December 19, 2002
IS ANNAN PLAN 'THE LAST CHANCE FOR PEACE'?
** Kofi Annan's peace plan
drew mixed reviews in Cyprus but most agree it can't be ignored.
** Many analysts say EU's
admission of Cyprus, coupled with Turkey's EU membership aspirations, will prod
Mixed reception in Cyprus, but most see plan's importance-- The peace plan for Cyprus put forward by UN
Secretary General Annan met with widely divergent reactions in Cyprus not only
between but within the Greek and Turkish communities. Some dailies reacted with hostility, such as
Turkish-language Volkan, which called the plan "a trap" and
"a document of slavery."
Rightist Greek-language I Simerini complained that the
"Annan Plan...legalizes the faits accomplis of the invasion" and the
Turkish Cypriot "pseudostate."
Rightist Greek-language Alithia in contrast denounced those
"who prefer...demagogic babbling" to seizing the "unique and
perhaps final opportunity" presented by the plan to solve the island's
Greek, Turkish media urge plan as basis for negotiation-- Most papers in Greece and Turkey, though holding
that the plan favored the opposite side, were muted in their criticism. Athens' independent center-right Kathimerini,
while complaining of the plan's "blatant injustices for Greek
Cypriots" termed it "a basis for negotiations." A center-left Athens daily said the plan
"favors more the Turkish" side, so they "have no reason"
not to negotiate. Though the plan
"may be inadequate," Turkey's mass-appeal, independent Hurriyet
wrote, the document "requires a negotiation process." Meanwhile, noting Turkey's desire to be
admitted to the EU, left-of-center German papers admonished Ankara that it
"will not get a better deal" on Cyprus and that it must
"resolve" the Cyprus question.
Peace efforts 'must continue';
many Turkish Cypriots 'fed up' with status quo-- The failure to reach agreement before the EU
Summit was "unfortunate," the independent English- language Cyprus
Mail said. It spoke for many when it
added: "It is to be hoped that the
peace efforts will be continued" and completed by the new Feb. 28
deadline. Rightist Greek-language Alithia
believed the "unique opportunity" has not been "lost
forever." Some Turkish Cypriot
writers budged little from earlier opinions, but center-left Turkish-language Afrika
judged it "regrettable" that the "clear-cut peace plan" had
been undermined by Denktash; Kibris added "the patience of the
Turkish Cypriots is at an end" and said their elected leaders "must
work" for an early settlement. In
Turkey, liberal-intellectual Radikal averred that "it would be
wrong to reduce the entire Cyprus issue" to the views of Turkish Cypriot
leader Denktash. Islamic- intellectual Yeni
Safak called on Turkey "to withdraw its support for Denktash" if
he does not declare the Annan plan "a basis for agreement, not only a
basis for negotiations."
EDITOR: Steven J. Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis is based on 41 reports from 11 countries, 11/13-12/19. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed by most recent date.
CYPRUS: "What We Said
Columnist Sabahattin Ismail commented in pro-Turkish Cypriot
National Popular Movement, Nicosia Volkan (12/14): "The result [of the EU summit] is
indicative of the fact that the EU is unwilling to admit Turkey as a
member. It just wants to swallow Cyprus
by acting as though it wanted to admit Turkey.
Judging from Rauf Denktas' stand, it seems that the Turkish Cypriot side
will follow the following strategy: 1.
If the Greek Cypriot side is admitted as the representative of the entire
island, there will remain nothing to discuss.
2. Negotiating the UN document in its present shape is not
possible. 3. We shall have certain conditions in case an
atmosphere of negotiations is created.
We shall first demand the removal of the embargoes. Our second condition will be that Cyprus' EU
membership should be deferred until after Turkey's full membership."
"A Summit Achieved, And Still A Hope For
Independent English-language daily Cyprus
Mail editorialized (12/14): "It
is unfortunate that a Cyprus agreement was not signed but it is to be hoped
that the peace efforts will continue and be completed by the end of
February. It would be a great shame if
the Copenhagen summit were also to be remembered as the summit at which the
efforts to find a Cyprus settlement were buried for good."
"The Hesitant Step"
The independent Greek-language O
Filelevtheros newspaper carried this commentary by Khristalla
Khatzidhimitriou (12/14): " Under
normal circumstances we should have been celebrating now. We have achieved a very big target and have
covered half of the distance. As
European citizens now we can stare at the future in a different way. However, frozen and exhausted from what has
taken place in the meantime and what is still taking place we are watching
developments thanking God, Bush, and Erdogan because with their ways they
managed to save us for a while.... And
now we are waiting. Without champagne
and celebrations as would have been fit for the occasion but also without
'traitors' and 'fallen people.' We are
waiting standing on the wall, unable to predict what our future will be, with
[Kofi Annan advisor] Alvaro de Soto looking at us shrewdly with that sly smile
of a man who simply wants to achieve his goal."
