August 20, 2007

International Crisis Group, Phileleftheros and The Foreign Finger

Big Phil today informs us that The International Crisis Group is suggesting essentially a Coup Against Tassos (Εισηγούνται "Φάγωμα" Τάσσου).

You can actually download the document and read it for yourself. And in it you can find the probably most objective view of what is going on in the area now and in the past 10 years. You can also find nice one-liners like "every step is dogged by 40,000 Turkish soldiers and 40,000 Greek Cypriot lawyers".

As for the eating up of Tassos, (I know, to prevent the democratic forces from fully blooming on the island of love) the relevant passage goes as follows:
An opportunity for change in Greek Cyprus may emerge if presidential elections in February 2008 produce a more pro-reunification president than the current hardliner, Tassos Papadopoulos. It is worth remembering that the hostility between Ankara and Athens dissolved when a new Greek government decided its strategic interest was to bring Turkey into Europe. Some Greek Cypriot officials say they believe the same. For now, however, there are few signs of impatience in Greek Cypriot society for reunification with neighbours who are three times poorer and one fifth their number, yet demand political equality.

New Greek Cypriot leadership, nevertheless, could allow Cyprus to follow the Greek example. The Cypriot communists, Akel, urged a “no” in 2004 because they were locked in a ruling coalition with Papadopoulos. They split with him in July 2007 and may field a candidate with a new approach in 2008. AKEL, the largest Greek Cypriot party, polls about one third of the vote and is traditionally the most receptive to Turkish Cypriot concerns.

Turks still support a bicommunal, bizonal solution, Greeks a unitary one, but compromise is possible. Most Greek Cypriots do regard a bicommunal, bizonal plan as at least tolerable, and only one third of Turkish and Greek Cypriots reject a federal solution outright. Only small minorities on both sides feel comfortable with the status quo; majorities want more inter-communal contact. Yet, the status quo continues, and 90 per cent have no contact with the other community, subtly hardening the division of the island as the years go by. While younger Turkish Cypriots tend to be more hopeful of a reunified solution, younger Greek Cypriots show no interest in a common future. Overall, neither side is optimistic about a settlement.

The Greek Cypriot idea that “osmosis” can produce a unitary state is unlikely to work. Turkish Cypriots are applying for Nicosia’s passports to take advantage of EU privileges, not to embrace the Greek Cypriot state. The new settlers, probably half the Turkish Cyprus population, are mostly excluded and have little ability to integrate into the unitary state. The longer the stalemate lasts, the more the balance of the Turkish Cypriot population shifts towards newcomers. Similarly, the longer it lasts, the more likely is an expansion of the creeping international recognition of the self-declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Both these long-term outcomes are exactly what the Greek Cypriots say they wish to avoid.

Anyway, the part of the report dealing with Stravaraland is good reading regardless of your world views.


Anonymous m said...

It's always interested to go to the primary source and compare it to what our newspapers have to say on the matter. It is amazing to see how taking something out of context, adding some salt and pepper and serving it up as earth shattering news by grand reporters "απεσταλμένοι στην Νέα Υόρκη" can so easily convince people....

21 August, 2007 11:10  

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