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Greek Cypriots: \"No to peace\"

OpinionsBy Mehmet Ali Birand

According to reports coming out of Greek Cyprus, they are very unhappy about the possibility of a solution reached based on the Annan plan. And they are not unjustified. The Annan plan asks for more sacrifices by the Greek Cypriots than the Turks. If you believe the recent reports, 60 percent of the Greek Cypriots are getting ready to vote against a solution at the referendum.

In my article yesterday, I had stressed how uncomfortable Greek Cypriot leader Tasos Papadopulos felt and that he was trying delaying tactics in order not to be perceived as walking away from the negotiation table. I had said he was saving his real campaign for the referendum.

Both Ankara and Brussels have begun to discuss the results that might come out in the referenda. Possibilities are examined. They are considering various scenarios and the stance they are willing to take.

It seems hard for a \"no\" to come out of the Turkish side. Even if U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan fills in the blanks, people are under the impression that the Turkish side will support their membership in the European Union. Reports suggest that even Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Rauf Denktas\'s opposition will not prevent an overwhelming approval of the agreement.

The same cannot be said for the Greek Cypriots.

The Greek Cypriots will not get what they want and moreover, will have to share their wealth with the Turkish side. They also have to abandon all their claims and expectations in the north. That\'s why the result of the referenda seems risky. This risk becomes especially acute, if the Papadopulos government decides to support the \"no\" campaign.

What will happen if Turks say \"yes\" and the Greeks say \"no?\"
What will be the consequences of a \"yes\" by Turkish Cypriots and \"no\" by Greek Cypriots?

When I inquired about this question in the capitals of EU countries and EU Commision officials, I received very interesting answers. They say the following developments may take place if the Greek Cypriots reject the agreement, while the Turkish Cypriots accept it.

The Annan plan will be destroyed. However, Cyprus will be admitted into the EU. The admission treaty has been approved by the parliaments of every EU member and their membership cannot be stopped or delayed. A very difficult period in the EU will begin and legal troubles will arise.
On the other hand, the EU will lift all the trade embargoes on the KKTC and will be forced to officially contact the KKTC and try to sign a separate treaty. This will mean the EU accepting KKTC\'s equality and sovereignty.
Additionally, this will open the way for the KKTC directly receiving a potion of the assistance sent to Cyprus.
Cyprus will no longer be an obstacle to Turkey\'s EU membership and Turkey will receive a date to start EU membership negotiations in December.
The KKTC will remain as it is and will be recognized internationally. The removal of Turkish troops, the return of the Greek Cypriot refugees or the establishment of a mechanism for mutual compensation will no longer be considered.
This is the most desirable scenario for the Turkish side. The KKTC will show its good will, will protect the current status quo and will be recognized internationally. This is Denktas\'s dream.

On the other hand, Papadopulos is trying to avoid this \"suicide scenario\" by talking to the capitals of EU countries and asking them to pressure the Turks into dropping their demands in order to avoid a \"no\" in the referenda, but he has failed to garner much support.

The situation is critical for the Greek side.

Will the Greek Cypriots commit suicide or will commonsense prevail?

This is the most important question and we still have no answer for it.


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