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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Eroglu will need to rein in his impulses ]

Eroglu will need to rein in his impulses

THE EMERGENCE of nationalists in the north may not portend well for the reunification talks, but it is probably too early to start worrying that Dervis Eroglu’s National Unity Party (UBP) will scupper the peace process, observers say.

The UBP advocates a two-state settlement on Cyprus, at odds with the federal model now being discussed by Talat and Christofias, and the party's control of parliament may give Talat less room for manoeuvre in talks. Talat’s ‘Prime Minister’ Ferdi Sabit Soyer has already tendered his resignation, and a new ‘Cabinet’ is expected to be sworn in around mid-May.

Eroglu has already made the first play, indicating he wants to appoint a representative of his to “monitor” the talks taking place in the UN-controlled buffer zone. This statement of intent has been seen as the first sign of “meddling” in the process.

But for the time being at least, the negotiation process is safe, said a Greek Cypriot source close to the talks:

“Talat remains the interlocutor of the Turkish Cypriot side, so I don’t think there’s any question of fiddling with the actual structure of the talks. From what we hear, this representative of Eroglu’s would have observer status. We don’t know yet,” the source told the Mail

It’s understood Talat’s office would be none too thrilled with an Eroglu man on the negotiating team, but it’s still an open issue in the north.

Talat spokesman Hasan Ercakica told a news briefing yesterday: “In the ongoing negotiations to find a solution for the Cyprus problem the Turkish side is represented by President Mr.Talat.”

“The discussion regarding the inclusion of a representative from the UBP in the negotiating team should be considered to be within this framework. The negotiating team is determined by the President himself,” Ercakica said.

Greek Cypriots should not push the panic button just yet, said the same source.

“If you noticed, during the last few days Eroglu has changed his tune. For example, he no longer rehashes the slogan that ‘a non-solution is the solution’, which was a throwback to two separate states on the island. He’s modified the rhetoric somehow. Now, he says that he wants a federation ‘with the right content’.

“Does that ring a bell?” the source remarked.

Whatever his real agenda, Eroglu will probably need to rein in his impulses.

“Logically, he needs to tread carefully. He knows he cannot risk losing the backing of Ankara, both political and financial. If Turkey stops the cash flow, how will the breakaway regime pay its civil servants?” the source told the Mail.

In a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday, Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned the UBP that Ankara would not support “any action that weakens the hand [of Talat], who started these negotiations.

"It would be very wrong for the new government to end the negotiations or to continue the negotiations on a basis different than the one that has been followed so far," Erdogan said. "The process must continue exactly as before.”

In the breakaway regime, the increasing pressure on Talat will be political, not institutional, says Iosif Iosif, a professor of International Relations at the University of Cyprus.

“If the leaders of the two communities were to clinch a deal then they will go directly to the people with a referendum. Theoretically, Talat does not need his ‘parliament’ to endorse the agreement, but the UBP can make life very difficult for him in the meantime,” said Iosif.

“What’s really disconcerting about Eroglu’s win,” he added, “is not so much his ability to manipulate events directly, but rather that the election result has shown, in no uncertain terms, the shift toward more hardline views among the Turkish Cypriot population.”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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