Can the Cyprus talks have a happy ending?

At the end of June the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots resumed their peace talks in the Swiss municipality of Crans-Montana under the auspices of the United Nations. The media of the countries concerned examine the chances of success in what could be the last opportunity for years to come to see the island reunified.

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Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Selfless politicians wanted!

Anastasiades and Akıncı should focus on Cyprus's interests rather than their own political careers, Hürriyet Daily News admonishes:

“There has been no agreement at all on anything that really matters. It has been the mantra of the Cyprus negotiations from their inception in the 1970s that 'either there will be an agreement on all issues or there will be no agreement at all.' ... Any compromise in this last stage of the negotiations will surely be reflected in both Cypriot leaders' political futures, especially considering the forthcoming presidential elections on the Greek side in February 2018. But the leaders should bear in their mind that there will be no common future on the island without real compromises. Any real solution will be unpopular on both sides and may endanger the leadership positions of both Anastasiades and Akıncı, but that is how true leaders are born.”

Havadis (CY) /

Greek side not playing fair

Anastasiades is an unjust negotiating partner, Havadis complains:

“The initial hold-ups [in the talks] were overcome with a whole package of solutions presented by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. … But as soon as Guterres leaves Crans-Montana the Greek side starts hesitating once more. … All of a sudden Anastasiades feels free to do as he pleases and starts giving signs that he wants to back out again. The Greek Cypriots have submitted documents that don't fulfil the secretary-general's criteria. … Even though they had simply been asked to revise the document. … Yesterday Anastasiades came along and accused the Turkish side of not acting within the framework of the criteria set by the secretary-general. This is a form of projection, a game in which you blame others for your own failings. As he always does.”

To Vima Online (GR) /

Kick the Turks out of Cyprus

Turkish foreign minister Çavuşoğlu said this week that Ankara would not withdraw the troops it has had stationed in Northern Cyprus since 1974. A peaceful solution to the conflict is impossible, To Vima believes:

“The Turks will never leave Cyprus on their own. The only way is for them to leave the way they came: through forced military expulsion. Neither political nor peaceful means will convince them to leave. We must look reality in the face. And that doesn't mean signing a 'solution' that legitimises the occupation and strengthens the guarantor powers. There's only one alternative: convincing the allies of Greece and Cyprus - and in particular the investors in natural resources - that nothing can ever be achieved with Turkey.”

T24 (TR) /

Federalist model won't work

T24 is pessimistic about the talks in Switzerland producing a result:

“Which camp should have what voting rights if Cyprus is united as a federation? … The Turks demand active participation but both sides are deeply divided over what precise form this should take. From the Turkish perspective both sides must be involved in all decisions under a two-nations framework. The Greeks reject this because that would mean that 'the side representing the smaller segment of the population would administrate the side representing the larger segment'. … Everyone finally needs to grasp what the negotiations that have faltered again and again since 1974 demonstrate: Turks and Greeks can't be united under the umbrella of federalism. A formula that is based on the status quo must be sought.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Anastasiades must reach out to Turkish Cypriots

Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades should finally try to achieve a true compromise, the Cyprus Mail urges:

“Reaching a compromise that is certain to spark vehement opposition, no matter how good, is a big ask, but Anastasiades should also consider that failing to do so would signal the end of the settlement efforts and the UN declaring the Cyprus problem unsolvable.The time has come for the president to clear his mind, put aside the scheming and publicity games and give his best shot at securing a good deal that would ensure a future of stability, peace and prosperity for the country.”

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Turkey must remain a guarantor power

There can be no agreement with Ankara unless Turkey receives assurance that it will retain its guarantor power status, Hürriyet Daily News warns:

“Ending the 1960 guarantee system would have little impact on Greece and almost no impact on British interests, but it would have serious consequences for Turkey. For Turkish Cypriot security, however, Turkey's continued guarantee is a sine qua non of any settlement. … All aspects of the Cyprus problem are related. How power-sharing will be achieved, the rotation of the presidency, the duties of the police, the competencies of courts, the size of Turkish territory, the property issue, and the limit of Greek Cypriot resettlements in the northern Turkish Cypriot state cannot be separated from the security headline.”

Cyprus Weekly (CY) /

Nicosia should show Ankara its teeth

Ankara would be more ready to compromise if Nicosia adopted a tougher attitude, Levon Arakelian, a lawyer and former advisor to the Cypriot government writes in Cyprus Weekly:

“Can anything be done to change Turkey's strategic calculus? I believe that the answer is 'yes'. As things currently stand, it would appear that Turkey perceives herself as being in a 'win-win situation'. ... The Greek Cypriot leadership should ... clarify to Turkey that if the Cyprus Problem remains unsolved they will seek to dissolve the Cypriot State and procure the Government-controlled areas' integration into a Great Power rather than stand by and watch their homeland degenerate into a Turkish satellite. Turkey must be given a 'lose scenario' to keep her leaders awake at night.”

Havadis (CY) /

Conflict won't be resolved by Cypriots

Both the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots will have to accept the will of the major powers, Havadis believes:

“The script is being written mainly by the US, England, Turkey and Greece. The US - with the help of the EU - will solve the Cyprus problem by letting Turkey and Greece take control of certain areas in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. The Turkish Cypriots will have no choice but to submit to the plan because it's Turkey that will have the last say in the name of the Turkish Cypriots at the negotiating table. Coming to [the president of the Republic of Cyprus] Anastasiades: in view of the UN's threat to withdraw the peacekeeping troops stationed on the island he can't risk pursuing a policy that would see the Greek Cypriots pitched against the Turkish soldiers.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

At gunpoint

The negotiations won't achieve a good result, Phileleftheros fears:

“It doesn't take a political genius to realise that pressure is being exerted on the Greek Cypriot side to reach a half-baked solution that sees the Turkish army presence remain on the island. In short, they'll put a gun to Nicosia's head once more. Already it's clear that another meeting in Geneva can only have one of two outcomes: … The rejection of a proposal, in other words an embarrassing failure for Nicosia. Or a solution that accepts the Turkish terms but wouldn't be approved by the Cypriot Greeks [in a referendum]. Both are disastrous. This is the inevitable consequence of the Greek Cypriots' improvising.”