December 2016

The Solution is the Republic of Cyprus

by Sener Levent

“All who sought a solution [to the Cyprus issue] sought it in vain. They sought it because they do not really want a solution. But there is a solution. And it is the Republic of Cyprus.”

After the Vice President of the Turkish Government Tuğrul Türkeş said, “We are watching Akinci with respect”, how can I hope for a solution? If Akinci and Turkey are on the same road, can there be hope for a solution? When has Turkey ever wanted a solution in Cyprus? To this day I have not seen any evidence. Even those who say that Turkey said “yes” to the Annan Plan cannot say that she wants a solution. Because that too was a game. Turkey dared to say “yes” only when she was sure that the overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots would vote “no” to that plan. Moreover, even if that plan had been accepted, there was no guarantee that it would have been realised. Turkey, who does not respect international law and agreements, would certainly have found a way to wriggle out of it. And the Greek Cypriots would have lost the Republic of Cyprus, which would have been dissolved. That was the real target.

Whoever says that Turkey wants a solution is lying. Do not believe it, even if Akinci says it. There may well be a solution in Turkey’s mind, but it is no different from the solution once desired by Rauf Denktash. Turkey constantly talks about give and take, but she constantly wants to take without giving. She will give a small piece of the conquered territories and will take the State. And she considers this a great concession. She will never forgo the guarantees. And it is true that she is being supported by the USA and Europe in this. It is not Greece which sabotages the negotiations, it is Turkey. All those who, with regard to this issue, put Greece and Turkey in the same basket are wrong. Turkey and not Greece is the occupying power in Cyprus and has been for 42 years.

Look at this latest information. In the five-party conference [in January 2017] Tayyip Erdoğan will be participating on behalf of Turkey. Just think. The duo Erdoğan-Akinci. Who will pull whose ear? Who will scold who? If this duo is together, how can I have hopes for a solution?

And behold, another fresh piece of news. The Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos dropped a bombshell. “Erdogan is a tyrannical dictator,” he said. Is he lying? Is there anyone who can claim that this is a lie? If he is not a tyrant, then what is he?—the man who nurtured the lunatics of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; caused the death of 600,000 people in Syria alone; turned into refugees four million people; flattened the Kurdish cities in southeast Turkey and killed at least one thousand people; threw in jail all of the honourable intellectuals that existed in his country and even sent to prison elected MPs? Some among us who are supporters of a solution and of peace may be angry with Kammenos. They may say that he is “dynamiting the summit conference”. But they can never say that he is telling lies. If only EU officials would say what Kammenos said, very loudly. If only we could say it too. At least, we would be then be making a tiny contribution to the salvation of the oppressed people of Turkey.

I hope for nothing from the January negotiations, nor from the summit conference. Despite all his optimism, the worthy Turkish Cypriot scientist Vamık Volkan, who was a candidate for the Nobel Prize, has also lost hope. “I think the predominant likelihood is that there will be no agreement,” he says. It is true that he said it in a roundabout way, when he could have just said, “I don’t believe there will be an agreement.” It doesn’t matter. Academic language is different. It is obvious that Turkey does not want a solution just by the fact that she does not want the Turkish Cypriots to return to the existing Republic of Cyprus. Why? The Zurich-London Treaties still exist, and Turkey is still a guarantor under those agreements. As long as these agreements are not dissolved she remains a guarantor. Her role as a guarantor power falls into question only in relation to the establishment of a new state. If there is no question of establishing a new state, her role as a guarantor power cannot so easily be made a matter for discussion. Despite this, she still does not want the Republic of Cyprus and is pushing for a new state, because she does not want to lose the lands she usurped—she wants to keep both the lands she conquered and the rights of a guarantor in the new state.

All who sought a solution [to the Cyprus issue] sought it in vain. They sought it because they do not really want a solution. But there is a solution. And it is the Republic of Cyprus.

Sener Levent
Translated by Pavlos Andronikos

Sener Levent is a journalist who publishes and edits the daily Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika. He also has a regular column in the Greek-language newspaper Politis, which presents Levent’s articles from Afrika in Greek translation.