April 29, 2004
GREEK CYPRIOT REJECTION OF ANNAN PLAN DISAPPOINTS
Cypriot papers say the people's verdict "must be respected" but fret
over EU reaction.
Turkish Cypriot writers see the beginning of a "new period in
Europeans vent "bitter disappointment and reproach" over the
The Annan Plan is 'dead'-- Greek Cypriot papers
were split about their community's rejection of UN Secretary General Annan's
plan for reunification of the island in last week's referendum. Nationalist papers stated that "Cyprus
has said 'No' to suicide" while defending universal "rights and
values." Hard-line, pro-Democratic
Rally Party I Makhi declared "no one has the right to ignore the
verdict of the sovereign people" and that it was time to "chart a new
strategy" not based on the Annan plan.
Influential, top-circulation, Fileleftheros focused on "next
steps" being taken with "an open prospect" towards a
settlement. Some dailies were downbeat,
arguing the result had led Greek Cypriots to "international
isolation." The English-language Sunday
Mail labeled the result "a Pyrrhic victory" and worried about
foreign reaction; Alithia agreed, asserting the Greek community now
"must focus on minimizing the consequences."
'We have entered a new phase'-- Some Turkish Cypriot papers said the vote had
made it clear that "Greek Cypriots will not agree to share
anything." A columnist remarked in
right-wing nationalist Halkin Sesi that he hoped "the world has now
realized why the Cyprus problem has so far remained unsolved." Commentators called the vote "an
important milestone" and concluded that after the poll, "nothing can
be the same." Top-circulation,
independent Kibris interpreted the vote to show that the community had
"had enough" of Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash, declaring that new
Turkish community leaders are "quickly achieving" what he
"failed to accomplish during the past 40 years." Papers contended that "the EU and the
U.S. are preparing to take important steps in favor" of the Turkish
Cypriots in recognition of their positive vote.
Analysts looked forward to the end of "isolation" and the
prospect of economic growth.
A 'sad day' and a 'disappointment'-- Greek dailies maintained the way to a Cyprus
solution "must remain open" and called for a strategy that would
"minimize the negative consequences" of the vote but "maximize
the chances" for a solution.
Dailies in Turkey saw "benefits gained" for Turkish Cypriots
but cautioned against expecting "immediate results." Conservative, mass-appeal Turkiye
reasoned that Turkey itself had gained in its quest for EU membership, since
now "there is no way the EU can place Turkey on the irreconcilable
side" of the issue. Other European
writers lamented the "missed opportunity," some going so far as to
label the Greek Cypriots "the spoilsports of the EU." A conservative British broadsheet termed the
rejection of the plan "mean-spirited," voicing a common complaint
that it was also "wholly predictable"; once the EU decided it would
admit the southern side of Cyprus regardless of the vote's outcome "it
took away any incentive" from Greek Cypriots to compromise. Other observers predicted EU aid would begin
to flow into the northern side of the island and that Turkey's PM Erdogan
"will use the vote for achieving his European goals."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. This report summarizes and interprets foreign
editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.
Government. This analysis was based on
50 reports from 14 countries April 25-28, 2004.
Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent
CYPRUS: "For The First
Most influential, top-circulation, independent Turkish-language Kibris
commented (4/27): "There had been
many important milestones in search of a solution in Cyprus. The T/C side had lost all of them in the
past. For the first time, we became the
side that won, on April 24. We went
through a process that Rauf Denktas was not influential in and we were
successful. The G/Cs had looked for
Denktas in vain at the negotiating table.
The T/Cs did not just approve of the Annan Plan with their 'yes' vote on
April 24, but they also threw the bridges with the father and son Denktas's and
"Brussels-Ankara Summit And Final Strike From USA"
Most influential, top-circulation, independent Turkish-language Kibris
commented (4/27): "The EU and the
U.S. are preparing to take important steps in favor of T/Cs. The Europeans and Americans who have earlier
said that they would not leave the T/Cs out in the cold are busy with
formalizing their methods. Günter
Verheugen stated yesterday that they will establish direct cooperation with
northern Cyprus. Talat is touring
Brussels to lift embargoes. Talat will
then go to Ankara to plan the steps that the Turkish side will make. The
Turkish side plans to implement the property regime of the Annan Plan
unilaterally as the G/C side will try to sue Turkey with cases like Loizidou
after May 1. the Turkish side, by implementing the property regime of the plan
will be in a position to say 'here you
can take your property'. And the final strike will come from the U.S. When all of the above steps are announced,
Talat will be officially invited to Washington.
Remember the international statements made that the G/C side made a 'no'
campaign and would pay the price. This
price will be the final strike against Papadopoulos."