"Redefinition Of Our Strategy"
Khristos Iakovou commented in independent
Greek-language Politis (12/14):
"What we have seen today [at the EU summit] was a last effort by
the United States to keep alive the dynamics that has been recently created on
the Cyprus issue and at the same time to maintain the Annan plan in the center
of discussions. This effort, of course,
did not have the result that the United States was expecting since it brought
to the surface a smoldering conflict between the United States and the EU. It particularly revealed the EU refusal to
the U.S. efforts to impose its views on an issue clearly concerning domestic EU
The right-of-center independent daily I
Simerini editorialized (12/14):
"Our people are entitled to hope after the accession [to the EU]
that there will be better possibilities in an atmosphere of realism to view the
Cyprus solution on the basis of prospects created by the accession. The solution sought by Greeks and Turks
cannot be achieved with ultimata and timetables but only with sincere and deep
negotiations. A solution can exist if
both sides want it but not on the basis of given plans nor with the imposition
of schizophrenic proposals that will create new problems and will lead to the
Rightist, pro-Democratic Rally Greek-language
daily Alithia took this view (12/14):
"The failure to take advantage of a historic coincidence that the
Annan plan offered for a Cyprus solution within the framework of the Copenhagen
summit outshined the success of Cyprus' EU accession. That was a unique opportunity that we believe
was not lost for ever. It has been
torpedoed by Denktas but did not sink at the bottom of the swamp.... Denktas not only has his feet on stolen
Cypriot territory but now he is stepping illegally on European territory. Turkey will never be able to join the EU by
keeping in Cyprus the invasion army to support and continue the pseudostate of
"We Have Flown A Hawk From Nicosia To Copenhagen"
Columnist Mehmet Levent held in center-left Turkish-language
Nicosia Afrika (12/13): "It
is a fact that the Annan Cyprus solution plan is a clear-cut peace plan that
has been prepared with the purpose of solving the Cyprus problem, which has
been left, for one reason or another, to drag on for many years. A world organization, such as the United
Nations, stands behind this plan....
Despite this fact, Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas was still able to
describe this plan as a 'trap' and as a 'scandal.' It is regrettable though that the Turkish
National Security Council too has supported Denktas' assessment.... [T]he status quo that has been going on since
1974...has led the Turkish Cypriots to the point of extinction, to
destruction.... Denktas keeps his
intransigence. [If the plan is rejected]
the result will be that the Greek Cypriots will join the European Union, and we
shall join the Republic of Turkey, where 'the very rich are ranked against the
very poor of the European Union.'"
"Yesterday We Pored Concrete, Today Too"
Suleyman Erguclu commented in Turkish-language Nicosia Kibris
(12/12): " When we say, 'We will
definitely not go back to pre-1974' we want to explain that those conditions
are behind us and that we no longer want to live them again. However...I feel the need to ask: Just which of the post-1974 bounties are the
thousands of our brothers who risked all manner of insulting and demeaning
treatment...and who were left in Southern Cyprus...benefiting from
today?... Are they not still living
under pre-1974 conditions...? So, are
they to blame for the current situation?
Or are the guilty those who have completely failed to get the people of
Northern Cyprus international legal recognition and been unable to forge decent
relations with motherland Turkey...and who have dragged the country into
bankruptcy...? Is it those politicians
who pretend not to see how fed up the people are with the 'state of no solution
is a solution in itself' rhetoric? Is it
those who now with the Annan plan opportunity in front of them say, 'This is a
disgrace and unacceptable'...rather than say, 'How can we modify it so that it
protects the interests of both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey?' The patience of the Turkish Cypriots is at an
end. They want to live like human
beings The elected leaders of the
Turkish Cypriots must now work to this end.
If they do not and they continue to harm the interests of both the
Cypriot Turks and Turkey then they will not be able to give account before
"Thomas Miller's Statement"
Rightist, pro-Democratic Rally Party Nicosia Alithia
observed (12/3): "It is not
accidental that the United States and [Annan advisor] de Soto insist on the
achievement of an agreement (at least on the main aspects) by 12 December. This stand is not perhaps related to any
pressure it wants to place but is based on the belief that nothing better can
be achieved. This means that not only
the negotiation may not bear any fruit but it can increase the distance
separating the two sides. Already
objections are being raised by the other side regarding the territorial issue,
the question of the return of the refugees, the properties and the
"The question arising for the Greek Cypriot
side is not whether the Annan plan will be nullified when the negotiations will
not produce the improvements we want (something very possible) but what will
follow a possible failure of these high-level methods.... Following a new failure it is not excluded
that the international interest aroused by the correct political strategy
adopted may freeze. The momentum
triggered by the coordinated efforts of the powerful for the achievement of an
agreement will perhaps fade.... Those
who prefer not to think and who shout slogans are eliminating the prospects
that are opening up. They are not
thinking but only acting improperly.
They are unable to think that through the EU institutions many
differences can be resolved and many negative elements can be corrected. These people are not interested in the forest
of positive changes."
"Utter Confusion All Around"
Ahmet Tolgay wrote in Turkish-language Nicosia Kibris
(11/28): "The appearance of the
Annan plan, with the impact of a bomb, has led to utter confusion among our
people. We have been split into four
pieces.... Those rejecting the plan
completely; those accepting the plan entirely; those who believe that the plan
could be implemented after new adjustments; the undecided group that feels at a
loss in the face of the confusion the plan has brought about.... The only condition for arriving at a sound
and viable compromise with the Greek Cypriots is to first achieve consensus
within our community. At this moment, it
is doubtful whether we shall succeed in this....
"When we watch the Greek Cypriots, we see
that they enjoy the comfort of having achieved solidarity.... This happens to be their most distinct
political and social characteristic against the Turkish Cypriots. They never harm their solidarity when it
comes to their national policy on Cyprus....
Noteworthy differences have come about between the Turkish Cypriot
official policy and the official policy of Ankara. [Turkish Cypriot leaders] Rauf Denktas and
Dervis Eroglu talk about one thing, the ruling AKP [Justice and Development
Party] leaders in Turkey about something else.... A signal has been given that yet another
established tradition of Turkey would be put to debate, and that the government
policies would take priority over state policies.... The unease felt by certain circles is
multiplying and having reflections on the public opinion."
"The President's Vision"
Yiannos Kharalambidhis commented in
right-of-center Greek-language Nicosia I Simerini (11/25): "None of President Kliridhis' promises
have been kept. Under the Annan Plan,
Cyprus is not being reunited. On the
contrary, the Republic of Cyprus is being dissolved and handed over to
Turkey. The President's team and he
himself are acting contrary to what they told the people.... But they finally surrendered without
fighting. And now they are propounding
the following argument: What should we
do? Should we not accept the Annan Plan
and partition [Cyprus]? But this is not
a dilemma. It is a pseudo-dilemma.... The Annan Plan... legalizes the faits
accomplis of the invasion and the pseudostate.... Not only do these proposals legalize
partition, they also create a situation worse than this. They are sending us back to the colonial rule
since it is the foreigners who will make decisions in all the significant
institutions of the new partnership--from the Central Bank to the Supreme Court. Is this the vision of President Kliridhis and
his associates: a return to the past and
the creation in Cyprus of 'three states' under Turkish custody?"
"Document of Slavery"
Pro-Turkish Cypriot National Popular Movement
Turkish-language Nicosia Volkan judged (11/17): "The Greek Cypriot-Greek-UK-U.S.-EU
document submitted through the UN is a document of slavery, not a solution
plan. It is a trap set against the
Turkish Cypriot people, and which aims at turning Cyprus into a Greek Cypriot
island.... The creation of a
multi-national force removes, in practice, motherland Turkey's right of a
unilateral intervention, and grants to this force the power to engage in
operations within the Turkish Cypriot area at will. One-third of our territory is taken away, and
our land is reduced to 28.5 percent from 36.5 percent. The ratio of Greek Cypriots to be settled in
a period of 20 years in the area to be left to us would be 33 percent of our
population.... Establishment of a Greek
Cypriot canton in Karpass, the most strategic area, would create a threat
internally against us and against motherland Turkey. Through the representation in our parliament
of the Greek Cypriots who would be returning to our side...the intention is to
bring to power the 'collaborators'....
The property and ownership issues are being turned into such a
complicated problem that their solution would not be possible even in a
century. A complete chaos and an
atmosphere of conflict and confusion are being created.... The document is a plan of slavery because of
all these. It is for this reason that we
shall oppose this document."
Rightist Greek-language Nicosia Alithia
commented (11/15): "No one has the
right either to embellish the Annan plan or to distort it for the worse. The yardstick for judging this plan is not
what is ideally just, but what is a politically tolerable compromise.... But we are not threatened by oversimplifications. We are threatened by misinterpretations that
return to the other side what the Annan plan robs them of.... Resorting to political inconsistencies and
ringing slogans can only lead to the wasting of a unique and possibly final
opportunity for utilizing a plan, which is favored by unique international
conditions--an opportunity with many positive elements that is understood by
those who feel the burden of the dismembered occupation on their shoulders, and
not by those who prefer the protraction of this situation accompanied by their
GREECE: "The Pros And
Cons Of The Summit"
Alexis Papakhelas commented in centrist Athens To
Vima (12/14): "Turkey bet
everything it had in Copenhagen, and lost....
Greece achieved its key strategic objectives: it secured the unqualified
EU accession of Cyprus, convinced Turkey that intentions towards it are the
best possible, and threw the ball of Turkey's EU prospects in Europe's
court.... This is the good news. The bad news is that we should not have too
many illusions about the Cyprus problem ever being resolved, in any case not
before Turkey senses it's 'joining the EU.'
What does this mean in practical terms?
It means that next time Athens or Nicosia raise the Cyprus problem,
Europe's answer will be clear: 'We brought Cyprus in as it is, don't create
more problems for us.' The possibility
of occupied territory being returned to the Greek Cypriot side seems very
remote and most probably, Denktash's intransigence effectively resolved the
Cyprus problem...in Copenhagen."
"The Siege Continues Despite The Accession To The EU"
Angeliki Spanou reported in conservative, pro-New Democracy daily
Athens Eleftheros Typos (12/14):
"The Greek Government went to the summit meeting of the European
Union in Copenhagen ready to celebrate the outcome of the diplomatic battle it
never gave.... Athens supported the
British-Italian proposal concerning the commencement of the accession
negotiations between Turkey and the European Union.... Also, the Greek Government supported the
signing of a solution-agreement to the Cyprus problem, without giving Nicosia
time to decide freely what it wants to do....
The unprecedented pressure that was exerted...on the Cypriot political
leadership to sign the agreement for the solution to the political problem of
Cyprus, just before the decision for Cyprus' accession, verifies how cornered
the Republic of Cyprus was.... The
obvious intention of international diplomacy (which was supported by the Greek
Government also) is the cornering of the Republic of Cyprus to unite with the
Turkish-Cypriot side, based on the well known proposal of the UN secretary
K. I. Angelopoulos commented in independent,
center-right Athens Kathimerini (11/21):
"The UN plan on the reunification of Cyprus proved to be nothing
like the simple matter the Greek administration had expected. Developments show that the Turkish side
remains a tough negotiator and that it has the strength to resist intense
pressure, keeping its fundamental policies unchanged. The political elites in Athens and Nicosia
have, each for their own reasons, accepted the plan as a basis for negotiations,
despite the fact that a settlement would, in all probability, involve a great
deal of compromise. The Greek government
even suggested that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan entails a choice
between a solution or final partition.
Ankara, on the other hand, treated the plan in a different manner. For the Turkish side it all boiled down to
one question: If the EU does not set a date for the start of membership talks
at Copenhagen, why should Turkey cooperate over a solution to the Cyprus
"Viable 'Yes' Mister Erdogan"
Center-left Athens Eleftherotypia judged
(11/18): "The Annan plan favors
more the Turkish Cypriot side, which it upgrades. Evidently this is understood by the Turkish
Cypriots who, according to the last opinion poll, favor the accession by 89
percent while 74 percent of them state that they are proud to become
European. So the Turkish Cypriots have
every reason to accept alterations to the Annan plan so that the negotiations
will become fruitful. They have no
reason to refuse the negotiations, the beginning of which the Greek side has
already accepted. This truth is
evidently understood by Erdogan, beyond any diplomatic bargains and
"EU Values And Cyprus"
Independent center-right Athens Kathimerini
commented (11/15): "A renewed
impasse in the Cyprus issue would further consolidate the present state of
affairs. On the other hand, accepting
the UN proposal as a basis for negotiations entails hopes that justice on the
long-divided island will be gradually restored.
