Tuesday, October 23th 2018 12PM °C nicosia


Stephen  Day

Stephen Day


  • 11.10.2017

I THINK we are all agreed, aren't we? The Cyprus talks are over? It isn't so much that they ended, as devastatingly crashed into the same stone wall for the umpteenth time (the only difference being that this time the UN moved the stone wall to Switzerland and still managed to crash into it). 
The official records of presidents, UN secretaries-general, special envoys, "plans", "sets of ideas" and "last chances" involved in 40-plus years of failing to "solve the Cyprus problem" have more chapters in them than Tolstoy's War and Peace. Not only that, they constitute the most boring, repetitive and predictably doomed read in the entire history of archive-keeping. It's like listening to a vinyl record stubbornly and perpetually stuck in a single groove (kerplonk, kerplonk, kerplonk). 
So, we should hear no more of that nonsense, now should we? No we shouldn't -- that is, unless you are UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in which case you ignore the latest repetitive failure and declare we are now "in a period of reflection".  My God, we've had 43 years of "reflection", which by anyone's standards ought to be enough. He's apparently "waiting" for the two Cyprus leaders to "come back to him". Waiting for what? Another 40 years? Inviting them to New York to endlessly sing Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush would have about as much relevance.
Then we have the Turkish Cypriot "optimists", still wedded to their ultimate dream of uniting with a South Cyprus that doesn't want them and an EU that has betrayed them every five minutes (and damned near ruined the XXXXX Greek XXXXX Cypriot economy in the process, but we'll overlook that). 
Two Turkish Cypriot MPs have just attended the "legal affairs and human rights committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe" (a right meaningless mouthful). What has that less-than-august body ever done for Turkish Cypriot "human rights"? (Answer: not a lot.) The TRNC MP representing the ever-optimistic CTP tells them "important progress" was made in Switzerland (presumably that's why the talks went pear-shaped) and further informs us that a "bizonal, bicommunal, federal settlement, based on political equality, with two constituent states, was still the most mutually acceptable solution". Mutually acceptable? To whom? The Greek Cypriots? (Is he having a laugh?)
The talks failed for the same old reason: the UN reunification model this MP is obviously devoted to has never been acceptable to the Greek Cypriots and it never will be. They don't see Turkish Cypriots as "equal partners", they view them as an intrusive minority, to be kept permanently unrecognised and isolated from all the governing institutions of their "Greek" island. The UN and EU, in persisting with that model, have assisted the Greek Cypriots in their efforts to keep the Turkish Cypriots in their isolated place. In other words, the status quo suits Greek Cypriot priorities perfectly. No way will they assist in changing it and anybody who thinks they will is living in cloud cuckoo land (and that includes the UN).
To any sane and impartial organisation (which the UN is supposed to be) these great truths should by now be glaringly obvious. Nothing justifies the decades-long denial of every human right you can think of to the Turkish Cypriots. It is a travesty of justice.
The UN should now accept there really is no Cyprus problem to solve. It was solved by partition decades ago. They should stop punishing the Turkish Cypriots for crimes they never committed. Judging by the current UN secretary-general's response to the latest collapse in the talks, they are not going to.
Which brings us to Turkey's much-vaunted and threatened "Plan B" for North Cyprus. Unfortunately, no-one appears to know precisely what that is. In any case, there is no sign of it. Which leaves the Turkish Cypriots with just one option: scream out about the injustice and seek recognition of the TRNC. Demand your right to be accepted into the community of nations. The TRNC has its faults, but compared to many nations that are recognised by the UN it is a beacon of peace, tolerance and democratic process. It would take only one other country to grant recognition and the flood gates would open. Some have offered recognition in the past. Ask them. If they say yes, others would follow. The TRNC needs to take charge of its own destiny. If it doesn't, the signs are nobody else will. NOW is the time to end this farce.


Boris strikes again?
IS BORIS Johnson planning a leadership challenge? If his latest Brexit outburst signals such a future attempt, he is barmy – however, if you analyse what he said, it doesn't necessarily indicate such an intention.
He did not say the UK should pay "no Brexit bill" to the EU, he said it should not pay "a big" one, which means he is against paying the £90 billion the EU demands, but not necessarily against paying a smaller sum to move the talks on to the vital trade issue. In fact he has never specifically ruled that option out. Up to the time of writing, at least, that doesn't put him at odds with Theresa May, as some have claimed. 
He also believes any transitional deal with the EU shouldn't preclude the UK entering direct trade talks with other countries during that transitional period. Theresa May agrees. She is already roaming the globe, sealing promises from the likes of the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand that they see direct trade agreements with the UK as a top priority once we are free of the EU. 
He also wrote that once we leave the EU we will reclaim complete sovereign control over a whole range of issues, including where we spend the many budgetary savings the UK will secure when we cease being the EU's second biggest financial contributor (for example, on the NHS). He is right. That is the very essence of what Brexit is all about. There appears to be no conflict there either.
The more excitable newspapers love analysing every utterance Boris makes. For that reason it might be better if he just kept quiet. But, hey, we are talking Boris here. No chance of that, now is there?


The end is nigh
I NOTICE the soothsayers, fortune-tellers and bible-thumpers are at it again. Today is September 23, when the world is to end. That means if my reader is still out there and reading this (poor soul), somebody's calculations have gone haywire.  

Things going wrong?
I SEE that 90 per cent of people (actually of just 500 individuals) surveyed in a recent TRNC telephone poll believe "things are going wrong" in TRNC. How reassuringly usual (no great change there then, the politicians must be delighted).

Rear number plate 'chaos'
JUST to reinforce the above survey result, we have total confusion about the colour and material that should constitute a legal rear number plate on your TRNC car. White, yellow, plastic, or metal? Your guess is as good as mine, except it appears that they should be "EU standard". What the hell for? When did we join the EU, or indeed, ever have a realistic prospect of doing so? Thankfully, none whatsoever. 

Death trap?
DID you notice TRNC road safety campaigners claim that the new slip roads at Gonyeli roundabout are a "death trap". No they are not, it's many folk driving on them that are. For the real problems to start, wait until some bright spark decides to park on them. That'll be fun, won't it?

Another blot
THE demolition of "illegal" wooden chalets at the Karpaz's Golden Beach has allegedly resulted in another "blot on the landscape" to be added to all the rest. At least this came about from knocking something down, instead of putting something up.

No judgements
FORMER BBC journalist and MP Martin Bell is to lead a cross-border tour here. His tour will "make no judgements except on the British Army's failures". He might no longer be BBC, but he would still fit in perfectly there now, wouldn't he? 

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