For some time Greek Cyprus President Tassos Papadopulos and his team have been conducting a campaign of blame against Turkey. They criticize Turkey for not supporting the Gambari agreement, which was brokered by UN Undersecretary-General Ibrahim Gambari and signed by Papadopulos and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat in July of 2006, in all of their official or unofficial speeches and statements. There is some truth in this censure.
It is quite obvious that the latest political developments in the Cyprus issue are not ideal for Papadopulos. His dream to establish a “unitary Greek state” in Cyprus and to keep the post and title of the “only recognized government of Cyprus” until then, has almost gone by the board. In fact, it has already fallen to the ground.
For the past 43 years, the Greek government of Cyprus has mo-nopolized this false title, but now it seems this era is drawing to a close.
Although at a Sept. 5 summit Papadopulos rejected President Ta-lat’s proposal to establish the necessary committees mentioned in the Gambari agreement and to set up a program to settle the Cyprus issue by the end of 2008, the UN, the EU, the US and Turkey are sympathetic towards this proposal.
There are now two alternatives on the table concerning the Cy-prus issue that are both no good for Papadopulos.
The first one is the Annan plan, which involves new negotiations arbitrated by a UN official that would be started after the presidential elections on Feb. 17, 2008 and completed before the end of year.
In this plan all of Papadopulos’ possible escape routes are blocked. He won’t be able to delay the proceedings and keep the title of “the only recognized government of Cyprus” for as long as possible.
The second alternative is the unification of the island under the EU umbrella.
According to this plan, if there is no possibility for the unification of the island under the first alternative, then the road to separation will be paved and the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) will be confirmed. Since the soil of the KKTC is already EU soil according to Protocol 10 of the 4th phase of enlargement, dated May 1, 2004, the annexation of the KKTC to the EU will be immediately implemented and the unification of the island will finalized under the EU umbrella.
The example of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a good and realistic model for this plan. So, too, is the Kosovo issue. A similar dis-pute between Kosovo and Serbia will be most likely be settled by the second alternative.
The independence of Kosovo is like a nightmare for Papadopulos and the Greek Cypriots. The significant date for the Kosovo issue is Dec. 10, 2007, the day they will most likely declare their independence. If this declaration of independence is supported by other countries and Kosovo’s independence is diplomatically recognized, Serbia will be welcomed into the EU and the unification of Kosovo and Serbia will come through the EU.
Given the latest developments, it is quite clear that the pressure on Turkey for the settlement of the Cyprus issue and the opening of air and sea ports to Greek Cyprus-bound vehicles is not as strong as it has been previously. This proves that the unification of the island under the EU sounds feasible to member countries and their leaders.
For this reason, Papadopulos has changed track in his foreign policy and he is now trying very hard to pull the Cyprus issue from the hands of the EU and to let it fly into the hands of the UN, especially into the UN-brokered Gambari agreement.
For years he used all kinds of trickery, perjury and misrepresen-tation to take the Cyprus problem off the UN’s agenda and to place it with the EU. Suddenly he has changed his tactics, wiping out his years-long efforts in one go and sticking his expectations firmly to the Gambari agreement.
Why to the Gambari agreement? This is the tricky point of the new scenario.
The only safe route to escape from the pressures that may be ex-erted by the UN, EU or US lies in the Gambari agreement. This is the main reason.
Only five guiding rules and two determinations exist in the plan drawn up by Mr. Gambari. These guiding rules and determinations are written in such a way that their meanings can be interpreted in many ways and can be stretched as wished. There is no time limit for negoti-ations and no arbitrator. The negotiations could last from 50 to 500 years.
This is why Mr. Papadopulos immediately objected to the proposal of President Talat to establish the necessary committees mentioned in the Gambari agreement and set up a work program to settle the Cyprus issue by the end of 2008. There is a time limit in this constructive proposal.
Mr. Papadopulos is against time limits in negotiations because of his desire to draw out the negotiations until a day when Turkey shows weakness and to realize his dream of a “Greek Republic of Cyprus,” while pretending to be the proactive side of the Cyprus negotiations.