The above does not mean that the plan must be embraced in its current
form, but that it should be accepted as the basis of persistent and painstaking
negotiations.... This is perhaps the
most crucial point, especially considering the plan's serious divergence from
the shared values of the EU and the obstacles that it raises to Cyprus's
accession to a common European security and defense policy.... Even though UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's
plan contains blatant injustices for Greek Cypriots and deviations from the
basic tenets of international law...it still paves the entire island's way to
EU membership.... The plan must be
modified...to guarantee that the resolution of any differences between the two
communities will be in accordance with European values and regulations.... Similar to its pledge that it won't make
discounts on the acquis communautaire for the sake of Ankara, the EU cannot
compromise its principles to please Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash."
TURKEY: "Last tango in
Sami Kohen emphasized in mass-appeal Milliyet (12/19): "It appears impossible that the two
leaders of Cyprus will not come to the negotiating table. There is simply no option for them in the
midst of an immense push from the EU and the UN.... For the Greek Cypriot side, there is a
deadline for a settlement by February 28.
The EU does not want to see a divided island, and the Greek Cypriot
administration cannot ignore a settlement just because it has been assured of
EU membership.... As for the Turkish
Cypriots, there are some factors which work in favor of a solution as
well. The Turkish Cypriots are fed up
with the 'unsettled' Cyprus issue. In
the case of a continuation of no-settlement situation, we might see some
migration from the Turkish side to the Greek side. If that happens, the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus will continue to be isolated and alienated from the
international community, not to mention the challenges that Ankara will have to
face vis-à-vis the EU, the UN, and the U.S.... A long-lasting and good solution can be found
as long as the two leaders of Cyprus act with common sense. Both Denktas and Clerides are senior figures,
and the current process is probably their last chance for peace."
"Time For A Solution"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal, centrist Milliyet (12/17):
“Following the Copenhagen summit, it is inevitable that negotiations on Cyprus
will begin based on the Annan plan. A
settlement within the next 2.5 months will make both sides of Cyprus a member of
the EU.... There are two opposing views
in both Turkey and in Northern Cyprus.
One view calls for a settlement before the EU deadline, while the other
advocates a process of integration with Turkey.... The AKP government seems to favor a
settlement to the issue. This is
certainly the best option for both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. It is indeed the time for a settlement on the
island. It is time to look ahead with a
broad horizon, and to leave skepticism and old mentalities behind us.”
"The Cyprus Test For AKP"
Cengiz Candar wrote in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak
(12/17): “The Turkish Cypriot leader
Denktas should be given a last chance for a settlement. He should feel obliged to declare that he
considers the Annan plan as a basis for an agreement, not only a basis for
negotiations. If he is reluctant to do
that, and if the AKP really wants to be in charge, Turkey should withdraw its
support for Denktas, and the Turkish Cypriots should go to either an election
or a referendum.... Cyprus is very much
Turkey’s business, thus Ankara does not have the luxury of saying to Denktas:
‘do whatever you think is right.’ The
Cyprus policy should be formulated in Ankara, and implemented accordingly.”
"Simitis And The Sevres Treaty"
Taylan Sorgun opined in pro-Nationalist Action
Party, MHP Ortadogu (12/14):
"The acceptance one way or the other of the 'solution package,'
which has been...prepared by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan together with
England, Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration, would be an agreement
like the Sevres Treaty for the KKTC [Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus].... It would be like 'a second
Crete' for Turkey, and Turkey would be strategically surrounded in the
Mediterranean and its sovereignty rights would also be weakened.... Getting involved in bargaining over the KKTC
in order to be able to get a meaningless date from the EU has weakened Turkey's
attribute of being an important state. There was a common view of Turkey's statesmen
in the past.... They stated, 'When
bargaining starts on the national interests, then this leads to an adventure,
the result of which is unknown.'... Of
course, [Greek Prime Minister] Simitis is pleased, because with the Annan plan,
the path to Enosis will also be opened."
"Plan A: 2003; Plan B: 2004"
Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in the tabloid Star (12/11): "It is very likely that President Bush
will promise to increase pressure on the EU but also exert pressure on the
Turkish side on the Cyprus issue. The
revised Annan plan on Cyprus will most likely be presented to Erdogan while he
is in the United States. Turkey is
rapidly moving toward a 'take-it-or-leave-it' position on the Cyprus
issue. The visit of Erdogan to the U.S.
might be a breakthrough in Turkish foreign policy."
"The Cyprus Plan"
Sedat Ergin wrote in mass-appeal, independent Hurriyet
(11/26): “Two conclusions can be made
about the plan. First of all, although
portions of the language may be inadequate, the plan envisions sovereignty and
equality for the Turkish Cypriot side....
