Removal Of Greek Cypriots' reluctance brings solution

ANKARA – Negotiations resume for the solution of the 40-year-old problem in Cyprus. Since last February, bilateral talks which had come to a standstill have been accelerated. Both sides at the table have a certain level of motivation now. Turkish Cypriots, in fact, are in favor of maintaining the negotiations with a positive approach. In this respect Derviş Eroğlu, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), had declared that a five-step roadmap on the future of the negotiations had been offered to Greek Cypriots last week.

Opening of three borders in Nicosia and a “transition period” were some of the issues composed in which the agenda of the last meeting, held with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis.

As a matter of fact, Turkish Cypriots’ desire to show goodwill has been appreciated. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is one of those who praised the efforts coming from the Turkish side. Claiming the future of the negotiations is promising, he said “It is now understood that progress is in everyone’s interests. That was not the case before” and remarked that he got the impression there is a desire for the solution in Turkish representatives after he had talked with them.

Hence, a new project which materialized between the two sides’ commerce chambers this week, is a clue for the ongoing situations being promising. The project aims to promote dialogue and cooperation in business through societal integrity and mutual trust. “The project, being carried out by the two chambers, in our view will increase dialogue, trust and cooperation between the business communities throughout Cyprus.” said Michaela Di Bucci, the head of the EU Commission Unit Task Force for the Cypriot Community.

On the other hand, the negative approaches on the Greek side for the negotiation process are palpable as well. The speaker of the Hellenic Parliament Evangelos Meimarakis, said that Greek Cypriots should try to put their own arguments in the process. “We should do our job, we have to have our own plans and try through our arguments to convince the international community,” he told reporters after a meeting he held with Mr. Anastasiadis on last Thursday.

At this stage, it is obvious that the bipartite effort has turned into ex parte, and Greek Cypriots’ push forward sounds dubious. Thus, what president Eroğlu had said in his interview with Daily Sabah in May, becomes more significant.

While he had been complaining about reluctance from the Greek side, he had said “We proposed the removal of all land mines from the island as such a measure. Such a tangible measure would increase safety for people on both sides of the island; however, the Greek Cypriot side did not accept our proposal.” “Another suggestion was for cruise liners to dock at ports on both sides of the island. If GSM operators were able to provide services for both sides of the island, that would be a confidence building measure for us. These recommendations are formed with the purpose of making life easier for people on both sides of the island. However, the Greek Cypriot side has not yet taken any concrete steps towards these recommendations,” had remarked Eroğlu, pointing out progress was prevented by the Greek Cypriots.

In this case, for the next meeting of leaders, it becomes vital that the Greek Cypriot side must take concrete steps for the solution of this 40-year-old problem on the island. Otherwise, it will influence not only this problem but Turkey’s EU bid will be affected as well.

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