Libmonster ID: UK-1233
Author(s) of the publication: N. M. ZHUKOVA

N. M. ZHUKOVA

Postgraduate student of the Institute of Information Technology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

In August 2009, the first stage of negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus was completed. During this time, almost 40 meetings were held between Greek Cypriot community leaders Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Tal Atom. They discussed future governance and power sharing, relations with the EU, community security and guarantees, property and economic issues. Following these meetings, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Alexander Downer, said that " the current negotiations are the first reading and have made significant progress." Talat, in turn, stressed that " significant progress has been made and that both sides have prepared such a large number of joint documents for the first time in the history of negotiations since 1974." However, Christofias was more reserved in his assessment of the results, admitting that "he expected more progress" 1, but added that "the second stage will be an attempt to reach a greater understanding".

The problem of dividing Cyprus into Greek and Turkish parts is still an unresolved and controversial issue. Over the past half-century since the island's independence from Britain, both Greece and Turkey have tried to establish loyal regimes in Cyprus. This was accompanied by skirmishes that led to armed confrontations between representatives of the island's Turkish and Greek communities, which repeatedly jeopardized regional stability.

The actual division of the island occurred after the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkish troops in 1974, and after the declaration of independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983, a new stage of the conflict began, in which the implementation of the idea of a single state for representatives of the two communities became almost impossible.

THE ANNAN PLAN AND ITS FIASCO

After the division of the island, there were virtually no socio-economic or cultural ties between the communities. New generations of Cypriots, who belonged to different communities, did not communicate with each other.

This favored the spread of radical political views based on bias and prejudice. Young people were constantly reminded of the injustices and atrocities of the past, which were described in detail in history textbooks and on the pages of most printed publications.

In this context, some of the results of a survey conducted in the Republic of Cyprus (ROK) are interesting. 75% of the Greek Cypriots surveyed said that they would not agree to a marriage between a family member and a Turkish Cypriot; over 80% said that in the event of a federal solution, they would not live in the Turkish Cypriot zone; finally between 30% and 40% of the respondents did not want to work in the same place as a Turkish Cypriot, live in a village with a mixed population, or allow their children to attend school with Turkish Cypriot children.

Data from the Turkish Cypriot side would probably give an even more pessimistic picture, given that the fear of cohabitation is even more pronounced in the smaller Turkish Cypriot community. This is primarily due to the economic dominance of the Greek Cypriot community2.

In view of the impossibility of reaching a compromise between Greece and Turkey on the Cyprus issue, the international community, represented by the United Nations, concerned about the ongoing hotbed of tension in the region, regularly made attempts both to maintain peace on the island and to find a political solution to the conflict.

The problem of a divided Cyprus became particularly acute after the decision to admit the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union (EU). It meant that half of the island, backed by Greece, would join the European Union, while Northern Cyprus, backed by Turkey, would remain outside the EU. It was then that the "Annan Plan", known by the name of the UN Secretary-General, appeared. It contained proposals for the reunification of the divided island and the creation of a United Republic of Cyprus.

The plan called for the unification of the entire island of Cyprus, with the exception of the territory of the British military bases, and the creation of a new state with two politically equal and sufficiently broad powers of the subjects of the federation and the central government. Such a federal structure would include the following elements of the State:: The Presidential Council, consisting of 6 members elected by the Parliament according to the proportion of the population they represent (i.e. 4 Greek Cypriots and 2 Turkish Cypriots); the bicameral Federal Parliament; the Supreme Court, consisting of 9 judges (3 from each constituent entity of the federation plus 3 foreigners appointed by the Presidential Council).

In fact, such a structure of the central authorities of the united state redefined its confederate character.

page 49

The Annan Plan included a federal constitution, constitutions for each State, a series of constitutional and federal laws, and a proposal for the flag of the United Republic of Cyprus and the national anthem. It also called for the creation of a special reconciliation commission to strengthen mutual trust, respect and tolerance between the island's two communities. A permanent military presence of Greece and Turkey on the island was maintained, but subject to a significant reduction in the number of their troops.

Initially, the Turkish Cypriots completely rejected the document, but after the appearance in the political arena of the TRNC of such a figure as Mehmet Ali Talat, who supported the course of unification of the island on the basis of the "Annan Plan", the situation has undergone serious changes.

They were also related to the position of Ankara regarding the entry of the united island into the European Union. Turkey was not interested in Cyprus joining the EU for a number of reasons: first, it could mean losing control of the TRNC; second, it would create new levers of influence for Greek Cypriots on Turkey, both because of the expected increase in EU pressure on Turkey, and because of the desire of Turkey itself Third, it could violate the terms of the 1960 treaty granting "most favored nation" status to the three guarantor Powers (Great Britain, Greece, and Turkey). However, under pressure from Washington and realizing that this could negatively affect its own attempts to join the European Union, Ankara changed its position, no longer objecting to Kazakhstan's accession to the EU.

If both communities supported the plan, the island would be reunited and a united Cyprus would join the European Union on May 1, 2004.

The plan was submitted to separate simultaneous referendums on 24 April 2004. 65% of Turkish Cypriots approved the plan, while 75% of Greek Cypriots voted against it.

The reunion did not take place.

Why did the Greek Cypriots say "no" to the plan?

This "no" showed the unwillingness of the Republic of Kazakhstan to risk its economic well-being and political status for the sake of unification with the Northerners.

