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August 29, 2006
DH 06 RH61
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
(310) 243-2455/2001

Negotiator Chronicles His Cyprus Peace Efforts in Law Review

Carson, CAA. Marco Turk, professor and director of the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Program at Cal State Dominguez Hills, chronicled, from a legal perspective, his extensive work and achievements while working with conflicting Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the Spring 2006 Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review by.

Turk- who is not Turkish-spent two years working with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, whose enmity goes back centuries to the time of the Ottoman Empire. Many attempts have been made to bring the two to discuss their differences and possible solutions in a mutually constructive way. All have failed.

Turk, in 1998, as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, worked with the two factions and managed to get a group of citizens from each side to sit down together in Oslo, Norway, and speak with each other until possible resolutions were reached. They were able to come to agreement on six key points: bicommunal movement,
structure of government, security, human rights, social issues, and economic issues.

The resultant paper was then presented to Greek and Turkish Cypriot politicians, the American Embassy, the Cyprus Fulbright Commission, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and the press on both sides. Shortly thereafter, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan presented his own agenda, which was presented in five versions, all of which ultimately failed. Annan’s agenda for resolving hostilities on Cyprus took precedence in the U.N. over the Oslo paper
hammered out by Marco Turk and the group of Cypriots who represented most walks of life on Cyprus.

The difference in the results, Turk says in the article, is that the U.N. took a traditional “top-down” approach of attempting to get the leaders of the two factions to reach a resolution. But, Turk said in an earlier article (see http://www.cla.csudh.edu/whatsnew_detail.asp?wnID=20), going to two leaders at the top may be simpler than talking to the masses at the ground level, but when dealing with two individuals who decide they don’t want to do it, as he was, “then there’s a problem. Irrespective of what the people at the top agree to, it is the people at the grassroots level who must implement any decision from the top. If you get the people at the bottom to buy into it and demonstrate that they can work together, then there’s no reason for the people at the top not to agree to it and move forward.”

Turk said he wrote this article for the Loyola Law Review for two reasons: “I was asked by a former student of mine who was preparing a special issue of the Loyola Law Review and thought my work in Cyprus would make a good lead article. But I also did it as part of my interest in keeping the dialog about Cyprus open. I’ve asked Loyola to let me do a followup article for that purpose. They told me
to go ahead and write it.

“I Google Cyprus every day to keep track of what is going on there,” the professor says. “Unfortunately, it is happening as I said. I was prophetic, it turns out. By taking the ‘top-down’ approach of talking to leaders, no progress has been made. In fact, the situation has gone backwards somewhat.

“I’m still in contact with people in Cyprus, though,” Turk says. “Both Turks and Greeks. I’m going to send this Loyola article to the American Ambassador there, and to the U.S. Secretary of State, as well as to the Greeks and Turks I know on Cyprus. I’ll also be sending it to Alvaro de Soto, now the United Nations Special
Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

“De Soto was the architect of Annan’s plan for Cyprus,” Turk says. “I think it would be good for him to have a copy.”

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
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Carson, CA 90747








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Last updated August 29, 5:13 p.m.,
by Joanie Harmon