Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Cyprus has been divided between the Greek Cypriot south and the Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkey sent troops in the aftermath of a Greek-inspired coup to unite the island with Greece. Turkish soldiers were landed for protection and not for possession. They were landed because of love with local people and not for lust. They were real savers who offered their lives for the safety and security of the local community in Northern Cyprus. Moreover, their presence in the island is a deterrence and guarantor of a peaceful settlement. Previously, talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders and efforts to reunite the island have so far failed to produce any breakthrough in resolving the key issues of dispute for a unified Cypriot state but ongoing negotiations brought some hope at least.
Turkish Cypriot was more affected as the Greek Cypriot administration which now enjoys the benefits of being an EU member and is internationally recognized. It remained isolation for more than 50 years which now needs international recognition with equal rights in all respects.
Previously, Annan plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriots but accepted by the Turkish Cypriots. The proposal suggested establishing a federation of two states. Seventy-six percent of Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal (more than 85 percent young voters rejected the proposal of solution because of their continuous brainwashing based on sever hatred and prejudice in schools and universities) while 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots approved it in a referendum that took place on both sides of the island in 2004. Despite the Turks’ positive vote, they were left out of the EU. It showed Turkish Cypriot’s strong political will for an amicable solution.
“The EU and Turkish Cypriots supported the 2004 plan. Despite the Greek Cypriots’ rejection of this plan, Greek Cyprus became a member of the EU just a week after the referendum. After the referendum, the EU Council took a decision to conduct direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots, but since then this has not been realized due to objections by Greece and Greek Cyprus.
The EU failed to fulfill its promises/pledges to the Turkish Cypriots. It has lost its credibility and reliability in the eyes of the Turkish side. It must treat both sides equally. The Turkish Cypriot side has the political will to find a settlement, and it proved this in 2004 by saying ‘yes’ to the Annan plan. Since 2004, Greek Cypriots have not shown any interest in solving the Cyprus issue. We have been calling for an international conference since last year. TRNC wants the two sides and the three guarantor states Greece, Turkey and Britain to come together under the UN umbrella to discuss a solution,”
The TRNC government has so far refrained from pushing for international recognition of its existence focusing its efforts instead on a solution based on a UN plan that called for a new Cypriot state which would be a federation of two states. But serious consideration is going in the circle of so many political parties of the TRNC to think beyond settlement and think even “possible alternatives”. Different models are being discussed in TRNC, mainly self-independency, alliance with Turkey, Taiwan model, seeking full membership in the regional Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), of which it has been an observer member since October 2012, in an effort to break the embargo and isolation it has been made to suffer for years. Last year, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed a request by the TRNC which maintains observer status in the organization, to open a permanent OIC representative office at the organization’s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Concluding Remarks
Let us hope that ongoing negotiation would be successful to bring greater peace, prosperity, connectivity and international recognition after an honorable settlement between North and South Cypriot. Settlement stands for greater socio-economic prosperity and shunning of prejudices. Settlement upholds the key of progress, harmony and peaceful co-existence but it should not be achieved by compromising TRNC’s socio-economic prosperity, political will or territorial subversion.