The reunification talks on the Cyprus issue are on again! This time, there seems to be a new political development and a general consensus that a political solution may be near. It is possible that a “deal in principle” has already been drafted behind the scenes but no one is talking; not yet, anyway!
The new turn of events can be attributed directly to America’s involvement: for the first time ever the Pentagon is backing the talks openly! In fact, US President Barack Obama publicly welcomed the joint declaration and in so doing gave the talks momentum. The US support changed the entire political climate; one may call this initiative the “Obama Plan”. It is also important to remember that in politics nothing is done without a reason and for nothing; there is always a price to pay!
Most governments embraced the talks with enthusiasm but the general public is somewhat suspicious and not so convinced – not after last year’s Anastasiades-Troika mnimonio agreement that has shattered their lives and brought them misery! The government’s credibility has suffered badly and it’s now in serious question! People simply no longer trust politicians or the government; they have been betrayed by both too many times! It is also blatantly obvious that the Annan Plan has come back to haunt them again; this time on the sly and by the back door! A plan that was overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum by the nation!
US Foreign Secretary Hillary Clinton was quite outspoken on this matter and commented: “The Annan Plan was extremely unfair for the Greek-Cypriots. The USA used improper pressure for its acceptance. This shall not be repeated.” It takes a brave and a wise person to admit one’s own error of judgment but she is also a politician; the Annan Plan is back!
It seems that the President of Cyprus has decided – or succumbed to pressure by IMF EU/Troika and others – that the timing is perfect to settle the Cyprus issue; not tomorrow but this year! The Anastasiades-Eroglu joint statement calls for the Republic of Cyprus to be dissolved and be replaced by a New Cyprus based on a Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) – a political system that does not exist elsewhere in the world. In fact the wording is designed to mislead and is full of political deceptions that can be unleashed at a later date – see full text.
If the talks produce an agreement, constitutionally, it will create a new country with racial undertones reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa. It will certainly not be comparable to a Federation as prescribed in the United Nations Charter but rather a loose pseudo-confederation of sorts. There are also concerns that Mr. Eroglu (Ankara’s mouthpiece) already shows no respect for the terms of the agreement that he signed and cunningly keeps on repeating in public that: “each morning the sun rises over two peoples and two separate countries”. Where is the co-operation of unity in that?
An esteemed Supreme Court Judge, George Pikkis, stated in a public interview that the joint statement provides (among others) for: “two citizenships based on ethnicity; two self-governing component states not answerable to the Federal government; each component state will have no jurisdiction over the other; the Federal government will not have powers over the two new states; the electorate will not be allowed to exercise their democratic right and vote for a candidate in federal elections – only the “appointed representatives” will share that privilege; the Republic of Cyprus is nowhere mentioned within the statement; there is also no mention of the removal of the Turkish troops or the Turkish settlers; no mention of the return of all refugees (both Greek/Turkish Cypriots) back to their ancestral homes; under a typical Federation system, citizens enjoy one single citizenship and one vote but not in this case.”
In fact, a Federation is founded upon a mutual covenant of two independent states to unite under a federal political system. The self-governing status of the component states are typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party – a marriage without a divorce! One does not invade with military troops an independent sovereign nation – like Turkey did against Cyprus – occupy a sector of it’s territory and then “negotiate” to form a pseudo federation as a reward for its military invasion.
The questions many citizens ask are: why such an urgency to reach a deal this year especially when the country is near bankruptcy? Answers are hard to come by, but in reality, a new geopolitical game is in process across the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus is smack in the middle of it! Events of such a magnitude do not spring out of thin air but are well planned and well hidden deep within the echelons of power. It has come to be, that outsiders are now controlling the fate of Cyprus and the little island with its natural gas deposits has become the cherry on the cake!
Due to the rapid political changes in the region, Ankara is beginning to feel isolated through no longer being the pampered child of western powers! Incensed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out with “the Eastern Mediterranean will see Turkish battleships frequently” – a pompous warning with total disregard of international laws.
