A Real Solution In Cyprus
A real solution in Cyprus would be for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus to maintain its existence as an independent state, to further strengthen its ties with Turkey and to implement firm policies to enhance the Cypriot people's national and spiritual awareness.
In the last few months, the question of Cyprus has been put before Turkey as a condition for its long-awaited membership in the EU. In spite of the fact that membership in the EU and the Cyprus question are two different issues, some countries such as Greece and Britain have claimed that they are related and have made the serious mistake of moving to put them on the agenda in a single package.
The Essential Political Attitude
In the approximately 150-page document recently prepared by UN General Secretary Kofi Annan and delivered to representatives of both countries, there are very serious risks for North Cyprus. The report as it has been presented is unacceptable because Cypriot Turks have no area of sovereignty and if it is accepted, they will be a minority living on the island within 3 to 5 years and are treated as such. Moreover, it is recommended that a certain number of Greek Cypriots be moved into areas belonging to the North. Under these circumstances, it is probable that all the measures taken in the 1960 agreement between Turks and Greeks to preserve the status of the two different communities will be nullified. More serious is the probability that, without preparing a suitable foundation on which the two communities can live securely, the attempt to implement the model of a heterogeneous society may have a detrimental outcome as it had in the past.
In the event of such an agreement, many Cypriot Turks will be without a home and employment, living in anxiety with no peace of mind. They have been settled on the island since 1974 and to remove them from their homes and destroy the peace and order of their lives would be of benefit to no one.
Turkey's policy on this matter, as it was well expressed by the National Security Council, must have its basis in the primary goal of assuring the security of the Turks in northern Cyprus and in support for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Through the Cyprus Peace Movement in 1974, the Turkish army protected Turks on the island from the genocidal intentions of radical Greek Cypriots; these facts must never be forgotten. Solutions that would be disadvantageous to the Turkish side of the island and pose a risk to its security cannot be considered.
Moreover, from the point of view of Turkey, Cyprus is of great strategic importance. If Turkey loses its control over Cyprus, it also loses the possibility of access to the Mediterranean. In accordance to the decision made at the last meeting of the National Security Council, Turkey must work towards getting the fact accepted that Denktash insists on: There are two separate states on the island. An autonomous government established by two separate states will make joint decisions on questions of foreign relations but, in domestic matters, one will be independent of the other. In addition, it is essential that Turkey continues as guarantor.
Essential Cultural Policies for Cyprus
Policies to be implemented with regard to the Cyprus question are not only of a political or diplomatic nature. Also in the areas of economics and culture, measures must be encouraged that will strengthen the Turkish people of Cyprus and improve their situation. It is definite that Southern Cyprus will join the European Union, an attractive prospect for some of the Turks on the island even though no official agreement has been signed. In order to prevent this from becoming a debilitating factor, it is necessary to solidify the connection of Cypriot Turks with Turkey and their Muslim identity by improving their socio-economic situation and strengthening their national and spiritual values.
A meeting held recently in Cyprus revealed that a number of Turkish people on the island were not happy with some of the existing policies. To counteract this, the causes of the discontent have to be removed and policies developed that will restore the people's trust in the government of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. The government must adopt a compassionate and understanding attitude towards the people, take a close interest in those areas where there are problems and provide opportunities for initiatives undertaken towards the development of Cyprus.
Furthermore, an intense cultural campaign must be implemented to infuse spiritual ideals and values deeply within the people in Cyprus, especially the young generation. Cypriot Turks must embrace more strongly the Muslim identity that supported them since the island broke away from the Ottomans, and Turkey must take the lead in this cultural renaissance.
To this end, Cypriot Turks must avoid the dilemma that would arise from being left with the prospect of an economically deprived and passive North Cyprus and a developed and prosperous South Cyprus. On the contrary, the model to be adopted is that of a modern, contemporary, developed Cypriot Turk who has at the same time a strong religious identity. Psychology is of major importance in the inclinations of societies, especially in small societies. The strengthening of Cypriot Turkish society is bound to a psychological reinforcement, and this will come about by the establishment of the above mentioned economic and cultural policies.
In this matter, an important role will be played by the media and public social institutions. Cypriot Turks must see a motherland that avidly supports their existence on the island, that is of one heart and mind with them in a feeling of religious brotherhood and that defends their rights with its utmost power.