Talat’s Plan B?

President Mehmet Ali Talat and the CTP have always claimed that it was because of former President Rauf Denktaş’ intransigence that a settlement could not be reached. Now, Talat is saying that because GCs have international recognition and EU membership they lack the motivation to compromise enough to establish a partnership based on political equality, similar to the one that GCs scrapped in 1963.

Talat now seems to want the EU and the international community to say that if the talks collapse because of the GCs then international recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state might be possible. Without this possibility he believes that GCs will never ever agree to a compromise. “They must be told what they might lose if they remain adamant,” he is quoted as saying during a closed-door meeting.

Has he suddenly realised that the only way forward is through the “equality of the two prospective partners” or is this a glimpse of his hinted at plan B? Immediately after this meeting Talat met with GC President Christofias for the first meeting of 2010 where he presented to him a set of proposals on “governance and power sharing” which are expected to be discussed during next week’s accelerated talks.

Among those proposals there was the issue of “cross-voting” for the election of the president and the vice president of the future partnership state. Cross-voting is the idea of the GCs but has up to now has been only partially acceptable to the TCs.  According to some rumours Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu phoned Talat and told him to “go ahead” and present the controversial nine-point package on governance and power sharing to Christofias. Talat is supposed to have said: “but, we have not discussed the issue with Eroğlu yet … I do not want to have a public fight with him over the issue.” Davutoğlu phoned Eroğlu and informed him of the decision and was told by the PM that: “I am still against it, but, if political responsibility rests on Talat and you, ‘go ahead.’” He then phoned Talat for a second time to say, “Eroğlu is still against it, but will go ahead despite his opposition.”

Talat is apparently now saying “yes” to the GC’s governance and power-sharing proposals as long as GCs agree to give Turkish nationals free entry to the newly formed United Republic of Cyprus, freedom of movement throughout the island, freedom of settlement and freedom of property ownership in the same way EU nationals are? Because Christofias has previously said no to allowing Turks these freedoms you begin to wonder whether Plan B is to get the GCs to reject their own proposal for cross-voting and perhaps to force Christofias out of the talks so Talat can tell the world: “you see, Christofias has walked out of the process. They have to pay a price. Now it’s time to recognize the Turkish Cypriot state?”

Is this Talat’s plan B?

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