The two-state solution for Cyprus : Turkey and the Mediterranean


The eastern Mediterranean and adjoining regions have become one of the focus of world politics. A major shift in the politics of the region is becoming increasingly evident in the dynamics of events here.

 In the Mediterranean, Greece, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, and Cyprus are trying to build axes and counter-axes, with efforts to dominate these regions' waterways and oil resources. Countries like Israel, France and the United Arab Emirates are also active here. 

And the role of Cyprus in this polarization has become quite important. The island, with a population of only 1.1 million, is located in such a strategy that the settlement of the Cypriot dispute is now obvious to determine the pace of the region.

The United Nations in resolving disputes

The process of resolving the Cyprus issue has been intensified. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held an informal meeting on "Five Plus One" in Switzerland on April 27-29, before launching formal talks. Where Turkey Greece UK and Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders participated.

Kofi Annan made a specific proposal during his tenure as UN Secretary-General to reach a settlement based on bi-regional, bi-community federations on political equality based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The proposal calls for the formation of the United Republic of Cyprus, which covers the entire island of Cyprus, excluding the sovereign bases of the United Kingdom. 

According to the UN Secretary General's report, the position expressed by the Turkish Cypriots at the meeting was that all efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, including the latest attempt by Crans Montana, had failed. Efforts to negotiate a bi-regional, bi-community-based federation are over. 

Turkish Cypriots have inherent sovereign equality and they claim equal international status. And the solution to the Cyprus crisis is possible only by recognizing the two state and coexisting based on cooperation between the two states.

On the other hand, according to the UN Secretary-General's post-conference report, the position expressed by the Greek Cypriot delegation is to resume talks in Cranes Montana, where efforts to resolve the Cyprus crisis have stalled. 

This means that they do not agree with the proposal to establish a bi-state. They want to drag the current situation without any federal system and a two-state solution.

Kofi Annan made a specific proposal during his tenure as UN Secretary-General to reach a settlement based on bi-regional, bi-community federations on political equality based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The proposal calls for the formation of the United Republic of Cyprus, which covers the entire island of Cyprus, excluding the sovereign bases of the United Kingdom. 

This new country will be a federation of two electoral units, one will be the Greek Cypriot state; The other is the Turkish Cypriot state. A federal government will run the state cohesively. 

This federal level will be based on the Swiss federal model with a six-member Presidential Council assigned to the current population (four Greek Cypriots and two Turkish Cypriots). An additional three non-voter members elected by Parliament will be appointed in a 2: 1 ratio. 

During the five-year term of the President's Council, one member from each community will be elected President and a Vice-President in every 20 months by the Council. The state will have a bicameral legislature. It will have a senate (upper house) with 48 members divided into two communities at 24:24. 

The next meeting will be in the Chamber of Deputies. Its 48 members will be divided in proportion to the population of the two communities. However, the representation of any community will not be less than 12 people.

 There will be a Supreme Court with an equal number of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot judges. It will have three more foreign judges who will be appointed by the Presidential Council. The plan also included a federal constitution, the formation of each element of the state, a string of constitutional and federal laws, and a proposal for the flag and national anthem of the Republic of United Cyprus.

The proposal also called for a reconciliation commission to bring the two communities together and resolve past disputes. Under the proposal, both Greece and Turkey could maintain a permanent military presence on the island, although the number of troops was to be gradually reduced.

In 2004, referendums were held in both northern Cyprus and the southern Cypriot Republic to approve Kofi Annan's plan to resolve the Cyprus dispute. In the referendum, 65.5 per cent of Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan. On the other hand, 74 per cent of Greek Cypriots voted against the plan.

After the informal meeting on April 29, Guterres sounded a little disappointed. "It was not an easy meeting," he said. "We have taken extensive advice in a series of bilateral and full meetings to try to reach a common ground. The truth is, at the end of our efforts, we did not find enough common ground to resume formal talks on resolving the Cyprus problem.

 But I did not give up. My agenda is very simple. That is to fight vigorously for the security and welfare of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, who deserve to live together in peace and prosperity. And so, we have agreed that shortly I will call another meeting of the 5 + 1 (five parties and the United Nations) to move forward to reach a formal consensus. We are determined to do our best to move the dialogue forward. "

The UN secretary-general said there was an understanding that a framework agreement could take effect in two to three months. If it is much shorter than this time, it will not bring any meaningful results. If it is long, it will not help any decisive solution.
‘The position of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots is like bringing a circle into a square. 

A question was asked if the solution would be possible, Guterres answered in geometry it was impossible to square the circle; However, this is a very common issue in politics. In this case, our position is very clear. I have a mandate as Secretary-General and it was given by the Security Council. Of course, I will inform the Security Council about the various positions mentioned in this meeting.

Where is the origin of the crisis?

The island of Cyprus, with a population of only 1.1 million, has been divided since 1974, 14 years after independence from the British in 1960. Violence against the island's Turks erupted after a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at annexing the island to Greece. And Ankara intervened in Cyprus as a guarantor force. As a result, in 1974, separate control of the Turkish Cypriots was established in the north. Northern Cyprus later declared independence in 1983 under the leadership of Rauf Denktas. Attempts were then made to establish peace in Cyprus at various times; But none of them merely succeeded.

The current population of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC) is forty thousand. While no country other than Turkey has recognized it as a state, it is a model in terms of democracy and individual freedom. A 2016 Freedom House report on the country said it was "free" when it came to political rights and civil liberties.

Is reunion possible?

The implementation of Kofi Annan's formula for uniting these two states into one state was the most acceptable initiative which was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots. 

Thus, after the failure of a single state-building effort, the proposed formula for a two-state solution would give state legitimacy to the current status quo, with Greek Cypriots managing the southern part of the island and Turkish Cypriot managing the northern part. If it gets state recognition, the Turkish Cypriot state will be an internationally recognized independent country.

Since 2014, the formation of a unified Cyprus has not been expected to materialize. On December 14, 2019, Northern Cyprus Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said the two-state solution to the issue was "at hand". 

On February 23, 2020, when he was the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar said, "Forced marriages cannot succeed." "We are different, we speak Turkish and they speak Greek," he explained. "We are Muslims and they are Christians". The new generation does not know each other at all. A 10-year-old child in 1974 is now 55; He has grandchildren. We are separated. '

Current split map

After the failure of peace and reconciliation efforts, TRNC President Ersin Tatar has made it clear that his country wants a proposal that would create a coexistence of two sovereign states on the island of Cyprus. Last November, rival Cypriot leaders held a ‘break-the-ice’ meeting in which they pledged to engage U.S.-led peacekeepers with outside forces. This was their first and only meeting since the Ankara-backed Tatar was elected president of Turkey Cyprus in October.

In general, Turkey supports a two-state solution as an alternative to reunification. This is especially evident after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Turkish-majority North Nicosia in 2014. 

The survey concluded that 49.2 per cent of Greek Cypriots were not opposed to the current situation and 26.6 per cent were not opposed to a two-state solution. On the other hand, a January 2020 survey by Gezci found that support for a two-state solution among Turkish Cypriots was 81.3 per cent.

Greek Cypriot media claim that Turkey has imposed a two-state solution if the UN-mediated peace process fails. The question of Turkish Cypriots is, will North Cyprus automatically merge with Southern Cyprus without a separate state after the failure of the UN?

In April 2009, an opinion poll by the SBC found that a majority of Greek Cypriots supported the partition. According to a 2010 opinion poll, 84 per cent of Greek Cypriots and 70 per cent of Turkish Cypriots agree that "the necessary objections to a fair and sustainable settlement will never be accepted by the other party."

According to a November 2012 European Social Survey, 18 per cent of Greek Cypriots were in favour of the status quo and 31.2 per cent were not for or against it but could accept it if necessary. 

The survey concluded that 49.2 per cent of Greek Cypriots were not opposed to the current situation and 26.6 per cent were not opposed to a two-state solution. On the other hand, a January 2020 survey by Gezci found that support for a two-state solution among Turkish Cypriots was 81.3 per cent.

Although Greek Cypriots now oppose a two-state solution, they have rejected UN proposals aimed at establishing a single federal state based on equal status. The United Nations sought to resolve the dispute through the reunification of Cyprus based on a federal model.

Following the referendum on the Annan's Plan, the UN welcomed the verdict of the Turkish Cypriot people and imposed sanctions on them in response. The call for the lifting of sanctions and the restoration of direct economic, political and social relations with Northern Cyprus was carried out with immediate effect.

The United States has said in a statement after the referendum, "We are, of course, looking at steps to facilitate the separation of the Turkish Cypriots. Our ambassador to Cyprus last week announced a move to extend the visa duration of Turkish Cypriots which has facilitated their travel. We will keep an eye on other steps we can take and they will be announced in due course. "

The then British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a statement that "we must now work to end the isolation of Northern Cyprus." This means lifting trade and travel restrictions. It also means ensuring that EU funds are disbursed in light of current realities.

The European Commission also deeply regrets that the Greek Cypriots did not approve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, but respected the democratic decisions of the EU people. This has missed an opportunity to solve the long-standing Cyprus problem. 

The European Commission sincerely congratulates the Turkish Cypriots for their "yes" vote, noting that this indicates the clear desire of the community to resolve the island's problems. The commission is ready to consider ways to further develop the economic development of northern Cyprus.

Geological equations

Concerns for a solution to the Cyprus problem have always been seen in the international arena, but not all parties involved were interested in creating an environment for it.

 Their reluctance to deny the claim of the Greek Cypriot government as the sole representative considering the equality and political sovereignty of the two communities on the island was a major obstacle to a realistic and lasting peaceful settlement.

Although not before, after the Ottoman conquest in 1571, Cyprus remained the most strategically important island in the Eastern Mediterranean. First, it contains the Mediterranean framework of commercial strategic control adopted by the French from the Venetians.

 Second, there is the issue of the British adopting a geo-strategic structure. The British took control of Cyprus in response to the French occupation of Lebanon due to security concerns for communication with India. 

Work is also underway to explore the strategic potential of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean in the first half of the 21st century and their impact on the TRNC, with a focus on ongoing global energy restructuring. With the implementation of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project, Cyprus will acquire new strategic importance along the Gulf.

Europe's eastern Mediterranean border is so far the toughest border. Greece, the weakest member of Europe, has relied heavily on the border. The walls there were easy to break, the defence lines also seemed the most irresponsible and weak. 

In the recent past, there have been indications that a serious policy change is underway in Greece. Despite this change in the resolution of the Cyprus and Aegean disputes, Greece insisted on making this transition through conditional negotiations and to get more concessions from Turkey immediately.

Control of the strategic Suez Canal in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was associated with Gulf importance. With the Gulf War, we have entered a new era, where the centre is moving to south-east along the Middle East's oil route. Whoever will be in control of oil in the Middle East is a high priority for both the United States and Europe.

 This means the continued presence of a superpower in the eastern Mediterranean. Significantly in the first half of this century, part of the Central Asian oil route is expected to pass through the Pipeline to the Gulf. 

This new factor will help increase the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean in general and Cyprus in particular. For this reason, Cyprus will come with it as a reference. The issue of Cyprus as a local and regional power is crucial for Turkey to improve its position in the Eastern Mediterranean.

One of the main reasons behind the recent stalemate in Greece and the stalemate in the stalemate over opposition to a two-state solution is to limit Turkey's efforts to extract natural gas in the region. Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt have hastily signed a maritime agreement. 

In contrast, Turkey's maritime agreement with Libya, with which it seeks to annex Egypt, did not allow Turkey's efforts to confine itself to the Eastern Mediterranean to succeed. The bipartisan solution to Cyprus will also play a major role in resolving maritime disputes in the region.

 The issue of Cyprus resolution is therefore very important for determining the balance of power in the region. If this happens, by 2023, a big change may become visible in this region. Attempts are being made to end Erdogan's rule by staging repeated coups in Turkey to prevent this change.

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