Cypriot Concerns about Turkey

 by George Kentas, Research Fellow


Although the Cypriot political leadership has said that it will not block the start

of accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey, some practical

issues arise and some concerns are voiced regarding the repercussions of

these negotiations on the Cyprus problem.


There is first the paradox of a candidate state of the EU not only refusing to

recognize but also illegally maintaining occupation forces and settlers on the

territory of a member state of the EU. The EU, therefore, is called upon to deal

with the non-recognition by Turkey of the Republic of Cyprus on the one hand

and the continuing Turkish occupation and violation of the human rights of

European (Cypriot) citizens, on the other. At the same time, the EU will have

to deal with the Turkey’s long delayed extension of its Customs Union

Agreement to include the Republic of Cyprus.      


In its turn, the Republic of Cyprus has to deal with difficult political dilemmas.

On the one hand, it strives to convince its European partners that Turkey’s stance

is unacceptable and has to be dealt with in the framework of its course

towards accession. On the other hand, however, it must decide what it will do

(and with which consequences) in the event that Turkey continues its negative

behaviour, and Cyprus’s European partners do not exert pressure on it to change

its attitude. Could Cyprus use the veto in such an eventuality? If Turkey begins

accession negotiations, what will be the further consequences on the Cyprus issue?


Nicosia is trying to make it clear to its partners in the EU that all issues regarding

the Turkish stance on Cyprus are vital and have to do with the survival of the

Cypriot state. The Cyprus government stresses that, in the event that these

issues are either ignored or not effectively addressed, the Republic of Cyprus will find

itself in a very difficult position. Cyprus also invokes the moral obligation of its

partners – within the framework of communal reciprocity – to support its four justified

demands: firstly, that Turkey must fulfill its obligations towards the Republic of

Cyprus resulting from its Customs Union Agreement with the EU. Secondly, Turkey will

have to restore its diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cyprus and stop blocking

its membership of international organizations (such as the OECD). Thirdly, Turkey will

have to contribute positively to the solution of the humanitarian problem of the missing

persons and fully restore the rights of enclaved people. Fourthly, no accession of Turkey

to the EU should be possible without the withdrawal of Turkish troops and the settlers,

nor without the restoration of legality within the framework of a comprehensive solution.


What remains to be seen is which of Nicosia’s requests will be endorsed by its European

partners and whether they will form criteria for setting a date for the start of  accession

talks with Turkey, or whether they will be elements of the road map of Turkey’s progress

towards accession.



Research & Development Center - Intercollege

Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved