yesterday was a fast moving day in ankara - turkey proposed to open two ports to south cypriot vessels without any conditions and suggested that an airfield (and perhaps other gates of entry) will also be opened in return, if an international status is accorded to (the only civilian) ercan airport in nicosia and a lift of the de facto trade bans on north cyprus. so far, there seems to be little opposition to turkey's gambit, except by nicosia, which is, well, "normal". for the first time since 1974, the greek administration of cyprus is really in a tight spot. previously, they were jerry the mouse chased by tom the cat who eventually did something undoable and ended up on his behind. now the cat has got the mouse by the short whiskers.
whether the cyprus government accepts, counter bids or rejects the turkish proposal, reportedly prepared by foreign minister a. gül, the move ends a period of turkish politicks based on stalactic lethargy: let things keep slipping, dropping and accumulating, nothing done, nothing lost, nothing doing.
for over 30 years not only turkish international and national politics but also the country's social an cultural life was mortgaged by the last, final and ultimate turkish - moslem conquest in cyprus. setting a step back was treason, a suggestion of a solution an insult to national interests, critique of state policy cause for ostracism. we thought the army had landed in 1974 as guarantors, to save the cypriot turks from the atrocities of their greek neighbors who, at that time, were busy putsching each other out of power. then events developed so that ankara began mumbling about "jeopardy of strategic interests" in case of land concessions on the island.
cyprus stopped being a political case but was adopted as a national cause when ecevit literally walked out of government in early 1975. from then on, it acquired the status of a taboo where the state's views and policy was not open to debate. the state, as always in turkey, included governments only as an accessory that was temporary, and mainly consisted of the military, diplomatic and other bureaucratic elite categories which were/are the permanent pillars of the republic. the massively un-read public, too, found a cause to satisfy its manifestly macho ego in cyprus, the last conquest.
even yesterday, when all stones in the wall started shaking and rolling, the good ole (a euphemism for archaic, actually) republican peoples party and its eternal leader d. baykal roared their opposition to the gül proposal. the military chief of staff protested that he was not briefed about the plan - he of course, assumes first say as the head of the conquering army and the guardian forces on the island. the rpp complained that president a.n. sezer was not informed of the move either. now, whether the government wishes to let others know of its intentions and acts is a matter of political courtesy or expedient, not a constitutional obligation. according to the constitution, the government is the sole responsible party, the president is just the nominal head and there is not an inkling, even in the 1982 constitution made by the putsching military to the effect that the permission of the armed forces is required for determining government policy.
strategy?... mmm... now that is critical. does strategy mean plenty of formerly greek holdings confiscated by turks becoming a legal matter? casinos? money laundering? some 80 off-shore banks for a population of just 80 thousand? rampant corruption that can be signified in a 16 kilometer highway that cost slightly more than the alpine channel? almost european level luxury and quality of life (compared to turkey) in cyprus, in return for zero economic productivity? moaning about sanctions and embargoes but not being able or "allowed" to export your goods to turkey? these are all events i either observed or heard first hand, by the way, and not even the skim on the surface.
for more than 30 years, cypriot turkish leader mr. rauf denktash was the person who determined not only the island's fate but the fate of the turkish republic. he practically indexed turkey's entire global existence to the cyprus problem. he practically dictated turkey's foreign policy. every possible attempt at solution was aborted by some maneouver that mr. denktash was influential, whether in cohort with mr. necmettin erbakan (the ultra religious sensei of r.t. erdoğan the premier and the co-conqueror of cyprus with ecevit), the ultra light grey wolves, who surprisingly, appeared under every stone turned in cyprus after the scandalous web of filth somewhat surfaced with the susurluk accident or anyone available. he came to be nick named "mr.no"!
personally, i met mr. denktash a few times, he even made coffee for me with his own hands! i admire him as a person, his joviality, his intelligence, his devotion, his determination and his political dexterity. he is of that league of high scale manipulators as his eminence ignatio loyola, count metternich or prof. kissinger, who could stop and change the course history was flowing in. unfortunately, most of the times, such cases are fought over wrong causes and yield more pain and sorrow than deliverance. again, unfortunately for mr. denktash, he was the leader of a small community on a small island which only concerned small agents with small effect in a small corner of the world.
had he been performing his life's doings in the service of the monarch of britain in the mid 19th century, with the same aplomb and mastery, we could be seeing his bald head committed to posterity in statues that adorned the whole domain of the kingdom, even maybe including cyprus, which was the queen's until 1960.
so we may really be looking at/toward the bold end of a bald era.
p.s. - i am quite bald, too, so try not to read unintended insults i,nto words please.