Sunday, May 6, 2012

A public debate destined to cause Turkey's ire?

Some interesting exchanges about the idea of introducing into public debate Turkey's double standards in approaching the rights of her own 15-20% ethnic Kurdish minority community  vs. Turkey's thinking since the 50s in approaching the rights of the Turkish Cypriot [tC] 18% ethnic minority community. The debate was fueled by the article  "What kind of pawn and in what game do Cypriots want to be? May 4, 2012"

Nektarios: An excellent analogy Kyriacos and dare I say an inspirational one at that. Convincing Cypriots of the importance of drawing the parallels between the two issues will however be the hardest part. Unfortunately, "public opinion" tends to be as sophisticated as that of a 5 year-old. Most Cypriots irrespective of how passionately they feel about the 'Turkey in Cyprus' problem (bluntly many of them don't) hardly know anything about the Kurdish issue or are indifferent to it at best. BIG mistake. We need to get the Cypriot mass media to start giving more frequent and detailed coverage of the Kurdish issue. That's step (2). Step (1) is this groupFriday at 3:55am

Skevi: I rather fight for Cypriots and reunification than Kurds. How may Kurds would like to fight for Cyprus? Anyone care to comment? Why call this group 'Cyprus' if we are going to be talking about Kurds all the time? Friday at 7:16am

Kyriacos: ‎Skevi, if you think about it the only ones that don't see the catalytic effect of such an analogy are either the Turks, for obvious reasons, but perhaps not surprisingly the Turkish Cypriots as well. The tCs fear that such a public discussion will reveal the APARTHEID quality of the rights they consider "enshrined", "sacred", "eternal", on which they base their "plight" today. You shouldn't be surprised that 100% of tCs, from Kemalist to Communist to Greek Cypriot [gC] lovers, support their 1960 "enshrined" rights. I would too if I were a tC, but that would not make me an honest seeker of a just solution. Friday at 10:55am

Kyriacos: Thank you Nektarios. We are on the same wavelength. And I promise you that in a year's time we will have changed the public debate on Cyprus 180 degrees. Friday at 11:00am

Kyriacos: ‎Skevi, fighting for the rights of Kurds in Turkey is almost identical to fighting for the rights of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus. I was amused recently when I heard a German lady MEP comment that Turkey will enter the EU via Diyarbakir. I too have been saying for a couple of years that "The solution to Cyprus's Turkey problem goes right through Diyarbakir!" | Chairwoman of German Party Says Turkey Can Only Go To EU Through Diyarbakir  Friday at 11:36am

Caroline: As it was addressed to you [Kyriacos], I think you need to answer Skevi's comment more fully or at least refer to many of your articles on this subject, perhaps: "What if Kurds were Turkish Cypriots" and "Let's Imagine what 1960 would mean for the Kurds of Turkey". Most of regulars in the group understand these analogies but many don't and just assume we are concentrating on the Kurdish cause, rather that the Cyprus enigma. Friday at 11:37am

Skevi: As I wrote before Carolyn. I will waste my energy on Cyprus not Kurdistan. I don't see any Kurds here supporting the cause of Cypriots.When you are dealing with Turkey talking about Kurds goes into deaf ears . I rather concentrate and support the good Cypriots that care about their country. 18 hours ago

KyriacosSkevi, Kurds should support Kurdistan, not Cyprus. Cypriots should support Cyprus, not Kurdistan. But if linking the two can catalytically help both causes, then we better exert our energy on the analogy. Because we both have one enemy: Turkey! Turkey's double standards must be exposed. The analogy can help Cyprus's tC problem [the other being Turkey], in other words agreeing what rights make sense for an ethnic community circa 15%-20% within a unitary state. I know one day you will change your mind. 33 minutes ago


