Cyprus has been included in the Guardian’s list of global predictions for 2016, foreseeing that a solution to the political problem will be reached this year.
“It’s been dubbed a graveyard for peacemakers, the Rubik’s Cube of diplomacy, but despite the odds Cyprus may well defy naysayers in 2016 by solving its decades-long division,” the paper said.
“The strategic Mediterranean island, home of Europe’s last partitioned capital, is facing what seasoned Cyprus watchers are calling a historic window of opportunity.”
It adds that Greek and Turkish Cypriots regard the year ahead as the last best chance to end the ethnic divide.
“They know that if they don’t do a deal now there is a very good chance that partition will be cemented and Turkey will annex the north,” the paper quotes James Ker-Lindsay, a Cyprus expert at the London School of Economics as saying. “That would mean not only bordering Turkey, but an unpredictable and potentially disturbing Turkey.”
Referring to the negotiations between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, he added: “If you can’t settle it with these two guys, you’ll never settle it.” Ker-Lindsay puts the chances of success “at six or higher” on a scale of one to 10.
The Guardian predicts that it is the stance of Turkey itself that gives the biggest hope. “A confluence of events – ranging from Ankara’s recent run-in with Russia to the re-energising of its EU accession process – has put the need for a Cyprus settlement centre stage,” the paper said.
“A solution would afford Turkey a badly needed foreign policy success, allow it to diversify its energy supplies – with the island’s subsequent transformation into a regional transport hub for oil and gas reserves – and boost its chances of joining the EU. It would also free up Turkish funds: the island’s breakaway north is utterly dependent on Turkey bankrolling it.”