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A common vision for a way out of the Cyprus conundrum

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Since the start of the last round of Cyprus peace negotiations in May 2015, the two leaders have reached significant convergence on many aspects, and in fact came very close to an overall settlement regarding the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem. The lingering issue that remains is without a doubt the external security and the involvement of the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Given the many high profile public statements on the issue of security and guarantees, designing a formula that would satisfy the five parties – i.e. the three guarantors and the two Cypriot sides – is certainly a difficult diplomatic endeavor. But it is possible so long as the formula is carefully drafted based on an objective, realistic, and pragmatic analysis.

However, so far the positions of the relevant sides - especially the two “motherlands,” Greece and Turkey - have been rather maximalist. Until now, each side has engaged in positional bargaining and stuck to their respective opening position in the negotiations. On one side, high ranking Greek officials, such as Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, have repeatedly publicly stated that Greece does not accept any guarantees. In other words, Greece wants to abolish the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance. On the other side, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other Turkish officials do not refrain from stating repeatedly that Turkey would not accept any solution without its “effective and de facto” guarantee rights.

The key to solving the security and guarantees issue is to first look at security from a holistic perspective and second, to start designing a solution for the security issue with a common vision that would be endorsed by all the relevant parties involved in the Cyprus conflict. In other words, a holistic security understanding will move the parties away from the hard power oriented win-lose formulation, and open the way for win-win formulations on the security architecture of the future united federal Cyprus.

Combining this holistic perspective of security with a “common vision,” is the ideal formula towards both a settlement and consolidated peace on the island. This common vision should aim to create the right institutions in the future united federal Cyprus with the capacity and the resilience to deal with........

© Hürriyet Daily News