Petros: Here is more future I beleive.It is the Jewish Lobby which builded Turkey's image as a vital ally to US,is the same lobby which has already started to demolish it. [English: May 4, 2012, 1:01 p.m. EDT Cyprus Foreign Minister Addresses AJC Global Forum | Greek: Στο Παγκόσμιο Φόρουμ Αμερικανικής-Εβραϊκής Επιτροπής η ΥΠΕΞ] Thursday at 11:51am

Kyriacos: This is more wishful thinking Petros. Why are we afraid to look ahead and protect our interests? Will Israel fight our battle? Will anyone? I say, AND PLEASE CORRECT ME IF WRONG, Israel too will be happy to explore/export/cooperate on energy with Cyprus with the status quo remaining as is. Israel will be just as happy if we seal an Annan like BBF agreement. Why should they care? Why should anyone? Thursday at 11:57am

Petros: ‎Kyriacos,the Jewish Lobby is the one that builded Turkey's case and we lost our international support. Israel will not fight for us,but will support us politically in decision centres so that the adverse situation for us can change.From there on it is upto us how we handle things. Thursday at 12:05pm

Petros: Israel's top priority is its security. Do you think they would be interested to invest in Cyprus for common refineries etc in a bizonal state that can collapse and Turkey will be a breath away from these plants? They would not like a BBF solution and have Turkey their foe at all places.It is upto us to ''kill'' BBF. Thursday at 12:09pm

Kyriacos: ‎Petros, I agree with "It is up to us to 'kill' BBF" . Israel would be happy to keep Turkey out of its affairs. Israel does not care for solution A or solution B in Cyprus, as long as it keeps Turkey out, or if we we give Turkey half of Cyprus. It's up to us to change the parameters of the equation. As things stand we are doomed, energy or no energy, Israeli or no Israeli relationship. We need a CATALYST to introduce sense into the basic thinking behind a solution. Thursday at 12:14pm

Reuven: My instinct is that the current Israeli government wouldnn't want to see a BBF [bi-zonal, bi-communal federation] because it would mean a Turkish victory plain and simple. It's in Israel's interest to restrain Turkish hegemonic ambitions. But if, theoretically, the RoC were to accept a BBF Israel wouldn't be able to be more Catholic than the pope and oppose it. That's why Petros is right that Cypriots have to take the lead and articulate their own red lines. This was Israel's biggest diplomatic mistake: it used to have its red lines and then violated every one of them. Learn from our mistakes. Regarding this particular event, German foreign ministers usually show up at venues like this because they want to show that they're not Nazis any more. The Canadians showed up because Canada (believe it or not) is Israel's #1 friend in the world today, more so than the US. Friday at 7:35pm

Charalambos: I do hope that your instinct is right Reuven. With the support of Israel and the influence that the AJC possesses in the US some of damaged caused to the RoC by none other than Henry Kissinger may be rectified. You are right though in your comment that "Israel cannot be more Catholic than the pope". Friday at 7:48pm

Renos: Of course Israel does not a BBF in Cyprus. Neither would the Cypriots. Why are we voting for Presidents that actually 'negotiate' for a BBF? It doesn't worry us (me at least) the least, as a solution would be placed at a referendum (and rejected). Friday at 7:53pm

Kyriacos: The issue is whether we can redraw our red lines without repercussions. That's why it has been so difficult for the Cypriot political elite to distance itself from BBF basis. In the end, what everyone is afraid to ask is "what comes after no agreement?". My guess is that nobody will dare give an answer, preferring to sustain the status quo. It is therefore imperative that more is needed by our side. A simple export would do the trick: What kind of pawn and in what game do Cypriots want to be? Let's take back control of the agenda! Friday at 8:06pm

