Cypriots want dialogue and respect from Turkey

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Cypriots want dialogue and respect from Turkey

Joined: January 9th, 2012, 9:59 pm

July 21st, 2012, 9:25 am #1 ... feature-03

Cypriots want dialogue and respect from Turkey


A new research report examined Turkish and Greek Cypriot perceptions of Turkey and found a need to revise Turkey's relations with both sides of the divided island.

By Enis Erdem Aydin for Southeast European Times in Istanbul -- 20/07/12

Research shows Cypriots desire a revision of Turkeys economic, political and military imprint on Cyprus. [Reuters]

Cypriots on both sides of the island take issue with Turkish and foreign migration, the role of the Turkish military, political and economic domination, and a paternalistic attitude, according to a study that examined Turkish and Greek Cypriot perceptions of Turkey.

"Our relationship is portrayed as that between [Turkish] Cyprus, the spoiled child, and Turkey, the stepmother, who doesn't want to look after the child but has to," a Turkish Cypriot businesswoman said in the study conducted by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation.

According to Rebecca Bryant, from Middle East Technical University's North Cyprus Campus and one of the researchers of the study, Turkish Cypriots are wary of the rise in the Turkish population on the island which they think could result in "loss of political will" and "cultural erosion".

Compared to 140,000 Turkish Cypriots on the island, there are 190,000 citizens and non-citizens of Turkish origin.

The other concern is the Turkish government's paternalist language and attitude towards the Turkish Cypriots, epitomized by Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek's remarks calling Turkish Cypriots "family servants."

"Respect towards the Turkish Cypriots including regulation of the relationship between Turkey and Northern Cyprus and 'brotherly' rather than paternalistic relations came out as suggestions to improve the relationship," Bryant said.

Christalla Yakinthou, from the International Center for Transitional Justice and the other researcher of the study, indicated that in the background of Greek Cypriots' view of Turkey stands the Greek economic crisis and uncertainty about EU's future, the feeling of loss of Greek Cypriot culture and rising nationalism. These features were exacerbated due to Turkish economic growth and the natural gas stand-off between Turkey and Cyprus.

"The Greek Cypriot community carries a legacy of fear and mistrust of Turkey. Because of the depth of that legacy, it will take time, and a conscious effort, to change perceptions. At the same time, nuances are beginning to form in people's understanding of Turkey as a country," Yakinthou said.

According to the report, Greek Cypriot opinion shapers suggest creating channels of direct communication between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot community, for Turkey to implement trust-building measures and encourage Turkish and Greek Cypriot trade through the medium of Turkish Cypriot businesses.

The two communities' ideas converged around the need for direct dialogue between Turkey and the communities and a revision of Turkish public diplomacy in terms of the language used by the government officials.

The two communities also envisaged a revision in the role of the Turkish military, including a reduction of troops on the island and decreasing the oversight over the Turkish Cypriot police force.
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Niyazi Kizlyurek, a professor at the University of Cyprus, likened the Turkish Cypriots' changing relationship with Turkey to Greek Cypriot's relationship with Athens in 1960's. "Greek Cypriots asked for respect, acknowledgement, freedom in political agency and brotherly relations and proved to Athens that they can be a free state," Kizilyurek said.

He singled out "dignity" as an important medium between Turkey and Turkish Cypriots and questioned whether "Turkey could find a way involving dignity with its relations to Turkish Cypriots" which were an "invisible community", neither seen by Turkey nor the Greek Cypriots.

Regarding Greek Cypriot-Turkish relations, Kzilyurek commented that the more contact there is between the two communities a more positive perception will result, and pointed out Greek Cypriot-Turkish economic co-operation as a "new factor which will grow".

The report includes 50 extended interviews conducted with Turkish and Greek Cypriot businesspeople, civil servants, union leaders, civil society representatives, and journalists conducted in April and May.

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Joined: January 9th, 2012, 9:59 pm

July 21st, 2012, 9:47 am #2

Erolu lashes out at Greek Cyprus on landmark anniversary

KKTC President Erolu attended Peace and Freedom Day celebrations. (Photo: Cihan)
Turkish Cypriot President Dervi Erolu has lashed out at the Greek Cypriot leadership for blocking UN-backed efforts to find a solution to the island's decades-old division, as the Turkish Cypriots marked the 38th anniversary of a Turkish military intervention in Cyprus in 1974 to protect the Turkish Cypriot population.

Erolu, speaking at a ceremony to mark Peace and Freedom Day in Lefkoa, called on the United Nations to announce to the public openly and frankly why four-year-long talks on the reunification of the island had been blocked.

Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot north and a Greek Cypriot south since the Turkish intervention in 1974. The Turkish Cypriots declared their own state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), in 1983, but it is recognized only by Ankara. Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have been holding talks under the auspices of the UN to reunite the island since 2008, but the meetings have so far failed to produce any breakthrough.

Further complicating the stalemate, the Greek Cypriot government, internationally recognized as representing the entire island, assumed the rotating presidency of the EU in July, sparking protests from EU candidate Turkey. Ankara says it has suspended dialogue with the EU presidency during the Greek Cypriot term.

Erolu said the stalemate in the peace talks with the Greek Cypriot side is disappointing and complained that no progress could be achieved despite comprehensive proposals from the Turkish Cypriot side to resolve issues of dispute, such as property rights and administration and power sharing in a federal, reunited Cypriot state.

I invite the United Nations to make their assessments regarding the Greek Cypriot position in the talks public, Erolu said. It will help the establishment of lasting peace in Cyprus if the UN expresses why the negotiations have been blocked.

The KKTC president also criticized the fact that the Greek Cypriots had assumed the presidency of the EU, saying this would harm peace talks on the island. He also called on the EU to keep its promises to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, made after the Turkish Cypriots voted for a UN plan to reunite the island in 2004 but which was never implemented due to a Greek Cypriot veto within the EU.

He said sanctions faced by the KKTC, ranging from economic isolation to a ban on participating in international sports events, are no longer tolerable and said the KKTC's first priority would be to fight against embargoes.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beir Atalay, who attended the celebrations in Lefkoa, also vowed to work to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. We cannot and will not accept continuation of the isolation measures imposed on Turkish Cypriots," he said.

Turkey sent troops to the island in 1974 in order to protect the island's Turkish Cypriot population after a coup by supporters of unification of the island with Greece. Thousands of Turkish Cypriots attended a dawn ceremony at a Girne beach early on Friday morning to mark the anniversary of the landing of Turkish troops on the island.

In a letter sent to Erolu, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said the 1974 intervention guaranteed the Turkish Cypriots' right to self-govern and said the KKTC was a source of pride as a democratic state which respects the rule of law.

Gül also said a solution to the Cyprus issue would bring an atmosphere of cooperation, security and welfare to the entire Eastern Mediterranean region.

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The dogs bark, the convoy marches on

The dogs bark, the convoy marches on </div>