Experts agree Turkish Cyprus's recognition as state should be prioritized

KUTAYHAN YILDIRIM
ANKARA
Published 19.10.2017 21:30

Following the failure of the Crans-Montana talks between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus in July, various views have emerged on the future status of Turkish Cyprus and experts cannot agree on a single strategy.

Experts on the longstanding issue think that a new model should be implemented to end Turkish Cyprus's suffering. Professor Hüseyin Işıksal of Near East University criticized Greek Cyprus's stance.

"Turkish Cypriots are under the bargain of harsh and unfair international isolation and embargoes. Paradoxically, the only alternative left for them is to accept Greek Cyprus's inadmissible political demands and form a federation," Işıksal said.

"The Cyprus negotiations are asymmetric in nature. The Greek Cypriot government represents a recognized EU member state and there is no pressure on them for settlement," he contented. "I think that the time has come to discuss new alternatives and how Turkish Cyprus could break through this impasse."

He stressed that Turkish Cyprus cannot be a prisoner of Greek Cyprus, which uses its EU member status as a trump card.

Earlier this summer, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that the talks to reach a settlement to reunite Cyprus had failed. As a consequence, the talks to end the four-decade conflict once again yielded no result. Greek Cypriot voters' had also rejected the Annan plan for reunification in 2004 in a referendum.

Early in October, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said that Turkish Cyprus has two options to consider, "It is now time to start work to be recognized in the international community. Turkish Cypriots are also assessing a second option, which is establishing an autonomous state under Turkey similar to the France-Monaco and Britian-Gibraltar models."

Recent remarks have raised questions in both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus as to whether Turkey and Turkish Cyprus will negotiate on implementing a France-Monaco model or ramp up efforts to make Turkish Cyprus recognized by the international community.

Dr. Mehmet Uğur Ekinci, a researcher at the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) agreed.

"Since the negotiation talks failed, I expect that both Turkey and Turkish Cyprus to take new steps regarding the consolidation and international recognition of Turkish Cyprus," Ekinci said.

Ekinci said that despite the fact that he does not believe the public has lost its interest to resolve the dispute without Greek Cyprus, in the sense of statements made by Turkish Cypriot authorities, he senses a gradual weakening in Turkish Cypriots' belief in resolving the issue with Greek Cyprus.

"Public opinion in Turkish Cyprus, regarding a joint resolution with Greek Cyprus, has been weakening gradually," he said, adding that Greek Cyprus's stance will further strengthen the legitimacy of Turkish Cyprus as Greek Cyprus has not approached the issue in a fair and permanent manner.

As for the France-Monaco model, Işıksal said it is not a perfect or acceptable model for political actors involved in the Cyprus issue.

"It could lead to further problems for both Turkey and Turkish Cypriots," he said.

Işıksal suggested that the Taiwan or Kosovo models would be more suitable for Turkey.

"The international community should be ready to discuss a confederation or a two-state solution on the island," he said.

Stating that although the relationship between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus is similar to that between France and Monaco in terms of the Turkish military's role on Cyprus, shared currency and free trade, Ekinci said that there are two differences.

"There are two critical differences in relations between Turkey and Turkish Cyprus. Turkish Cyprus is not recognized by the international community and is in need of Turkey in an economic sense on the grounds of the embargoes that are imposed," he asserted.

Işıksal said that the international community should be ready to discuss a confederation or a two-state solution on the island and Ekinci added that international parameters will determine the outcome.

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