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crh 2015 04 08

Remarks on the Present Position of the United Nations Organization in the Cyprus Conflict.
by Dr. Christian Heinze

According to the Turkish Cypriot Public Information Internet Publication of 8th April, 2015, Espen Barth Eide, special representative of the United Nations Secretary General, made statements that explain, in the view of the author of this essay, why no progress is made towards ending the Cyprus conflict. Below, the utterings of Mr. Eide are reproduced in the left and their evaluation is contained in the right column of the table:

The “impatience of the international community … is becoming more and more evident... there is a feeling that this really cannot be allowed to go on any longer....” The position adopted by the UN representing the “international community” is not a consequence but the true cause for the continuation of the problem. Therefore, this community should be impatient with itself.
“It`s not like neutral… there is … only two ways to land which is reunification or separation”. The position of the UN is indeed not neutral, it rather provides the basis for Greek intransigence by delcaring TRNC illegal and allowing the embargo inflicted on TRNC not only by their Greek countrymen but by the caring family of nations.

Proposing “reunification” as an alternative ignores the fact that no unity existed (that could be restored) after the lapse of British government in Cyprus in 1960. And some sort of unification is not an alternative but a Gordian Knot of conditions, the most important of which are - some with some without the applause of the community of nations - unacceptable to one or the other side.
"People should go for it and try to solve it.” The dream that people are able to solve things sometimes disregards political factors (like the one mentioned above).
“There is the legal argument that is very strong on the … Greek Cypriot side, … that the Republic of Cyprus … is a country like every country and it can declare its economic zone.” As a statement of fact this ignores the reality in and around Cyprus, and as a legal statement it refers to a principle established by lawyers without sufficient grounds or even explanations, and, most importantly, without sufficient respect for political reality and requirements for validity of legal norms - and for lasting peace.
The UN understand very well that “if you are a Turkish Cypriot … back in the 60s a state that was supposed to be a state for Greeks and Turks was hijacked by one side and turned into more of a Hellenic state”. But Mr. Eide noted immediately following this insight that “he did not want to go into that issue…” Right here lies one of the causes for continued conflict: The position of the UN disagrees with the “Turkish” view (without establishing why it is incorrect) and insists on an intended Republic of Cyprus of 1960 legally owning the whole island and being illegally disturbed in the exercise of this ownership by Turkey and the TRNC. This position makes “unification” impossible by putting the Greek conflicting party into a position from where it can jeopardize any attempt at a viable solution, and the Turkish conflicting party (in the words of Mr. Eide) "in a strange situation".
The “leaders … are aiming at – a bizonal, bicommunal federation, one single sovereignty to the outside world, two constituent states. This is what they agreed. What we have to do is to fill in the different components…” What Mr. Eide refers to here is not really an “agreement” because both sides connect different meanings with the notions of "federation" and "one single sovereignty", rendering them contradictions in themselves.
Mr. Eide’s focus is on solving “all the core issues, then everything else will follow”. Issues like that of hydrocarbons will then constitute no longer “a conflict issue but a cooperation issue”, subject to a “federal capacity in a new state. So, a lot of these issues are issues because of the division and will actually evaporate once a solution is found. Because they are expressions of the division.” This reveals a fundamental error: The “issues” are not expressions of a division evaporating in federation but causes and reasons for the division preventing federation. Without substantial agreement “federation” would amount to another edition of the fraudful attempt at establishing a state committed in 1960.
Resumption of negotiations will mean that “we are taking difficult issue by difficult issue and seeing how we move forward”. The result cannot be anything else than a new edition of the Annan plan and it will evaporate when it comes to agreeing on sovereignty (in fact or in law). Or if such agreement is dissimulated, the conflict will linger on - covered up for some time with paper.
Mr. Eide says that Cyprus “could be a stable, wealthy, interesting, positive place, an example for the world of overcoming past difficulties through peaceful negotiations. It will attract a lot of investments because [of] a solution to Cyprus, it has an ideal location for people who want to be engaged in the Middle East but do not want to actually be based in the Middle East”. Cyprus would “be able to capitalize on its natural resources and so on, and have an economy that is not driven by political decisions but by rational economic choice, and I think that`s a great future but you can only find it by working with other Cypriots. You cannot find it against the other Cypriots because that would only lead to either a continued non-solution or a final partition.” This is a very promising description of what would happen around Cyprus if TRNC was recognized as a State. Gradual formation of a Cypriot federation would be a consequence.

There is only a “small” misunderstanding contained in the last sentence of the quotation: Basic separation in the meaning of double self-determination of two “politically equal” entities is the only way to federation (not to speak of unification).

(It points in the right direction when Mr. Eide speaks of the Presidents of GRSC and TRNC as leaders of their communities.)
When "we meet again,” Mr. Eide says, “we will pick up from where we left … looking into our reading of where the two sides stands, and where possible bridges can be made between the starting positions of both sides.” “Every single issue,” Mr. Eide told the Press, “can be solved if there is will, if there is dedication, and if that will is sustained as we go through all the chapters and eventually bring in the international community in some kind of [inaudible] final stage.” This procedure would postpone basic questions like: would the Greek side agree with a federal condition that Turkish police and judiciary in TRNC will not be subject to any Greek interference ? or that military equilibrium in the island continues ? If so, in agreeing, the term “sovereignty” would be dispensable. Many parts of the Annan plan could be left to future federal decision,

As a result of the non-solution in details of 1960, however, substantial agreement is required on the heritage of 1960: that Cyprus as a whole belongs to Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The importance of this heritage becomes appearant in the hydrocarbons question.

For a more detailed description and evaluation of the Cyprus Conflict vide the article "Cyprus Conflict - overview 2007" or other contributionscontained in this homepage.

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