Many friends, diplomats, colleagues are asking a web of questions.
Some are relevant, some are if not totally irrelevant, reflect a deficiency in understanding fundamentals of one of the top three problems of this antagonism-rich neighborhood. Most of the questions, unfortunately, cannot be answered by a journalist but anyhow in the absence of a major game changer, even a fortune teller cannot say or a magician cannot see in his/her glass ball whether there is hope for a reincarnation of the dead and buries federation hopes or even if there ever will be a Cyprus settlement.
What I said might be considered as a reflection of a pessimistic approach. However, it is a repeatedly proven fact that if the two sides insist on all outstanding issues on their peculiar description of white and refuse to meet at a gray area and if they spent more than four decades in such an exercise, can there be hope of success if they continued visiting the same outstanding issues with the same mentality, methodology and worse stubbornness?
Asked an international politics professor friend, “Why would the Greek Cypriot administration and people agree to a two-state resolution, or a federation and share power with Turkish Cypriots?” If we accept the 1977 High Level Agreement – at which the two sides agreed the Cyprus settlement will be a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation – as the starting point, 41 years of talks failed achieving a federal state because at repeated many rounds of talks Greek Cypriots refused to accept sharing power that they hijacked with use of force and violence from their Turkish Cypriot partners back in 1964. In private talks top Greek Cypriot personalities of various political clans have told this writer that rather than seeing a Turkish Cypriot president for five minutes at the helm of the Cyprus state, they would prefer a two-state resolution. Still, while a federal resolution requires a miracle, a two-state resolution will be very difficult, if not impossible. Political will and immense efforts will be needed to roll the rotary of such a process.
For the Turkish and Greek Cypriot left federation appears to be an obsession. However, if power sharing a fundamental requirement of federation and Greek Cypriots have never ever wanted power sharing since they usurped power in 1964, insisting on federation is tantamount to sticking on to the status quo.
On the other hand, even though there is a serious doubt about his sincerity, Nikos Anastasiades, a leader coming from a “National Organization of Cypriot Fighters” (EOKA) terrorist gang background, has started floating the idea of loose federation or even two states in the European Union as a resolution formula. As EOKA was the gang that murdered so many Turkish Cypriots to achieve ethnic cleansing and to unite the island with Greece (Enosis), Anastasiades making such statements reflect how deep rooted “better we may have two stats rather than sharing power with Turks” understanding of the Greek Cypriot political elite.
If Greek Cypriots tilted towards a two-state settlement, why – as was seen in his very recent interview with Politis – Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and he Turkish Cypriot left categorically object two states – within EU or outside EU – as an option for settlement? If they are not against a settlement, why are so categorically against a resolution option voiced by the Greek Cypriot leader as well? Difficult to understand.
There are problems for the conservatives regarding the “two-states in EU” settlement prospect as they are scared that if north enters the EU as part of a unitary state or as a separate state Greeks benefitting from four freedoms (freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labor) would achieve Enosis through the EU door. To avoid such an eventuality, of course they ask until Turkey completes its EU accession four freedoms should be granted to Turkish citizens, naturally limited with Cyprus.
At this point perhaps it become easier to answer a question why the EU has been appearing as if it was against a two states in EU even if only with such an undertaking peace might be achieved in an endurable manner on the island.