Greek Cypriots were not satisfied with the idea that Turkish Cypriots should run a single federal state on equal terms within the Presidential Council, as well as represent Cyprus ' interests in equal proportions in EU committees and commissions.

The Annan Plan did not offer a clear compensation scheme for lost property to Greek Cypriots who left it in Northern Cyprus as a result of the events of 1974.Greek Cypriots also feared that they would have to become an economic donor to Northern Cyprus. The plan did not contain a specific solution to the issue of the presence of Turkish troops. Finally, it did not clearly spell out the fate of Turkish migrants.

The UN, EU and US strongly condemned the "no" of Greek Cypriots, calling Cyprus ' President Tassos Papadopoulos "an old-school Greek nationalist who lives in the past and does not consider himself an EU citizen." 3

A GLIMMER OF HOPE

After the failure of the referendum on the "Annan Plan" in 2004, there was a certain pessimism about the final solution to the Cyprus problem. All hopes for its settlement looked more than faint.

However, in February 2008, the presidential election was won by Dimitris Christofias, General Secretary of the Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus (AKEL). Christofias ' victory signaled the desire of Greek Cypriots to break the current impasse and replace the unyielding and categorical Papadopoulos with a moderate leader who adheres to left-wing views and is committed to dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot community.

The election of Christofias opened up new opportunities for resolving the Cyprus issue.

The fact is that another failure would only consolidate the division of the island and, according to Andrekos Barnabas, a professor of history at the European University of Cyprus, would turn it into a "Mediterranean Taiwan"4. Another danger lies in the fact that the younger generations of Cypriots are already so used to division that they will lose the desire to change the status quo.5 Even today, according to public opinion polls on the Greek side, only those over 50 are firmly in favor of reunification.6 And the Turkish newspaper "Jumhuriyet" writes that "in case of failure of negotiations on the unification of the island, the Turkish side will send a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon."

page 50

To the Munu, a letter on behalf of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus requesting that the TRNC recognition procedure be initiated. " 7

Immediately after his election, Christofias held several meetings with the" president " of the TRNC, Talat, and on September 3, 2008, comprehensive settlement negotiations opened, where significant progress was made. However, there are still many unresolved issues that both leaders will have to deal with. They include the same issues of power distribution among communities, the nature of the future federation, the property rights of displaced persons, the presence of more than 40,000 Turkish troops in Northern Cyprus and 100,000 Turkish people who arrived on the island after 1974.8, as well as the question of the guarantor States of the future agreement.9

The main unresolved issue is the future state structure of the island.

Christofias sees the solution to this problem in "creating a bicommunal, bi-zonal federation on the island with a single sovereignty, citizenship and representation in the international arena on the basis of high-level agreements reached in 1977 and 1979, UN resolutions and principles of international and European law"10.

Talat insists on creating a new partner state based on two separate entities and the political equality of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.11 However, Talat stressed that "we will try to reach agreement on all issues during the second round of negotiations." He also supports a tight timetable for negotiations with a view to reaching a solution to the Cyprus issue as soon as possible. This position coincides with the opinion of Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who stated that "we want the negotiations on this issue to be completed quickly, and Turkey wants the referendum to be held before the end of 2009." 12

However, it was impossible to hold a referendum within this time frame, since the number of unresolved issues is still quite large.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, expressing satisfaction with the progress of the first stage of the negotiations, stressed that " the acceleration of the negotiation process will help to reach a comprehensive political settlement, and whatever agreement the parties come to, it will necessarily have to pass through public referendums, and the leaders of both sides should already develop cooperation with representatives of various political, economic and public structures". The UN Secretary-General once again stressed that the UN expresses active support for Turkish-Greek contacts and is ready to offer additional assistance if necessary.13

At the same time, according to public opinion polls, residents of Cyprus do not share the optimism of the leaders. A recent survey conducted on the Greek side showed that three-quarters of Greek Cypriots believe that the negotiations will once again fail14. In turn, many Turkish Cypriots believe that the only acceptable solution is the existence of two separate States, since the degree of distrust and hostility towards Greek Cypriots remains high and difficult to overcome in the medium term.

It seems that the Green Line in Nicosia-the Cypriot equivalent of the Berlin Wall-can only be erased if a climate of mutual trust is created through gradual rapprochement.


1 www.cyprus-mail.com/news/main.php?id-47224&cat_id=1

Koppithers B. 2 Europeanization and Conflict resolution, Moscow, 2005, pp. 80-81.

Rytov 3 A. The divided Island of Aphrodite. Cyprus after integration into the EU: new European reality and old problems / / Vestnik Evropy, 2005, N 13-14 - www.magazines.russ.ru/vestnik/2005/13/ry12.html

4 www.pr-inside.com/print783293.htm

5 www.english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2008/09/200891114312 2594641/html

6 www.rian.ru/analytics/20080321/101944277.html

7 www.famagusta-gazette.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu-69&twindow...

8 www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/03/cyprus.greece

Terekhov A. 9 The Island of Aphrodite stood on the path of peace / / Nezavisimaya gazeta, 28.07.08.

10 www.famagustagazette.com

11 www.isria.info/RESTRICTED/D/2008/SEPTEMBER_4/dip-lo_30august2008_38.htm

12 www.cypriot.ru/news/news detail.php?ID=40501

13 www.vestnikkipra.com/?mod=iss&id=747

14 www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1494010.php/Significant-progress-repor ted-in-renewed-Cyprus-peace-talks#ixzz0NQyzzxRC


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