After the Cyprus talks in Geneva


After the Cyprus talks in Geneva

After three days, the Cyprus talks in Geneva have ended without any results. There was not enough common ground between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides even for a formal start to new negotiations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said. Despite the lack of progress he said he wanted to make a new attempt at talks in the near future. The press is at a loss.

Ankara only wants division

The failure of this meeting was predictable, writes Kostas Ifantis, professor of international relations at Panteion University in Athens, in Liberal:

“It was the most likely scenario, and the UN secretary-general knew that. For this reason, the meeting was informal. … Everyone knew the Turkish position, no one has the alibi of ignorance. The Turkish side clearly expressed its positions the day it succeeded in electing Ersin Tatar in the occupied territories through open intervention. For Ankara, there can be no solution except on the basis of a plan that clearly leads to division: two sovereign states ‘united’ only by the geographical borders of the island.”

Non-existent common ground

The Greek Cypriot newspaper Cyprus Mail has no hope of a good outcome after the meeting:

“[Ankara] will stick to its demand for two states, on the grounds that all efforts to agree a bizonal bicommunal federation were doomed, and nothing will happen. With the two-state demand, Turkey has eliminated the basis for talks … The common ground Guterres and his team will be looking for no longer exists and Geneva showed this. It could be that the Geneva meeting was the final chapter in the Cyprus peace process bringing to an end six decades of fruitless negotiations. The UN, despite what Guterres said, will not be looking for the non-existent common ground indefinitely.”

Tatar trying to sell defeat as victory

How can this inconclusive meeting be sold as a victory? grumbles columnist Gökhan Altıner in the northern Cypriot newspaper Kıbrıs Postası:

“Do you know what annoys me most? That President Tatar and his team repeatedly issued statements and talked of a ‘historic day’. Please tell me what’s so historic about this day? Are you happy that you, as the Turkish side, introduced a proposal for the recognition of Northern Cyprus and had it documented when it was clear that no one would accept it? … Unbelievable!”

Little hope of unity

The frozen conflict has become a permanent state, the taz analyses:

“Each side insists on its national narrative that it is the victim of the other. …There have long been two parallel societies on Cyprus that have little in common with each other. Anyone younger than 50 has never known anything other than two groups living completely separately. Pragmatists may therefore argue that this reality should also be politically recognised and the status quo consolidated. That would be a victory of nationalist thinking over the idea of mutual solidarity. And it would be an admission that reason has no chance in Cyprus.”

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