Turkish-Cypriot Conference Examines New Unity Path Ideas

FILE - A general view show the Turkish delegation and Turkish Cypriot delegation on the left side, the UN delegation on the center, and the Greek Cypriot delegation and Greek delegation on the right side at the beginning of a new round of the conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

With unity talks collapsed, a conference at the Eastern Mediterranean University in the Turkish-Cypriot occupied area of Cyprus April 1-3 will look at new ways to try to bring the two sides together, almost 43 years after an unlawful invasion.

The Cyprus Issue: The Past, Present, and Future of Cyprus in the occupied part of the capital of Nicosia, which Turkey calls in Lefkoşa, will bring together some 50 academics and experts from various countries and research fields and also focus on how potentially lucrative finds of oil and gas off the coast in the area controlled by the legitimate Cypriot government could affect resolution hopes, the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News said.

The political dilemma will also be tossed around although a solution has evaded a long line of envoys, diplomats, negotiators and officials for four decades and there’s no sign the talks will resume again after they fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

The discussions came to an abrupt end then when Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove an army from the occupied northern third of the island and wanted the right to militarily intervene – invade – again when they wanted.

The conference will discuss the changing situation of Cyprus and evaluate new ideas for a solution, Hüseyin Gökçekuş, Dean of the Civil Engineering Faculty at Near East University, told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

“Solving the Cyprus dispute through a federation is impossible,” he said, with Turkey and Akinci saying previously the island could be headed for a permanent partition, which would continue to isolate a self-declared Republic that only Turkey recognizes.

The conference will focus on new solution models such as “one island, two states,” Gökçekuş added.

Haluk Kabaalioğlu, a senior Turkish academic, said the idea of a bi-zonal and communal federation on Cyprus was raised long ago.  “Cyprus should be a confederation or a two-state solution, as EU institutions would have no guarantee of assurances in a bi-zonal and communal federation due to their supranational powers,” he said.

“Turkish Cypriots’ approval is needed for any confederation model,” he added.  “If the parties’ mutual trust of the parties is ensured or Turkey becomes a full member of the EU, then there could be a transformation from confederation to federation,” he said.