Thursday, 24 April 2008

Cyprus: remembering the basics

Michalis Firillas, a columnist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, has a timely article here, which reminds us that any progress to finding a ‘solution’ to the Cyprus problem is largely dependent on confronting Turkey’s malevolent strategic interests on the island and more widely in the Eastern Mediterranean and Balkans; and as such acknowledges that Turkey will likely prove to be the most significant obstacle in this current round of Cyprus settlement negotiations. The idea that the Turkish Cypriots have the authority to independently negotiate the future of Cyprus with the Greek Cypriots, Firillas correctly points out, is fanciful.

Below is a sample of what Firillas writes:

‘Ankara is actively working to delegitimize the Republic of Cyprus, whose establishment it backed, whose constitutional status quo it claimed to seek to restore by its invasion, and whose territorial integrity it guarantees (at least on paper). Similarly, Ankara has consistently and aggressively Turkified the Turkish Cypriot community, by an infusion of tens of thousands of immigrants from mainland Turkey. How then is it possible to negotiate solely on the bicommunal level, ignoring the dominant role that Ankara plays on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, as well as at their expense?’

2 comments:

Hermes said...

The only power that will get the Turkish army off Cyprus is the United States - and even then it is difficult. People can blabber accusations of anti-Americanism all they like, but they have to accept the role their country plays in this sordid affair. They should stop using anti-Americanism as another "anti-Semitism" and get to lobbying their government more effectively. Also, maybe concentrate more efforts on Cyprus rather than Halki.

john akritas said...

You are right; but of course it was the Americans who encouraged the Turkish army to invade and occupy the island in the first place. It'll be a miracle if the Turkish army leaves. Why would they? And, indeed, from their point of view, why should they? Armies, especially Turkish ones, tend not to like to leave places they've 'conquered'.