March 24, 2007

Endangered Species

One of the key arguments that Clerides used to use to explain why he was pushing for a European Union entry for Cyprus and a solution to the Cyprus Problem was given quite eloquently by Alvaro de Soto in a speech at Columbia. Quoting from that speech:
Fairly early in the process, after having had a number of meetings with both the G/C and the T/C leadership and also several meetings in Athens and Ankara, I reported back to Mr Clerides saying that I keep hearing on the Turkish side that is, both in north Nicosia and in Ankara, that the G/Cs do not really want a settlement, that the only thing that interests them is getting into the EU. I am having sometimes difficulty in persuading my Turkish and Turkish Cypriot interlocutors that the contrary is true, so I would like to hear from you just why you consider to be in the interest of the G/Cs to reach a settlement and why while of course accession to the EU is highly desirable objective it is not necessarily the one that is foremost in your mind and Mr Clerides gave me after not very long reflection 3 reasons why it was in the interests of the G/Cs to come to terms with the Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island.

The first was that if there were not a settlement there might be long term a negative effect of tourism to the island which is an important segment in the Greek Cypriot economy, that’s the first.

The second is that if there were a settlement the G/C side could do away with universal conscription, a desirable, highly popular move.

The third argument and the one where he placed the greatest emphasis, was that if there were not a settlement what the G/Cs would be facing on the other side of the buffer zone after that would not be Turkish Cypriots but overtime with Turkey, and he found that to be the least desirable of all possible outcomes long-term.
I found those very persuasive...

We are currently witnessing the struggle in North Stravaraland (note: this is a geographical expression, as used by the German Foreign Minister, footnote not to be repeated again ever) between the Turkish military and the T/C. We are witnessing claims that the T/C are not "Turks enough", according to the head military guy in the North. [Of course, the top military guy should also define more clearly what the minimum qualities of being "Turk enough" are, but I leave accurate definitions to people who can read and write, qualities not expected from military men on either side of the divide.] Earlier in the year, we also witnessed a spat between the head military guy in Ankara and Talat over the infamous Ledra bridge, a spat that was interpreted as political theater by our astute political analysts working somewhere between the Kykkos Metoxi and 386 TP.

I think we are actually witnessing the gradual realization of Clerides' third big fear on the ground. As the economy in the North is developing, and as T/C move to other lands on their European passports or commute to the Republic for work, more and more Turks from Anatolia (will) keep coming to Northern Stravaraland in search for work. A distinct identity will be changed gradually and become more similar to the identity of the people coming from mainland Turkey. As the Turkish Army continues to keep an iron grip and maintains a fixation with Northern Stravaraland, the T/C will become, over time, endangered species. Which, over time, will make their cousins in the South endangered as well.


Anonymous m said...

I once read that there are more T/Cs in North London than North Cyprus. Most T/Cs are leaving Cyprus because of the embargo and today, many are working on this "side".

I think the problem is obvious and why a solution is important is also obvious. Then again, our ass on a soft pillow is a lot more important to the average Cypriot.

24 March, 2007 18:33  
Blogger Demetris said...

You forgot what we do in Stravaraland with endangered species? We wait until there's a few tenths left and we designate an area, near the Paphos -Nicosia border and shove them in there. It called conservationism.
No, conservativism.
You got the point.

See 'Lessons learned from The London Zoo', ch.13, pp.1963-4

Trouble is this bibliography is really old.

24 March, 2007 19:30  

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