Occupation Regime Hardens Line on Reunification Talks

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It appears that the occupation regime is hardening its stance on reunification talks after Turkish-Cypriot politician Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said in a TV interview that negotiations would only continue on a state-to-state basis, a proposal that would never be accepted by the Republic of Cyprus. Only one country recognises the self-declared TRNC – Turkey.

In addition, Ertuğruloğlu claimed that the UN humanitarian aid sent to the enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites in the occupied areas is a ‘politically provocative move’. He accused the UN of being part of the political provocation, adding that the Turkish-Cypriot administration would support the enclaved. Earlier this month, the UN announced that their convoy of aid had been stopped in the occupied areas and fees or taxes demanded for the first time in many decades.

Reunification talks ended in disarray in July after the security guarantors attended the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, Switzerland on June 28th. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attended the meetings in Crans Montana which centred around the issues of guarantors and security. President Nicos Anastasiades rejected having guarantors, saying it is an outdated system with no place in the European Union. But Turkey insisted on staying as a guarantor, alarming Greece, which rejects any situation in which Turkey is the sole guarantor. The Turkish-Cypriot side backs Turkey’s position. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she will back the agreement made by the Cypriot political leaders. In the end, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ended the sessions on the basis that an agreement wasn’t possible at that stage.

After its 1974 invasion and decades-long occupation, Turkey has in fact breached the terms of the guarantor treaty, which only allows for a short-term intervention. Years of international disapproval have made not a single dent on Turkey’s ruthless determination to control a foreign country. Even against the preference of the Turkish Cypriots, who resent Turkey’s army, the flood of settlers, and the insufferable political control exerted over their heads.

The formula for a solution is still out of reach. Political equality normally means one man, one vote, but with the Turkish Cypriots being a minority community, this can only work with good relations and peaceful reintegration into the democratic system. A complicated weighted vote may end up the same way as the original power sharing system in 1960 – rejected and abandoned in one way or the other by the Turkish Cypriots or Greek Cypriots.

Apartheid is a form of government in which the minority unfairly rules the majority, so the negotiators have to avoid the trap of putting the Turkish Cypriots into the position of unfairly ruling over the Greek Cypriots. Fairness, balance and human rights must be the foundations of any peace accord and constitution in today’s European Union.

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