By Dr Yiorghos Leventis
Having outlined the sad historical background of the denial of implementation of the core UN principles of equal rights and of self-determination for the people of Cyprus in our Victory Day anniversary analysis (9 May 2016), it is necessary to take a look at the current state of affairs with respect to the settlement process of the Cyprus question.
The latest statement we had from the Chief Negotiator of the victimised side on the Cyprus equation i.e. the Greek majority, whose right to self-determination has been violated for 70 long years, came out last weekend. It reads as follows: Today we have the best chance ever for reunification of Cyprus which is why we should take advantage of it and do everything we can in this direction. This is a unique opportunity and this window of opportunity will not stay open forever.
Many observers wonder what has radically changed in the talks to make Andreas Mavroyiannis come out with such a strong and enthusiastic statement: mark the phrases he used: the best chance ever for reunification, unique opportunity and window of opportunity [that] will not stay open forever.
Before putting out such an unsubstantiated enthusiastic statement about the prospects of the talks Andreas Mavroyiannis ought to have answered a host of hard questions:
How does an apartheid system of guaranteed population and property majorities in the constituent states to be established promote in any conceivable way reunification of the Republic?
Let us, for the sake of the argument, or even for the sake of being positive and constructive, accept that the Turks should be allowed to have the above described majorities in their constituent state in the future (con)federation under discussion. Naturally, a crucial question arises: has the Turkish side accepted to substantially reduce the territory under their control?
Who is going to finance the huge compensations needed to be paid to the Greek Cypriots who were forced out of their properties by the use of force of the notorious Turkish armed forces – which incidentally, habitually massacre the Kurdish population day in day out in real time in Turkey’s southeast?
The autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus exists for almost two millennia. It is the oldest trusted institution among the eighty per cent of Cypriots who declare their loyalty to the Greek Orthodox faith. Thereby the Greek Orthodox identity and faith outlasts in historical presence and surpasses in loyalty any 20th century (or 21st c. for that matter) attempt at state building.
In historical perspective, the frail and fragile state structures in the island of Cyprus turn pale before the endurance of the Church. Has the Turkish side agreed to the restoration and restitution of the Church’s inalienable properties and rights in the territory under their control? What will be the status of, say, the historical Diocese of Kyrenia – one of the three founding Dioceses of the Church of Cyprus – under the prescribed TC constituent state?
The running of three cumbersome state machineries in a Lilliputian (Con)Federal State structure presupposes a colossal budget: who will fund the three state machines – one of the ‘GC constituent state’, one of the ‘TC constituent state’ plus the (con)federal government administration?
Security and Guarantees. This is the most crucial aspect of the equation pertaining to securing the implementation of an agreed settlement. The Turkish (Cypriot?) side has not budged an inch from their insistence on Turkish guarantees. Ankara floats ideas for permanent presence of its troops, however reduced in number. Are we oblivious of the record of the Turkish Army? Another recipe for disaster?
There are no clear, let alone, just answers to the above crucial questions. The contorted answers floated in the international media outlets are undemocratic and unacceptable to say the least. A single example suffices: Mustafa Akinci, the TC leader, in a recent interview with the ‘Wall Street Journal’ unconvincingly spoke about loans and use of the natural gas proceeds to finance the settlement. He claimed that the latter belongs to both communities. Agreed in principle. But in what proportions? And what proportion of the gas proceeds should be pre-frozen for the settlement?
Part of the Cypriot press speculates that Andreas Mavroyiannis is just playing music to American ears in order to carry favour with the superpower in his bid for election as president of the next UN General Assembly. We do not wish to enter into this speculative discussion. We wish him good luck. For there is no doubt that his prospective election to this top UN job will be a great victory on the international plane for our semi-occupied Republic of Cyprus.
*Yiorgos Leventis is Director of International Security Forum: www.intersecurity-forum.org where this article first appeared