A tired president, influenced by his inner core of “advisors” and politicians flew back feeling dejected. They are now busy trying to convince Cypriots they are not giving up but would seek ways to restart the Bi-Zonal, Bi-Communal Federation talks (BBF). During a televised news conference the President agreed to continue the negotiations on a prerequisite and conviction that a “solution” is achievable with the Turks. What a damn idea!
Reality speaks louder than words. In Switzerland, the Greek team was entrapped by a much superior and shrewder negotiating team led by Mr. Mevlut Cavusoglu the Turkish foreign minister, a cunning man who had a strategic plan in place and knew precisely what he was doing and where he was going in the interests of Turkey and not others.
Meanwhile, throughout the talks, Akinci played the victim bride and hardly spoke. He was there as a flowerpot smelling the sweet scents of success. On the sly, he was actually one of the architects of Ankara’s conspiracy to fool everyone. He behaved splendidly, acting damp as instructed by allowing Cavusoglu to do all the talking in a game of deceit!
Only Nicos Kotzias the Greek Foreign Minister smelled the stench of Mevlut Cavusoglu’s devious intentions. Kotzias had the balls and the foresight to speak out against the Turkish Minister’s devious behavior and dubious remarks; remarks spoken with a forked tongue – there was no love lost between the two!
The Anastasiades team seemed quite prepared to make further concessions in exchange for a negotiated BBF solution. In the spirit of goodwill the President ignored the signs of danger written on the wall and failed miserably to anticipate (or refused to accept) the obvious. Over optimistic and gullible, the Cyprus team continued trusting that Turkey would change its behavior and act honorably.
They dismissed the idea that a chameleon never reveals its true colors. Instead, they chose to behave as good Europeans and good Samaritans acting as obedient “good little boys and girls.” Everyone knows what happens to both! They ignore the one critical rule known to all – that shaking a hand with Turkey one soon discovers a couple of one’s fingers missing.
Meanwhile, during the negotiations, not a single mention of the Republic of Cyprus was made. It was as if it never existed. For all intents and purposes the talks concentrated on establishing a New Cyprus between the “two communities” on a power-sharing formula of a non-existent mythological “federation.” It was as if Anastasiades had forgotten that the people elected him as the President of the Republic and not a “community leader” as the UN, the EU and others presented him in the interests of the negotiations as not to offend Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
What a bloody mess! Turkey – as predicted – never had any intention of negotiating seriously and its presence at Crans–Montana was nothing less than window dressing and a PR exercise, knowing the world would be watching. This was a calculated move to pave the way forward and ultimately take possession of the entire occupied area. Sultan Erdogan did not waste time announcing that: “it’s too bad the Greek side did not want a settlement. Turkey will now proceed with its plans B and C for Cyprus.” It is only a matter of time before the next bombshell will come! Who will stop Turkey then? Nobody did in 1974!
Cavusoglu meticulously applied the Turkish conspiracy at Crans–Montana to the latter. For days the Turkish foreign minister, with a smiling face, kept making spoken but vague promises of Turkey’s “good intentions” for a solution (but never in writing) until he was ready for the good kill.
As it has turned out Cavusoglu and Akinci were there to retrieve as many concessions from the Greek side as possible! Exacerbated by the Turkish minister’s dishonorable and cunning attitude, the UN-Secretary pressed him to stop beating around the bush and put Ankara’s proposals on the table and in writing. It was then that Cavusoglu got offended and threw a tantrum including another bombshell a half-hour before all collapsed.
He announced in not so many words that: “with or without an agreement, the Turkish troops will never be withdrawn from Cyprus” and neither would Turkey abandon “the right to intervene in the island.” If that was the Turkish position and red lines, then why go through the travesty of negotiating at all with such people?
Everyone at the conference was utterly shocked by Cavusoglu’s revelation on the two most important and critical issues of the negotiations. They finally recognized that Turkey never meant a single word spoken at the negotiating table but rather was playing for time in a shameful Ottoman game of political deception.
After ten days and a 15-hour session of non-stop negotiations UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced at 3am that he was “deeply sorry to inform that despite very strong commitment and the engagement of all parties…the conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement being reached” and then he went on to wish the “best for all the Cypriots in north and south Cyprus.”
As a seasoned diplomat, the UN Secretary-General stopped short of actually blaming Turkey for the collapse of the UN conference but ironically, he went on to admit the presence of two separate states – North and South Cyprus! Those words could now end up becoming an established term of a permanent partition of Cyprus under occupation.
As for the President and his team, reality had suddenly dawned on them! How could they be so wrong about their Turkish Cypriot compatriots after so many years of negotiations with them? They recognized that Akinci was not the well-meaning man Anastasiades had befriended and he helped to elevate his status to presidential prominence – albeit unofficial. After two years the on-off negotiations between the two “friends” finally came to an inglorious end and they went their ways. No one but Turkey is any the wiser for what the future holds!
To be followed by Part 2