Round table meeting on Cyprus: solution is not so close
Deputy head of the Cyprus desk Alexandra Attalides made the opening speech where NTV news Brussels correspondent Guldener Sonumut, Politis Brussels correspondent Evangelos Aretos, Political history professor Niyazi Kizilyurek, Political Sciences Assoc. Prof Erol Kaymak and Political Science Prof. Ahmet Sozen were all speakers.
First to speak was Guldener Sonumut who pointed to the issue on Brussels agenda such as economic crisis, reform plans and the observation that it looked like the EU was not going to expand their membership anymore. She said that the political developments in Turkey were not what Brussels wanted to see and that the accession talks between the two were practically ‘frozen’. She said she read the election propaganda of the political parties in Turkey ahead of the elections and none looked at EU relations; however she said the election results in the TRNC were a good development.
Sonumut said in her opinion there was not much difference in the visions of the TC public and their elected leader; however she could see a difference between the expectations of the GC leader and their people. On the recent CBMs, she said she believed mine clearing was not a real confidence building measure.
Sonumut also claimed that the property issue could be solved with 100 billion Euros and noted that the German Central Bank printed 60 billion Euros every month; therefore finding this money by October-November 2016 would not be difficult, she added.
Politis newspaper Brussels correspondent Evangelos Arestos who spoke next said more and more people were sceptical about the ‘EU project’. He also added that the EU dynamism in Turkey had dropped over the past 5-6 years and EU politics was practically out of the public realm.
On the Cyprus issue, Arestos said the election results in the north were very important; he said he was more hopeful of Cyprus than in 2004.
Following the journalists’ presentations, political sciences assoc. prof. Erol Kaymak spoke next and touched on the Turkey-EU relations noting that the neither the EU nor Cyprus were in any of their agendas.
Kaymak said that it was necessary to depend on our own internal human resources to solve the Cyprus issue. It was important to get Akinci’s vision to a solution he said and added that underlining that a comprehensive solution followed by a referendum was important but this could be reached either through an interim settlement or a piece by piece solution.
Kaymak said Akinci had raised expectations on Varosha and this could be a mistake; Eide lowered the expectation when he pointed to a comprehensive settlement. He said he believed in order to speed up the process, a parallel process could be held. He added however that he did not believe there would be a solution in the close future. Kaymak said if the issues of substance were not taken up in the next 5-6 months the momentum would be lost.
Speaking at Kaymak was Prof. Ahmet Sozen who touched on Turkish politics as well and said Turkey lacked a leader with vision and the EU despite being paralysed in solving issues, continued to be an important reference. He said other than technical help; people should not expect much more from the EU on a solution.
Sozen said different things had to be done on the talks; familiarities would only bring us to the same point again. He said a timetable for the talks was essential and the two sides needed a time scale. A modality was necessary and the leaders needed to know how many times they were going to meet as well as the negotiators. Sozen said he believed the Cyprus issue would not be solved in the next 3-4 months.
Political History professor Niyazi Kizilyurek said they needed to focus on the region and Cyprus and noted that the GC side were going through a serious economic crisis; he added that they saw the solution of the Cyprus issue as a way out of that.