Secondly, the territorial concessions call for very serious analysis and
revision. However, this can be done at
the negotiating table and, whether we like it or not, we have to prepare
ourselves mentally for territorial concessions.... It would be very wrong to impose the EU
summit as a deadline for this plan. The
document requires a negotiation process, which will inevitably take place early
next year. Therefore, it cannot be
signed in its present form.”
"Erdogan And Foreign Policy"
Mehmet Ocaktan commented on the change in foreign policy rhetoric
with the new leadership in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (11/25): "AKP leader Tayyip Erdogan has brought
about a revolutionary change on foreign policy issues. On the Cyprus issue, for instance, we have
seen only unrealistic approaches from Turkish politicians until Erdogan dared
to express the rather revolutionary suggestion that EU membership, ESDI and
Cyprus be considered as a package.
Erdogan emphasizes the fact that no matter how much we may oppose this
kind of approach, the EU countries are drawing a direct link between Cyprus and
Turkey's EU membership. Turkey should
stop acting like an ostrich, Erdogan says, and pull its head out of the sand. This new approach amounts to a deep philosophical
change in Turkish foreign policy, which has been built under conflict and
mistrust.... And it demands a test of
sincerity test both for Brussels and for certain power centers in Ankara."
"Listen To The Cypriots"
Erdal Guven noted in liberal-intellectual Radikal
(11/24): "Denktas is certainly a
part of the settlement process, but it would be wrong to reduce the entire
Cyprus issue to the views of Denktas.
State policy so far has caused the Cyprus issue to become Turkey's
number one problem because the policy envisioned a Denktas-MFA-Military
triangle. However, northern Cyprus has
opposition parties, NGOs and unions, as well as media. It would be very wrong to ignore what these
groups have to say, as previous Turkish governments have done. These groups are trying to express their
support for a settlement and are asking that this historic opportunity not be
"No Change in Denktas"
Editor-in-chief Ismet Berkan argued in the intellectual-liberal Radikal
(11/22): "Denktas finally unveiled
his real intention by describing the UN Cyprus plan as 'not worthy of
negotiation.' It seems that the main
goal for the Turkish Cypriot leader is to preserve the current deadlock on the
issue and not to work for a solution....
What is more important for the Turkish Cypriots: sovereignty or
territory? Listen to what former
President Evren has said recently:
Denktas told him that 'sovereignty' was most important, and in fact
during the 1974 operation the Turkish side was planning to trade territory for
sovereignty gains.... Given these facts,
one really cannot possibly understand why Denktas is reluctant to sit at the
negotiating table.... The plan is a
chance not to be missed, and there should be the basis of an agreement on
Cyprus before December 12."
"A Tough Plan"
Zafer Atay commented in economic/politics Dunya
(11/20): "Despite its major
downside on the territorial issue, the Kofi Annan plan deserves to be treated
seriously. This plan should be the basis
for negotiations. The Turkish side can
correct the plan's mistakes and carry
out a series of fine-tuning of the text by sitting at the negotiating table. That might produce a long-lasting and just
agreement between the two sides. On the
other hand, the UN should extend the deadline.
It might also be helpful to the settlement process if a solution is
found to prevent Greek blackmailing to the benefit of the Greek Cypriots on the
EU enlargement issue."
BRITAIN: "The World
Cannot Tolerate A Divided Cyprus"
Former Swedish prime minister and UN Special Envoy for the
Balkans, Carl Bildt wrote in the independent Financial Times
(12/16): "The Copenhagen summit was
a great success in every respect but one.
A critical opportunity to create peace on the divided island of Cyprus
was allowed to pass. Now, hope is
expressed that an agreement can be concluded before February 28, allowing a
united Cyprus to sign the accession treaty in Athens April 16. This is of crucial importance. It concerns not only a divided island in the
eastern Mediterranean, or the relationship between two important countries
straddling the divide between Europe and the Middle East. It is of key importance in the quest for
peace and stability in the entire post-Ottoman area that stretches from Bihac
in Bosnia in the northwest to Basra at the Persian Gulf in the southeast.
"In all of this area, we are faced with
essentially the same problem. Centuries
and millennia of some sort of multi-ethnic rule...have left a mosaic of peoples
and cultures that sometimes have led to impressive bursts of creativity, but
sometimes to equally forceful outbreaks of conflicts and destruction.... The United Nations peace plan for Cyprus is
an impressive document. If the Dayton agreement for Bosnia was the first real
attempt to deal with these post-cold war conflicts in the post-Ottoman area,
the UN Cyprus plan is by far the most elaborate and advanced. The task is also a more difficult one.... In Cyprus, the relative comfort of the status
quo must be overcome in favour of the uncertainties of a difficult process of
coming back together again. But it must
happen. Although it is still years away,
it is inconceivable that the European Union will accept as a member a Turkey
that recognises and supports the illegal statelet of the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus. We cannot preach ethnic integration and co-existence elsewhere
and tolerate ethnic division within our own ranks.
