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BARÇIN YİNANÇ

barcin.yinanc@hurriyet.com.tr

BARÇIN YİNANÇ > Will Greek Cyprus attempt a crisis to veil its failure?

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“The final countdown to July 1 has started. It started two weeks ago [when] we [began to] work on Sundays and [now] don’t sleep more than four hours a day,” said Greek Cyprus’ EU ambassador.

It is the first time Greek Cyprus will assume the European Union presidency and in order to prove they are not a “half state” as Turkish state figures have called them, Greek Cypriots seem determined to try to punch above their weight. They have scheduled three times as many technical meetings and foreign ministerial gatherings.

Turkish officials only wish for Greek Cypriots to be successful in their endeavors. They might even pray for it since a situation of the contrary entails a worst case scenario for Turkish diplomats, as some believe that in case of failure Greek Cyprus might attempt to create an artificial crisis to veil its incompetence. An attempt for a gas drilling in the Turkish Cypriot continental shelf is enough to heat the waters in the Mediterranean and strain relations in the Ankara–Brussels line.

Otherwise, this summer period will be one of the least animated periods in Turkish–EU relations, as Turkey will suspend any dialogue which will involve talking to the EU presidency.

However, this does not need to be the dullest period. There is a slight possibility that a summer breeze coming from Paris might move the leaves in the tree.

Paris to mull a strategic leap forward

There are two issues where a green light, mainly from Paris, might come to psychological resuscitate a deadly season for Turkish–EU relations. France’s new president François Hollande can reverse the decision of its predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy who blocked accession talks on five chapters arguing it would bring Turkey closer to membership. The economic and monetary policy does not require any opening criteria, which means that there is not much preparations needed if there is a general agreement to start accession talks on that chapter before July 1st. This certainly will not have an immediate earthshaking consequence on a Turkish bid to join the EU. It will, however, certainly be a very important symbolic gesture, as France will give the message that Paris is no longer against a Turkish membership provided it fulfils the necessary criteria.

Signs coming from Paris suggest that the foreign ministry favors such a move. In contrast to the portrayal of Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as a euro and Turko sceptic, he is said to endorse the view of the diplomats and is expected to advise Hollande on that direction.

Another issue which will mimic CPR is the visa liberalization. The commission waits for the political go ahead to secure the mandate to negotiate with Turkey visa liberalization. The decision had been postponed due to the parliamentary elections in France. The interior ministry, which traditionally does not have liberal tendencies when it comes to free movement, might not be willing to take an active stance on the issue.

At any rate following the second round of elections next Sunday, eyes will turn to Hollande. He will have to decide his next move within a few days, and yet Hollande is not known to act in haste.

Still, if he were to make a quick decision on one of these two issues, this will come as a major strategic leap forward to close the “Sarkozy” gap in relations with Ankara.

June/12/2012

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john albay

7/6/2012 6:47:18 AM

well the greek cypriot puppet state under its communist leader have their crisis and are of course stirring up trouble at every chance for Turkey. Now the germens even have seen through their lies and fact twisting and think it was a big mistake to take them into the EU. They are now even trying to get money from their commie friends in russia and china to bail them out,as they prfer that than EU/IMF money which has strings attached! Kick them out of the EU and Euro they are a disgrace to the EU

Chris Green

6/16/2012 12:52:47 PM

Turkish Cypriots live under a working democracy, that same democracy that voted in favour of yet another of Annan's crazy plans yet you lot voted it down and got yourself into the EU cabal. Denktas declared the Annan Plan as bad for Turkish Cypriots and in effect, GC's agreed with him! There is no question of Cyprus being unified; a Federal system might be possible whereas recognition of the TRNC is overwhelmingly more likely, driven by 49 Muslim States. UK could also recognise too - hope so!

Blue Dotterel

6/15/2012 3:56:08 PM

Ah Kirios, how naive. Enosis was realized through EU membership. That is why the GC's voted against the Annan plan for the Island's reunification

Kirios Kypros

6/15/2012 2:56:28 PM

Blue Dot - the Enosis movement was from the past. It is no longer the wish of majority of Greek Cypriots i believe. Dont live in the past. In the present, the Turks still illegally occupy one third of a sovereign nation and the TC side is not willing to agree to a democratic ideal, where majority rules. Hence we are looking at a federal settlement...but even then the Turkish side - the minority - makes unreasonable demands which cannot be accepted. This is the truth of the matter...

Blue Dotterel

6/15/2012 9:54:50 AM

Kirios, Enosis suggest that it is the Greeks on the Island who refused to accept being "Cypriots", otherwise they would not have tried so hard to become "Greeks".

john albay

6/14/2012 12:00:45 AM

let us make this clear the problems in cyprus were started by the greek cypriots who wanted enosis with mainland greece,sent the EOKA B to murder us Turkish cypriots and hijacked the roc and kiscked out all the turkish ministers and MPs. They also kicked out the austrian judge who was to control the laws of cyprus. The greek cypriots pushed us into 3% of the island and wanted to have a 100% greek island. You greek cypriot lie all the time and twist all the facts you make us turk cypriots sick!

Murat

6/13/2012 6:35:06 PM

Helllooo... knock, knock... Greeks overwhelmingly rejected a UN plan that was overwhelmingly accepted by TCs, in spite of the lessons of history. Is there anything else to be said? The two communities were never united, and never lived in peace. This was never the Greek goal. How uninformed can some commentators get?

Chris Green

6/13/2012 5:52:22 PM

When it comes to 'truth distortion' you Greek Cyps and Greeks have but one peer and that is arguably your Israeli friends! Anyway, like yourselves I am not going to retreat any more than it is likely that the TSK are ever going to do so.

DAVE IMPALER

6/13/2012 4:21:17 PM

Kirios, I agree "we should try to forget the problems of the past" but these people are distorting and rewriting history. Presumably these people think they're dealing with morons. One rarely mentioned fact is that, contrary to all Turkish claims of willingness to solve the problem, it remains a constitutional crime in Turkey for anyone to MERELY call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus

Kirios Kypros

6/13/2012 3:44:20 PM

Dave there is no point, from what i have seen, trying to reason with this Chris Green, he is too far entreched in a Turkish nationalist and partionist point of view. The truth just gets in the way of his totally biased view! I an in agreemnt with some of the comments on here that we should try to forget the problems of the past if we are to move on in the future for a unified Cyprus..as a Greek Cypriot I very much would like that and am happy to live with the Turkish Cypriots.
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