The View From My Window


I can’t see this flag from my hotel window, but I could see it from the balcony of the Merit Hotel in Nicosia, Cyprus, where I attended a briefing today with Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu.
The Turkish Cypriot national flag is embedded in the “five finger mountains” of Northern Cyprus. You can’t quite make it out in the picture, but to the left of the flag is a smaller (but still enormous) Turkish national flag. The Turkish Cypriot flag is as long as four soccer fields and is supposedly the largest flag in the world.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that Greek Cypriot president Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat will reach a reunification agreement seems to be getting slimmer by the day.
The conventional wisdom here holds that if a deal is not struck by the end of the year, Talat is unlikely to win elections scheduled for May. The importance of striking a deal during Talat’s term was underscored by former Turkish Cypriot hard-line President Rauf Denkta’s statement this week that “If Talat and Christofias agree on a document, then we will know Talat has surrendered.”
At today’s press conference, Prime Minister Eroglu said ominously that “[Greek President Dimitris] Christofias is just another leader that follows strict policies…nothing changes.”
Over the past day and a half, I have met with several high-ranking Turkish Cypriot officials and none of them have expressed any optimism that a deal will come soon.
I’ll have more on this when I get back, but for those who can’t wait I highly recommended this International Crisis Group report, “Cyprus: Reunification or Partition.”
— Ben Katcher


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