Renos: @Kyriakos. We have tried with Presidents from the Left, the Center and the Right for a workable, viable solution to no avail. Its not our problem we never reached a solution. Turkey wants to control the whole of Cyprus, which we will never accept. Can one accuse eg Christofias for being intransigent? Or Clerides with his Annan Plan for that? No solution is better than a bad solution. And life goes on with the economic crisis being our main concern these days. What has changed for the better last two years is that the west will not pressure us to accept a BBF, because of Turkey's megalomania, the 'Arab Spring' and the gas deposits. @ Caroline. There is no candidate for the Presidency who is anti- BBF as such. The dress that is in fashion this elections time is: A BBF with the CORRECT CONTENT!! It suits all parties, all candidates and,I dare say, the whole electorate. Friday at 9:41pm

Kyriacos: ‎@Renos: I have been saying that time suits all. Except us. We need to alter the equation urgently. We need to change the agenda. We need to ask WHY in the most official manner. WHY not grant Kurds in Turkey what Turkey has been advocating for tCs? We need to ask LOUDLY. 'To BBF or not to BBF' will become irrelevant, once we all start talking about the right level of rights for ethnic communities circa 15-18% inside unitary states, unitary states where Turkey has or claims to have a say. Friday at 9:50pm

Renos: ‎@Kyriakos. I admire your persistence on relating the Kurdish issue and our predicament. We are a recognized state, we are members of the EU, we have so many U.N. resolutions in our favor, we have been ethnically cleansed, colonized by the Anatolians ... yet, when did you last hear of any President or PM. of our partners in the EU or anybody in the world for that matter, tell Turkey get out of Cyprus, all refugees should return to their homes, one man one vote etc. OR ELSE? Friday at 10:43pm

Kyriacos: ‎@Renos, you stated "No solution is better than a bad solution.". I agree. I would like to ask you how you see things in Cyprus in 2030? Do you see Turkey in the picture? How do you see the balance of power changing? Via what process? By whom? Do you still hope for Cyprus? Friday at 10:46pm

Renos: Thank you for the question Kyriakos. The ONLY hope for our liberation is when and if Turkey gets more, much more, Islamist OR sides with the mullahs of Iran. Turkey will never 'negotiate' a workable solution for Cyprus. Look at her history: What she conquers she does not surrender at a negotiating table. When I was young I had a neighbor whose parents were refugees from Smyrna and kept the key to their house. I had a friend in Ayia Napa who refused to shave his beard until he returns to house in Famagusta. Of course there is still hope for Cyprus, Turkey is unpredictable with her alliances. In my opinion, negotiations are really a waste of time. Thank God our President had to learn this the hard way, at last. Friday at 11:08pm

Kyriacos: ‎@Renos: FOUR points. First, we haven't heard anything because we have not asked. We allowed the UK and Turkey to CONTROL THE AGENDA, and have remained hostages to that horrific agenda since 1960, which became worse in 77-79. We have not heard because we have been too timid to ask or propose anything different. I am not saying the strategy has been necessarily bad as the international environment placed higher priority on Turkey than Cyprus. Until recently, perhaps. It needs to be tested.

Second, we are indeed a recognized state of the UN. Turkey is too. Turkey too has a double digit ethnic minority that, lo and behold, asks for [today] pretty much the same things Turkey has been asking on tCs' behalf since the 1950s. I find it offensively unacceptable that the analogy has yet to be raised by Cyprus. Yes, it will upset Turkey. Yes, it will rock the boat. But isn't rocking the boat what we wish to do, otherwise we despair while watching our country's character being permanently violated.

Third, most Cypriots make subconsciously one mistake. We consider the "Cyprus problem" as singular. It is not. It has an international dimension, for which the UN, the EU, the ECHR, etc. have amply spoken, as you correctly state, BUT it has a national dimension too, that bears striking resemblance to Turkey's persisting Kurdish problem since 1923.

Fourth, ALL WE NEED TO DO IS ALTER THE AGENDA, in an honest attempt to bring some sense into the thinking behind the solution for Cyprus. Today, because of ENERGY, more people are willing to LISTEN. But whereas energy empowers us to speak and fosters an environment of willing listeners, energy itself is not a catalyst. The catalyst can be the introduction of a dimension into the CYPRUS ISSUE that can help everybody focus on the principles that should guide our way forward or even provide excuses for nations to adopt a different strategy vis-a-vis Cyprus and Turkey. Believe me, IT WILL PLACE UNIMAGINABLE PRESSURE ON TURKISH LEADERS TO ACT.