"New Period In Cyprus"
Right-wing, nationalistic Turkish-language Halkin Sesi
opined (4/26): "Nothing can be the
same after the referenda. We have
entered a new phase where the world will understand us better, where we can get
rid of isolation and where we can catch economic growth. First, we must make a good assessment of what
we said 'yes' to and what the G/Cs had rejected. The T/Cs said 'yes' to a bi-zonal
federation. Therefore we must build on
our political initiatives on this theme.
The G/Cs said, 'no' to a bi-zonal and bicommunal federation. Because the model in the minds of G/Cs was
majority of G/Cs and minority of T/Cs.
We have also seen that if there was to be a single referendum, the final
result, despite the 65% yes of T/Cs would have been negative with the majority of
G/Cs votes. We have to show to the world
and prove them that this is not acceptable.
The T/C voters made the best decision ever and we must use this golden
opportunity in the best way possible for the good of our people. This period should not be spent with internal
fights or politics."
"The Outcome Should Be Respected"
Influential, top-circulation, Fileleftheros editorialized
(4/25): "Attention is already
focused on the next steps. The outcome
of yesterday's referenda is the basis of which we should face the next day. We should handle it with the least possible
consequences and with an open prospect for a Cyprus settlement. The UN Secretary General has put forward five
plans since the beginning of his efforts that goes back to 2000.... The Secretary General defined a process on
February 13 in New York that had a beginning and an ending. With the consent of all parties involved, he
offered the possibility for negotiations.
However, this did not happen either in Nicosia or Lucerne. He then asked and secured the right to
arbitrate, which he exercised in Lucerne, and even though no agreement was
reached on the basis of his plan, he sent it to separate referenda. The citizens judged the Annan Plan in the
referenda.... This was the Secretary
General's objective. The decision of the
people should be respected. No one can
retaliate against the outcome. People
cannot be punished for their decision.
Since they decided to send the plan to the citizens to judge it, they
should accept the outcome and reflect on it.
The outcome of the referenda should also be accepted internally. Besides, there are no losers and no
"A Pyrrhic Victory For Papadopoulos"
The independent English-language Sunday Mail
editorialized (4/25): "If the
president is hoping to use Cyprus' veto within the EU after 1 May to block any
measures aimed at helping the Turkish Cypriots, he should think again. His handling of the referendum has alienated
the entire EU, including Greece, and he is likely to be given short shrift once
we become a full member. The only person
who has a right to celebrate tonight is Denktash because the Greek Cypriots
have handed him everything he has been fighting for, for more than 40 years, on
a plate. His state enters the
international arena, he keeps all the occupied territory, and the Turkish army
will stay in Cyprus indefinitely.
Meanwhile the Cyprus government will not even be able to secure a mild
resolution condemning the Turkish occupation in an international forum."
"A New Strategy"
Sotiris N. Sampson editorialized on the front
page of hard-line, nationalist, and pro-Democratic Rally Party, Greek-language I
Makhi (4/25): "A pan-national
conference is required to chart a new strategy that cannot be based on the
Annan plan. Any effort to revive it will
be crafty. The referendum opens new
prospects and no one has the right to ignore the verdict of the sovereign
"Annan Plan Dead"
A front-page editorial in Greek-language Alithia
commented (4/25): "[They] killed
off the Annan plan, canceled the island's immediate reunification, and led the
Greek side to international isolation.
The dream has been lost. And if a
new struggle that will unite the people is required then it must focus on
minimizing the consequences, not acquitting those who are guilty of
misinforming and deceiving."
Greek-language Politis remarked
(4/25): "Now what? The people have decided and their decision
must be respected. The problem arising
as of today is how we are going to handle this 'No' domestically, but mainly
"Prospect Of Reunification"
Greek-language Kharavyi held (4/25): "The Greek Cypriot verdict does not
mean, nor can it be interpreted as, a rejection of a solution. On the contrary, it is sending within and
outside Cyprus the message that it fervently wants a solution, with guarantees
that this solution will be durable and will open the prospect of
"People Said No To Blackmail"
Greek-language I Simerini had this to say
(4/25): "The people have rejected
the blackmails.... Cyprus is small and
weak, but the rights and values it is defending are big and universal. Cyprus said No to suicide. It is saying Yes to a modern, democratic,
functional, and European solution to its dramatic problem. This No must be interpreted correctly, both
inside and outside Cyprus. And Cyprus
must be genuinely helped to find a solution, instead of being blackmailed and
terrorized about a dissolution."
Turkish-language Kibris stated
(4/25): "Open Letter to Rauf
Denktash: Mr. Denktash, we have had
enough. Leave us alone now. Leave us to go on our way. The new Turkish Cypriot leaders are quickly
achieving what you failed to accomplish during the past 40 years."
"What To Do Now"
A columnist observed in Turkish-language Halkin
Sesi (4/25): "Let us now focus
on what we have to do.... The Greek Cypriots
will not agree to share anything. They
have always seen us as a minority in Cyprus.
