Diplomatist Magazine Diplomatist April 2018 - Page 26

IN FOCUS The new Erhurman-Ozersay partnership is fragile, but even if it fails at fi rst, Turkish Cypriot politics have now changed for the good. North is Tufan Erhurman, a law professor, who worked hard to put together a four-party coalition. Erhurman’s agenda is the rule of law. He has now partnered with Ozersay whose major election promise was clean government. The new Erhurman-Ozersay partnership is fragile, but even if it fails at fi rst, Turkish Cypriot politics have now changed for the good. The only remnant of the Old Guard is Serdar Denktash, who barely managed to survive politically in part due to the support from new Anatolian voters, now a new voice in the political arena. In future, Cyprus politics will become more complex. Radical/nationalist parties, however small, exert undue infl uence on politics in both sides of the island. In the South, Anastasiades had to court ENOSIS supporters who see Cyprus as a Greek island and who are driven by grand Hellenistic nationalism. In the North, Anatolian demands will need to be accommodated. There are signifi cant economic pressures behind Cypriot politics. The South is still hurting from the Euro-fi nancial meltdown in 2011/2. The offshore banking system, driven by Russian oligarchs, is gone, never to return. While tourism is showing modest signs of recovery, the main new hope for economic prosperity lies under the sea in rich hydrocarbon fi elds around the island. But it is doubtful if ever these hydrocarbons can be monetized owing to the complexity of the CyProb and disputed boundaries around the island. What is the CyProb? At its core, it is a constitutional crisis. The 1960 Independence established a partnership Republic, with sovereignty and power shared by Greek- Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities on the island. Archbishop Makarios became the president and Dr. Kucuk, the vice-president with a veto over fi scal and foreign policy. Neither Makarios nor the Greek Cypriots were happy with the delicate balance of the 1960 Accords. Internally, they felt the independence deal gave the Turkish Cypriots too much power. Worse, they did not like the provisions of the Treaty of Establishment which gave UK, Greece and Turkey, guarantor rights. Thus, the UK got its two sovereign bases on the island, while Greece and Turkey were granted military bases. As well, the Constitution prohibited ENOSIS and Partition. To make sure under the Treaty of Guarantee, Turkey secured intervention right in the event of a constitutional breakdown. The feared is exactly what followed. In December 1963 inter- ethnic fi ghting broke out when Makarios, effectively staged a coup, and transformed Cyprus into an All-Greek Republic. Through clever diplomacy, he managed to win international recognition, although the 1960 Constitution and the Treaties remained in force. In 1964, the UN Secretary General began his goodwill mission to mediate between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Peace-keeping and peace-making mission were invented. Over the last half century, successive UNSGs, and several generations of GC and TC “leaders” have attempted to rebuild some sort of power-sharing, resembling the 1960 partnership republic, alas all in vain. In the summer of 1974, yet another coup was staged in the South of the island. This one, for ENOSIS now, was engineered by Greek/Greek Cypriot nationalists, with the backing of the military Junta, then in power in Athens. The Turkish government quickly and decisively reacted. The Ecevit government militarily intervened, using its rights as Guarantor of the Cyprus Republic, although Ankara was acting at the same time to protect the Turkish Cypriots, under attack, while, of course, safeguarding Turkey’s own national interest. Turkey, already blocked by Greek islands in the Aegean, did not wish its southern coastline to be encircled by hostile Greeks/Greek Cypriots. The Turkish intervention cemented the division of the island into two zones, a Turkish-Cypriot North and a Greek Cypriot South. During the following year, a Population Exchange agreement was negotiated in Vienna, under UN 24 • Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist • Vol 6 • Issue 4 • April 2018, Noida