Last, having read your last comment, I do not believe in HOPE. Hope WILL GET US NOWHERE Renos. I believe in SMART ACTION. So, yes, Turkey never surrendered anything at the negotiating table. What sort of argument is that? Empires fall, especially feeble ones like Turkey. I still have a glossy world map on my wall with the USSR spanning half the globe. They too had other plans. All we need to do is push the giant slightly. Believe, David, believe! Friday at 11:27pm

Petros: Good evening to all. Kyriacos, how can we get the Kurdish cause work for our merit? What steps or plan must we have and implement in order to achieve it? Friday at 11:35pm

KyriacosPetros, we need two things: [1] introduce the idea in public debate; that is  [the objective of a conference under EU auspices] [2] the idea needs two heavyweight/ widely accepted political sponsors, one local, another European; I am working on it. Any ideas are welcome. In private please. Friday at 11:55pm

Kyriacos: ‎@ Renos First, I thank you but I need to correct your statement. I am not dedicated to the Kurdish cause. I am dedicated to the Cypriot cause.

I am not talking about a conference to decide the resolution of the problems [like the one envisioned to address the international aspects of Cyprus's Turkey/UK/Greece problems], but rather a conference [3-5 days] under EU auspices that will debate, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, the plights of Turkish Cypriots and the Kurds in their respective countries, with Turkey as the common denominator. Representatives will be MPs, MEPs, historians, academics, human rights' professionals, constitutional experts, from all countries/nations concerned. I doubt the Turkish Republic will attend in an official capacity. On the contrary, I expect Turkey will try to block it from ever happening.

The purpose of the conference is to place the analogy on the EU-Turkey agenda & far more importantly to educate the peoples of the affected countries, as well as those seeking to reach a resolution to the problems, about the issues involved, the principles that should govern the solutions and Turkey's involvement in both. Such a conference can be the platform via which the pressure will increase on Turkey to recognize the STRIKING SIMILARITIES between the two issues & the pressure will increase on the west to DEMAND AN EXPLANATION why the double standards.

Turkey is the link that binds the two issues inextricably together, as Turkey uses force in both cases, in favor of the ethnic minority in one, and extreme oppression against it in the other. Turkey wishes to give more rights to the 15-20 million Kurds, rights that nevertheless fall way short of Kurdish expectations, within the framework of a policy of integration. But in Cyprus, for about 100.000 Turkish Cypriots Turkey wishes to establish, using its leverage, a completely different philosophy; a loose federation/ confederation based on ethno-communal lines. Only through education can we highlight these blatant inconsistencies. Last, perhaps one of the most important byproducts of such a conference, would be educating the Turkish public itself about the double standards their leaders have been using in addressing the two issues.

THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL is that once we get everybody talking about the two issues side-by-side Turkey's world will become hell for this simple reason: the MORE she will demand for (ostensibly) the Turkish Cypriots, the MORE she will be expected to grant her Kurds. The former she considers natural. The latter she considers anathema. Before long, Turkey will adopt more reasonable positions in Cyprus too.

Your hope about an Iran-Israel war or some other cataclysmic event that will inadvertently liberate Cyprus too is nice to read about. No other comment.

Last, yes, I will support Eleni if she is the candidate of the center. I will support Lillikas just as vehemently if he is the one chosen by the center. I will support he or she who can confidently chart a new course, by first altering the parameters of the equation. Last, let's recall that nothing is agreed until all is agreed. That essentially means the only tangible thing there is the 77-79 agreements, and failing to reach a solution based on those, we are back at 1960. 1960 still has a problem, to strike the right balance between a majority and an ethnic minority. That is exactly the problem Turkey has been trying to solve since 1923 as well.

