’s exclusion from international sporting events,
- Making sure that the Immovable Property Commission gets up to speed with its restrictions lifted,
- Stonewalling any attempt to reopen the Guarantee Treaties,
- Allowing for new developments in the Varosha, Famagusta region under TRNC’s administration.