Oz Karahan: The expiry date of the Bicommunal Bizonal Federation is approaching

Οζ Καραχάν

Ελληνικά / Türkçe / English

(Politis newspaper – 31/03/2024 – Stavros Antoniou)

I cannot support proposals for an apartheid solution that would geographically segregate Cypriots based on their ethnic background, instituting ethnic quotas in every aspect of life.”

The Turkish Cypriot MEP candidate of the Green Party of Cyprus, Oz Karahan, rejects the bizonal bicommunal federation as a solution to the Cyprus problem, referring to it as an “apartheid solution that would geographically segregate Cypriots based on their ethnic background, instituting ethnic quotas in every aspect of life.” He argues that “Cyprus is not divided, it is occupied” and that “it cannot be reunited, but it can be liberated.”

What will be your first priority if you are elected MEP?

The unique circumstances of Cyprus are insufficiently acknowledged or comprehended within Europe. From issues surrounding refugee crises to other security threats, many of the challenges we face stem from factors such as our geographical location outside the European continent and the ongoing Turkish occupation. As Cypriots, we have only six out of 705 MEPs. Each Cypriot MEPs bears significantly more responsibility than their counterparts from countries with larger representations, in order to influence European politics and decisions that affect our lives. Therefore, my priority will be to proactively participate in the decision-making processes to contribute to our progressive future and strategically engage with the European Parliament and other European mechanisms to counter the status quo in Cyprus.

Do you believe in the idea and creation of the European Union?

While I support the idea and establishment of the European Union, driven by my belief in unity among nations for mutual benefit, I cannot endorse its current structure, dysfunctionality, overreach into member states’ sovereignty, political stances, or the harm it inflicts on Cyprus and its society. Unfortunately, the EU often deviates from its stated values, as evidenced by its handling of critical issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing tragedy in Palestine, and countless others.

Russia and Putin

What is your opinion of Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin?

In our multipolar world, understanding countries like Russia requires considering their broader geopolitical significance. For instance, initiatives such as BRICS have shifted the balance of power, and projects like the New Development Bank have challenged the dominance of the IMF. However, on specific issues like the Ukraine conflict, my stance is clear, resonating with the statement issued by the Union of Cypriots and the international anti-war organization RESIST. I recognize NATO’s expansionist policies as a significant factor in the war, but it is imperative for Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Given Cyprus’s own struggle with foreign occupation, the territorial integrity of every state is non-negotiable for me.


You have been a member of communist parties abroad and are active within the radical left in Cyprus. Does this mean that today you have communism as your goal and vision?

After finishing my undergraduate studies in Czechia, I moved to Houston, USA, and became an active member of the Communist Party USA. Later, I moved to Sweden for my postgraduate studies and continued my active membership in the Communist Party during my time there. Socialism enlightens the progressivism, patriotism, and democratic values that I ardently advocate for.

You are the president of the “Union of Cypriots.” What kind of organisation is it and what are its objectives?

The Union of Cypriots is a progressive and anti-imperialist movement advocating for a unitary Cyprus free of foreign bases. Its roots trace back to the waves of demonstrations that occurred in the occupied areas of Cyprus against Turkey in 2011. Among its objectives is raising global awareness about the occupation of Cyprus through international outreach. The movement holds a significant presence in the international progressive political sphere. Additionally, it arranges cultural and educational initiatives for young Cypriots and organizes Cyprus-related activities in the diaspora. The movement’s activities encompass a wide range, and I encourage those interested to visit www.cypriots.org to learn about and participate in the Union of Cypriots’ actions.

Cyprus and the West

You have stated that the West and Turkey are using the idea of a bizonal bicommunal federation in order to buy time for Ankara to complete a colonisation plan in northern Cyprus. When you say the West, which states do you have in mind and what makes you think that these Western countries favour the colonisation of the island?

