By Fikri Toros…..
President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce
A viable political settlement lies upon empathy and understanding towards each other’s sense of security..
Successful outcome of all other peace processes we have seen to date, is the end result of talks consisting of dialogue, negotiations and cooperation. Effective dialogue and entrusted negotiations constitute the most important elements of a peace building process; however, these alone are not enough to achieve peace! Economic, social and cultural cooperation between the parties to the conflict need to be materialized during the peace building process by recognizing each other’s existence, strengths and common interests.
Peace processes tend to follow thorny, challenging and long paths. The continuation of the longstanding Cyprus problem, has brought about discrimination and levied severe sanctions onto the Turkish Cypriot Community. Likewise, the ongoing political instability on the Island has kept the Greek Cypriot Community far behind its full potential.
The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the South, have initiated and developed many economic projects which can be implemented within the prevailing political environment. Furthermore the EU Ad-Hoc Committee has been established with a mandate to prepare the Turkish Cypriot Community to the EU acquis communautaire. An immediate and speedy implementation of the former and the latter will not only help normalize and improve the everyday living conditions on the Island, but will also prepare the communities to a federal partnership and eliminate their fears over time. Thus both communities will reach to saying “we’re at a point of no return”; only then sceptics will be weakened and the two leaders will have sufficient courage to compromise towards a political agreement.
The negotiations will only reach a conclusion, when all parties are assured of the required political and economic security !
Peace processes comprise of different phases such as “before negotiations”, “during negotiations” and “preparation”. The most important factors that will affect the success of the negotiations are the preparation of the communities and the enhancement of sense of security before the entry into force of the post conflict environment. The preparation of the Turkish Cypriot Community must comprise of a focused EU-compliant structural reform and the lifting of obstacles to private sector driven economic development. Peace, is the adoption of “live and let live” principle!