Another UN-led initiative (April 27-29) attempting to resolve the Cyprus issue has fizzled out again in Geneva! In the absence of sincerity trying to negotiate with Turkey, the chances of success amount to nil. Only naïve dreamers could think differently! As a historical fact, it has been long established, that Turkey never honours its promises or agreements — the very reason the island of Cyprus has became a British colony in 1914!
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! This was an absolute political debacle!
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 recognize 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; rules that 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 (known as a “yes” man) 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 20th of 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. An Islamic-controlled island—directly or indirectly—by sheer numbers and brute force—would be a godsend gift from Allah himself.
By using such nationalist tactics for domestic consumption helps to divert attention from Turkey’s real economic and social problems. His aggressive rhetoric, threats and actions are becoming more radical by the day and he never misses an opportunity to trigger religious fervour and nationalism.
In preparation for the first day of Ramadan, he authorized the installation of a massive illuminated banner with the inscription “There is no god but Allah” to insult Christian sentiment across the world. The banner now hangs between the two massive minarets over Ayia Sophia, which he converted last year into a mosque. To the abhorrence of civilized nations, he purposely desecrated one of the most sacred Christian grounds for his Neo-Ottoman dream; Turkey to become the mecca of all Muslims!
But his attack on the Christian faith did not stop there and decreed the ultimate insult: Ramadan prayers (13 April 2021) to be held inside Ayia Sophia! Speaking to the faithful, he called for world Muslims to take up Jihad (a holy war) against Israel and all enemies of Islam naming France, the West and others. His fury did not end there and he accused the US President Joe Biden for having “blood on his hands” for the killing of Palestinian and Hamas civilians.
Yet, this dictator continues to insist that Turkey has the right to join the EU, an institution established on the principles of Rule of Law and Democratic values! The EU for the first time ever, it has actually accused Turkey of human rights violations and deficit in the rule of law. To Erdogan’s shock, the Commission turned its back on Turkey’s EU application unless Turkey starts to respect EU values and EU principles by also offering Turkey a window of opportunity for the future.
Like all dictators, Erdogan bows to no such pressures about human rights or rule of law but simply offers lip service until he gets his way.
Faced by such a bully mentality, Cyprus now finds itself in a worse political situation than at any other time before. If Erdogan initiates his “two-state” solution de-facto, the illegal partition of Cyprus could be irreversible. Controlling the northern area means dictating policies over the entire island and also gaining access to the Republic’s vast amount of natural gas resources.
Without a critical foreign policy in place or a strong defence Plan B to deal with a cunning opponent such as Sultan Erdogan, the Anastasiades government has been ensnared in a trap like never before. The President and his foreign minister are now scrabbling to convince world leaders of the damage Turkey’s official “two-state” proposal has caused.
Ironically, Anastasiades’ readiness to participate as a “community leader” at the anticipated UN informal 5+1 conference on Cyprus will only encourage Erdogan’s appetite to squeeze the noose a notch tighter at the next summit.
But whatever happens, Erdogan will not abandon his Neo-Ottoman ambitions or yield to political pressure from outsiders and compromise Turkey’s plans in the region. He openly supports the terrorist Islamic organisation of Hamas—as he does with ISIS—and has allowed Turkish banks in the occupied area to syphon funds to Hamas for waging war against the “enemies of Islam”.
In would take a miracle for the Anastasiades government to escape from Turkey’s new trap. Miracles don’t just happen in politics but they are nurtured to protect national interests. This is an area Cyprus has failed to explore all these years. Instead, it put its trust in the EU and the UN to provide “support” and deal with Turkey’s intransience and enemies of the state.
In reality, Cyprus has a powerful EU Veto at its disposal but has been convinced by the Commission not to use it against Turkey’s EU membership. Exercising its veto could have altered the chain of events years ago but the Anastasiades government has decided otherwise!
The results of those failings have now come home to roost! The next three months will prove critical and could determine Cyprus’s fate: if it is to remain a Republic under occupation, or be partitioned by Erdogan’s “two-state” solution.
We will have to wait and see what Erdogan’s provocations will reveal in the 20th of July celebrations of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the island.
During the jubilations, it is highly anticipated that Erdogan will officiate the permanent habitation of Varoshia/Famagusta with mainland Turks. A process that has already begun to the utter dismay of thousands of Greek refugees banished from their homes! It is little wonder a Turkish minister arrived recently to unveil the opening of a permanent water pipeline linking Turkey with the occupied north!
But the cherry on the icing would be the announcement of the official formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The new state will remain under Turkey’s protectorate and Erdogan would be calling that all Muslim countries recognize the new TRNC state; countries such as Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Yemen, Qatar. Once that happens, others will follow suit including western countries to protect their own self-interests!
If this scenario becomes a reality on 20th of July, what will the Cyprus government or the EU, UN and others do to stop Erdogan’s new expansionist tactics in the region? Only time can tell but the signs so far don’t look promising…
Yet again, a chameleon slithers and glides but never reveals its true colours!
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. His works can be viewed at: