From Roger L Jennings, New York, USA….
The 5+UN scheduled informal meeting had hoped issues between Greeks and Turks over Cyprus could be resolved.
The UN showed up at the meeting without any proposal. Secretary-General Guterres asked the parties to be “creative.” After some 53 years that was the best he could do.
The role of the UN should be neutral and not favour one side over the other. The UN should attempt to facilitate compromise and agreement. Here is what really happened.
The UN empowered the Greeks before the meeting by saying the UN was supporting the Greek position. So the Turks had no leverage against the resistance of the Greeks to make progress. The playing field was not level.
The UN could have pressured the Greeks privately to negotiate by telling them the UN will recommend ending the embargo on the TRNC if an agreement was not reached. Unfortunately, the UN is a partner with the Greeks rather than interested in human rights.
So the UN failed, again, after Crans Montana. The UN has demonstrated its ignorance of how to negotiate. Events show that the TRNC has no reason to deal further with the UN or Greek politicians.
Fundamental to progress is understanding that the Greek politicians do not represent the will of the Greek Cypriot people. The Greek Cypriot people want peace and prosperity. They do not want this constant bickering and posturing that does not contribute to the Greek Cypriot standard of living. Public protests before the 5+UN meeting are evidence.
The Turks arrived at the meeting with a statement that had been repeated over and over during the past weeks. There was nothing new. Foreign Minister Ertugruloglu said, “We knew what the Greek Cypriot side would say, they didn’t surprise us.” Then what was the TRNC plan? Did the TRNC have a plan to break the impasse?
The Greeks did not have to do anything, and they didn’t. The Greek politicians only will accept the Turks moving off the island, and nothing less. Their game plan is to starve the Turkish Cypriots with the UN-supported embargo
The Greek politicians won this round of the diplomatic battle by default. However, the Greek Cypriot people lost also. The Turkish Cypriots can deliver many benefits to the Greek Cypriot people that the Greek Cypriot politicians cannot deliver – even if they were so motivated.
What are the benefits? First, high paying jobs for Greek Cypriots. Second, restoration of Cypriot culture.
Turkish Cypriot banks can establish confidential investment bank accounts like Switzerland for wealthy people around the world who want to escape excessive taxation. Investors will not trust the Greek Cypriot banks after their investment in worthless Greek sovereign debt. Also, since the TRNC has been isolated from the world, the TRNC is not a party to any agreements preventing such investment accounts.
The money invested should then be used to build facilities to receive and store imported natural gas. Then facilities should be constructed to convert the gas to higher value products like synthetics, plastics, fertilizer, cosmetics and more. Many jobs would be created. The TRNC should declare that 50% of the jobs will be offered to Greek Cypriots and 50% to Turkish Cypriots. Hopefully, public pressure would open the door to building some of those facilities in Greek Cyprus.
When people work together to achieve shared objectives, they become friends and partners. That is the road to peace. No one on Cyprus wants peace and prosperity more than the Archbishop. He is the Shepherd. The President of Greek Cyprus, a politician, received less than 50% of the votes but became President in a fractured political system. The politician does not enjoy the support and reverence of the Archbishop.
So many jobs in construction and operation of these new facilities will be created that Cyprus will have to export some of the work. For example, when natural gas is used to make a synthetic fiber, that fiber has to be woven into a fabric, then dyed, cut, sewn, and more to deliver the final product to the world markets. Those additional jobs can be in Greece and Turkey. The Greek and Turkish people would be coming together to serve their personal interests and not the objectives of the politicians.
No one is better qualified to address Cypriot culture than the Archbishop. The rich history of Cyprus should be restored where possible. So as examples, the Apostolos Andreas Monastery should be returned to the Archbishop and opened for the public to visit. A new Lela Mustafa Pasha Mosque should be built conforming to the requirements of the Muslim faith, and the old building offered to the Archbishop for all Christians as the St. Nicholas Cathedral. Historical sites all over Cyprus should be restored, and the Greek Orthodox churches in Maras opened under the supervision of the Archbishop. There are over 1000 Greek Cypriot parishes in the US and a Greek-American organization called the Leadership 100 which would finance this cause of peace. Cypriots would show the world how to achieve lasting peace and prosperity.
The TRNC working with the Archbishop can offer the Greek and Turkish Cypriot people a better life. The Greek Cypriot politicians have denied this future to the people they are supposed to represent. For the Cypriot people to take the trip on the road to peace, the leadership of the TRNC and Archbishop must meet to create an agenda. All Cypriots can be partners in this great decision by contacting the President of the TRNC and the Archbishop.
Roger L Jennings is the third generation of the USA Jennings family who had been involved in helping Turkey/Greece.
His grandfather Asa K. Jennings was credited by the Ecumenical Patriarch with saving 1,250,000 people in 1922-23, and is the highest decorated person in Greek history. He also advised Ataturk, and that led to many of the modernizations like the emancipation of women in Turkey.
His father Asa W. Jennings provided shiploads of arms to Turkey in 1940 after Greece was attacked. The Nazi military then decided not to attack an armed Turkey to get to Suez and the oil fields.