Waiting for Godot… By #SevgulUludag

By Sevgul Uludag

One of my dear friends, Fatma Azgin, in an article entitled `The hopes for a solution are decreasing` in YENIDUZEN newspaper analyses the current atmosphere and points out that the `hopes for a solution are eroded…`
For those of you who do not know Fatma Azgin, she is a peace activist, a political columnist, a feminist active in politics and throughout her activism, she has always tried to create alternative ways towards the solution of problems…
Throughout her life, she has particularly supported young women… As a peace activist she has always tried to open paths for alternatives that the politicians would not see or would rather not see…
Having known and worked with her in various bi-communal peace and women groups, she has always been an `idol` for me, someone who speaks up and tells the truth long before others would throw away their fears to say it!
A pharmacist by profession, she had been the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Pharmacists Union and she is one of those rare Cypriots who is practicing what she preaches…
As a woman of this country she enjoys `both sides` of our island, she has close friends from `both sides` and currently does a TV programme on current affairs but again trying to raise alternative voices…
Last week in YENIDUZEN newspaper where she has a weekly column, she wrote:
`As Cypriots we know quite well that excitements for a solution have quite short lives and that each time not using our old experiences, we try to put old points of antagonism on the negotiating table and we knock down the `negotiating table`. Despite this each time we are `surprised` and disappointed.
We have become such `maestros` in this that we try to convince those who do not believe that there would be a solution and finding thousands of pretexts we become successful.
It is true that candidates and political parties in both sides during elections believe that stressing `the solution of the Cyprus conflict` would bring in more votes.
The deceased Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Denktash would use posters saying `A solution without Denktash is impossible!` during elections.
The deceased Greek Cypriot leader Mr. Clerides too did the same: What he could not achieve during his presidency, he asked from others to fulfil and in the next elections, again he had promised a solution.
AKEL had said `No` to the Annan Plan. In the next elections Christofias had won the presidency and those who believed that he would find a solution with his counterpart Talat would get tensions ending up with `blame`…
First Talat was gone and then Christofias. Now AKEL is supporting Anastasiadis but we heard that they have `red lines`. If a solution is signed perhaps AKEL might say `No` again. Because in May 2016, there are parliamentary elections. They might want to strike a balance of those who would say `yes`, as well as those who would say `no`….
`Leaders` and political parties take stands during election times, according to the anger and disappointments of their communities. `The solution` would be remembered only after the elections!
The positive atmosphere created by Akinci and Anastasiades six months ago are quickly becoming cloudy. They could not even get a clear solution on the Confidence Building Measures. They could not agree on even one of the subjects they have been discussing like property, territory, population, guarantees and governance. Unfortunately there is nothing concrete apart from the lukewarm and respectable impression they have created!
If from the way they work and the way they meet not so often has not brought any compromise to the problems they are responsible for solving, at this tempo and `apathy`, we cannot get a solution neither by next March, nor in a few years…
Recently the Turkish Cypriot side is pushing forward at the negotiating table the demands they had before 2000, before Cyprus had become a member of EU. There started an effort to make the two zones `ethnically clean` within the context of property and population. Proposals are being made for creating `a two nation states` instead of building a federation.
Knowing that such demands are not in line with international or EU law and principles, they are trying to service `derogations`.
Ali Erel who is a specialist on issues of EU is explaining in today’s newspapers, what it would mean and what it would cost these `old proposals` developed by the Turkish Cypriot side that can destroy the possibility of a solution.
I want to draw to your attention the last paragraph of the statement of Ali Erel – here he explains what cannot be part of a solution of the Cyprus conflict – the Cyprus that is a member of EU:
`Now it is time for making a choice. The truth is to work for an early solution within the EU values without dragging one’s feet and without pushing for impossible things. Either to choose a life with EU values of respect for democracy, human rights and freedoms or instead of hiding behind a finger to come out openly and declare to Turkish Cypriots and to the world that the northern part of Cyprus would like to stay outside the EU rules, that it is good like that. This is what needs to be done!`
I would also like to say this: It is time to create the internal dynamics of the community that has not been felt so far… There is a very urgent need for the civil society to show the energetic and impressive activities it did in the past defending EU norms and standards and for demanding to live the democracy, for asking to become (to live in) a state within international law, for defending peace and reconciliation…`
Picking up on this last sentence of the article of Fatma Azgin, I want to share something I witnessed last week: Last week having the chance to meet with experts from South Africa who had been part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and who had been part of the whole process of reconciliation 20 years ago, having known Nelson Mandela, they would be shocked to find out that the civil society was completely out of the picture of the current negotiations for a solution.
For couple of days these experts were in Cyprus and met with different sections of civil society – from political parties to trade unions to NGOs of all colours…
Explaining to us what sort of process they went through 20 years ago in South Africa, we learnt that they refused any outside help be it from America or the UN or anywhere else. They wanted to do this process by themselves. So there was `ownership` of the process.
28 political parties would sit around a table to discuss 33 principles of what sort of a South Africa they wanted for the future… This would take a couple of years and then the new constitution would be in line with these principles. The new constitution would be widely discussed and more than 1 million proposals for the constitution would be taken from citizens before it would be finalized…
They too were shocked that the civil society was not involved in the peace negotiations in Cyprus…
Perhaps we as Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots prefer to wait for Godot, rather than do it ourselves…
Or perhaps we as the Cypriots of this land prefer to `play it safe` rather than stick our necks and get hurt in the process!
Perhaps we are so busy `saving the day` that we lose our prospects for our common future…
Actually there is no real infrastructure to support the reunification – all those efforts by civil society who sincerely work for reconciliation and peace on this land is not sufficient because there is no support from the mainstream politics and mainstream structures in the `two sides`…
Despite this those of us who want to create a peaceful future in this country we work knowing that our voices, our hearts, our souls would make a difference…
It takes five minutes to destroy something but it takes years of hard work to build something…

15.11.2015

Photo: Fatma Azgin at a peace demonstration (on the right) back in 2001…

(*) Article published in POLITIS newspaper on the 13th of December 2015, Sunday.

Source:

http://sevgululudag.blogspot.com.cy/2015/12/waiting-for-godot.html

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