Failed Negotiation Processes

The Cyprus issue is on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council since the Greek Cypriots violently occupied the “Republic of Cyprus”, which was established by the 1960 Treaties and based upon a partnership between Turkish Cypriot people and Greek Cypriot people, based on their political equality.

Since 1968, numerous rounds of United Nations facilitated negotiations, aimed at reaching an agreement under a “bi-zonal and bi-communal federation” based on political equality of the two sides have failed due to the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side.

All plans for a possible agreement, which emerged throughout the negotiations, namely 1985-86 Draft Framework Agreement; the UN-sponsored Set of Ideas of 1992, the Package of Confidence Building Measures of 1994, the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan in April 2004 (a.k.a. Annan Plan) were rejected by the Greek Cypriot side. The most recent one being, the process which started in 2008, ended with no result in Crans-Montana in 2017 due to the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence of the Greek Cypriot side.

 

UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan (2004)

After two and a half years of negotiations on its specifics, the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan, also known as Annan Plan, was rejected by the Greek Cypriots with a resounding “no” (76%) in the separate and simultaneous referenda held in 2004. This rejection made clear that neither the Greek Cypriot people nor their leaders were ready to share power with the Turkish Cypriot people on the basis of equality.

Following the Turkish Cypriot vote in favour of the Annan Plan, the Council of the European Union adopted a resolution on 26 April 2004, stating that “The Council is determined to put an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.” Similarly, Council of Europe, in its Resolution 1376 of 29 April 2004, says “The international community, and in particular the Council of Europe and the European Union … should take rapid and appropriate steps to encourage it (greater openness). The Turkish Cypriots’ international isolation must cease”.

Although the European Council decided on April 26, 2004, to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots without any preconditions, this decision is yet to be implemented.

Moreover, the then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan made a call in his report to the UN Security Council, dated 28 May 2004 (S/2004/437) in which he stated “I would hope that they (the members of the Council) can give a strong lead to all States to cooperate both bilaterally and in international bodies, to eliminate unnecessary restrictions and barriers that have the effect of isolating the Turkish Cypriots and impeding their development…

The UNSG also underlined in his said report “if the Greek Cypriots are ready to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal structure based on political equality, this needs to be demonstrated, not just by word, but by action.”

Despite the failure of a comprehensive solution to the issue as well as its overwhelming rejection of the Annan Plan, the Greek Cypriot side, illegally and unilaterally, has become a full member of the European Union in 2004. The Turkish Cypriot people on the other hand, who voted in favor of the Annan Plan, continues to be subjected to illegal restrictions and embargoes.

The unilateral membership of the Greek Cypriot side into the European Union further encouraged the intransigence of the Greek Cypriot leadership and the efforts aimed at reaching an agreement for Cyprus issue came to a standstill for a period of four years until 2008.

 

2008-2017 Negotiations

In September 2008 negotiations for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, based on the same UN parameters, which failed to lead to a settlement on the island for so many decades recommenced. The said negotiations took place intermittently until Cyprus Conference in July 2017.

The Cyprus Conference attended by the two sides, the Guarantor powers and the United Nations, held in July 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, collapsed, due to the maximalist demands of the Greek Cypriot side, confirming, once again, that the Greek Cypriot side’s lack of desire to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot people persists.

Following the collapse of the Cyprus Conference, the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres called for a period of reflection for the sides to decide the way forward and he emphasized new ideas might be needed for a new effort to yield results.

Thereafter, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus declared that it will no longer be negotiating on the basis of the defunct UN parameters, which are in fact the very reason behind the current status quo on the island.

 

Informal 5+UN Meeting (27-29 April 2021, Geneva)

On 25 November 2019, the UN Secretary General met informally with the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot leaders. After the meeting, in a written statement, the Secretary General informed that he would continue his efforts to explore the possibility to convene an informal five-plus-UN meeting, with the participation of both leaders and the Guarantor powers at an appropriate time. The Secretary General suspended his efforts toward this end until the conclusion of the Presidential elections in TRNC.

The United Nations Secretary-General, in his Report dated 8 January 2021 (S/2021/5), clearly defines the purpose of the informal 5+UN meeting leaving no room for any other interpretation. He states, “The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon”.

The Turkish Cypriot side also clearly stated that the exercise was not to find a common ground but to determine whether common ground exists between the sides and that a possible new process should not be an open-ended.

Upon the official invitation of the Secretary-General an informal 5+UN meeting, aimed at finding if common ground exists for the restarting of the stalled negotiation process, took place in Geneva, on 27-29 April 2021. The participants were the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides as well as the guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece, and the UK.

At the 5+UN informal meeting, the Greek Cypriot side and Greece did not bring about a new vision but repeated, a carbon copy of their speeches in Crans-Montana, paying lip service to a “bi-zonal, bi-communal federation” settlement, pretending that they were ready to continue the negotiations from where they were left off.

We, as the Turkish Cypriot side, on the other hand, participated at the meeting with an open mind and determination to explore whether common ground exists that would pave the way for formal negotiations and explained in detail why the federation model failed to provide any solution to the Cyprus issue in the last 50 years and submitted our 6 point-proposal in line with our new vision for an agreement based on the realities on the Island.