With the Cyprus unity talks stalled again, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board said the government should be pressed hard and fast to finally make a deal.
With Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish counterpart Mustafa Akinci talking occasionally, the paper said that “Prospects for success are considered to be good,” but noted past optimism has been repeatedly dashed to bring together an island divided since an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion.
The paper though laid much of the blame on Cyprus, not on Turkey.
“One opportunity was lost in 2004 when Greek Cyprus was knocking at the door of the European Union, seeking accession. At that point the EU could have told the Cypriots to wrap up the division of the island or not join the EU. Instead, the EU let Greece buffalo it into admitting Greek Cyprus without reunification,” the editorial stated.
It added: “A second opportunity came in 2012 when Greek Cyprus faced a banking crisis beyond its means to resolve. This time, also, the Europeans and the International Monetary Fund let the Cypriots off the hook with an $8.3 billion bailout without reunification strings attached.”
Acknowledging that thorny issues such as power-sharing and what to do about Cypriot homes and property confiscated by Turks – and a still standing Turkish Army of 40,000 on the island- the paper said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should seize the chance to work for a deal that would enhance his tarnished image and get rid of the cost of running its self-declared Republic on Cyprus.
“The removal of the burden of division from this island of just over a million people would also be to the economic advantage of all Cypriots. Real prospects for successful negotiations? “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” said Shakespeare’s King Henry V. The world could use a win, in the face of stalemated conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Libya, Palestine, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere,” the paper said.