Friday, May 4, 2012

What kind of pawn and in what game do Cypriots want to be?

François-André Philidor, the greatest chess player of the 18th century, called pawns "the soul of chess." They play an important - though sometimes subtle - role in every chess game, and should you reach the endgame, pawns can become the most valuable pieces on the board! Cyprus is too small to be considered anything other than a pawn on any international balance of power chess game. But Cypriots owe themselves to wonder what kind of pawn and in what chess game they wish to be. Perhaps they now have such luxury.

Cyprus used to be weak, an isolated pawn, with no friendly pawns or pieces on the files adjacent to it to protect it. However, since 2004 it is a member of the EU. And since last year Cyprus has become an indispensable energy source and route for its wider European family, while at the same time acquiring an energy partner in its vicinity with impressive military power and international political weight.

My thesis has been that the so called "Cyprus Problem" equation, the combination of Cyprus's Turkey and Turkish Cypriot problems, must be altered. Unfortunately, no one sees the urgency for effectively addressing Cyprus's Turkey/TC problem in line with international law and universal principles. The status quo, the game as it is currently played on the BBF (bi-zonal, bi-communal federation) chessboard, serves everyone's interests satisfactorily, including those of the EU, the USA, Israel and certainly those of  Turkey and the UK, except the genuine interests of Cyprus and Cypriots. All of these players can afford to wait another 40 years paying lip service to the "Cyprus problem", shedding crocodile tears while they are busy each safeguarding their real interests, energy related for most players, geopolitical for the UK as "safeguarded" in the apartheid 1960 constitution, and for Turkey, the completion of the permanent demographic violation of Cyprus, so as to possibly serve in a future chapter of the "Cyprus problem" Turkey will again have helped create in the first place.

It is therefore of paramount importance and urgency for Cypriots to alter the equation of the "Cyprus problem". Equipped with their EU status, as well as their new energy role, they can confidently pursue such bold initiative. And the only way to do so is by introducing on the agenda Turkey's Kurdish analogy to Cyprus's Turkish Cypriot problem. In other words, by doing what Turkey would do, to export the problem and make it as pressing a problem for Turkey as it is for Cyprus. 

Linking Cyprus's Turkish Cypriot issue to the Kurdish issue of Turkey is the only effective way to [a] uncover the sheer hypocrisy on Turkey's approach to majority-minority community relations [b] bring about a fair, principle-based and permanent settlement to Cyprus' Turkish problem and [c] help bring community status recognition and full cultural rights for the close to 20 million Kurds of Turkey. A win-win-win for the Kurdish, Turkish and Cypriot peoples. It may also bring about the first ever truly democratic constitution in Turkey's history, a prerequisite for any serious improvement in EU-Turkey relations! 

Any other course of action/inaction by Cyprus would simply allow time for Turkey to complete and render permanent the demographic violation of our island nation, while allowing our friends and partners the space to wash their hands off their legal and ethical responsibilities towards Cyprus. 

Turkish leaders have been saying recently that we have reached the end game in Cyprus. If true, Cypriots need to remind themselves of some basic chess theory. In the endgame, pawns take on an even greater importance. The focus turns to promoting a pawn to a queen to gain a decisive advantage. In Cyprus's case, the equivalent of "promoting a pawn to a queen" would be modifying the chess game from a BBF one to a unitary one, where Turkey's principles on majority-minority relations can be examined side by side for both UN nations and their double digit ethnic minority communities.

Let's give Turkish leaders an end game they will never forget.

All Time Popular Posts

Last 7 Days Popular Posts


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.