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Unitary State - with provisos.

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

Unitary State - with provisos.

Postby utu » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:44 pm

I had mentioned this possible solution in the Cyprus Problem forum some time ago. I still think that it is the best chance for a functioning state the size and population of Cyprus.

1. A new constitution to be drawn up to specifically state no federal government setup. A totally unitary state. Electoral boundaries made up on basis of overall population dispersal.

2. Bicarmal legislature would govern Cyprus. Lower house (assembly) elected by popular ballot. Upper House (senate) appointed on basis of the principal communities in Cyprus: Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Marionite, and Others. Each community gets equal number of senators. Senatorial appointments made by the political parties with elected representation.

3. Bills passed by the lower house require endorsement of the Senate by 2/3rds majority before being forwarded to the President to be signed into law.

4. President and Vice President elected on seperate ballot without ethnic requirement beside sole citizenship of Republic of Cyprus (no dual citizenship of any other country allowed for holders of these two offices).

5. No political parties permitted espousing the philosophies of taksim or enosis. No political parties that have membership bias based on ethnic background or origin to be permitted. Independent candidates to sign statement indicating agreement not to support either taksim or enosis before being allowed to run for office.

6. Removal of the official status of the Greek and Turkish languages in government. Only English to be permitted. Governmen employees must have command of the English language.

7. The Treaty of Guarantee to be removed and replaced with a Treaty of Sovereignty to be enforced by the European Union. Only EU troops to be deployed on the island.

8. The Sovereign Base Areas to be ceded to the Cyprus Republic.

9. Property issues dating back to before December 1963 to be properly addressed. Settlers brought in from other countries to be repatriated.

10. The National Anthem of Cyprus to be replaced with a neutral song, reflecting the sovereign status of the island.

11. For initial period, Law enforcement to be done by EU police force to ensure total non-bias. Cypriot law enforcement and armed forces not permitted for initial period.
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Postby Piratis » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:07 am

I find your provisions reasonable.

The only one I object to (partly) is this:

Removal of the official status of the Greek and Turkish languages in government. Only English to be permitted. Governmen employees must have command of the English language.


I accept the second part "Government employees must have command of the English language." But you can not have a foreign language as the official language of Cyprus. The Cypriots have either Greek or Turkish as their first (and for many people only) language, so I don't see why not having both Greek and Turkish as official languages.
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Postby utu » Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:46 am

Piratis wrote:I find your provisions reasonable.

The only one I object to (partly) is this:

Removal of the official status of the Greek and Turkish languages in government. Only English to be permitted. Governmen employees must have command of the English language.


I accept the second part "Government employees must have command of the English language." But you can not have a foreign language as the official language of Cyprus. The Cypriots have either Greek or Turkish as their first (and for many people only) language, so I don't see why not having both Greek and Turkish as official languages.


The reason I said that was because being Greek or Turkish STARTED the whole mess! Being Cypriot must mean breaking totally with those countires. As English is the second tounge of both major groups, then that should (actually must) be the lingua franca if a common Cypriot identity is to be forged.
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Postby repulsewarrior » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:34 am

thanks, utu.
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Postby Piratis » Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:27 am

utu wrote:
Piratis wrote:I find your provisions reasonable.

The only one I object to (partly) is this:

Removal of the official status of the Greek and Turkish languages in government. Only English to be permitted. Governmen employees must have command of the English language.


I accept the second part "Government employees must have command of the English language." But you can not have a foreign language as the official language of Cyprus. The Cypriots have either Greek or Turkish as their first (and for many people only) language, so I don't see why not having both Greek and Turkish as official languages.


The reason I said that was because being Greek or Turkish STARTED the whole mess! Being Cypriot must mean breaking totally with those countires. As English is the second tounge of both major groups, then that should (actually must) be the lingua franca if a common Cypriot identity is to be forged.


English is not the second language of Cypriots. Some educated people have English as a foreign language. The rest of the population might know a few words or phrases.
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Postby Tim Drayton » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:56 pm

utu wrote:
Piratis wrote:I find your provisions reasonable.

The only one I object to (partly) is this:

Removal of the official status of the Greek and Turkish languages in government. Only English to be permitted. Governmen employees must have command of the English language.


I accept the second part "Government employees must have command of the English language." But you can not have a foreign language as the official language of Cyprus. The Cypriots have either Greek or Turkish as their first (and for many people only) language, so I don't see why not having both Greek and Turkish as official languages.


The reason I said that was because being Greek or Turkish STARTED the whole mess! Being Cypriot must mean breaking totally with those countires. As English is the second tounge of both major groups, then that should (actually must) be the lingua franca if a common Cypriot identity is to be forged.


