BARÇIN YİNANÇ > What if Turkey surprises Merkel and Hollande with a Cyprus move?

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There is no reason what so ever for German Prime Minister Angela Merkel to change her stance on Turkey’s entry to the EU, a Turkish official familiar with Germany told me.
“By lifting its veto in just one chapter and not the rest, France has shown us that it does not think differently than Germany,” another one told me.

The feeling among those familiar with the EU process is that not much is to be expected from Europe as the Franco–German front against Turkey will continue to sit tight.

How about the Cypriot front? After all, the Cyprus issue is technically the main reason why accession negotiations came to a halt as talks on eight chapters have been blocked due to Turkey’s decision not to let Greek ships use Turkish ports.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who made a genuine effort to solve the Cyprus issue that led to the UN-brokered Annan plan, was extremely disappointed by the EU’s stance after the plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots in the 2004 referendum. How can he not? Greek Cypriots were “rewarded” by becoming an EU member while Turkish Cypriots continued to suffer under isolation.

Infuriated by the fact that his overtures on Cyprus were not reciprocated, Erdoğan did not sign the Ankara protocol (which would open Turkish ports to Greek ships) and remained unmoved when the EU decided to block talks regarding eight chapters in 2006 due to his stance. The EU’s decision at that time did not have an immediate effect on accession talks since there were nearly two dozen chapters waiting to be opened.

Today, there is a leader at the head of the Greek Cypriot administration that can reciprocate Turkey’s gestures. It is clear that Europeans won’t encourage Greek Cypriots for a solution. On the contrary, the absence of a solution suits their interest since it is slowing down Turkey’s entry talks. It will therefore be totally shocking and (though they can’t admit it officially) annoying for Europeans if Erdoğan were to take the unilateral decision to sign the Ankara protocol.

It is worth nothing that when the question was put forward during the press conference with Merkel, Erdoğan, who can be very sharp and open about expressing his position, did not use rhetoric that categorically dismissed the signing of the Ankara protocol. He said Turkey had previously taken some steps that were not reciprocated. He also said that if there is an understanding on the island for a permanent peace, Turkey will give all the necessary support. He added Greece should also help find a solution, a message he will certainly repeat to his Greek counterpart, who will come to Turkey next week.

Turkey cannot revitalize accession talks by calling on the Europeans to make up their minds. Europeans will never say “game over.” The current situation is perfect as they have the best business ties with Turkey while keeping its accession bid in limbo. Turkey needs to take matters into its own hands and come up with an initiative that will give a great push to Cyprus and the EU process.

This won’t be seen as a concession since it is by now apparent that Turkey does not desperately need the EU but that it is interested in a win-win situation in the region. Even if Turkey does not make such a unilateral act, I will not be surprised at all to see intense diplomatic negotiations between Turkey, Greece and the island by summer time.


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Notice on comments

ilker avni

2/28/2013 5:24:53 AM

HowGullable? the Turks are still beliveing that they will enter the EU while the Greeks are full members,the EU are not so stupid,the whole point of excepting Greece and Greek Cyprus was because they know Turkey hasnt a hell in chance of joining while the Greeks are in the EU..Now the Turks have been shown a carrot by Merkel The Greeks who had lost all importance before,the Turks has swallowed Merkels carrott and are rushing to the |Greeks with open arms.How Gullable are these crazy Turks.?

ismail demir

2/26/2013 10:41:48 PM

Turkey may sign Ankara protocol, since till 1987 Greek Cyprus ships freely came to Turkish ports.


2/26/2013 9:05:06 PM

What if Turkey goes for plan B, which is the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus by the over 50 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus already voted yes for the Annan plan and after 40 years of negotiation, we have to conclude that the TRNC will head it's own way, just how the population of South Cyprus wanted. Since the people of Turkey and TRNC don't fancy the EU anymore will make matters easier.


2/26/2013 5:32:54 PM

Ball has been in Grek Cyprus court since 2004. Their continued and unmistakable hostility is the reason for Turkish troops there. Though I would agree that you do not need 40K of them! Then again, troops are now part of TC economy, Turkey has to keep those men under arms somewhere anyway. Result of the ambargo.

mara mcglothin

2/26/2013 5:22:25 PM

JRC Bullseye. When ever has Erdogan "turned the other cheek" or given anyone the benefit of the doubt? ZERO problems with neighbors remember?

Peter Panayiotou

2/26/2013 2:54:22 PM

You guys just dont get it. Turkey's policy is to join the EU. That fact signals that she also wants the Cyprus issue to go away. The last thing on her mind is annexation because that act will kill her chances. Once Turkey joins there will be no borders. All Cypriots will be able to live wherever they like whatever their ethnicity! Mr Green, I have to say you are erudite and that is a good quality but your reasoning is at odds with the long term interests and policy of the Turkish state.


2/26/2013 2:53:25 PM

Legality of the current ROC as a country is also questionable. In the London and Zurich treaties which created it, ROC was defined as a bicommunal state with power sharing, which wasn’t the case since 1964. The only way forward is for Cyprus to become a bicommunal, bizonal state, as per the various UN Resolutions, but, with the power given to them by EU, GCs have no intention of sharing power. EU imported a six decade long problem and made it even more difficult to solve.


2/26/2013 2:51:20 PM

EU indeed rewarded Cyprus in 2004 by accepting the divided island which as a result doesn’t meet the mandatory Copenhagen Criteria, the only member not to do so. EU should’ve made re-unification a pre-condition but didn’t, because Greece blackmailed them by saying she would veto membership of all countries which joined in 2004, if Cyprus wasn’t among them. Cyprus was rewarded even though she didn’t qualify. Cyprus also broke its own constitution by joining the EU, which doesn’t include Turkey.

Optimist 23

2/26/2013 2:22:03 PM

The turkish military presence in TC must amount to 2 Billion TL annually, and this already for many years. With that "Investment" there is a clear goal in mind, which is not reunification but the opposite.

kibrisli TURK

2/26/2013 1:30:53 PM

It's time to step up to the EU plate & smash some home runs!!! Long Live TRNC!!!
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