OPINION

Firm but flexible

The new round of talks between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is widely considered to be crucial in the sense that this time the West will try to forge a solution at all costs… The Greek-Cypriot side has to display the maximum possible flexibility so that Europe will be unable to blame it over a possible deadlock and thereby block the path toward Cyprus’s EU membership. But it has to draw up a hard core of negotiating principles which should include, first, the return of as much territory as possible; second, reassurances of non-intervention by Ankara, and third, a categorical rejection of any settlement that could block Cyprus’s entry into the EU… It’s worth noting that current trends in Turkish-Cypriot society are at odds with Turkey’s line. In the north of Cyprus, there is a strong momentum against Denktash’s policy. The economic crisis in the breakaway state and the economic meltdown in Turkey render any comparison between the two communities devastating. A growing number of Turkish Cypriots are realizing that EU membership not only guarantees prosperity but security as well. Ankara, of course, will have the final say, but this is a factor that Clerides can exploit during negotiations. The wife of Kutlu Adali, a well-known writer who was shot dead in front of his home in northern Cyprus on July 6, 1996, has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, alleging that «Turkish and/or Turkish-Cypriot agents were involved in her husband’s murder.» The court will hold a public hearing on the admissibility and merits of the case on January 31.