Time for a Cyprus-Turkey Compromise

                                        by George Kentas, Research Fellow


Turkey’s bid for participation in the EU’s European Defense Agency (EDA) offers a good

opportunity for compromise between this country and the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey, an EU

candidate state that is about to open accession negotiations with the Union, wants to become an

associate member of the EDA, an Agency aiming to enhance cooperation among the EU member

states on armaments and procurement and to improve the Union’s military capacity with regard to

its Security and Defense Policy. However, Turkey blocks the participation of Cyprus, an EU

member state, in the EU-NATO’s Berlin Plus agreement. On this ground, Cyprus opposes Turkish

involvement in the EDA.  A few weeks ago Cyprus vetoed Turkey’s application to the EDA. In

order to become an associate member of the EDA, Turkey needs to conclude a security agreement

with the EU on classified information, a step that Cyprus has blocked.


This development might lead to further deterioration of EU-NATO relations. Since last May, NATO

and the EU cannot have serious discussions about security issues because Turkey blocks Cyprus’

(and Malta’s) participation in the relevant meetings between the two organizations. Turkey claims

that since Cyprus and Malta didn’t conclude bilateral security agreements with NATO, they cannot

have access to NATO’s classified information.


As a compromise, Cyprus could accept Turkey’s participation in the EDA and, in return, Turkey could

accept Cyprus’ participation in the Berlin Plus framework. Such a compromise would end the ongoing

deadlock in EU-NATO cooperation on security and defense policies.


We believe that now is the time to bring this deadlock to an end through a win-win situation. Turkey

would become associated with the EDA and Cyprus (and Malta) would participate in the Berlin Plus

regime. A Cyprus-Turkey compromise on European security issues would pave the way for enhanced

relations between the two states and lead to an improved climate for the settlement of the Cyprus Problem.


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