Ankara is also now threatening to start drilling for gas off the southern coast of Cyprus and within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). If that materializes it will trigger energy-related tension in the area, which will also involve Israel to protect its Leviathan and Tamar Gas Fields. The USA will certainly act to protect the Texas Noble Energy drilling platform and others will follow suit.
As bad as the joint statement appears, it also offers a sliver of hope that through dialogue there is a small chance to reunify the island. Citizens will ultimately have their say at the polls! Under the terms of a referendum they will choose either to adopt or reject the agreement! However, if the referendum is worded to confuse so the government can swing the vote in its favor, the outcome could plague Cyprus for generations to come. Such attempts cannot be excluded – especially when it involves important constitutional changes; politics are a dirty business!
It is therefore imperative that Greek/Turkish Cypriots are well informed to make well-informed decisions and make the right changes that will transform the nation forever. The proposed referendum should be based on social equality, on a single citizenship and without a hint of discrimination or racial undertones; a good comparison of that is Canada and Switzerland!
The vote should certainly not be divided into two ethnic “citizenships” as proposed, or two communities, but be based on one single “Cypriot Vote” for either “yes” or “no” to avoid political blame games afterwards – as the Annan Plan did by blaming the “Greek side” for voting against the proposal.
Actually, the only way forward to a long lasting solution is to introduce the same political system enjoyed by all other democratic nations: one-man–one-vote; a single citizenship; one nation based on rule of law; justice that guarantees religion, culture and ethnic diversity with equal opportunities on the basis of merit and not nepotism. Certainly not the rule of man!
Cyprus is in desperate need of a revolution; but not just any revolution – a Revolution of the Mind!
Official Anastasiades/Eroglu Joint statement –Full Text
Signed 11th February 2014.
1. The status quo is unacceptable and its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The leaders affirmed that a settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedom as well as each other’s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future is a united Cyprus within the European Union.
2. The leaders expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a result-oriented manner. All unresolved core issues will be on the table and will be discussed interdependently. The leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible and hold separate simultaneous referendum thereafter.
3. The settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements. The united Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single, international legal personality and a single sovereignty which is defined as the sovereignty which is enjoyed by all member States of the United Nations, under the UN Charter and which emanates equally from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. There will be a single united Cyprus citizenship, regulated by federal law. All citizens of the United Cyprus shall also be citizens of either the Greek-Cypriot constituent state or the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state. This status shall be internal and shall complement and not substitute in any way the united Cyprus citizenship.
The powers of the federal government and like matters that are clearly incidental to its specific powers, will be assigned by the constitution. The Federal constitution will also provide for the residual powers to be exercised by the constituent states. The constituent states will exercise fully and irrevocably all their powers free from encroachment by the federal government. The federal laws will not encroach upon constituent state laws within the constituent states’ area of competence and the constituent states’ laws will not encroach upon the federal laws within the federal government’s competences. Any dispute in respect thereof will be adjudicated finally by the Federal Supreme Court. Neither side may claim authority of jurisdiction over the other.
4. The united Cyprus federation shall result from the settlement following the settlement’s approval by separate simultaneous referendum. The federal constitution shall prescribe that the united Cyprus federation shall be composed of two constituent states of equal status. The bi-zonal, bi-communal nature of the federation and the principles upon which the EU is founded will be safeguarded and respected throughout the island. The Federal constitution shall be the supreme law of the land and will be binding on all the federation’s authorities and on the constituent states. Union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession or any other unilateral change to the state of affairs will be prohibited.
5. The negotiations are based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
6. The appointed representatives are fully empowered to discuss any issue at any time and should enjoy parallel access to all stakeholders and interested parties in the process, as needed. The leaders of the two communities will meet as often as needed. They retain the ultimate decision-making power. Only an agreement freely reached by the leaders may be put to separate simultaneous referendum. Any kind of arbitration is excluded.
7. The sides will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed. They commit to avoid blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations. They also commit to efforts to implement confidence-building measures that will provide dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus.