Could a federation solve the Cyprus conflict?

At the UN General Assembly due to take place at the end of the month in New York, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus want to push for a relaunch of negotiations on the Cyprus conflict. According to media reports, the formation of a loose federation is under discussion to achieve the island's reunification. Under this arrangement the central government would have limited powers. Cypriot commentators are divided over the idea.

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Alitheia (CY) /

A sound proposal

The proposal for a loose federation makes sense, the daily paper Alitheia finds:

“There's no need to get angry at the idea of a de-centralised or loose federation of the kind discussed in the National Council on Monday. ... Under this system the central government would only have enough power to guarantee the unity of the state. It wouldn't be allowed to interfere in other areas that determine the citizens' quality of life. ... A loose federation wouldn't revoke either bi-zonality [the nation state and two federated states] or bi-communality [the two-chamber parliament], nor will it bring suspicion and differences between the two sides into the everyday life of the citizens. And it won't render the state inoperative either.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Ankara can continue to interfere

Such a solution would be nothing less than fraud, Phileleftheros warns:

“The consequences of the originally envisaged two-state solution which Cyprus's leading politicians say must be avoided at all costs remain: a border with Turkey. ... And precisely that will also be the result if it comes to a 'loose federation'. Turkey will be present in the occupied territory, as it is today. With the difference that the occupation will no longer be illegal: it will become legitimate. What's more, we'll give Ankara the right to govern free Cyprus, since through the weak central government it will have a say when international agreements are signed, for example gas and gas transport deals.”