We Need More Politics for Cyprus Solution

We Need More Politics for Cyprus Solution

Mertkan Hamit

mhamit@gmail.com

The melancholy of autumn in Cyprus is relatively short and if everything goes well the cold winter will be followed by a bright `Cypriot Spring` after the referenda that may take place. If we have YES results from both sides, than we can enjoy the long summer while partying together at the tranquil beaches of Varosha.

Sincere efforts by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders for the future of our country is vital. However, being sincere is not enough when we take the complexity of the decade-long conflict into an account. There are hurdles to make fairy-tale a real success story. Keeping those who are banging for the status-quo in the both sides aside, the issue of bizonality is the key for the solution. Once we get over this hurdle, we may speak of a settlement plan not in months but in days!

But what is the problem on the bizonality?

Basically, the sides have different interpretations.

According to the Turkish Cypriot side, the bizonality of federal Cyprus means the territorial jurisdiction for the Turkish Cypriots that they have their own clear majority in terms of a)population b) property.

Turkish Cypriot side legitimates their standing point from the UNSC Resolution number 750. However, Turkish Cypriot side also takes a step forward and demands also a guarantee for the prevalence of the clear majority. Exemplary Kadi v. Council and the Commission, the Community law rejects any measure against the human rights. (Paragraph. 281 – 286)

Obviously, bizonality that serves for the political equality is consistent with the human rights and the international law. Also, a clear majority of each side on their own constituent state sounds sort of understandable. Special regulations on these is doable. However, adding up another pillar to make this permanent – as if anything is permanent in politics – seems like stretching it too much.

Turkish Cypriot side demand to ensure the clear majority and linking it to the limitations over the ratio of the property ownership of the Greek Cypriots in the areas that will fall within the Turkish Cypriot constituent state. According to the TC side, the guarantee is necessary, because otherwise Turkish Cypriots’ majority can be nullified via the international courts.

At this point, the question to be asked is what exactly TC side wants ?

Turkish Cypriot side want to ensure that there is a legal certainty on bizonality . That’s why the Turkish Cypriot side demands to approve the matter as the EU’s primary law. However, the question to be asked is whether there is any other way of ensuring a legal certainty.

Demand for the legal certainty is a legitimate demand, there are doubts whether each EU national parliament will approve this bill to pass in order to satisfy Turkish Cypriot side’s concerns via making it as a primary law of the EU. It is necessary to emphasize that such recognition may also have internal impacts over the other within the EU  member states. It may not be very desirable by them.

On the other hand, Greek Cypriot side acknowledges the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots. However, Turkish Cypriot sides demand on several layers of protective measures at a higher jurisdictions comprehended as permanent derogation from the European Acquis. As far as the limitations over the property ownership remain permanent, Greek Cypriot side put it as an inconsistent demand vis a vis the four freedoms of the European Union. (Freedom of movement of the Goods, Capital, Service and People)

Considering the four freedoms as the core of the European project, than Cyprus solution is doomed to internalize the European values. Of course, the peace and democracy must be sustainable at this time and the concerns of the constituent political will of the people must be taken into an account for a fresh start.

Integration of European values to the Cyprus solution and the question of legal certainty bears conflict at the moment. Not a conflict that bears violence but it distances the solution.

My understanding suggests that the clash of legal positions and legal arguments does not offer a resolution and this is not a dead-end. Actually a really fresh beginning.

Thankfully, we have politics that have power to offer alternatives. My point of view, recognition of the legal arguments failure is the first step of the solution at the moment. Law can not solve every question but politics CAN!

Once we comprehend that the pure legalistic interpretations does not offer us an alternative than we can provide a viable political options. This can form a new legal framework that have its legitimacy from the people who are subject to it.

We can ensure both sides concern from a peaceful and democratic way. So from the beginning the idea is consistent with the core aim of the international law. But what would be the formula?

For me we need three pillars to safeguard the concerns of all:

1- Common Political will for Settlement

2- A constitution that recognizes the legitimacy of the new state of affairs

3- A Charter of Rights of the People in Cyprus.

Presumably, the first one –political will- is there.. Both negotiators and the leaders are meeting as many times as possible. It will be showcased once we have a referendum.

Second one – the constitution- will be formulated which will define the framework of how the state apparatuses and their operational capacity.

However we need also a charter of rights, a common declaration of the people’s desire for a federal country.

