The so-called ‘Confidence Building Measures’ (CBM) which the Greek Cypriot leadership is trying to internationally promote are nothing but old proposals that have been repeatedly negotiated and exhausted, like the failed negotiations for a federal settlement in Cyprus.
It should not be forgotten that it was the Greek Cypriot side that rejected all CBM packages, as well as all comprehensive settlement proposals made in the past, either by or through the UN.
We deem it necessary to point out that this approach of the Greek Cypriot side is another attempt to exploit the CBM’s, ultimately for the purpose of bringing the Turkish Cypriot people under their authority and domination. In essence, under the guise of CBMs, this Greek Cypriot initiative is aimed at forcing the Turkish Cypriot side to compromise from its vested inherent sovereign equality rights. Consequently, instead of concentrating on exploring whether common ground exists between the two sides, the Greek Cypriot leadership has adopted an approach aimed at concealing their intransigent attitude which is further harming this effort.
With regard to the measures that are aimed at building confidence between the two sides, there is agreement as to what the needed criteria should be for genuine CBMs. As such, CBMs should be mutually agreed, mutually beneficial, respect the equality of the two Sides and not involve or imply the extension of one side’s authority over the other. It is, therefore, unacceptable for the Greek Cypriot side, which claims to be the sole authority and sovereign of the island, to make proposals under the guise of ‘CBMs’, which violates the inherent sovereign equality rights of the Turkish Cypriot side.
The Turkish Cypriot side is as sovereign as the Greek Cypriot side and is ready to engage in CBMs that will be based on the above agreed principles.
The Turkish Cypriot proposal of July 2019 concerning cooperation on natural resources around the island conforms to the agreed principles and continues to be on the table. As accepted by all concerned these natural resources belong to both sides. If the Greek Cypriot side is sincere in its objective in building confidence, it should give serious consideration to the formation of a joint mechanism that is based on equality that envisages joint decision making on all procedures in relation to the said resources.
It should also be noted that the Greek Cypriot hijacking of the 1960 partnership Republic of Cyprus since 1963 and the decades-old deprival and inhumane restrictions imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people have resulted in the loss of confidence towards the Greek Cypriot side. This has inevitably distanced the Turkish Cypriot side from a new political partnership with the Greek Cypriots. If the Greek Cypriot side wants to follow a new path and take steps to remove the isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People, as it claims to do on the international scene, it can do so by respecting the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot side and unilaterally lifting the inhumane isolation imposed on them. Instead, the so-called CBM’s of the Greek Cypriot side are simply aimed at perpetuating the status quo and reinforcing the claim of the Greek Cypriot side that it is the sole sovereign of the island.
The Turkish Cypriot side is determined to continue its constructive stance towards establishing cooperation mechanisms that will be of mutual benefit to both sides on the basis of the consent and equality of the two sides, by adding new and more comprehensive ones to those that have already been realized during the past year.