Language does not neccesarily have to be the prime determinent of national identity. For example, Swiss Germans speak German but they feel themselves to be Swiss and not German. I am sure you would have something to say if I told you that as an English speaking Canadian you are really English, and not Canadian!

As Piratis says, once you go leave the main tourist areas, English is a lot less widely spoken in Cyprus than a lot of casual visitors think.
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Postby DT. » Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:06 pm

Overall an acceptable plan. The entire concept depends on the workability of the senate however.

See no need to ban the mother tongues of people.
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Postby utu » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:23 am

DT. wrote:Overall an acceptable plan. The entire concept depends on the workability of the senate however.

See no need to ban the mother tongues of people.


The senate would assure no discriminatory legislation would be passed against any Cypriot person or ethnic group. I had mentioned that the senators (IMHO approx. 5 per group making total of 25) would be apportioned from party lists (meaning that parties with representation would have their senators assigned based on the vote proportion). Therefore, parties formed on a nationwide slate would have a better shot at seating their candidates in the senate. This part of the bicarmal legislature would be the ONLY facet that would have ethnic origin as a basis in its makeup, and is an incentive to ensure that parties DO include these groups in their membership.

In regards to the language issue, I had mentioned that Greek and Turkish would only be removed as official within the workings of government. I never said that it would be outlawed throughout the island. The need here is for a government that is not going to be seen as partisan towards ethnic groups. Using English therefore would be seen as being non-partisan in that regard.

A truly Cypriot identity needs to have a clear break with the mother countries of Greece and Turkey, hence the removal of the Treaty of Guarantee and replacing it with an EU-enforced Treaty of Soveriegnty. This is also reflected in the no-dual-citizenship (or foreign citizenship) of the elected offices of President and Vice President. I do see the Vice President being the presiding officer of the Senate (like in the United States), but the Vice President would have no veto power over legislation.
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Postby DT. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:37 am

utu wrote:
DT. wrote:Overall an acceptable plan. The entire concept depends on the workability of the senate however.

See no need to ban the mother tongues of people.


The senate would assure no discriminatory legislation would be passed against any Cypriot person or ethnic group. I had mentioned that the senators (IMHO approx. 5 per group making total of 25) would be apportioned from party lists (meaning that parties with representation would have their senators assigned based on the vote proportion). Therefore, parties formed on a nationwide slate would have a better shot at seating their candidates in the senate. This part of the bicarmal legislature would be the ONLY facet that would have ethnic origin as a basis in its makeup, and is an incentive to ensure that parties DO include these groups in their membership.

In regards to the language issue, I had mentioned that Greek and Turkish would only be removed as official within the workings of government. I never said that it would be outlawed throughout the island. The need here is for a government that is not going to be seen as partisan towards ethnic groups. Using English therefore would be seen as being non-partisan in that regard.

A truly Cypriot identity needs to have a clear break with the mother countries of Greece and Turkey, hence the removal of the Treaty of Guarantee and replacing it with an EU-enforced Treaty of Soveriegnty. This is also reflected in the no-dual-citizenship (or foreign citizenship) of the elected offices of President and Vice President. I do see the Vice President being the presiding officer of the Senate (like in the United States), but the Vice President would have no veto power over legislation.


I agree with you and would hope that over time you would start seeing bi-partisanship between the left leaning GC senators and the left leaning TC senators...over time greying out the ethnic divide to one of political ideology.

The language issue is taking it too far though. Even if its just in govt it would never work since civil service needs to work in a language the people understand, the media need to report the govt press releases in their own language...etc

Besides there is no special connection to ENglish on this island other than the need to do business, and it now seems that Russian, French and German might be more useful for Cypriots due to commercial and EU institutions.
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Postby utu » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:21 pm

DT. wrote:I agree with you and would hope that over time you would start seeing bi-partisanship between the left leaning GC senators and the left leaning TC senators...over time greying out the ethnic divide to one of political ideology.

The language issue is taking it too far though. Even if its just in govt it would never work since civil service needs to work in a language the people understand, the media need to report the govt press releases in their own language...etc

Besides there is no special connection to ENglish on this island other than the need to do business, and it now seems that Russian, French and German might be more useful for Cypriots due to commercial and EU institutions.


Well, as I said: it is only my own view on a solution proposal. Language is important for communication, and the populace needs to be able to be versant in their own tounges. It's just that IMHO, any use of one or the other languages in the government is going to be interpreted by a lot of folk as bias. I have read that even though Turkish is an official language of the RoCy, it is hardly ever used in government written and spoken communications. That gives the north something to point at, hence a third language (non-partisan) that maysbe should be used by the government instead.
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