Cyprus: Security Dialogue Project

The sign marks one of the two check-points in Cyprus’ capital Nicosia that allows residents to pass to other side of the divided island.

In support of the Cyprus Peace Process, the Security Dialogue Project contributes to the identification of informed, innovative, and viable security options or solutions that could enable all communities in Cyprus to simultaneously feel secure. To this end, our efforts are based on a project methodology that blends international security and dialogue expertise with the extensive research endeavors of our bicommunal Cypriot partner organisation (SeeD >). Research and analysis activities have been designed to map the unique perceptions, needs, and interests of the two Cypriot communities by proactively engaging and drawing from diverse perspectives that reflect both the wider concerns of the Cypriot public, as well as those of key security stakeholders. Through consultation and advising, the initiative ultimately offers Cypriot negotiators and leaders a uniquely informed array of insights as well as concrete and vetted options, as they pursue agreement over a mutually acceptable security architecture. Importantly, the project embraces both local and broader perspectives of regional issues in the volatile Eastern Mediterranean, including newly emerging global security threats, opportunities for cultivating endogenous institutional resilience for treaty implementation, and the possibilities or potential role of a unified Cyprus in addressing such challenges.

Timeframe

September 2016 – March 2017

Conflict Setting

Since the peace negotiations resumed in early 2015, significant progress has been achieved on a majority of the negotiation dossiers. The thornier dossier on security and guarantees, which can be considered the most contentious amongst them, has only recently been discussed. In a divided island society, existing options exercised in function of providing security to one community, has inevitably led to the further expression of insecurity experienced by the other. Research findings suggest that both communities prioritize the security dossier as one of the most critical and important dossiers that will essentially ‘make or break’ the peace process. Failing to effectively address Cypriot needs and fears would ultimately result in the rejection by the people of both communities of a comprehensive settlement plan that will be put to referendum, or render the implementation of a comprehensive settlement socially and politically unviable.

Approach

During its 10-month implementation period, this initiative will involve both local and international stakeholders in a participatory process that fosters Cypriot ownership, while creating an open environment where different options and scenarios can be freely discussed. This process is foregrounded by a mixed-method approach to research, through which the project’s delivery of security perspectives and concerns, voiced by both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, serve as a point of departure for more informed negotiations. Research data, generated through focus group discussions and stakeholder interviews, will be analysed in conjunction with input from international security experts, drawing upon their know-how and lessons learned from negotiated security arrangements and transitional experiences in comparative contexts. The project will further test the viability of different security alternatives for a negotiated framework, according to feedback and perspectives within both communities, through public opinion polls. The analytical results and forthcoming generation of security arrangement options continue to be offered through direct channels to key Cypriot stakeholders and negotiators. This process will help to ensure a more sustainable future for any comprehensive peace agreement, emphasizing opportunities by which leaders can build effective implementation support during a period of transition and beyond.

Partners:

Sustainable Peace and Democratic Development (SeeD)

Interpeace

For more information, please contact our project team or SeeD Senior Researchers, Dr. Ilke Dagli at dagli@seedsofpeace.eu, and Dr. Giorgos Kentas at kentas@seedsofpeace.eu.

Funding:

The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the US State Department, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

28 September 2016 Internal Project Launch

18-21 October 2016 Internal Capacity Building for Project Partners

23-24 November 2016 Security Expert Analysis Workshops

15-16 December 2016 Public Project Launch

Press release >          more information on the event and preliminary findings >

14 March 2017 Forum: The Role of the European Union in Post-Settlement Cyprus

  • Nina Caspersen : Transitional Security Arrangements: A Comparative Perspective. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >
  • Christalla Yakinthou : Transitional Justice in Cyprus. Challenges and Opportunities. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >
  • Stratis-Andreas Efthymiou : Multi-Communal Security Force for United Cyprus. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >
  • Anna Koukkides-Procopiou : Gender and Inclusive Security: A new approach to the Cyprus Problem within the framework on Security Dialogue. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >
  • Derya Dilara Akguner : Multicultural and Secure Urban Areas: The Importance of Global and Local Connectedness. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >
  • Emine Eminel Sülün & Zenonas Tziarras: Federal Cyprus in the Context of Regional Security. 2017. Berghof Foundation & SeeD. Security Dialogue Project - Background Paper. PDF >