I hope that the world has now realized why the Cyprus problem has so far
"Lift The Embargo"
Turkish-language Volkan commented
(4/25): "The illegal referendum
should have been boycotted. The Turkish
Cypriot people said yes and the Greek Cypriot people said no. The Justice and Development Party
administration in Turkey should now move to fulfill its promise to our
people. It should launch a significant
campaign to have the embargoes on us lifted and the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus recognized."
Turkish-language Afrika noted
(4/25): "Rauf Denktash was the
first to describe the referendum outcome as a 'victory.' It seems that he confused his people with the
"The Struggle Continues"
Pro-government Eleftheros Typos observed
(4/26): “A new day for Cyprus begins
today. We must seek for the strategy
that will on the one hand minimize the negative consequences from the
international community, and, on the other, maximize the chances for the
solution of the Cyprus problem. Both
Athens and Nicosia can keep the Cyprus issue open, making the requisite
goodwill gestures that will confirm out good intentions. The new national strategy must develop in two
fronts: the policy Nicosia will follow
towards the Turkish Cypriots...and the policy Athens will follow towards
Top-circulation, left-of-center Ta Nea
editorialized (4/26): “Such a big
percentage favoring 'no' weakens significantly any hopes for the so-called
'second chance.' On the contrary, the
'yes' of the Turkish Cypriots decriminalizes Turkey and the pseudo-state in the
eyes of the Europeans.... To the extent
the EU economic support measures do not lead to an indirect recognition [of
Northern Cyprus], the Greek and the Greek Cypriot sides have every reason to
support them in order to prove their goodwill.
At the same moment, they should resist all efforts that could create
faits accomplis. At the same moment,
both Cyprus and Greece should review comprehensively the policy they plan to
pursue in order to reach a solution. No
matter if they assert they want bi-communal, and bi-zonal federation accepted
by both communities in the island, they have to make clear that they accept it
in practice, and not just in theory.
There is no room for illusions!”
"Yet, They Can"
Left-of-center, anti-American, influential Eleftherotypia
argued (4/26): “The correct
interpretation of the referendum leads to the view that the way toward the
solution of the Cyprus problem must remain open, and not have it close
hastily. One should also note that the
Annan plan has also positive clauses, which are correct, and that is why
although legally it is considered to be invalid, it remains politically a
useful framework for discussions. The
Cypriot people were asked to vote for a plan without knowing the contents of
even the 200 pages, or the 20....
However, voters realized that the plan upgrades one community--which
voted for it--and downgraded the other one, which voted against it. It is not especially difficult to correct the
deficiencies of the Annan plan that everybody knows. For that the political will of the two
communities is required. The two
communities can show through the practical handling of all issues that they can
live together and thrive in the EU.”
"Planning, Initiatives After ‘NO’"
Left-of-center Ethnos contended
(4/26): “The visit of Cypriot President
Papadopoulos to Athens must not be used as an opportunity to exchange views
only. It must be used as a venue to plan
for substantive cooperation that will restrain the side-effects of the
international reaction [to the referendum in the South] and plan for the
appropriate moves for the second chance.”
"A New Strategy For Cyprus"
The lead editorial of independent, influential, Kathimerini
held (4/25): “It is certain that the
efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue will not end with the referenda. The reasons that brought the two sides to the
table of negotiations persist. The
Cypriot and the Greek sides are faced with the major challenge of raising the
issue again on a more fair and realistic basis, and so both sides are called
upon to demonstrate imagination, boldness, generosity, and, above all, unity.”
"Developments Following The 'No'"
Yiannis Kartalis observed in small-circulation,
influential pro-government To Vima (4/25): "[The vote]...does not leave much
latitude for anyone to doubt their true feelings toward a solution aimed at
reunifying the island.... Partition
becomes an established fact without the prospect for another solution
"New Middle East, New NATO And New Cyprus"
Serdar Turgut argued in the sensational, mass-appeal Aksam
(4/28): “Looking at the Cyprus question
from a narrow perspective does not provide the real picture of what is going to
happen in the region. Very few
commentators are looking at the Cyprus issue from a strategic point of view,
which is a pity since military strategy is the only concept that matters to the
U.S. and UK in their assessment of the Cyprus issue. The U.S. is working on a new strategy to
introduce during the upcoming NATO summit.
The gist of this strategy is about directing the Greater Middle East
project from American bases in Cyprus.
The world’s most effective intelligence unit, ECHELON, will be coordinated
in Cyprus. Details can be found in the
April 10 edition of the Asia Times....
We should be prepared for the upcoming NATO Summit. The U.S. is going to intensify its efforts to
convince NATO and EU members about the establishment of an American base in
Cyprus. If this does not work, the U.S.
will definitely try to persuade Turkey to establish a base in the north of
"Don’t Expect Any Cash Prizes"
Mehmet Ali Birand commented in the sensational, mass-appeal Posta
(4/28): “Some commentators are
constantly saying, ‘The Turkish Cypriots should be rewarded immediately for
their acceptance of the plan and the Greek Cypriots should pay for their
rejection of it.’ This viewpoint is
close to getting out of control because some are calling for immediate
results. In other words, the European
Union Council of Ministers or their leaders should immediately reward the
Turkish Cypriots while punishing the Greeks.
