|Turkish troops at a swearing-in ceremony in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 2014|
By Ismail Veli & John Oakes
Former TRNC Chief Negotiator Ergün Olgun says that only when
enters the European Union and the situation stabilises can there be any change
in the guarantee structure for the whole island. Turkey Greece,
Turkey and the are all
still Guarantor Powers under the 1960 Independence Treaty. UK
A former Denktas aide and one of the architects of the 2004 UN-backed Annan Plan, Olgun’s warning comes in a report he wrote for the independent TRNC think-tank Beşparmak. It was submitted to President Akıncı when he entered office and is only now being made public.
Petrol and energy companies, Olgun observes, are eager to see some stability in the area via a settlement. This would pave the way for them to exploit the region’s energy reserves, most economically via a pipeline through
The EU is anxious to reduce its dependence on Russian energy and diversify its
energy sources, while also combating Turkey Russia’s
efforts to grow its influence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
'Turkish water can help boost the whole Cyprus economy'
An agreement would also allow
Turkey to play a bigger part in improving island-wide
prosperity: Turkish water, set to reach Güzelyalı, in northwest Cyprus, via a 25 km pipe across the Mediterranean later this month could boost the whole
However, the turmoil in the increasingly volatile region, along with other pressing global problems, means the decades-old push to unite divided
is causing fatigue both internally and internationally. Cyprus
|Piped water from Turkey set to start later this month. Photo: North Cyprus International|
One of the biggest barriers to solving the
says Ergün Olgun, is the Greek Cypriot drive for total control and maximum
concessions from the Turkish side. Turkish Cypriots, he claims, however, are
more prepared to give concessions in order to achieve a win-win agreement that
is based on a bi-zonal, bi communal federation with political equality. Cyprus
While the Turkish Cypriot side needs to solve the issue, it also needs to be vigilant, argues Olgun. A properly-negotiated solution can only emerge from a partnership that reflects current realities; the agreement must be viable in its implementation in order to avoid the terrible historical mistakes that led to the collapse of the republic in 1963.
The two most tricky and vital issues still to be negotiated are the territorial adjustments and, for the Turkish Cypriots in particular, the continuation of
as a Guarantor Power. The general criteria have already been discussed, but it is the
last phase of the talks where these two key issues will be finalised. Turkey
'It is essential the bi-zonal character of any future state is protected'
Olgun says it is essential the bi-zonal character of any future state is protected and the aim should be to cause the minimum upheaval of population possible. The island should learn from the experiences of other countries. Funding for the relocation of people needs to come from international organisations.
|Map of divided Cyprus: Wikipedia|
Any bi-zonal solution must ensure economic equilibrium. For example universities, hotels, air and sea ports should all remain intact to avoid upheaval. The coastline and natural resources should be allotted equally, so as not to give advantage to either side.
'Only when Turkey joins the EU can the parties review the guarantees'
Territorial guarantees are a matter of immense importance to Turkish Cypriots: past experience teaches them their security and survival must not be compromised. There were provisions for this in the 2004 Annan Plan, except that the clause to review the situation every three years would have led to constant concern and instability.
The TRNC Parliament reiterated its position that
guarantee is non-negotiable on 24 February 2010. Only when Turkey joins the EU and the
situation stabilizes can the parties sit down and review the guarantees, based
on certain criteria that may be established in the future. Turkey
The acceptance of this principle, Olgun claims, is absolutely essential to any current political solution.
Additional reporting by İpek Özerim.
Ergün Olgun is the new Turkish Cypriot negotiator, 11 Oct. 2014