Monday, 9 December 2013

The phantom economic benefits of a bizonal, bicommunal federation for Cyprus

Below is a piece I came across here, which adds some flesh to the bones of my concerns, expressed in my previous post, arising from the attempt by the UN, EU and USA to sell an Annan-type solution to the Cyprus problem by suggesting the economic advantages that will accrue. The essential point is this: a bad, undemocratic solution – such as a bizonal, bicommunal federation – will create tension and conflict and prove an economic disaster.

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce sees phantom economic benefits in an undefined solution
By Dr Aris Petasis*

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (CCC) inaugurated a campaign to inform us of the economic benefits of a ‘just and lasting solution’ [to the Cyprus problem]. The campaign is supported by the Development Programme of the United Nations (UNDP-ACT) and by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.  For the sake of brevity I will refer to the above three as CCC/TCCC/UNDP.

It appears that all three are in favour of a bizonal-bicommunal federal solution which is well-defined in the Annan plan that was supposed to solve the Cyprus problem; otherwise the United Nations (UN) would have not agreed to participate in this project. This campaign could have had any or more of the following aims: a) to simply promote the economic merits of a democratic solution; but, there is no logic in launching an expensive campaign to convince people that are already convinced on a common sense matter; (b) to convince those that, in the eyes of the above three, are ‘anti-solution’.  Again, it makes little sense to labor trying to convince rational people that a democratic solution that would see the occupation army leave Cyprus is better than no solution; and (c) to promote a bizonal-bicommunal federal solution as ‘fair and viable’ using phantom economic benefits as the thin edge of the wedge.  Only the third objective justifies a campaign.

The chamber of Psychiatrists & Psychologists of Cyprus could have easily mounted a similar exercise to explain the psychological benefits of a democratic solution; but they did not because they already know that people have enough common sense to understand the obvious (angst reduction with occupation troops departing, etc.) As professional psychologists they also know that rational people prefer freedom to occupation and security to insecurity. So, no need to mount a campaign.  

The ‘just and viable solution’ of the CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign is confusing seeing that the term has been misused with varying and arbitrary interpretations and has now become cliché.  Indicatively, even the Annan plan was promoted as ‘fair and viable’ and in the process insulting people’s intelligence. To Turkey and the UN ‘just and viable’ has nothing to do with democracy (reminds one of chalk and cheese.)

Developed and viable economies rest on democratic polity, (for example, as in Germany and Switzerland) and not on racist concoctions of the bizonal-bicommunal federal type that fail to meet even the most basic democratic requirements. A bizonal-bicommunal federal solution will not generate any economic benefits to Cyprus. On the contrary, it will destroy Cyprus’ economy because of the uncertainty and the deadlocks that such a solution will constantly unleash leading to emigration from all communities. 

The CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign supports that ‘a solution to the Cyprus problem will create conditions of security and stability’.  The opposite is likely to happen.  The constitutional provisions of a bizonal-bicommunal federal solution deliberately divide the country on ethnic and racial grounds through the creation of racially-based constituent states where one’s racial origins determines his/her position rather than ability and performance that are so critical to a well-functioning economy.

The CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign adds that ‘access of vessels under the Cypriot flag to Turkish ports will result in the strengthening of Cyprus’ position’. Turkey is already obliged, through its own signature, to open its ports to vessels flying the flag of the Republic of Cyprus. Yet, Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey’s position is that the Republic of Cyprus is a non-entity that needs first to dissolve itself and then morph into a federal union of two constituent ethnicity-based states within a bizonal-bicommunal federation. Also, Turkey never ceases to repeat that the only plan on the table is the Annan plan which has the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus as central tenet. 

The three say that a solution will lead to the growth of areas such as ‘agriculture through the transportation of water from Turkey to Cyprus’. As Turkey will never abandon its ‘guarantor’ status within a bizonal-bicommunal federal solution, transporting water from Turkey will put Cyprus’ water supplies under threat.

The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce promotes phantom economic benefits for an undefined political solution (reference to ‘a solution’ is not enough.)  The CCC can better help Cyprus by leading a campaign to promote a democratic solution to the Cyprus problem on which we can then build our economy which for certain will provide prospects for all Cypriots.  

*Dr Aris Petasis is member of the Board of Trustees, International Fund, Moscow State Aviation University

1 comment:

Tisis said...

Never compromise, Cypriots. Do not legitimize the occupation in any way.