The election of moderate Turkish-Cypriot (is that an oxymoron?) Mustafa Akinci as the new President of the territories on Cyprus that Turkey has unlawfully occupied since 1974 gave some hope that he could broker a deal with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to reunify the island.
Don’t bet on it. You’d have been better off spending money to watch the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao snoozefest that you could say set boxing back 50 years except the fighters were better then.
First of all, as he was immediately reminded after winning and announcing he’d like some distance with Ankara, that he’s not the real President of the Occupied Territories. That’s Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Injustice Minister and Dictator Minister of Turkey and its Cypriot outlaw lands.
Akinci, who has reached out to Greek-Cypriots before when he was Mayor on the Turkish side of divided Nicosia, the island’s capital, said before he talked to Anastasiades he wanted to make it clear that Turkey wouldn’t be doing the talking and that he wanted a relationship “between brothers” with Turkey, not where the Motherland dictates terms.
He lost. Erdogan, who doesn’t recognize Cyprus, a member of the European Union that Turkey wants to join – nor will let its ships or planes come into Turkey – reminded Akinci where his pita is buttered and that he considers the Turkish part of Cyprus as its “child.”
“Do his ears hear what comes out of his mouth?” Erdogan asked of Akinci.
Akinci, who was being interviewed live on CNN-Turk television as Erdogan spoke, responded: “Does Turkey not want to see the child grow?”
He then cut the interview short, saying he had to take a telephone call from Erdogan. Translation: he got his ass kicked, and that’s how it’s going to be from now on.
Akinci had made some statements of compromise that revived a spark of optimism for a solution, such as reopening the ghost city of Varosha in Famagusta, a luxury seaside resort where mannequins behind the dirty and broken store windows wear 1974 fashions and auto dealerships have 1974 cars sitting abandoned.
But he’ll find – as did his predecessor Dervis Eroglu – that any Turkish-Cypriot President is a puppet of Erdogan and must do Turkey’s bidding, especially if it involves any diplomatic or peaceful gestures that actually could lead to progress in talks.
The Cypriot reunification talks have a long line of failed diplomats from the United States, United Nations and the international community, none of whom have done anything – anything – and that now includes the current UN envoy, Norway’s Espen Barth Eide, who seems like a swell, gullible fellow in the mold of his boss, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has a pudding named after him.
Anastasiades said he had some confidence building measures to offer too, such as giving the Turkish-Cypriots the location of land mines in the Pentadaktylos mountains, but all these are just window dressing because the tough questions – getting Turkey to move out its occupying army, returning stolen properties and lands – won’t be resolved, unless Anastasiades just caves in completely.
The two were to meet May 2 but that was pushed back and to the week of May 11 to break bread, but lurking in the shadows is the presence of Erdogan, a megalomaniac who’s the man behind the curtains.
He already has told Akinci that Turkey would not accept a solution for Cyprus “that would come at any cost.” What he really means is at no cost – to Turkey.
Anastasiades was coming back to the negotiating table only because Turkey withdrew a warship and energy research vessel it sent into Cypriot waters in search of oil and gas and as Ankara demanded Cyprus share in any finds.
Akinci said he believes there could be a solution this year, sounding like a lot of other optimists in the process who said the same thing, almost every year for the last four decades.
“Our hope is that these negotiations will culminate in a positive result in 2015. We have discussed this issue with (Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister) Mr. Arinc and Turkey’s wishes are in this direction,” he said, according to the Cyprus Mail.
Left unsaid is what price Cyprus would pay and trusting Turkey is as unwise as believing Pakistan’s intelligence service isn’t in bed with the Taliban and selling out the United States.
Akinci didn’t get the hopes up though after his initial soothing words, almost immediately saying he doubted whether Anastasiades really wants to share power with Turkish-Cypriots as did former Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, a Communist who offered to let a Turkish-Cypriot be President every other term. If that giveaway didn’t work, nothing will.
Akincin was referring to a meeting between Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus, as well as the Nicosia Accord, an initiative that he said is “indicative of the Greek-Cypriot mindset, that they are the only sovereign power”.
“The Greek Cypriot side operates under the assumption that it is the only sovereign country and the sole protector of citizens’ rights,” he said.
“If they accept that on this island they are politically equal with us, then we will have overcome the most important obstacle. Agreement on all other issues will become easier,” he added.
Now all that he has to do is convince Erdogan to go along. It won’t happen.