Time to think outside of the box on the Cyprus issue

In 2004, the UN negotiated the Annan Plan for Cyprus. The Turkish side had accepted the return of the Güzelyurt (Morphu) region which was almost entirely inhabited by Greek Cypriots before the division of the island.

Interestingly, the majority of the Turks living in Güzelyurt had voted "yes" even though they knew that would mean their displacement if the plan were to be accepted by both sides, which was not the case as the Greek Cypriots said "no."

In the last round of negotiations in Switzerland, Morphu was one of the most contentious issues since the Turkish side was not willing to let Güzelyurt go back under Greek Cypriot administration. With the collapse of the talks, Greek Cypriots are expected to resume negotiations after next year's presidential elections.

Let's imagine a scenario in which Turkish Cypriots were to accept to resume talks next year and at one stage the issue of Güzelyurt came to the agenda. "There is no longer the need to talk about Güzelyurt because there is no need for its return," Turkish Cypriot negotiators could tell their Greek counterparts. "All of the Greek Cypriots who had property in Güzelyurt have been compensated. This is not an issue. There are now very few left [those who have not accepted to apply to us because of your threats] who still have property in Güzelyurt, but their numbers are so few that Güzelyurt's return can no longer be justified." And thus, you take Güzelyurt out of the equation.

Can this imaginary scenario become real? "Yes, it can," say the experts. "And it can happen under European Union law," they add, recalling the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Indeed, the ECHR's 2010 decision that recognized the property claims process set up in Turkish Cyprus...

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