Dr Aris Petasis
(Member of the Board of Trustees, International Fund, Moscow State Aviation University)
Copyright: Aris Petasis on line
The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce (CCC) inaugurated a campaign to inform us of the economic benefits of a «just and lasting solution.” The campaign is supported by the Development Programme of the United Nations (UNDP-ACT) and by the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. For the sake of brevity I will refer to the above three as CCC/TCCC/UNDP.
It appears that all three are in favour of a bizonal- bicommunal federal (BBF) solution, which is well-defined in the Annan plan that was supposed to solve the Cyprus problem; otherwise the United Nations (UN) would have not agreed to participate in this project. This campaign could have had any or more of the following aims: a.) to simply promote the economic merits of a democratic solution; but, there is no logic in launching an expensive campaign to convince people that are already convinced on a common sense matter, (b.) to convince those that, in the eyes of the above three, are “anti-solution.”
Again, it makes little sense to labor trying to convince rational people that a democratic solution that would see the occupation army leave Cyprus is better than no solution and c.) to promote a BBF solution as “fair and viable” using phantom economic benefits as the thin edge of the wedge. Only the third objective justifies a campaign.
The chamber of Psychiatrists & Psychologists of Cyprus could have easily mounted a similar exercise to explain the psychological benefits of a democratic solution; but they did not because they already know that people have enough common sense to understand the obvious (angst reduction with occupation troops departing, etc.) As professional psychologists they also know that rational people prefer freedom to occupation and security to insecurity. So, no need to mount a campaign.
The “just and viable solution” of the CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign is confusing seeing that the term has been misused with varying and arbitrary interpretations and has now become cliché. Indicatively, even the Annan plan was promoted as “fair and viable” and in the process insulting people’s intelligence. To Turkey and the UN “just and viable” has nothing to do with democracy (reminds one of chalk and cheese.)
Developed and viable economies rest on democratic polity, (e.g. Germany and Switzerland democracies) and not on racist concoctions of the BBF type that fail to meet even the most basic democratic requirements. A BBF solution will not generate any economic benefits to Cyprus.
On the contrary it will destroy Cyprus’ economy because of the uncertainty and the deadlocks that such a solution will constantly unleash leading to emigration from all communities.
The CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign supports that, “….a solution to Cyprus problem will create conditions of security and stability….” The opposite is likely to happen.
The constitutional provisions of a BBF solution deliberately divide the country on ethnic and racial grounds through the creation of racially-based constituent states where one’s racial origins determines his/her position rather than ability and performance that are so critical to a well-functioning economy. A BBF puts Cyprus under direct threat of a new invasion from its current occupiers.
The CCC/TCCC/UNDP campaign adds that, “…..access of vessels under Cypriot flag to Turkish ports will result in the strengthening of Cyprus’ position…..” Turkey is already obliged, through its own signature, to open its ports to vessels flying the flag of the Republic of Cyprus. Yet, Turkey refused to recognize the Republic of Cyprus /member of the EU. Turkey’s position is that the Republic of Cyprus is a non-entity that needs first to dissolve itself and then morph into a federal union of two constituent ethnicity-based states, etc within a BBF.
Also, Turkey never ceases to repeat that the only plan on the table is that of Annan which has the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus as central tenet. CCC/TCCC/UNDP knows Turkey’s position and one wonders where the three see the opening of Turkey’s ports to the Republic of Cyprus.
The three say that a solution will lead to the growth of areas such as, “…..agriculture through the transportation from Turkey of water to Cyprus.” As Turkey will never abandon its “guarantor” status within a BBF solution transporting water from Turkey will put Cyprus’ water supplies under threat.
I would suggest that the three read the 1987 agreement between Turkey and Syria that obliges Turkey to allow minimum water supplies to Syria from the Euphrates, that flows through Turkey, and the latter’s threats to Syria’s water supplies.
I will not bore the reader by enumerating the many other benefits that the three see in a solution. I am of the opinion that the CCC promotes phantom economic benefits for an undefined political solution (reference to “a solution” is not enough.)
The CCC can better help Cyprus by leading a campaign, probably with the help of other bodies such as the unions, etc., to promote a democratic solution to Cyprus’ problem on which we can then build our economy which for certain will provide prospects for all Cypriots.