Cypriots’ Voice, the bi-communal Forum working for peace and reconciliation, demand that the participating parties in the Crans Montana negotiations follow the directive as set by the UN Secretary General and come to conclusive settlement of the remaining issues and agree on a clear and sincere dissemination campaign that would lead to the construction of United Federal Cyprus with immediate effect.
Cypriots’ Voice met in plenary and examined the various parameters of the peace process, and having acknowledged the difficulties that will be faced for implementing a sustainable federal state, concluded as follows:
- The Cypriot Leaders seem to be imprisoned in-the-box. They must get out immediately and run the last half mile of the marathon together with good political will in order to come to an agreement that will secure equality in a free country with citizens caring about the “other side”
- The method followed in the negotiations described as “nothing is agreed if everything in not agreed” has been proved to be unproductive delaying the settlement for decades. What is needed is a new strategy focusing on the Cyprus solution that capitalizes on the convergences which must be secured as they are reached upon.
- Public opinion researches conducted by reliable institutions show that the citizens have moved dramatically towards supporting a bizonal bicommunal federal solution. Political directives must be based upon this trend in order to prepare the people and turn overwhelming majority in a referendum. This can be achieved through strategies that encourage and facilitate establishment of conducts at various levels of the two communities. According to public opinion studies, contact among people promotes trust, reduces prejudice, and facilitates equal status and cooperation whereas equality is fortified with implementation of relevant norms. Despite the weak, or absence of, positive norms in Cyprus all the above are seen to be dramatically improved among the people of the two communities thus creating expectations for successful implementation of a federal solution provided that the authorities of all sides involved establish and implement policies facilitating the process.
- The pattern of the GC parties consists of the two major political entities DISY and AKEL which have clear federal political position, the so called “median space” consisting of opportunistic leaderships and the rejectionist small entities which would fight against any proposal for a settlement. On the other hand, it is evident that among the TC parties there is not common understanding of the term bizonality. There is disparity between the leadership and members in most of the political parties. The situation could be made clear when a commonly agreed description of the solution sought will be achieved in the negotiations.
- Cypriots tend to read their history selectively. The motto “I do not forget”, which is used in both sides of the divide, is interpreted unilaterally. In order to achieve common grounds for peace, reconciliation and rapprochement, we need to bring to light Cypriots’ social history facing the truth and not the established paradigms. All phases of our history must be admitted and acknowledged in order to take up responsibility for the creation of federal political life. Apart from the common elements of social and cultural nature, Cypriotism could be honed so that to replace ethnic with civic patriotism when the federal constitution is in place. Under the ultimate political structure allowing the establishment of common norms Cypriots’ Voice will support and promote the development of an implementation movement of a federal society.
- Cyprus Gas has been overvalued based upon the data existed before the international oil crisis. The current situation in the global oil market suggests that prices will remain at low levels for the foreseeable future, given the tough competition based upon the low cost of Russian gas, the abundance of Qatar gas and the emergence of the hale gas in the USA. The breakeven point of the upstream cost of gas production from the Aphrodite block 11 as well as the estimated outcome of block 10 which indicates good prospects is very close to the selling prices in all the nearby markets – European, Asian, and Egyptian, leaving not significant margins to the operating companies. In addition to the above, Turkey’s Vision 2023 policy paper leaves no doubt that our neighbour’s energy strategy is leading towards de-dependence from imports via development of own resources of hydroelectric and turf coal plus nuclear power stations. The above facts indicate that Cypriot gas cannot be regarded as a decisive factor to be used in Cyprus negotiations vis-à-vis Turkey. Nor should it give expectations of major increase in the national wealth given that the expected royalties to be earned at full exploitation will not exceed 650 million per annum starting from 2028 when the gas fields are expected to be in full capacity, having covered the initial development cost.
- The political picture of Europe suggests that a modest left radicalism looking for a different approach to beat austerity has been risen almost all countries, UK, France, Germany, Greece, Spain… The recent elections in these countries show a sudden change in people’s opinion towards a new policy in favour of social benefits and wide economic development. Although Brexit has marked a drawback in the establishment of European social solidarity, the clear rise of the leftwing minded masses create hope that the nationalistic threat which is also endemic will be gradually suppressed to marginal levels.
- The thriving Turkish Cypriot media outnumbering the GC press and TV channels by three times are mostly depended upon the Turkish establishment which give directions and in most cases controls them. The genuinely independent part of the media belonging mostly to NGO and political parties are faced with major funding problems. This situation marks an unequal straggle in the Cypriot community to disseminate cyrpo-centric messages to the public.
- There is good news stemming from a public opinion survey conducted by the University of Cyprus which is mostly in agreement with similar studies conducted by SeeD in the north. Citizens in both sides are dramatically shifting towards acceptance of bizonal bicommunal federation. This seems to be the result of the contact thriving among organisations, citizen groups and individuals, despite the negative attitude imposed by the administrations as well as the geographical separation. The results of these studies must be disseminated along the scale of decision makers demanding that they are taken seriously into consideration for culminating the long lasting separation in the island.
Communiqué No 33 – Cypriots’ Voice – 02/07/2017