My perception right from the start of this latest round of Cyprus settlement negotiations has been that Turkey’s intention is to insist on the Annan plan – or its essence – and that when this is (inevitably) rejected by the Greek side, to then claim that there exists no possibility of a resolution to the Cyprus problem and that the international community must now accept the ‘realities on the island’ and formally recognise Turkey's puppet regime in occupied Cyprus, the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’.
And, indeed, given all the statements made this last two weeks by Mehmet Ali Talat – the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community – the Turkish military and Turkish government, this is what is happening. Last week, Talat was in Ankara to receive the decision of the National Security Council regarding Turkey’s Cyprus policy, after which he faithfully related it at a speech at the Eurasia Strategic Studies Centre. Talat said this was a last chance for a Cyprus solution, which he insisted must be based on recognising the existence of two states and two peoples on the island, who would create a completely new – parthenogenetic – confederal state, and on the continuation of Turkey’s guarantor status and troop presence on the island.
Turkey’s intentions in the Cyprus negotiations were confirmed by this article in the Turkish Daily News – the mouthpiece in English of Turkey’s foreign ministry – written by Serkan Demirtas, the newspaper’s chief news editor, who fleshed out what Turkey means by two states, two peoples, a ‘virgin-birth’ and so on.
‘The sine qua non parameters’ of a Cyprus solution for Turkey are, according to Demirtas: ‘Political equality based on the existence of two equal founding co-states, the continuity of the guarantor and alliance treaties that will enable keeping Turkish troops on the island… the need to keep the bi-communal nature and recognize the "realities" of the island.’
Demirtas goes on to say that Turkey also wants to secure more derogations from EU law in the proposed Turkish Cypriot component state, which would exclude Greek Cypriots from living and purchasing property in the north; and will seek to legalise the presence of all the 150,000 Turkish settlers brought to Cyprus since 1974 to change the demographic character of the island. (The Turks are even planning to bring up the utterly spurious issue of settlers from Greece in the Republic of Cyprus, ‘the fabrication’, as Demirtas puts it, of ‘many citizenships from Greece. Their status will also be on our agenda…’).
All this, of course, shows that the only solution to the Cyprus problem Turkey will countenance short of the immediate recognition of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ is one envisioned by the Annan plan, i.e. not reunification of Cyprus, but the island’s soft partition.
Naturally, this is entirely unacceptable to the Greek side. It is predicated, like the Annan plan, on the abolition of the Republic of Cyprus, a thriving entity, a member of the European Union, recognised by all other states in the world (apart from Turkey, of course) and the creation of a new United States of Cyprus, in which the Turks will have full independence in the north and a share of power in the south and would not be a normal, democratic European country, but an apartheid state and a Turkish protectorate.