I personally advocate a modified 1960, a one-person-one-vote system, free of foreign meddling, free of apartheid clauses, free of separation based on ethnic lines, updated to be in line with the EU Acquis. Once we all [majority of us] agree on the end goal, reversing with sensitivity the repercussions of the invasion/ occupation/ ethnic cleansing/ cultural destruction will be a task to keep us busy for at least a generation. Yesterday at 10:50am

Caroline: What more can mere mortals add to that? I suggest that this is used at the opening speech at the conference, personally delivered by the monkey himself. Yesterday at 11:32am


PetrosChicago’s Greeks and Jews watching realignment in Mediterranean with shared interest, concern BY DAVID KASHI MAY 03, 2012 "An emerging alliance in the Mediterranean among Greece, Israel, the U.S. and Cyprus arises from turmoil in the region. The countries share increased military, economic and energy ties. While that’s happening thousands of miles away, here in Chicago and the U.S., Greek and Jewish communities are aligning together. The ties that Greek and Jewish communities have to their homeland and the shared interests that both communities have make them natural allies." 13 hours ago

Kyriacos: Greece, Cyprus and Israel are on the same page, and likely to remain for some time. The USA is a different story altogether, much more complex, as it is a nation with many diverging interests. It will be a happy day if the USA makes a clear choice one day and joins the GCI axis, but I personally doubt it will. The USA will prefer to keep Turkey in the equation, even if at the expense of Cyprus. Israel too would be willing to play along, so long as its energy interests remain intact. Therein lies the danger. That is why we URGENTLY need to change the agenda and alter the players' thinking about what really makes sense in Cyprus & what principles should guide the final solution. 32 minutes ago


Kyriacos: Unfortunately we remain victims of an agenda imposed on us by the British in 1960 & the Turks in 1974. Let's change the agenda. Let's shift the focus of all decision makers and the various concerned publics on the principles involved. Especially how Turkey applies them using force [since the 20s in Turkey & the 50s in Cyprus] in the cases of her own Kurds and our Turkish Cypriots. If we manage to successfully alter the agenda of the public debate on Cyprus then we stand a better chance to negotiate our problems [our Turkey problem & our tC problem] based on principles and human rights. The idea is to indirectly apply pressure on Turkey to share with the west her principles in approaching the "Cyprus problem", versus those she sees fit inside Turkey. The time to act is now. Inaction is not wise. Alternatively, a younger generation, far more detached from the problems, will be debating them in 2-3-4 decades under far worse on-the-ground realities. a few seconds ago


Kyriacos: To achieve freedom for Cyprus & true justice thereafter we need to get all players involved to agree on the principles involved. If we pursue such lofty goal we will render it impossible for Turkey to speak two languages: one for the 16-20million Kurds of Turkey, and another for less than 100.000 Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus. I have yet to meet a single Kurd who deems such pursuit as a bad idea. I only face apprehension from Cypriots. My position is this: if we genuinely believe in universal principles then we would be hypocritical not to allow for such a public debate to occur. We will all come out wiser, Kurds, Turks, Cypriots, British, Greeks and the UN. There may even be something in this for all national leaders in whose power lie [a] the resolution of Cyprus's Turkey problem [since 1950s & esp. since 1974] and Turkish Cypriot problems [since 1950s, 1960, 1963] [b] Turkey's Kurdish problem [since 1923]. 12 minutes ago

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Turkey's Kurds & Cyprus' tCypriots

As either unitary state or federation solutions are discussed as replacements to Cyprus' 1960 and Turkey's 1923 unworkable constitutions, should we abide by "if a right is a right too many for Turkey's Kurdish community (circa 23% of population) then that right is a right too many for Cyprus' tCypriot community too (circa 15%), and vice versa." Is the adoption of this fair logic the catalyst to securing just solutions for both UN countries.