'Time to think outside the box on Cyprus issue'

The time to think "outside the box" has arrived on the Cyprus issue, and alternatives to the federation model can be considered, an academic told Anadolu Agency.

Associate Professor Hüseyin Işıksal from Near East University in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus noted that the negotiation process on the Cyprus issue had begun in 1968 and has been continuing for 51 years.

"Continuing negotiations for such a long period is not logical at all," Işıksal said.

He stressed that it is time to think "outside the box".

"I think there is also a demand towards this way on the Greek Cypriot side because neither Turkish Cypriots nor Greek Cypriots benefit from the current status quo," he said.

Işıksal said a solution to the Cyprus issue does not solely lie in the federation model but also in alternative models.

He said there have also been positive signals from the Greek Cypriot side in the last two years over an approach to alternative models.

Isiksal said the two-state solution is the best one among the alternative models in his opinion.

"A confederal union of two states can also be discussed," he said.

He said the property problem is at the core of the Cyprus issue.

"I think that the greatest aim of the Greek Cypriots is getting substantial compensation from the Turkish Cypriot side rather than territory," Işıksal said.

He said regardless of whether there will be a confederal model or not, Cyprus is an island, and relations between the two sides should be normalized.

An alternative could be the recognition of a Turkish Cypriot state, like what happened with the Kosovo model, he said.

Isiksal said the Taiwan model could be an option as well.

"With the Taiwan model, you are not recognized diplomatically, but you can participate in all activities, including trade and sports.

"You have everything except recognition," he said.

He said the Monaco model, which can also be called the Hong Kong model, is also an alternative where Turkish Cypriots would have autonomy but would be bound to Turkey in foreign politics and security.

"In this model, the embargoes can be bypassed," Işıksal said.

Işıksal said the time has come to abandon the politics which viewed a federal solution to the Cyprus issue as the only possible solution.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was established.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.

In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.

The talks focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots' rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.

In a recent report, current UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also said that "new ideas" may be needed for a settlement on the island.

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