Since the 31st of March, when version 5 of Kofi Annan’s Plan (the Annan Plan) was given to representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in Lucerne, Switzerland, all Cypriots have been discussing this Plan. What is the viability of the solution? What will happen if there is a NO or a YES result from the referendum? If a solution comes after the 1st of May, so that Cyprus will enter the EU, I think it will be better for all Cypriots.
In the southern part of the island the Greek Cypriots stopped speaking about a fair solution a long time ago. Greek Cypriots are asking for a viable solution. Cyprus lost a war in 1974, part of the island is occupied by Turks, and we are not an important ally of the USA. According to the European Union the Annan Plan 5 is in accordance with the European Community acquis. The EC acquis is the “adherence to the various political, economic and monetary aims of the European Union” as part of the “Copenhagen criteria”. Since all the Annan Plan variants are not permanent I am not going to analyze, “the Annan Plan”. Of course it is important that if you want to take a position you must read the Plan.
But it is important to see how the Cyprus Young Greens were expecting the solution:
On March 8th members of the Cyprus Young Greens, with representatives of the Patriotic Unity Movement-Youth (YBH-Youth), had a meeting and decided on a common declaration on the Annan Plan. The common target of both organizations is to reach a viable and sustainable solution, calling on all parties to aim for this target and do everything in their power to reach such a solution by 1st of May. If this is not achieved within this deadline, the negotiations must continue after the 1st of May 2004.
We also agreed negotiations should continue between Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, with no interference from Greece or Turkey. Turkey and Greece should not continue to be guarantor powers of Cyprus after a solution is reached. For this we called upon the Secretary-General of the United Nations to modify his proposed plan in such a way such as to free Cyprus from the military and political presence of Britain, Turkey and Greece.
We demanded the opening of more gates between the North and the South and the abolition of the requirement to show passports at checkpoints and the lifting of all restrictions. We reaffirmed our common struggle against the presence of British bases on the island and request immediate demilitarization of British Bases and removal of the antennae Britain installed in the Akrotiri Wetlands. At the end we called upon all Cypriots to demonstrate against the presence of American and US-allied troops in Iraq.
But of course the Annan Plan 5 is the reality and the youth is not so powerful.
On the 4th of April at a Congress of the Cyprus Green Party 87% of the present members of the Party were negative about Annan Plan 5, supporting a solution, but not this one. The members of the Cyprus Young Greens didn’t have the right to vote.
I was present. I wanted to say YES to the proposed solution. After all it is the solution proposed by United Nations, by the European Union, by the USA and Great Britain. What solution do we expect? A better one for all Cypriots? I am not sure. A solution that will throw out all of the Greek and Turkish Army, the British Military Bases, the foreign members of the court, remove the division of the people and the separation of the ecosystems? Can I expect such a solution? Is there any hope? Can I accept the theory that the solution will change in the future? But how; there is no guarantee that any particular solution will be implemented.
The Greek Cypriots asked for the same guarantee from the UN, but there was no positive result. We must trust each other. I trust my friends from Turkish-Cypriot youth organizations. But I don’t trust the politicians. I don’t trust Turkey nor Greece. Can I vote YES to referendum that will give the right to the British to have army bases on my island forever, when at the same time I am organizing demonstrations against the bases?
Can I say YES to a referendum that will not allow all people to return to their homes? Maybe this is the reality? Can I say NO to a referendum that allows 80.000 Greek Cypriots to return to their homes, but am not sure if this will happen since the United Nations doesn’t have the responsibility for the rehabitation of the people living in this area?
Are all these only feelings? No, it is the reality in Cyprus, and I think the last months` negotiations showed only one thing. If you have the power you can change the rules, the law and even the meaning of justice. This is the reality.
Of course as a Green I have a hope. I hope that people can change things. But the leaders of this world have made the solution in such way that we are not allowed to change it as Cypriots. Our “motherlands” will decide for us. I don’t want a motherland. I only want to be a free person. I will vote NO in order to have the chance to hope for a better solution. The current proposed solution doesn’t allow me to be a free person, to think free and act as a free person.