Federalism and the Cyprus Peace Talks

Taken from Ismet’s post on Cyprus44:

I attended a conference last night in Famagusta given in English and Turkish with simultaneous translation. The speakers were Dr. Reinold Herber from “Forum of Federations” in Canada and Dr. Tufan Erhürman, a lecturer at EMU in Law and also a legal adviser to President Talat.

Basically, with federations the Federal Government has a say in matters specified in the Constitution and the rest belongs to the constituent States. As far as the outside world is concerned it is a single entity. there are 24 or 25 Federations in the world and the same number of different systems i.e. each federation is unique. The Confederations are made up of completely independent States and the Con-federal Government has powers in matters agreed between the States.

So in the case of Cyprus, both sides had agreed many years ago that the solution will be on the lines of a Federal Government, bi-communal and bi-zonal. However neither side really accepted this and GCs tried to make it as unitary as possible and the TCs tried to make it as near to Confederation as possible. Hence they talked and talked for years without getting anywhere.

When Christofias and Talat came to power at the same time, they agreed to talk on these principles in earnest and the current talks began. Talat conceded that there will be a single identity, a single Foreign Minister and so on, i.e. accepted the norms of a Federal Government. Then it was the turn of Christofias to concede and there was progress on many matters.

At Federal level there will be two houses. At the lower house I think the representation will be in accordance with the population but at the higher house, the Senate, the representation will be equal. At the Senate, decisions will be taken by a qualified majority i.e. at least a quarter of the senators from the other side must vote with the majority. Decisions in the lower house will be by a qualified majority too and at least 25 or 30% of the other side must agree. This percentage is under discussion but not much difference on this point.

There is no agreement on the question of guarantees. However, the current guarantees are based on international treaties and it is really up to the Guarantor Powers UK, Greece and Turkey to agree on this point. This looks simple enough once the other matters are resolved.

The question of property seems to be the hardest to solve. Christofias insists that the original owner must have the final say and is trying to hide behind the decisions of ECHR and the ECJ. Reading between the lines, it seems that the way forward will be like this: Some GCs will get their land back but if anything is built on it he will be compensated much like in the Annan Plan. Probably the owners of the houses will have to contribute towards the compensation. Of course in this event the value of the houses will shoot up, so it will be a win-win situation. My personal view is that uncle Sam will get a military base in Karpas and will help financially to smooth the way to a settlement. So the Property issue is a difficult one but it can be overcome. We will see.

Oh the funniest anecdote was the negotiations about Flight Information Region, known as “FIR”. The Turkish side wanted to have two FIRs, one on each side and Christofias rejected this adamantly. Eventually it dawned on them that Christofias was objecting because he thought that FIR was a measure of sovereignty over the air. Indeed I thought the same thing but apparently it has nothing to do with sovereignty. FIR lines normally follow the busiest routes in the air. One such line begins in England and goes as far as the middle of France. Every time a plane passes overhead, the pilot gets directions from the control centre and whoever is controlling that line automatically earns some money. TRNC has invested a good deal of money in technical equipment and wants to use them as a good money earner. Once it was understood properly, Christofias withdrew his objection on the matter. So as the saying goes, “Parties have to agree before they disagree” i.e. you have to agree on what you are talking about before you can disagree on the issue.

I attended a conference last night in Famagusta given in English and Turkish with simultaneous translation. The speakers were Dr. Reinold Herber from “Forum of Federations” in Canada and Dr. Tufan Erhürman, a lecturer at EMU in Law and also a legal adviser to President Talat.

Basically, with federations the Federal Government has a say in matters specified in the Constitution and the rest belongs to the constituent States. As far as the outside world is concerned it is a single entity. there are 24 or 25 Federations in the world and the same number of different systems i.e. each federation is unique. The Confederations are made up of completely independent States and the Confederal Government has powers in matters agreed between the States.

So in the case of Cyprus, both sides had agreed many years ago that the solution will be on the lines of a Federal Government, bi-communal and bi-zonal.

ctd.

elko2



Joined: 24/07/2007
Posts: 2168

Message Posted:
13/02/2010 18:21

Reply
Message 2 of 8 in Discussion
However neither side really accepted this and GCs tried to make it as unitary as possible and the TCs tried to make it as near to Confederation as possible. Hence they talked and talked for years without getting anywhere.

When Christofias and Talat came to power at the same time, they agreed to talk on these principles in earnest and the current talks began. Talat conceded that there will be a single idendity, a single Foreign Minister and so on, i.e. accepted the norms of a Federal Government. Then it was the turn of Christofias to concede and there was progress on many matters.

At Federal level there will be two houses. At the lower house I think the representation will be in accordance with the population but at the higher house, the Senate, the representation will be equal. At the Senate, decisions will be taken by a qualified majority i.e. at least a quarter of the senators from the other side must vote with the majority.

ctd.

elko2



Joined: 24/07/2007
Posts: 2168

Message Posted:
13/02/2010 18:22

Reply
Message 3 of 8 in Discussion
Decisions in the lower house will be by a qualified majority too and at least 25 or 30% of the other side must agree. This percentage is under discussion but not much difference on this point.

There is no agreement on the question of guarantees. However, the current guarantees are based on international treaties and it is really up to the Guarantor Powers UK, Greece and Turkey to agree on this point. This looks simple enough once the other matters are resolved.

The question of property seems to be the hardest to solve. Christofias insists that the original owner must have the final say and is trying to hide behind the decisions of ECHR and the ECJ. Reading between the lines, it seems that the way forward will be like this: Some GCs will get their land back but if anything is built on it he will be compensated much like in the Anna Plan. Probably the owners of the houses will have to contribute towards the compensation.

ctd.

elko2



Joined: 24/07/2007
Posts: 2168

Message Posted:
13/02/2010 18:23

Reply
Message 4 of 8 in Discussion
Of course in this event the value of the houses will shoot up, so it will be a win-win situation. My personal view is that uncle Sam will get a military base in Karpas and will help financially to smooth the way to a settlement.

So the Property issue is a difficult one but it can be overcome. We will see.

ismet

elko2



Joined: 24/07/2007
Posts: 2168

Message Posted:
13/02/2010 18:34

Reply
Message 5 of 8 in Discussion
Oh the funniest anecdote was the negotiations about Flight Information Region, known as “FIR”. The Turkish side wanted to have two FIRs, one on each side and Christofias rejected this adamantly. Eventually it dawned on them that Christofias was objecting because he thought that FIR was a measure of sovereignty over the air. Indeed I thought the same thing but apparently it has nothing to do with sovereignty. FIR lines normally follow the busiest routes in the air. One such line begins in England and goes as far as the middle of France. Eery time a plane passes overhead, the pilot gets directions from the control centre and whoever is controlling that line automatically earns some money. TRNC has invested a good deal of money in technical equipment and wants to use them as a good money earner. Once it was understood properly, Christofias withrew his objection on the matter. So as the saying goes, “Parties have to agree before hey disagree” i.e. you have to agree on what you are talking about before you can disagree on the issue.
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