OPINION

The unseen side of the Cyprus talks

During the Cyprus negotiations in Buergenstock, foreign observers noted a difference in the prevailing atmospheres in the two delegations. They drew attention to how like-minded and well-prepared the Turkish-Cypriot side was in comparison to the Greek-Cypriot delegation, which often seemed a fragile cohesion. This distinction made a stark impression on foreign commentators, particularly as it was the Turkish-Cypriot side that was entering the talks with the weakest arguments and the greatest internal conflicts, while the Greek-Cypriot side – officially at least – had appeared to have a more solid bargaining position. These observations highlight the main weakness in the policy on Cyprus maintained by Greek Cypriots, but also by Greece, over the past five decades. What is essentially a domestic issue has become the focus of a partisan confrontation; as a result there is no long-term strategy on Cyprus and Greek politicians are divided on all critical issues. Over the years, we have observed – after every new «critical phase» – that the previous solution was always better than the one presently before us. And we insist on attributing this constant undermining of our position to US support for Turkey, demonizing the international position of Istanbul. But had we really believed that Turkey had the upper hand in diplomacy, surely this would have rallied our politicians, not have divided them…