However, patience dominates international relations. We have to wait and play the game according
to the rules. On the other hand, EU
Commissioner for Enlargement Verheugen’s statement after the commission meeting
in Luxembourg was full of remarks that pointed toward a plan being
formulated.... According to his
statements, the TRNC will not be recognized as a state, but relations will be
built without declaring its status. In
other words, the Greek Cypriots will not be able to represent the entire
island. The commission will ensure the
lifting of all the trade and economic embargoes on the Turkish side. It appears that the current border will
continue to divide the sides. Moreover,
financial assistance will be given directly to the TRNC, not via Greek Cyprus. The fact which everyone has to get used to is
that we are entering an uncertain period.
The certainties we have lived with for the past 30 years are
changing. We need to produce visionary
and creative policies. If we do not
produce them, someone else will present them to us. Therein lies the danger.”
"Cyprus: Gains And Losses"
Yilmaz Oztuna commented in the conservative-mass appeal Turkiye
(4/27): “Under the current
circumstances, Turkey should be able to receive a date from the EU in the
upcoming December summit. Turkey has
also gained an important benefit from the referendum in that there is no way
the EU can place Turkey on the irreconcilable side of the Cyprus issue. With the help of the northern Cypriots’ yes
to the Annan Plan and the EU’s vision of Turkey, we have two important components
of continuing to be part of the modern civilized world, which is the most
important benefit of all.... There will
be another important gain if the embargoes against Turkish Cyprus are
lifted. In fact, a unique opportunity
was missed due to the unfortunate attitude of the Greek Cypriot side. Had the Annan Plan been approved by the both
sides, it would be a relief for everyone, including the whole of Cyprus, the
US, the EU and the UN.”
"Withdrawing Forces From Cyprus"
Fatih Altayli suggested in the mass appeal Hurriyet
(4/27): “The referenda results are not
the best outcome for Turkish Cypriots, yet they still provide hope and optimism
for the future. The current process has
gained a dynamic momentum and the northern side will be the winner regardless
of what comes next. Turkey is also on
the winners’ side. It would not be
realistic to expect the embargoes to be immediately lifted and recognition
process to be immediately initiated.
Yet, it is absolutely realistic to see things developing to the benefit
of the north. In sum, this is a win-win
case for both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side.... This is the very time to take an initiative
that will enhance Turkey’s position:
reduce the number of Turkish troops on the island. If Turkey manages to do this, it will provide
enormous diplomatic benefits for us.”
"Is The Problem Over?"
Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (4/27): “The ability of the Turkish side of Cyprus to
preserve the benefits gained with the referendum depends on the strategy it
will follow.... A policy that aims at
permanent division or separation will bring huge problems in the future,
especially, for Turkey, which expects a date from the EU in December, and for
the Turkish Cypriots, who want the embargoes to be fully lifted and hope to
join the EU (immediately after the Greek Cypriot accession) in the near
future. Therefore, following their
latest diplomatic success, it would be useful for the Turkish side to keep its
options open for the realization of the ‘Republic of the United Cyprus.’ Of course, for this, the Greek side will need
to show a serious change in its stance and correct its ‘oxi’ mistake. And, for everyone’s benefit, this change has
to be realized, as soon as possible, before the roads are separated fully.”
"Turning The Loss Into A Profit"
Ismet Berkan opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal
(4/26): “The Turkish Cypriot side has
managed to change its overall negative image regarding the Cyprus unification
process. This itself provides an
enormous chance for Turkish diplomacy.
The crucial thing at this stage is to prevent the Greek Cypriot side
from creating a new bargaining process on the fate of Cyprus based on its EU
membership. Turkish diplomacy should
focus on persuading the EU to pressure the Greek Cypriots for a repeat of the
referendum in the south. The current
Annan Plan, which was supported by the north, should be the basis of a new
referendum in the south. This should be
the immediate priority for Turkey rather than recognition of the north as a
separate identity, which will only legalize the division of the island.”
"Turkish Cypriots Are Waiting For Reward"
Ferai Tinc observed in the mass-appeal Hurriyet
(4/26): “After strong support for the
Annan Plan from the Turkish side, the north is still living in anxiety. The uncertainties brought about by the
admission of the south to the EU are making the Turkish Cypriots very worried
about their future. The status of Green
Line is among the major uncertainties.
There is need for an EU resolution on the status of the Green Line, yet
given the Greek and Greek Cypriot veto power, it remains to be seen how and if
this will happen. This also applies to
other privileges, including commercial and maritime rights for the north. People in the north still remember that when
the EU Commission came up with an aid package for the northern side in 2003, it
went nowhere because the south blocked it....