As we are all aware, the region in which our homeland is situated, namely the Eastern Mediterranean, has been colonized by two powers: the British and the French. Additionally, it serves as a primary operational area for the United States, particularly its Sixth Fleet. The people of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, and ourselves are targets of these three imperialist powers. Currently, all three NATO powers utilize Cyprus as an unsinkable aircraft carrier to extend their imperialist influence. “Divide and rule” is the strategy they employ to maintain their presence here. While the names and proposals may change, the essence remains the same: they consistently seek to segregate Cypriots. Up until now, they have advocated for a bicommunal bizonal federation, but its expiration date is approaching. The recent visit of Maria Holguin indicates that they will soon propose something else to preserve the status quo and maintain their presence on our lands.

Bizonal Bicommunal Federation

Why do you oppose the Bi-zonal Bicommunal Federation as a form of solution to the Cyprus problem?

First and foremost, I consider myself a moral and progressive individual. Since I am not a racist, I cannot support proposals for an apartheid solution that would geographically segregate Cypriots based on their ethnic background, instituting ethnic quotas in every aspect of life.

Moreover, I am deeply committed to the sincere pursuit of democratic unity for all Cypriots. Even amidst occupation, thanks to the efforts of my esteemed comrade İbrahim Aziz in the European Court of Human Rights, Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriots participate in the Euroelections as one nation—simply as Cypriots. This is why today, I stand alongside esteemed Greek-speaking Cypriots on the ballot, prepared to fight for our homeland.

Any proposal, whether it’s a bicommunal bizonal federation or any other apartheid solution, that threatens to erode this hard-won democratic unity is inherently regressive. We must safeguard every instance of democratic unity we have as Cypriots, strive to expand it further, and continue the fight for the liberation of our country.

What do you think is the right way to solve the problem?

First, let’s define the problem, and then let’s discuss the solution. Cyprus is not divided; it is occupied. Therefore, it cannot be reunified, but it can be liberated. The solution for Cyprus and Cypriots mirrors that of Palestinians, who are also victims of occupation and settler colonialism. The solution entails a multifaceted national liberation strategy, employing international law, diplomacy, European mechanisms, and more against Turkey. In short, this also means defending our state, the Republic of Cyprus, and also working towards making it more democratic, pluralistic, and secular for all Cypriots. Last year, the Declaration of Pan-Cyprian Mobilization was published with the signatures of hundreds of Cypriots. The declaration outlines a framework that I also believe offers a solution for Cyprus. Our citizens can read the declaration at www.freecyprus.net and also become signatories.

National Liberation Strategy

How realistic is it to seek a solution to the Cyprus problem contrary to the UN resolutions?

United Nations resolutions can change, and soon they will change again. If we do not endeavor to shape the realities on the ground with our own ideas and struggle, Turkey will continue to dictate the narrative while Cypriots find themselves embracing “new realisms,” potentially leading to Cyprus falling under Turkish control. In 2021, Harris Georgiades elevated the discourse of surrendered minds like his with his article “New Realism,” published in Kathimerini. He almost implied that the “two-state solution” is the most pragmatic option today. As Erdogan recently made clear in his words, they are biding their time for the perfect opportunity to claim the rest of our homeland. Therefore, as Cypriots, we have two choices: either we create a multifaceted national liberation strategy against the occupation and strive to change the status-quo, or we continue to play Turkey’s game within the “resolutions” and realities they control and lose everything.

Are you Linobambaki? Because you participated in a youth organization called LINOBAMBAKI.

“Linobambaki” wasn’t a distinct group of people in Cyprus; it functioned as a metaphor. The youth organization, LINOBAMBAKI, adopted its name as a symbol of resistance against Turkey’s cultural Turkification efforts directed at Turkish-speaking Cypriots in the occupied regions of Cyprus in the early 2010s.

Is your name on Turkey’s “blacklist”? Did you try to travel and were told by the Turkish authorities that you are not allowed to enter the country?

Yes, my name was among the first to be published on the list of blacklisted Turkish-speaking Cypriots in Turkey. I had already stopped traveling to Turkey long before the blacklist was published.