Cyprus on the road to nowhere

2 mins read

It didn’t take a clairvoyant to predict the circus in Geneva would demand a repeat performance as the international community ran out of patience and ideas on the Cyprus conundrum.

After three days of hearing well-rehearsed excuses, UN chief Antonio Guterres put an end to the pretence, declaring no common ground could be found during informal meetings.

Greece, Turkey, and the UK rolled out their heavy diplomatic guns, but the Cyprus problem is a frontline where trench warfare is commonplace in an unforgiving environment for compromise.

Guterres said the UN big tent would be set up in the next couple of months to see if the parties come to their senses and agree to resume reunification talks.

Nobody was under any illusions that the Geneva summit would provide a breakthrough in the blizzard of negativity surrounding the reunification process since it sank without a trace four years ago.

Since Crans-Montana in 2017, the landscape has arguably become more hostile and unforgiving for anyone seeking a way through the Cyprus maze of frozen politics fused by Cold War animosities.

Arguably, Turkey is no longer interested in the status quo or following the agreed path for a federal solution for a reunified Cyprus.

Ankara can make extra mileage from stealing more territory from the Republic, making waves in the East Med to upset the balance of power.

There is no incentive for it to play by the rules that offer nothing in return, especially as joining the EU is no longer an attractive option.

While refusing to play diplomatic football, a game where Cyprus only seems to score own goals, Turkey can lay claim to Varosha, deny Nicosia has a right to exist and generally do as it pleases.

A divided Cyprus gives it leverage; what would be the advantage of Cypriots getting along and running their own affairs independent of interference.

Being a strategic piece of real estate, Cyprus is doomed by its geographical importance.

Forty-seven years of division without parole have cultivated a wall of indifference so high that Cypriots cannot see the other side.

There is no joint vision of the island’s reunited future; the politicians have seen to that.

Business as usual

Another failure in Switzerland is faced with a shrug of the shoulders as Cypriots go about their business as usual, comfortable with the way things are.

Politicians have built their careers on division; the impossible dream of reunification remains just that.

Only when the people say enough is enough and demand change will the wheels of progression start turning.

As a society, we must also ask ourselves tough questions.

Are Cypriots ready, prepared and determined to live together, sharing power in a united country, under a federal roof?

Do Greek and Turkish Cypriots share a common vision for the future of this island?

The future can be an unknown and scary prospect, especially for a country forcibly divided as the two communities live in isolation.

You can have as many UN-led conferences on Cyprus as you like, but where is the process of removing the distrust, suspicion, doubt that fills the void.

The more years that pass, that mistrust seeps into a social mindset like a leaking nuclear reactor destroying any fertile ground for reconciliation.

Cyprus belongs to Cypriots, but they have to own it first and take responsibility for stitching it back together.

If the people or the politicians believe it is no longer possible, they have to own that as well, not engage in a blame game or hide behind empty gestures.

Cyprus deserves better than a symphony of diplomats faking they care but would rather move on to the next show with higher ratings for their careers.

Guterres said he hasn’t given up, despite the lack of progress in Geneva, but he’s paid not to give up on lost causes. It goes with the job.

He said: “My agenda is strictly to fight for the security and well-being of the Cypriots — of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots — that deserve to live in peace and prosperity together.”

What Cypriots deserve and what they get are the essence of an injustice that keeps on giving.

For now, everyone is perfectly content to kick the battered can further down the road to nowhere.