While statements from Brussels give cause for optimism on the protection
of Turkish Cypriot rights, the north wants to see actual deeds as well, and see
them as soon as possible.”
"Cyprus After The Referenda"
Oral Calislar commented in the social democrat-opinion maker Cumhuriyet
(4/26): “It seems that the international
community, including the U.S. and the EU, have a unified position on Cyprus, in
contrast to their different positions on Iraq.
It is clear that the international community is very upset about the
outcome of the Greek Cypriot referendum.
However, it remains to be seen whether the international community will
stop there or will look for new solutions.
It is possible that UNSG Annan could start working on a new initiative,
yet everything seems up in the air at the moment. In any case, the result from the north has
provided very positive ground for the Turkish Cypriots, and nothing will ever
be the same again in the north or in the south.”
"Turkey Should Thank Papadopoulos"
Mehmet Ali Birand argued in the sensational, mass-appeal Posta
(4/26): “The most important outcome of
these referenda was that the world now knows that they were tricked by Greek
Cypriots for the last three decades.
Until now, they always said they wanted to live with their Turkish
brothers and complained about Turkey’s unjustified occupation. They also argued that Turkey was flooding the
north with settlers and were asking for a federative resolution.... Papadopoulos will definitely support Turkey
receiving a date to start membership negotiations because, according to his
game plan, they can receive even more during Turkey’s negotiations. A Turkey that is left out of the EU would be
dangerous. Papadopoulos will play his
hand during these negotiations and utilize the veto card to get all that he
can. Can he succeed? Nothing is certain. The future may favor Greek Cypriots. The present developments may be
forgotten. Turkey may forget its past
mistakes and become careless, forgetting to be a step ahead of Greek
Cypriots.... Papadopoulos took a very
risky and very courageous decision, and initiated a process that could result
in a better deal for himself. The only
thing he should be careful about is that Turkey has woken up and is also
playing the game. Don’t ignore
"Picking Up Pieces"
The independent Financial Times remarked
(4/27): "It will be even more
important for the island's two 'parent' states, Greece and Turkey, to maintain
pressure on their Cypriot co-linguists to pursue the path to a settlement. Athens and Ankara have no interest in letting
Cyprus obstruct their efforts for a wider reconciliation across the Aegean."
"The Cost Of Saying No: Greek Cypriots Have Closed The Door On
The conservative Times held (4/26): "The challenge now is to limit the
fallout. Luckily both Greece and Turkey,
under responsible prime ministers, will not let the Cyprus fiasco derail their
rapprochement. The UN will retire hurt,
but it is unlikely to pull out the peacekeeping troops. Britain, with bases in Cyprus and a web of
ethnic links, could try to calm emotions.
But counseling reason after such folly will be difficult."
"Cyprus Stays Divided"
The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (4/26): "The rejection by Greek Cypriots of the
UN reunification plan was disappointing, mean-minded and wholly predictable.
The moment the EU decided it would accept a unilateral application from
Southern Cyprus, rather than insisting on an internal solution as a
precondition for admission, it took away any incentive from the Greek side to
compromise. We do not say this with the
gift of hindsight: we pointed it out at the time.... In the circumstances, it is odd that the EU
should complain of betrayal. Greek
Cypriots made the entirely rational calculation that they had nothing to lose
by voting No. Logically, the EU should
react to the vote by bringing Northern Cyprus back into the comity of nations,
ending the trade embargo, restoring air links and offering de facto
recognition. At the very least, Turkish
Cyprus should be offered a customs union with the EU on the same terms as
Turkey. In practice, though, none of
this is likely to happen as long as Greece can wield its veto. That, of course, has been the problem all
"Island Of Lost Dreams"
The left-of-center Guardian contended (Internet version,
4/26): "Bishop Pavlos of Kyrenia told Greek Cypriots that they would be
doomed to a life in hell if they voted for the United Nations plan to reunify
the island. It was one of the more
illuminating comments from a country which is about to enter the European
Union, and presumably to adopt western European values. A fellow Greek Orthodox bishop on the island...revealed
that his refrigerator was full of champagne for a bash.... While the dinosaurs toast the demise of the
best chance of unification that Cyprus has had in three decades, Greek Cypriots
of greater vision will today be counting the cost of this weekend's
referendum. There will be no new deal on
the table for them now, even if there were international mediators to help
them, which today there are not.... The
vote against the Kofi Annan plan was a vote to make 1974's Turkish invasion a
permanent reality. The Turkish Cypriots,
on the other hand, will get a substantial reward for approving the Annan
plan.... The trade embargo which has
crippled the north will be lifted and EU aid will flood in. The airport will be open to international
flights and the port to trade. Turkey,
which pushed for the Annan plan, will get a start date for entry talks to the
EU. Greek Cypriot rejection means that
the former pariah state of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will now be
recognized in all but name. Rauf
Denktash, its rejectionist octogenarian leader, must be laughing all the way to
the bank. None of which means that the
Annan plan was particularly fair to the Greek Cypriots. But it was better than nothing."