"This message must be crystal clear to both
Ankara and Athens. Although Greece will,
for the next six critical months, assume the rotating presidency of the EU, the
other 14 countries must make clear that there will be zero tolerance against
any attempts from their side to encourage or support intransigence towards
renewed UN attempts to strike a deal....
Thus failure or success in the search for peace in Cyprus is part of a
wider search for peace. Copenhagen did not have the energy to do this.... in addition to everything else it
achieved. But we must not tolerate the
fundamental failure a divided Cyprus as a member of the EU would be. No effort must be spared in the weeks
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (12/16) opined: “In Copenhagen, the EU confirmed Turkey’s
prospects for its accession to the EU.
It will now depend on Prime Minister Guel when and whether they will be
realized.... The government could also
face a trial of strength with the military in the Cyprus question.... But if Turkey wants to become a concrete
candidate, it must resolve this question.
Once the EU decides over accession talks with Turkey, the Greek Cypriots
will also sit at the negotiating table.
But we can hardly expect them to approve accession talks as long as
35,000 Turkish soldiers continue to occupy Northern Cyprus.”
"Please Show Me The Path To The EU"
Guenter Seufert stated in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (12/9): “Thus far, the
Turkish government has been more successful in foreign than in domestic
policy…. In domestic policy, the new
government has only shifted the increase in international recognition. It is now demanding that two separate states
should be the basis of a common Cyprus, not as the UN plan provided, two ethnic
groups. Cyprus is to become the trump
card for Turkey's membership in the EU."
"Dithering In View Of The Cyprus Trap"
Christiane Schloetzer noted in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (11/20):
"Tayyip Erdogan’s opponents have discovered a lever to act against
the new strong man in Ankara:
Cyprus.... For the EU, Cyprus,
the EU enlargement, and later a Turkish accession to the EU, are closely
linked.... For Ankara, one thing is
true: Turkey will not get a more
favorable scenario in the near future than Annan’s closely balanced plan. If an agreement cannot be reached on this
basis and once the Greek Republic of Cyprus is accepted as a member in the EU,
the Turks will again sit at the side table in the talks. Then the Greeks will have a right to veto
that even affects Turkey’s future accession to the EU."
To Know Each Other"
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (11/19): "Only
optimists had hoped that, with a great gesture, the Cyprus problem in addition
to other Turkish-Greek differences of opinion could have been resolved at the
fist get-to-know meeting in Athens. But
a rigid conflict that has been going on for more than a decade cannot be
settled overnight. This is not a
disappointment, but the logic of reality.
But Greece’s Prime Minister Simitis and Turkey’s election winner Erdogan
promised to continue their talks that began last year. It would be good if both NATO partners stuck
to their promise and resolved their really anachronistic territorial
dispute. It would be good if quiet
prevailed in the southeastern Mediterranean and broad cooperation would replace
prestige thinking and occasional fits of a lust for confrontation."
"Hopes For Divided Cyprus"
Dietrich Alexander argued in an editorial in right-of-center Die
Welt of Berlin (11/13): “Kofi
Annan’s initiative is taking place at a favorable period.... [A]t the beginning of the new year,
Cyprus--the Greek part only--will become a new EU member. The EU made clear that unification is no
precondition for Cyprus’s accession, thus ignoring threats from Ankara that it
could occupy the Turkish part in the north of the island. Turkey...will have to find ways and means to
get out of this rhetorical dead-end street.
Reunification on the basis of the UN plan would offer a good opportunity
and would also be the right signal of the new Turkish government to Brussels,
since a unified Cyprus would then stand with one leg in the EU.... The UN plans the Swiss model as a blueprint
for the new structure of Cyprus. This is
a good plan whose implementation requires courage and farsightedness and is
appropriate to end the still crisis in the Mediterranean.”
"It Is Now Up To Ankara To Make The Next Move"
Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau stated (11/13): “Everyone is now looking to Ankara.... The generals and politicians in Ankara should
soberly consider what is more important to them: military control over the allegedly
strategically important northern Cyprus or the European perspective of their
country. It will always find its limits
as long as Cyprus is divided. Ankara has
thus far justified the division with the protection of the ethnic Turkish group
in the northern part of the country, but the Turks in the impoverished North
would be the ones who would profit the most from a political solution and the
acceptance of Cyprus as a whole in the EU.”
