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Fear leads to stronger wish for solution

mont pelerin
High spirits at the talks in Mont Pelerin

As fears grow that the negotiations for a settlement will collapse a just published survey shows that as disappointment grows so does the wish for a solution while some even back Enosis with Greece as a possibility, a University of Cyprus professor said on Tuesday.

Compared to January 2017, when the SeeD did a similar survey there is an increase in the number of respondents wishing for a solution.

“The possibility of the collapse of the talks, and realising that perhaps negative developments would follow – annexation of the north by Turkey, incidents with Turkey – led to the realisation that we might not achieve the ideal solution but it would be much better than conflict,” Associate Professor of Social and Developmental Psychology Charis Psaltis said.

“While disappointment grows, so does the wish for a solution,” he said.

According to the findings of the survey carried out in April more than three in ten people said they are not optimistic at all that the two leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, would reach an agreement to end the Cyprus problem. Only 2.6 per cent of the respondents said they were extremely optimist of this happening.

In another question, however, almost one third said they wish this process would lead to a solution, which was the most popular response.

In a hypothetical scenario where the talks end in a proposed solution accepted by the two leaders, 47 per cent said that they would vote yes or “yes for sure”.

“What strikes me the most in this survey, is that it appears that the last two to three years, there is stability in some tendencies as regards a referendum; a steady 25 per cent reject the idea of a settlement solution, while around 40 to 45 per cent appear to be inclined to answer positively in a referendum,” Psaltis told the Cyprus Mail.

The majority of respondents said they would reject a two-state solution but that they would accept a unitary state “as a satisfactory solution”. As regards a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, more than four in ten said they would “tolerate it as a last resort”, and almost three in ten said that they accept it as a satisfactory solution.

Asked whether they would accept as a solution the union of the entire island with Greece, the majority – almost six in ten – rejected the idea, whereas 29.5 per cent said that they would accept is as a satisfactory solution.

“For some, aside from those in the far-right, Enosis is maybe a way of ending the Turkish occupation and be rid of Turkey’s presence on the island,” Psaltis said.

In the case the UN proposes a compromise formula to the two sides regarding the issue of security and guarantees, the majority said that they would fully accept the abolition of Turkey’s unilateral right to military intervention in Cyprus.

The other three points with which the majority agreed to were the reduction of the Turkish army in Cyprus to 650 individuals and of the Greek army to 950 individuals as per the initial numbers agreed on in 1960, Federal Cyprus signing a Treaty of Amity with Greece and Turkey, and the substitution of the treaty of guarantees with a treaty providing for the strict application of the settlement solution.

More than half said that they believe they can live together with Turkish Cypriots, whereas around the same percentage said that they wouldn’t mind having them as neighbours. More than seven in ten however said they do not have any contact with Turkish Cypriots.

Even though the majority of respondents said that they trust the average Turkish Cypriot when they say they want peace, the opposite is true about politicians in the north, as the majority said they do not trust them.

More than three in ten said that they never crossed to the north while the majority said they have, most of them only two to three times.

The questionnaire was answered by 505 Greek Cypriots over 18.

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