Kettle Of Fish"
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (4/27): "Annan's
plan to unite Cyprus is a different kettle of fish from the island's EU
entry. But it is clear that it was
counterproductive not to combine the island's EU entry and the peace
referendum, because the Greek Cypriots were able to vote against the plan
without any qualms. They will enter on
May 1 anyway. On the other side, Turkey
lost its bad reputation as objector.
It's right that they want to be rewarded for having voted against their
stubborn leader Rauf Denktash, who has also lost the support of Turkish Prime
Minister Erdogan. It will now take some
time till the divided island is reunited.
However, financial help for the north and a lift of trade sanctions are on
the way. Even the status of Denktash's
'state', which is still illegal, might change.
In Ankara, Erdogan will use the vote for achieving his European
Christian Wernicke argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
of Munich (4/27): "Europeans look
pretty helpless, since a vast majority of southern Cypriots rejected the
reconciliation with their Turkish compatriots.
The EU strategy for the Mediterranean island is now in tatters. For years it was a dogma that entering the EU
could unify the divided island. But
reality has nothing to do with the wishful thinking of Europeans, who have to
revise their plans now.... But the
disaster is not the fault of Europeans.
Their error is ten years old, when they started the risky venture of
negotiations. Now they must pay the
price--all of them."
Katja Ridderbusch editorialized in right-of-center Die Welt
of Berlin (4/27): "The vote of
Greek Cypriots maneuvered the EU into a complicated situation, where international
law will often put the brakes on political will. But this situation did not come as a
surprise. Europe could see how it was
building up during the recent months, but acted like a little child who closes
its eyes: what I don't see does not
happen.... One just was not prepared for
the Greek Cypriots torpedoing the peace plan.
EU diplomats will now find a solution how to deal with Cyprus--probably
a very European one: a mixture between
improvisation and pragmatism. And Europe
will have to pay a price for this later in autumn, when the decision will be
made about the start of negotiations with Turkey."
Carla Sappok said on radio station Suedwestrundfunk of Stuttgart
(4/26): "Especially together with
Greece, the small and divided island can put the brakes on many matters. The EU did not think of that when it gave up
the idea of allowing only a united Cyprus with an acknowledged Turkish minority
to enter the Union. EU Commissioner
Verheugen is correct that there is a shadow over the entry of Cyprus. But it is more than that. The vote cast a shadow over the entire EU
enlargement. One can now limit the
consequences for Turkish Cypriots, but the political consequences for the
future are not yet clear."
Horst Bacia editorialized in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (4/26): "Greek
Cypriots will not accept such a peace plan as long as they just see the Turkish
occupation as inexcusable injustice.
They must learn that it was also a reaction to the culpable way they
dealt with the Turkish minority on Cyprus.
The realities created with military force must not be internationally
legitimized now, because the Turkish invasion in northern Cyprus was legally
wrong. Beyond that, the Turkish Cypriots
now deserve to get any help from the EU and the international community. The Greek Cypriots are well advised not to
abuse their questionable claim to represent the entire island. They already are the spoilsports in the
EU. And Erdogan's government would act
unwisely if it would press for an international acknowledgment of Northern
Cyprus, because Turkey also will be relying on the Greek Cypriots when it wants
to join the EU."
"Sirens On Cyprus"
Christiane Schloetzer commented in center-left Sueddeutsche
Zeitung of Munich (4/26): "The Greek Cypriot government
waged a fight against the Annan plan by slinging mud against dissidents. This has made the community deeply insecure
again, after a friendly laissez-faire between the two ethnic groups replaced
old fears when the border was slightly opened last year. The psychological damage of the campaign is
enormous. Many Greek Cypriots will see
themselves as the odd one out in the EU.
And the failed referendum will also affect relations between Turkey and
Greece. Greece already shows some
realism, given the unsolvable situation.
The conservative government seems to be willing to give up the old
foreign policy dogma that it will not support Turkey's EU entry without an
agreement on Cyprus.... For Turkey, the
high approval by Turkish Cypriots means political release. For the first time it was able to demonstrate
to the EU that it did not halt a peace plan."
Christoph von Marschall commented in centrist Der Tagesspiegel
of Berlin (4/26): "The EU must act
more carefully in this region and must not run political risks for the sake of
peace. Crisis regions should only join
when they are totally pacified; otherwise the EU might be obstructed
internally. This principle maybe unfair
in some cases, because the opposing side gets a right to veto. But it is better to be unfair than unable to
act. Cyprus' unity will remain on the
Benefits By Vote Outcome"
Gennadiy Sysoyev commented in business-oriented Kommersant
(4/26): "The Greek Cypriots'
refusal to support the plan makes prospects for their admission to the EU
doubtful. At least there is less
certainty about the time when it may happen....
