British Institute Panel in Ankara Debates Prospects for Cyprus Unity

A barrel with a message reading "Bring down the wall" is seen next to an abandoned Greek Cypriot military guard post that blocks a road crossing from the south, Greek Cypriot, to the north, Turkish Cypriot breakaway controlled areas in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, April 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Analysts at a panel at the British Institute in Ankara said talks trying to reunify the long-divided island of Cyprus should consider whether a referendum is needed and that there’s a need as well to look at the victims over the decades.

Cyprus was split by an unlawful 1974 Turkish invasion which led to Turkey seizing and keeping the northern third.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are resuming negotiations which had collapsed until the Cypriot Parliament diluted a measure approving an annual commemoration of a 1950 referendum seeking Enosis, or unity with Greece.

The panel was on The Cyprus Peace Talks: Prospects & Challenges in a Post-Referendum Period. Esra Çuhadar from Bilkent University, stated that the politicians should analyze whether Cyprus would need another referendum since the 2004 referendum failed after Turkish-Cypriots approved the Annan Plan but Cypriots didn’t.

Çuhadar emphasized that, “The political leaders cannot implement an agreement without public support,” the Daily Sahan reported.

He said before any referendum leaders should lay a foundation to make it acceptable if they cone to terms on a deal they need to sell to both sides.

“Rather than focusing on the idea of organizing a referendum, we should initially think about what else can be done up to the referendum to increase public support. Additionally, different consultative bodies should come together to enhance peace, which should also include opposing groups [to start brainstorming],” Çuhadar added.

She also stated that the process should be reinforced by additional forms and mechanisms to create a solid ground for the agreement between Akıncı and Anastasiades to be implemented.
Neophytos Loizides, from the University of Kent, said more than 50 percent of Cypriot people were displaced from their homes and more than 20 percent of the families on the island had lost a member of their family.

Loizides indicated that it is “very important to look at the victims” because most of the victims support the solution. He also noted, “If the possible referendum fails, the governments should continue to support their citizens for peace on the island.