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Cyprus Talks

Survey reveals change in Turkish Cypriot attitudes

In terms of Turkish military presence in Cyprus, 57.5 per cent said a strong force should remain on the island

By Angelos Anastasiou

UNDER THE headline “Turkish Cypriots have changed”, Halkin Sesi newspaper on Monday reported the findings of a survey among 600 Turkish Cypriot voters, which showed a significant shift in attitudes over the last 10 years concerning the Cyprus problem.

Views have moved away from a common, peaceful homeland and the concept of brotherhood, and towards “more pragmatic solutions”.

Announcing the results of the survey, conducted in December 2014 in 600 households using paper questionnaires in face-to-face interviews, sociologist Kudret Akay said Turkish Cypriots’ vision of a solution to the Cyprus problem has undergone a “radical departure” from that created during the period of the Annan plan, more than 10 years ago.

The majority of respondents said a UN-led solution to the Cyprus problem within the parameters of a federal, bizonal, and bicommuncal Cyprus is “not at all likely” – 41.2 per cent – while 18.9 per cent said “not likely”. One in five respondents – 20.3 per cent – said such a solution is “likely”, and only 11.8 per cent deemed it “very likely”.

In terms of preference, almost one in three – 29.3 per cent – Turkish Cypriot respondents said they “don’t want such a solution”, whereas more than half – 52.7 per cent – said they do.

In terms of the likelihood of implementing a settlement to the Cyprus problem without prior approval by Turkey, more than nine in ten said this was “not likely” and only 3.5 per cent thought it was a real possibility.

But asked whether Turkish Cypriots could accept a solution not approved by Turkey, 28.6 per cent of respondents said yes, while over two in three – 67.3 per cent – did not think so.

More than six in ten respondents – 63.1 per cent – think the original guarantee provisions from 1960 should be kept intact, roughly one in five think they should be “somewhat limited in scope”, and 11.8 per cent said they should be abolished.

In terms of Turkish military presence in Cyprus, almost six in ten – 57.5 per cent – said a “strong force” should remain on the island post-solution, 23.1 per cent think a “small force” should remain, and 17.3 per cent said there should be no Turkish – or Greek – troops in Cyprus.

On the proposed return of Famagusta, one in ten – or 10.3 per cent – believes it should be returned to Greek Cypriots under UN administration, 29.4 per cent think Greek Cypriots should be allowed to return under Turkish Cypriot management, and 51 per cent think the decision should be part of a comprehensive settlement.

Asked what they would vote to an Annan-plan style settlement, 42.7 per cent said yes and 57.3 per cent said no.

In terms of identity, 48.9 per cent said they consider themselves “Turkish Cypriots”, versus 18.5 per cent which said “Cypriots”.

More than one in four respondents – 28.4 per cent – said they consider the whole of Cyprus their homeland, while 44 per cent said they feel this way for the Turkey-occupied part only, whereas 25.5 per cent cited both Turkey and the breakaway regime in the north their homeland.

Almost half of respondents – 43.9 per cent – thought Greek Cypriots are the “historical enemy”, 20.6 per cent views them as “neighbours”, and 30.6 per cent as “Cypriots who speak differently”.

According to the survey, almost three in four – 72.4 per cent – Turkish Cypriots think that a settlement should provide for a rotating presidency.
With regard to the issue of natural gas, 60.1 per cent said they favour a sharing arrangement after a solution, while 9 per cent approve of “Greek Cypriots’ actions” on the issue.

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