There is more to it, however. Had
both parts of the island voted for unification, the Cyprus plan might have been
used as a model of sorts to help settle conflicts that have resulted in some
countries being divided. If successful,
unification would have become a major victory for Europe, since the UN-proposed
plan is virtually European. Europe would
then have been able to claim the principal role in resolving similar
problems.... After the fiasco in Cyprus,
Europe can't seriously bid for the laurels of the chief peacemaker in NIS
countries, which, in the final analysis, is good for Russia. Up to now this country has been jealously
following the EU's attempts to act as an arbiter in ex-Soviet republics. It seems like Russia has benefited by the
outcome of the Cyprus plebiscite."
AUSTRIA: "A Disaster
Foreign affairs writer Walter Friedl wrote in mass-circulation
daily Kurier (4/27): “The
no-campaign of the Greek Cypriot leadership, in alliance with the church and
the hotelier lobby, who was afraid of losing market shares in case of
re-unification, was a scandal, a slap in the face to the UN, the U.S., and the
EU, rendering fruitless their efforts to finally solve the conflict. However, this attitude might backfire: when it comes to dishing out money, power,
and influence, Brussels is not going to fall over itself to meet the Greek
Cypriots halfway.... But the EU must
also accept its share of the blame: the
stipulation that only the southern part of the island would be able to join the
EU without re-unification was supposed to put pressure on the Turks. This part of the equation worked, but the EU
did not count in the stubbornness of the Greeks. Now it is faced with a diplomatic disaster.”
Cypriots Must Look To The Future"
Center-left Politiken commented (4/26): “The international community ought to work
towards giving Greek Cypriots guarantees in connection with the implementation
of an agreement. At the same time, the
Greek Cypriots should wake up to some realities and realize that they must be
courageous and look to the future.”
The center-left Irish Times editorialized
(4/26): “There has been widespread
international criticism of the Greek Cypriot decision to reject United Nations
proposals on reunifying the country in Saturday's referendum--and rightly
so.... EU leaders believe a unique
opportunity has been missed and warn that rejection of the UN plan will not be
cost-free for the Greek Cypriots. A lot
hung on this vote.... The international
effort to secure a settlement now is part of a much wider attempt to resolve
the question of Turkey's relationship with the EU, at a time when it is
essential to establish a new relationship between the Muslim world and
Europe. The widespread regret over this
result...has much to do with these broader issues. While the Greek Cypriot leaders could not be
expected to disregard their interests simply to suit some larger geopolitical
design, they have been accused of selfishly ignoring a real opportunity to
resolve the island's division and negotiating in bad faith, notably by the European
commissioner responsible for EU enlargement, Mr. Günther Verheugen.... Among the responses being canvassed are a
change in the so-called line regulation which determines the status of the
island's division in international law.
If it is replaced by a law which recognizes the line as an external EU
border it would be possible to ease trade embargoes on the Turkish
Cypriots. There will also be a
willingness to relax their political isolation in the context of Turkey's
approach towards EU membership.”
The center-right Irish Independent
commented (4/26): “The vote has
attracted bitter disappointment and reproach.
The Greek Cypriots have been roundly condemned by two EU Commissioners,
Chris Patten and Gunter Verheugen. Their
part of the island will join on May 1, but Mr. Verheugen says there is a shadow
over their accession. The EU and the UN
have labored mightily to reunite Cyprus.
Now they are frustrated, with no fresh course of action available. The island has been divided since the Turkish
invasion three decades ago. Europe can
only hope that it will not have to wait another three decades. “
"EU Against Annan And The EU Racism Towards Northern Cyprus"
Commentator for pro-LDK, mass circulation Bota
Sot, Elida Bucpapa, wrote (4/26):
“The Unification of Cyprus was rather an initiative of Secretary General
Koffi Annan than of UN itself....
Paradoxically enough, despite their opposition to Koffi Annan’s plan,
the Greek Cypriots have been granted direct accession to EU on May 1, while the
opposite is happening to Turk Cypriots, who, despite their vote for Annan’s
plan, are now being punished by the EU.
In fact, the referendum results once again highlighted the failure of
the EU foreign policy which maintains a racist view towards the Muslim part of
Europe.... It is true that EU had its
representative for Cyprus issue...Gunter Verheugen, who strongly criticized the
leadership of Greek Cypriots. However,
his stance remained a personal one if not private, because he was not regarded
by anyone. Because, it is well known
that behind the Greek Cypriots is Greece....
Annan’s plan and the referendum for the reunification of Cyprus failed
because of the EU’s degenerated policies.
