Why did President Anastasiades allow himself to fall into Turkey’s trap and show up in Geneva? Most importantly, why was he so anxious to partake at the Informal 5+1 Conference after the Crans Montana fiasco? What did he hope to achieve facing such an unpredictable and formidable opponent without a strategic plan B or C in place?
The humiliation of the Geneva Conference was foreseeable to all except for the President; his negotiating team and the entourage of political parties that trailed behind to “assist” him.
In comparison, Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership arrived well prepared and threw a bombshell. Disregarding all UN terms of negotiations they refused to negotiate the Cyprus issue unless the talks concentrated on a “two-state” solution.
Their boldness did not stop there and they insisted that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, should return back to New York and demand that the UN Security Council to scarp all previously adopted UN Resolutions on Cyprus. They argued that since Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots don’t recognise the Republic of Cyprus, discussing the UN-approved Bi-zonal, Bi-communal Federation (BBF) it’s meaningless.
Ankara’s clever political maneuver has now established a new set of rules which can pose serious dangers for the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey’s new position—echoed by Turkish Cypriot nationalist leader Ersin Tatar— was not co-incidental but a well-orchestrated political ploy. The startling announcement for a “two-state” solution during such high-level negotiations caught the Greek side napping. They walked straight into Turkey’s snare as they did at the ill-fated Crans-Montana conference 28 June 2017.
An embarrassed UN Secretary-General Mr Guterres was forced to announce yet another UN failure on the Cyprus issue. The participant members in Geneva were stunned including Mr Dominic Raab the UK Foreign Secretary who had taken a stand insisting on a BBF solution albeit a “conditional one”.
A seasoned diplomat, Mr Guterres tried to save the day and proposed a new set of talks under UN auspices in June/July. Well-meaning as it may well be, there remains a puzzling question as to why the Secretary-General did not outright denounce Turkey’s new position. His reluctance to condemn Ankara’s “two-state” proposal—in contravention of UN Resolutions—raises serious questions but also sends the wrong message: a message that rather entrenches partitioning aspirations.
Irritated by the Geneva failure, President Anastasiades did not waste time to consider the implications of such a meeting and agreed to participate at the forthcoming talks – that is, if Turkey stops its provocations. It seems as if the President and his team refuse to recognize that Sultan Erdogan has been manipulating them for years like puppets on a string. Cyprus has certainly now entered into a new era of grave uncertainty!
It has come to pass that the island has become critical to Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman obsession and has recently confirmed that he would visit Cyprus again on 20 July (the anniversary Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974) to commemorate Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. He also reiterated that the Turkish army would never leave the island! No one knows precisely what message Erdogan plots for that day but it would not be unlike him to publicly declare a non-secular Turkish Cypriot state.
This has been a long-term dream of his authoritarian regime and the introduction of a “two-state” solution in Geneva was a strategic preamble of things to come.
Andreas C Chrysafis is a UK published author of five books and over 400 press articles published globally but also a recognized artist. He is not political affiliated but a strong advocate for Democracy, Transparency and Equality, Human Rights and a robust opponent to Corruption.