Monday, April 20, 2009

Northern Cyprus elections favor hardliners

Elections in Northern Cyprus have given the "hardline" National Unity Party (UBP) of former prime minister Derviş Eroğlu 44 percent of the vote, making it appear that Eroğlu will form the next government (see BBC for a summary). The Republican Turkish Party (CTP) of president Mehmet Ali Talat took only 29 percent; this figures to make peace talks somewhat more difficult as the UBP favors a loose confederation-type system of two essentially independent states, while the CTP was supportive of the Annan Plan which was more federal in nature.

In comparing Cyprus to another nearby conflict in Israel/Palestine it might seem incongruous that Cyprus' "hardliners" are in favor of a two-state solution while in I/P it's the other way around, but when you view it as a continuum from "one state for two peoples" to "two states for two peoples" to "one state for one people, who cares about the rest" what becomes clear is that the Cypriot situation simply hasn't become as hardline as that in I/P. This makes sense when you consider that the situation on the ground is much more balanced (in part since neither side gets billions of dollars from the US, and in part due to geopolitical factors) and there are some refugees but no occupation. Nobody can realistically hope of expelling the other or somehow denying them political rights, nobody will be able to impose their perfect solution, and the separation means there aren't the everyday frictions that are the cause of so much of the frustration in the Palestinian territories.

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