The EU’s foreign policy once again capitulated to its corrosive
forces.... Those Greek deputies who
whistled at the Commissioner for EU expansion (German Gunter Verheugen) showed
that Greeks within EU are much stronger than Germans and that the EU depends on
them (Greeks). If the EU was
independent, constructive and in service of the peacemaking policies of the
United Europe, the EU should have also been in the service of expanding EU
towards territories or countries where Muslim populations live. If this positive tendency existed it would
have also been reflected through a close cooperation between the plan of Koffi
Annan and the EU.... However, the EU did
not want a positive result, therefore it promoted those who keep Cyprus divided
by barb-wired fence and mined areas.”
"There Are No Easy Solutions In Cyprus, Either"
Hebrew University Professor of Political Science and former
Foreign Ministry director-general Shlomo Avineri wrote in mass-circulation,
pluralist Yediot Aharonot (4/28):
"One could easily see how the UN and the EU--which are opposed to
Israeli occupation and the settlements--were ready to betray their principles
when it was about Turkey. It is
therefore no surprise that Greek Cypriots viewed the Annan plan as a prize to
Turkey and the occupation.... In
Cyprus--and in our region, too--there are no easy solutions, particularly if
such solutions are initiated by foreign elements. If there is no local political willingness,
there can be no solution to the conflict.
What can be done--like in Cyprus 30 years ago--is to shake off the
thought that the alternative to a solution actually is war. There also is room for stabilizing the
situation, reducing violence, creating effective barriers between the opposite
sides to lessen friction and conflicts.
In the absence of solutions to conflicts that are not ripe for
resolution, one must aspire to stabilizing them."
"Cyprus: Failure Of
El Watan, one of the most influential French-language
dailies, noted (4/26): “Cyprus will
remain a divided island. This verdict
was confirmed by yesterday’s ballot. The
Greek Cypriots rejected the reunification plan proposed by the United Nations,
whereas the Turkish Cypriots approved it.
This vote is a ‘very negative’ start for Cyprus in the European
community, the former Greek Cypriot head of the European harmonization, Takis
Hadjidemetriou, declared after resigning to protest against the Greek Cypriot
government’s refusal of the United Nations proposal.”
Problem Intractable As Ever"
The pro-government, English-language Bahrain Tribune
observed (Internet version, 4/26):
"Years of diplomatic efforts to reunite Cyprus came to naught on
Saturday when...Greek Cypriots rejected [the peace plan].... The collapse of the plan disappointed the
international community, notably the European Union and the U.S. who strongly
supported it.... While it appears that
the Greek Cypriots were the big winners in the referendum, analysts believe it
would be the south which will bear the brunt of the political fallout. Their entry into the EU on May is assured,
but it was the Turkish Cypriots who won the admiration of the world for opting
for a 'yes' vote. Sanctions against the
north are likely to be lifted and direct airport and port links opened with the
outside world, facilitating exports and easing constraints on tourism. Some small countries have also indicated that
they might go so far as recognizing the breakaway Turkish Republic of North
Cyprus. With international recognition,
Turkish Cypriots are likely to oppose participation of the south in the EU and
question the status of two MPs at the EU parliament as the entire island’s
representatives.... With the diplomatic
squabble tension is likely to rise between the two communities. This, analysts believe, will isolate Cyprus
in the EU.... The Cyprus problem is far
from over and the rejection of the UN plan marks the beginning of new and
bigger ones for the island.
JORDAN: "For A Better
Future For All Cypriots"
Elite, independent, English-language Jordan Times
editorialized (Internet version, 4/28):
"The rejection of the UN-sponsored unification plan for Cyprus is a
major setback for multiculturalism and inter-ethnic unity and cooperation. When the greater majority of Greek Cypriots
vote no on a referendum for a federated yet united Cyprus and a similar
majority of Turkish Cypriots vote yes, something certainly seems amiss. Rejecting even a remotely united Cyprus
cannot bode well for a resourceless island divided by over three decades of
ethnic tensions. Fortunately, 65 per
cent of the Turkish community showed more confidence in a united country and
appear to be much more willing to give a multicultural and multiethnic united
country a chance.... In the case of
Cyprus, there is little doubt that the Balkan war and the ethnic cleansing
processes in Bosnia, Kosovo and other parts of former Yugoslavia must have
weighed heavily on voters.... For the
time being, therefore, Cyprus remains divided along ethnic and religious
bases. There will come a time, though,
when the two Cypriot communities will recover from old wounds and overcome
prejudice and intolerance to opt instead for a united Cyprus.... Meanwhile, the European Union's commitment to
the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is admirable. Even Greece, which pledged support to the
Greek Cypriots to 'minimize' negative consequences of their 'no' vote, said the
Cyprus issue would not interfere with endeavors to ameliorate Greek-Turkish
ties or Athens' support for Ankara's bid to start negotiations to join the EU
in December. Perhaps when Cyprus enters
as a new member of the EU on May 1, its co-members will be able to convince its
Greek Cypriot leadership that as EU states had to reconcile many differences,
so too must Cyprus."