This can be a vital document, it can be as important as the federal constitution but it will go beyond that because it will be offer flexibility and a terms of reference for the peaceful settlement of the conflicting laws. Also it will ensure the legal certainty because, this can be a charter that would be the EU primary law. Rather than having a community-centric protective measure, a federated understanding will help to overcome the whole nationalist illusion.

To sum up, the solution can be achieved in Cyprus by politics not by silencing politics within the legal arguments.

Maraş’ta Ne Hortladı

Benim akademik hayatım inişli çıkışlı oldu. Sınavı çok iyi yaptım deyip sonra da hiç beklemediğim kadar düşük bir not aldığım çok olmuştur. Listede adımın karşısında o kötü notu gördüğümde yaşadığım his hep aynıdır. Önce karnımda bir boşluk hissederim, sonra bu his düğüm haline gelir. Duygularını özgürce yaşayanlar ağlamayı becerebilirken benim yaşadığım daha çok bir ‘bönlük’ hissidir. Bir taraftan nasıl oldu diye düşünürken, diğer taraftan kendi kendimi sorguladığım çok olur. Zihnim, hiçbir değeri olmayan bir sonuca üzülüyor olmakla yenilgi hissi arasında gidip gelir.

Maraş’taki yangın ve ardından yaşadığımız süreç ile ilgili olarak bunun ne alakası var diyebilirsiniz. Ancak kendi açımdan benzeri bir huzursuzluğu yaşadığımı itiraf etmeliyim. Günün sonunda Maraş meselesi üzerine uzun süredir farklı biçimlerde dahil olmanın verdiği yakınlık, Kıbrıs konusunda bir değişim bekliyor olmanın umudu ve bu beklentilerin tatmin olmadığı gerçeğiyle yüzleşmenin huzursuzluğu da diyebiliriz bu hisse.

Agamben ‘egemen olanın’ istisna halinde belirleyici olan olduğunu söyler. İstisna halindeki anlayış bir anlamda da egemenliği elinde bulunduranı, egemen anlayışı ortaya koyar. Aslında halk egemenliği deyip, halkın iradesini elinde bulunduranın kim olduğunu anlamak için sürer durumu değil, istisna durumuna bakmamız gerektiğini telkin eder Agamben kendinden on yıllar önce Karl Schmidt’in çalışmasını yeniden yorumlarken.

Maraş’ta çıkan yangın ise tam bir istisna haliydi. Hiç beklenmedik bir noktada yangın çıktı. Günün sonunda müzakere sürecinde işler tıkırında gidiyor, müzakerelerin ele alınış biçimi yolunda gidiyor ve hatta ‘Kapalı Maraş’ı Yılanlara bırakmayacağım’ diyen bir lider de süreci yönetiyorken oldu bu. Ancak önceki paragrafta dediğimiz gibi istisna halini ortaya çıktığında bir anda yine statükonun ruhu hortladı.

Kıbrıslı Rum liderliği, ister iyi niyetinden isterse fırsatçılığından bir yardım penceresi açtı. Yardım elini uzattı. Yeşil hattın önünde destek ekiplerini sundu. Yangını beraber söndürelim. Bu meseleyi çözelim dedi. Son derece yapıcı bir teklif sundu. Hani istemem ama yan cebime koy da demedi. Mesela ‘Yangın sırasında sizinkiler bizimkilere bir şey yapmayacağının garantisini verirseniz biz de 30’a 70 oranında yardım sunarız’ gibi bir şey de söylemedi.

Ancak biz egemen anlayışı ortaya koyduk. Ne Kıbrıslı Rum toplumundan destek almayı seçtik, ne biz hallederiz deyip kendimiz halledebildik. 1950’den beri yine bildiğimizi okuduk. Önce İngiliz üs yardımına başvurduk sonra Türkiye’den gelen yardımı geri çevirmedik.

Yıl 1957 mi ? Hayır!

Yıl 1967 mi ? Hayır!

1974 mi? Yine Hayır!

Benim için Akıncı’nın liderliği bizi biraz da biz yaptığı için değerli aslında. Yani kendi sorunlarımızı kendimizin çözebileceğine inandığımdan eğer çözemeyeceğimiz durumda ise akılcı bir biçimde hareket edeceğine inandığım için önemli.

Milliyetçi gürültüye kapılmayacağı için önemli. Kendi kapasitesiyle çözüm üretemediği noktada ulustan değil mantıktan hareket edebileceği için önemli.