The liberal Irish Times editorialized (11/19): "Much is at stake in the negotiations on
a settlement in Cyprus.... The UN
proposals have been carefully calibrated to a tight timetable.... If they were followed, Cyprus would combine
elements of federalism in its external relations and confederalism in its
domestic affairs.... The precise details
are left to the negotiations. These are
urgent, given the fraught atmosphere surrounding the final stages of EU
enlargement between now and the EU summit in Copenhagen.... Turkey has said it will annex the northern
part of the island if Cyprus is accepted as an EU member without a political
settlement on its future. Several EU
states believe it would be wrong to go ahead without one, despite the political
agreement already reached to do so. The
controversy has been stoked by Mr. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's high profile
opposition to Turkish EU membership....
Thus there is a real opportunity to make rapid progress in one of the
world's most intractable political conflicts.
It makes much sense to pursue it....
Within the current international setting (the) issues are potentially
resolvable as never before if the will is there."
Centrist influential Turin La Stampa published this
commentary by Enzo Bettiza (11/24):
"The recent establishment in Ankara of a government with a strong
and stable majority, but with suspicious Islamic roots, with a winning leader
who has been excluded from public offices, has only added to the difficulties
and stressed the ambiguity of a dialogue between Europe and Turkey. The package of contradictions here is
inexhaustible.... Yet, even Arabist
[foreign minister Yasar] Yakis does not seem to swerve from the moderation
strategy. On the contrary, he seems
rather inclined to make major concessions over Cyprus so as to eliminate from
the island the explosive deadlock in which for 28 years the Turks have been
opposing the Greeks."
"Light In The Cyprus Dead End?"
Independent daily Zeri published this
commentary by Enver Robelli (11/23): “In
the last 28 years the UN tried continuously to get the sides in conflict
closer--with no success. This objective has been made more difficult to achieve
by the fact that it is about two different peoples that do not speak the same
language and belong to two different world religions. It seems difficult to develop a common
identity for them. However, Koffi
Annan’s plan is a sort of a guideline for the way out of the dead end.”
Influential independent NRC Handelsblad judged in its
editorial (11/14): "Late, but maybe
just in time did the United Nations launch a new peace plan which should end
the division of the republic of Cyprus in a Greek and a Turkish part. There is less than a month to go before the
EU summit in Copenhagen where EU expansion will be an important issue on the
agenda.... The UN plan provides new
chances for reunification.... The issue
touches on another sensitive issue: the relations between Turkey and the
EU.... It is Ankara and nowhere else
where the Turkish-Cypriot fate is decided.
Recept Tayyip Erdogan, who won the recent elections, now can prove his
openly expressed European aspirations.... Turkish approval of the UN plan will
be a signal of good intentions, which cannot be ignored. It would increase Turkey's chance of ever
becoming a member of the EU."
RUSSIA: "What Will
Yevgeniy Grigoryev commented in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(11/13): "Annan has come up with
this idea since the UN has long been committed to settling the Cyprus
problem. Also, there is a factor of
time, as the EU is going to name new candidates for admission in 2004 next
month. Cyprus is among them.... But as it happens in matters regarding
Cyprus, Turkey's position is essential when it comes to the future of this
plan. So far, there has been no official
word from Ankara. A statement by new
Prime Minister Recep Taip Erdogan on a Greek-Turkish state modeled on Belgium
gives some hope, though, suggesting readiness for compromise."
YUGOSLAVIA: "Plan On The
Belgrade's independent weekly Vreme judged (11/21): "One part of the public [in Cyprus] is
fearing that the international community could try to impose a solution, such
as the 'Cypriot Dayton,' or the new state similar to a Serbia/Montenegro. Although no one is saying it publicly, the
draft proposal resembles exactly that.
If the parties involved, sign the document... they would commit
themselves to creating a new loose federation of the Swiss model.... That would solve the main issues of the dispute...and
would provide that the re-united Cyprus could join the EU. Should this optimistic scenario fall through,
Greece is considering that the Republic of Cyprus should be admitted into EU de
jure, although de facto EU's framework could be applied to only 63% of its
territory (the Greek side). Greece,
however, is failing to answer what are its motives are going to be for the
continuation of the talks once Cyprus enters the EU--and that issue is even
more important for Brussels, who would in the case of stalled talks, import
into the EU an additional problem."