reading time: 5 min.

Ulaş Barış writes..."Critical Week Ahead in New York for Cyprus Problem"

Ulaş Barış writes..."Critical Week Ahead in New York for Cyprus Problem"

Kibris Postası columnist Ulaş Barış writes about the importance of the critical week ahead in New York...

Publish Date: 18/09/23 14:19
reading time: 5 min.
Ulaş Barış writes..."Critical Week Ahead in New York for Cyprus Problem"
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New York is set to witness a crucial week with world leaders convening for the 78th session of the United Nations. Among them are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Cypriot President Nikos Hristodulidis, Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Miçotakis, and UK Prime Minister Rushi Sunak. In addition to these parties involved in the Cyprus problem, Ersin Tatar is also representing the Turkish Cypriot community.

While some might scoff at the idea of yet another "critical week," especially concerning the long-standing Cyprus issue, it remains an undeniable fact. However, we may be approaching one of the most significant turning points since Crans Montana.

As someone who has closely followed the developments, I have consistently argued that a solution is still within reach. Despite the prevailing pessimism and an increasing number of separation narratives, I have consistently asserted that the key to a resolution still lies in the framework document put forth at Crans Montana. That document is known as the Guterres framework or criteria, and I believe it is essential if a federal solution to the Cyprus problem is to be discussed.

The crucial question remains whether discussions will indeed focus on a federation, at least for now. Currently, the potential for a process related to Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), starting with the Pile incident and the United Nations Security Council's condemnation, is gaining momentum. If this process commences, the person appointed by the UN to mediate will be crucial. Previously, I mentioned that the UN called for the appointment of a "UN representative" in its Pile incident resolution, distinct from the term "Special Envoy" used in the past. This subtly changes the dynamics of the situation.

The term "UN representative" is used in the context of the person's undefined powers, suggesting the possibility of a more flexible approach that may extend beyond the established UN criteria. The color of the process may change accordingly.

Moreover, Cypriot President Hristodulidis expressed hope regarding the appointment of this UN representative during his recent statement in New York. The outcome of tomorrow's meeting between Guterres and Erdoğan is expected to be critical in this regard. Another significant meeting is scheduled for Wednesday between Erdoğan and Miçotakis. Hristodulidis himself is set to meet with Guterres on Friday.

Previously, I indicated that the UN was considering submitting a proposal to appoint a UN representative to oversee CBMs. The UN's intention to do so has become increasingly apparent. The critical nature of tomorrow's meeting between Erdoğan and Guterres should not be underestimated. While various issues will be discussed, including the refugee problem, Cyprus will undoubtedly be on the agenda.

The meeting between Erdoğan and Miçotakis on the following day will also feature Cyprus prominently, alongside other regional matters. Guterres will meet with Miçotakis as well, and Cyprus will be among the topics they discuss.

In light of these developments, it is possible that the proposed trilateral meeting (Hristodulidis-Guterres-Tatar) that Hristodulidis previously suggested but Tatar rejected might take place, possibly on Friday or Saturday.

Whether or not the trilateral meeting occurs, if the discussions progress positively, Guterres may appoint a UN representative this weekend, signaling the beginning of a new process.

While I remain cautiously optimistic, it is essential to remember that even if such an appointment occurs, it does not guarantee an immediate resolution to the Cyprus problem. Nevertheless, after six years of stagnation, starting from somewhere is a welcome change that could reignite hope.

However, if the appointment does not happen, life will go on as usual in a world where everyone is trying to save their sinking ships, where populism thrives, and decay continues to spread unchecked.

The other relevant parties will continue their lives in the free world, content and happy, while we remain stuck in the same monotonous cycle of a decaying system.

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