While issues such as governance, power sharing, economy and EU affairs have been largely agreed, (except the issue of a rotating presidency), thorny issues such as territory have not.
Turkish Cypriot journalist Yusuf Kanli, writing in his column for Turkish daily Hurriyet ponders at the optimism expressed by President Ankinci and Ankara over the Cyprus negotiations.
He asks how there could be a deal forthcoming when Greek Cypriots maintain their “all mine and only mine” obsession.
How could this “home attachment” of the current and previous property owners be resolved? How could the reinstitution of property rights and bi-zonality and bi-communality principles be respected in view of the fact that some 85 percent of the current “residential properties” of the north used to belong to Greek Cypriots? Or, if the compensation option was to be agreed upon, would donors provide the 18-25 billion euros required for a compensation scheme? If, for example, only the property rights of those Greek Cypriots who spent at least 10 years in their pre-1974 “homes” were restored, after almost 50 years, how many “original, first-degree” owners are still alive? Should not the heirs of that group inherit the rights of their parents? This is a thornier issue than anyone might assume.
He goes on to say that:
Guaranteeing Turkish Cypriots the “majority” in their zone will be far less valuable than the paper it is written on if it could not be made a primary law of the EU, and if the dictate of Nikos Anastasiades on Mustafa Akıncı that any agreement ought to contain a clause stressing firmly that the Turkish Cypriot population should never exceed a one-quarter ratio of the population, would the same ratio be applied in emigration from Turkey? Would Anastasiades consider castrating all Turkish Cypriots? Can such an agreement be acceptable?
The Greek Cypriot side has been insisting that the Cyprus problem ought to be resolved within the framework of full individual rights for all Cypriots. This sound so good to the ears but when it comes to practicality, it means condemning Turkish Cypriots to a minority status forever. If they accept minority status, why was this painful struggle waged and why were so many lives sacrificed for the past 50 years?