AHEAD of the upcoming 5 + 1 meeting, the possibilities for a solution for Cyprus, an online webinar was held on Wednesday, 24 February.
Organised by the British Turkish Cypriot Association (BTCA), The Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations (CTCA UK) saw MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Parliament leader for the Democratic Unionist Party and Chair of the APPG Turkey Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, International Lawyer and Cyprus Mail Columnist Alper Ali Rıza, TRNC Presidency Negotiation Team Legal Advisor and Deputy Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu , Supreme Constitutional Court of the “Republic of Cyprus” 1963 Dr Christian Heinze spoke all part of the panel which was hosted by former government minister Brooks Newmark.
Dr Christian explained with the example of Germany that sovereignty can be measured by whether a state has the right to secede from the federation. According to Heinze, federal states in Germany are not sovereign as their parliaments cannot leave Germany even though they have governments.
Emphasizing that the Turkish Cypriots were equal partners in the establishment of the republic in 1960, Oğuzhan Hasipoğlu continued as follows: “Sovereignty is not a problematic issue. It is not something that should be given to the Turkish Cypriots now. Turkish Cypriots [already] have sovereign rights, that’s why they demand sovereignty ”.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson criticized the plan and stated that previous initiatives focused too much on institutions and solutions, ignored the civilian population, did not effectively engage people on both sides of the conflict, and did not encourage confidence-building methods: “You create solutions and you think people will somehow be compelled to do so, It doesn’t work that way ”. Speaking based on his own experiences, Donaldson said that this does not work in Northern Ireland and that an inclusive civil society process is needed.
The question of whether the Cyprus problem will be solved with a federation or two states created a difference of opinion among the panellists. Rıza stated that the EU is pressuring the Greek Cypriots for a solution: “There is no reason [Turkish Cypriots] should not try the federation now once again”. Rıza said that the federation was not actually tried since the Turkish and Greek Cypriots lived together in the past, and now these communities live in two separate regions and continued his words as follows: “If the Turkish Cypriots want two states, they will not be able to join the EU, this is a fact…”
Hasipoğlu opposed by arguing: “The federation can be a good model for other countries. But unfortunately, the Greeks in Cyprus are not ready for this. For 17 years, since the Annan Plan, the Greek Cypriots are not ready to share the administration on the island with the Turkish Cypriots ”and continued as follows:“ The Turkish Cypriots chose our new leader Ersin Tatar because he defended the two states. We are tired of this federation process and we have the right to negotiate a solution between two states. ”