Monday, February 15, 2010

What If: The Annan Plan and Turkey

Written by Marcus A. Templar

Sent to us by one of our visitors

Greek Cypriots, the majority population on the Island of Cyprus, overwhelmingly rejected a plan for reunification with the island’s small Turkish minority developed by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in a referendum on April 24, 2004. The majority Greeks regarded the solution offered by Annan as impractical and unfair, while the government of Turkey praised it as very doable and accommodating to both parties. The size of the Turkish minority in Cyprus –some 18 percent of the island’s population, settlers brought illegally from Turkey excluded -- equals the percentage of the Kurdish minority in Turkey itself. Given long-standing Kurdish demands for greater political and other rights in Turkey, an interesting “what if” question arises--if the Annan Plan were implemented within Turkey for its Kurdish minority, would the Turks still find the plan fair and practical?

Here’s the “what if?”

Upon agreement of the two main communities living in Turkey (Kurdish and Turkish), the present state ceases to exist pending approval of the citizens of the Turkish Republic through a nation-wide referendum. Immediately after the approval of the new settlement, the new state is a reality. There is no going back to the old state even if later on majorities in both the Kurdish and Turkish areas overwhelmingly vote to do so. Under the provisions of the Plan, Turkey becomes a bi-zonal and bi-communal federal state in which 37% of its land passes to the new government of the Kurds. The new federal state is misnamed “United Turkey Republic” and under the new Constitution, the two major ethnic groups (Turkish and Kurdish) have equal representation in the proposed Senate regardless of unequal populations. Under the above provision, the state comes to a standstill.

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