Cypriots’ Voice, the bi-communal Forum working for peace and reconciliation, extends full support upon the Leaders of the two Communities and urge them to take all necessary efforts towards a negotiated settlement at the Geneva talks in January 2017
Cypriots’ Voice has 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:
- Anastasiades and Akinci must work hard to balance the geopolitical dynamics with the interests of all Cypriots within a realistic conciliatory agreement and exercise leadership responsibility for consolidation in their respective communities. They must bravely lead campaign for presenting the positive effects of a “win-win” solution in order to mobilize the pro solution citizens towards a clear majority in the forthcoming referendums.
- Difficulties and challenges will emerge on the way of implementing the new state of affairs. These issues must be left to be handled as they occur with the help of the provisions of the solution and the aid of the EU norms, institutions and instruments. The important factor at this juncture of geopolitical turbulence is to grasp and utilize any opportunity and to fight the tendency to postpone the agreement.
- The treaty of guarantee existing between UK, Turkey and Greece and the Republic of Cyprus simply declares the interest of third party states in the stability of the agreed system of governance and does not guarantee the safety of the people. This differentiation must be clearly explained so that the citizens of the federal Cyprus could focus on the new situation where the acquis communautaire will prevail and security will be ensured through social cohesion within the European law and practice.
- The civil society should be supported through federal level programmes to establish intra communal contacts and links in the form of common professional associations, political, social, and cultural institutions which could promote friendship and sharing common interest in the material, cultural and social dimension. Nationalism must be put aside in this effort in order to fight separatism, promote trust and improve multi pluralism in the society of Cypriots.
- Human losses of both sides committed during the long lasting bicommunal conflict must be acknowledged by all sides and at all levels thus revealing the human aspect which has been oppressed for half a century. In this way the people will speak openly, face the truth and find their way towards condemnation and forgiveness which are necessary elements for a peaceful future.
- Education must become the cornerstone of our federal foundations. The federal state should ensure that the education system must promote friendship, peace and multicultural spirit. The process must be carefully planned to implement a policy that will be set at federal level aiming to achieve peace and cooperation. The existing structures at both communities must continue and draw momentum from the federal spirit to incorporate common values and enhance European and international practices which gradually will evolve at all levels of education.
- Language is a primary factor blocking communication in the current separatist status quo and is hindering togetherness in entrepreneurship and social life. Language policies must be put in place from the outset both at federal and constituent state levels promoting bilingualism. In addition to the formal education system, bilingualism can be promoted through informal institutions and EU programmes. The Cypriot dialects in their uniqueness of pronunciation vis a vis Greek and Turkish mainland languages, are using numerous common words and expressions which can be amplified within a practical tool for use in everyday communication. Activists of civil society are already promoting bilingualism through language exchange projects (e.g. Natalie Hami e.a. https://www.facebook.com/language.exchange.nicosia )
- Ancient or medieval, religious or royal or residential or community monuments mark the common history and multicultural basis of our Heritage. Restoration of monuments is associated with revival of memories that united people around them. Churches and mosques are landmarks where generations were meeting and functioning and so they carry remembrance of traditional and cultural images. The federal state must set policies and institutions in order to promote culture and peace around the common heritage by restoring all monuments scattered around the country.
- The material losses of common property were explicated by Sami Ozuslu in a documentary around the abondoned Nicosia airport transmitting strong messages for avoidance of repetition of past mistakes. Cypriots’ Voice will undertake proliferation of viewing opportunities of the film and will encourage further productions valorizing available bicommunal oral history testimonies.
- The Cypriot Identity must be depleted from the ethnic ballast and it should be reinstated by responsibility of the Federal Government. The common Cypriot nationality sealed by EU identify along with the common ownership of historic monuments, unique dialect accent, culinary behavior, folklore music and dancing as well common mentality of strong localism, should be de-demonized and promoted through education and cultural projects so that it is adopted with pride by all Cypriots in a federal society.
Communiqué No 32 – Cypriots’ Voice – 05/01/2017