Yani 100 metre uzakta ortağımız olacak siyasi iradenin yardım dururken, kilometrelerce uzaktan alınacak ‘ulusal kardeşimize’ ihtiyaç duymayacağına inandığımız için önemli…

Bugün istisna halini yaşadık. Liderin ancak anlayış değişimini pratikte uyguladığı zaman değişimi başarabileceğini gördük. Aksi halde egemen zihniyetin içinde kaybolabileceğini gördük.

Bu yangın 41 senelik ölü kenti daha fazla öldürmedi. Ancak yardım elini kibarca geri çevirirken, insanlığımıza sırtımızı döndük. Türkiye’den gelen yardım ile ‘yangın olayını da kurtardık’ diye derin nefes alanlar, egemen aklın denizinde boğulduğunun farkına varmadı.

Bu belki yaşadığımız en önemli istisna hallerinden biriydi. Başarısız olduğumuz bir denemeydi. Bende yarattığı his ise işte yukarıda anlattığım gibiydi. Biraz boşluk, biraz düğümlenme ve biraz da bönlük

Mertkan Hamit

(ilk hali gazeddakibris sitesinde yayınlanmıştır)

The End of Annan-Trauma…Finally!

The End of Annan-Trauma…Finally!* 

Eleven years ago on 24th April 2004, a week before the Cyprus accession to the EU, Annan Plan – the plan for the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem- was voted and rejected by a decisive no vote from the Greek Cypriots. It was a traumatic outcome for the 65% pro-solution Turkish Cypriot voters. Annan-trauma took 11 years to recover. 2 days after the 11th anniversary of Annan voting, pro-solution figure Mustafa Akinci’s victory created new hopes for resolution of Cyprus Problem.

At this phase of the conflict –that refers to the decades – there is no violence however the number of garrisoned troops in the North reaches almost one fifth of the civilian population. The heavy military presence of Turkish army strengthens the dominant understanding of the Cyprus problem that claims it is the problem of occupation and invasion. Perceiving Cyprus Problem solely as the problem of Turkish army brings us to a deadlock. Because such understanding 1) does not create room for reconciliation as it simply fails to communicate with the sensitivities of the Turkish Cypriots and 2) sustains the status quo and 3) underestimates the role of the Turkish Cypriots for the solution which is the main point that I am going elaborate.

Eroglu’s leadership relied on the perspective that takes non-resolution as a solution. Both before and during his rule, from April 2010 to April 2015, he exploited the Annan trauma and acted accordingly. This cost Turkish Cypriot side’s diminishing political significance for the resolution of the conflict, particularly when we compare with the previous five years 1. When the joint declaration was announced in February 2014, there were optimism. However, this did not last long. Despite there were international pressure, Eroglu’s political project was based on non-resolution and he was loyal to this. The general principle of the negotiations agreed on nothing until agreeing on everything gave him enough space to exploit the environment and sustain his non-solution is the solution position. Eroglu’s shilly-shally approach diminish the hopes, on the other hand intruder Barbaros made Anastasidis to leave the table turning the solution of the problem unachievable. This tactical move relying on delaying the process made federalists to understand the importance of removing Eroglu from his position.

Dialectics rules. Turkish Cypriot community acquired constructive but critical stance against various points and come up with innovative ideas, courage to speak most of the unspoken issues, show less-diplomatic and more direct way to show their willingness for reunification and most importantly learned acting bi-communally. Dissatisfaction among the TC grassroots magically brought critical interpretations over the role of the negotiation table, the way of attempts for comprehensive resolution, the methodology and the philosophy behind the settlement efforts. At this point, confidence building measures including return of Varosha and opening of the ports, models allowing solution in a gradual way with the aim of reaching comprehensive solution turned out to be the defining positions across pro-solution groups.

Recent Turkish Cypriot leadership election landmarked such transformation what I consider it as a paradigm shift. Majority of Turkish Cypriots who had accumulated their anger to the meaningless official lines of politics voted for Akinci. At the same time they were rejecting heavy jargon of the international political discourse and the empty populist rhetoric. The victory of Mustafa Akinci is important when we take his leftist background, his bold statements against Turkey into consideration. For the time being he become the voice of the grassroots who perceive Cyprus as their homeland, demanding for emancipation from arrogant statements of tie-wearing officialdom and looking forward for a federal solution in order to fulfil the delayed ambition of freedom irrespective with their national identity. There is a glittering hope for the future now it is up to Cypriots to grasp this opportunity.

1.When Mehmet Ali Talat was the leader he negotiated with former Greek Cypriot leader Christofias and come up with list of convergences.

*Originally Published on www.parapolitiki.com