by Yiannis Ioannou
The publication of the foreign policy positions of the coalition of six opposition parties (led by the Kemalist CHP) contesting Erdogan's power is of particular interest, both for its historical proclamation ("Peace at home, peace in the world") and for its "moderation" in relation to NATO, US-Turkish, Euro-Turkish, and Greek-Turkish relations. However, Cyprus and the Cyprus problem are sub-chapters of the programmatic manifesto that, both semantically and in relation to whether the latter is affected by Turkish elections - a well-known debate in Greek-language analysis - have their own, distinct significance.
An entire paragraph is devoted to Cyprus. It says, 'Cyprus is our national cause. To find a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, we will pursue as goals the protection of the "TRNC" and Turkish Cypriots' acquired rights, as well as the preservation of the two communities' sovereign political equality.
The qualitative element is clearly rooted in the evaluative approach to the Cyprus issue as a "national cause," and for the non-Islamic parties of the Turkish opposition - aside from the Republican and the "Good Party" (of the nationalist, Meral Aksener), there are also the two small parties of Davutoglu and Babacan, which circles in the West regard as progressive and pro-Western oriented. The inclusion of the Cyprus issue on the agenda of the opposition as an institution of Turkish foreign policy appears to dispel a number of myths.
Whatever the outcome
The Turkish opposition appears to be repeating, unchanged, Erdogan's rhetoric following the failure of the Crans Montana talks in 2017:
- It puts the security of the so-called TRNC and its "acquired rights" first. A dimension that undoubtedly depicts the ongoing effort to improve the pseudo-state - with the ultimate goal of future recognition.
- It also extends the spirit to the Turkish Cypriot community, referring to "sovereign political equality" between the two communities. An attitude that, in substance, is consistent with the Erdogan administration's rhetoric since 2017, which has advocated for a two-state solution based on sovereign equality between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The failure of the Turkish opposition to differentiate on the Cyprus issue from the AKP-Bakhcheli (of the ultra-nationalist MHP) coalition, which after 2017 promoted the creation of new fait accompli on the Cyprus issue (EEZ, Varosha, naturalizations, targeted actions to upgrade the occupied territories), appears to refute - at a first level of analysis - the popular myth in Greek-language analysis that the outcome of the Cyprus talks is influenced by the Turkish government. There are clear differences between Kemalists and Islamists, but at this point, the reference to the Cyprus problem (always a foreign policy statute) is very specific and entirely consistent with the current Erdogan government's positions. With Erdogan's support, there could be a paradigm shift in the upcoming Turkish elections. Indicating that even a paradigm shift in the upcoming Turkish elections, with Erdogan's removal from power, will not change the long-held narrative of Cyprus's existence as two states. This a position that appears to have been established following the 2017 disaster, and which Ankara has publicly reiterated as its intention to discuss a solution that does not grant Turkish Cypriots sovereign equality.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]