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20° Nicosia,
16 October, 2019
 
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Cyprus, diplomacy and the dizzying gas effect

Those in power should know that trust is the essence of diplomacy

Yiannis Kafkarides

Yiannis Kafkarides

The spin on political developments in Cyprus has had a dizzying effect on the public but state institutions seem unshaken.

The diplomatic standoff with Turkey over natural gas elevates for some the feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness and for others serves as a rallying cry, a self-fulfilling prophecy that demarcates good from bad.

A barrage of countless statements from Turkish officials transmitted in lightning speed by media has fueled a war of words that acts as a powerful incentive for those in power to maintain a domestically unifying siege mentality of which political actors thrive in and the media greatly profit from.

Smokescreen statements declaring that Cyprus is satisfied with EU sanctions on Turkey are baseless, without substance and only serve to show that the poker player has a weak hand.

The same applies for public statements inviting Turkey to join the newly formed East Med energy alliance of Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt as well as statements calling for Turkey to agree to the demarcation of the Cyprus - Turkey exclusive economic zone based on the median line rule.

It is well known and expected that Turkey will reject such diplomatic overtures. The gesture consequently is of little value towards normalizing relations, peace and benefiting from natural resources.

While a cause maybe just, the moral act of the universe is long and without action it will not bend towards justice.

Proposals such as these are part of a well-rehearsed blame game that the state machine has put on auto pilot. Fruitless and untruthful statements weaken our negotiating position because they create more mistrust.

For example, ambivalent rhetoric that casts a shadow over US - Cyprus relations is against Cypriot interests and the time of playing with superpowers has come and gone.

The problem is that the prudent direct approach which can address the issue once and for all - to sit down and negotiate the Cyprus problem – has become impossible because the process reveals, as it did in the past, that the two sides are not ready for a compromise. In reality Turkey is unwilling to budge an inch on the energy front as the issue is one of regional energy competition with Israel and Greece. On the other hand the Cyprus establishment does not wish to share power with the Turkish Cypriots as the threat of Turkey controlling Cyprus through the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the federal government appears to be an insurmountable mental barrier. 

Of course we can always fixate on the fact that Reuters uses quotation marks on the word illegal when referring to Turkish actions even though 28 EU member states have agreed to such a formulation and tie in American master plans for world domination to formulate the sanctity of our moral purpose in a universe of selfish actors.

Those in power should know that trust is the essence of diplomacy.

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