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The crisis caused in November-December 1969 by the attack on the Turkish Cypriot villages of Kophinou (Gecitkale) and Ayios Theodoros (Bogazici) by Greek soldiers under the command of General George Grivas, activated Turkey to intervene militarily in Cyprus. Only the acceptance of Turkey's ultimatum by the Junta of Greece averted a direct Turco-Greek war.
Following the re-election, on 25 February 1968, of Archbishop Makarios by the Greek Cypriots, he expressed the willingness to discuss with the Turkish Cypriots their 'legitimate rights' within the 'limits of a unitary, democratic and independent state'. After considerable prodding by the UN Secretary-General U Thant, the intercommunal dialogue began in June 1968 and lasted until the autumn of 1971, when it ended in deadlock.
During this dialogue, Glafkos Clerides, representing the Greek Cypriots, and Rauf Denktash, representing the Turkish Cypriots, almost reached agreement. Yet it was not to be. What went wrong? Professor Salahi Sonyel of the Near East University, North Cyprus, discusses some interesting British official documents, released in London in January of this year, that may shed some light on the issue.
Presented by Robert McDonald on 28 January 2000
A number of years ago one of the publications for which I write asked for an overview of Greek regional foreign policy. I arranged a tour d'horizon with the foreign ministry at a fairly senior desk level.
Relations with Albania were cool because of ongoing concerns about the civil and religious rights of the Greek ethnic minority. Relations with the FYROM were frigid because of the continuing dispute over the name. Relations with Bulgaria were warm but capitalising on them was difficult because of the continuing economic chaos.
Then we came to Turkey. Turkey, the diplomat said, much to my surprise, was the most stable area of regional foreign policy. They have their positions, he said. We have ours. They know what we are going to say. We know what they are going to say. Nothing has changed in 20 years. All we have to do is keep down the level of rhetoric to avoid incidents.
In part the man was being ironic in order to emphasise just how profound was the stalemate in Greek Turkish relations. But in part it was perfectly true.
The issues have been fixed since 1973 when oil was discovered in Greek territorial waters the northern Aegean Sea and Turkey decided that it had a right to a share of the spoils.
The first issue is seabed rights. Greece contends that every island of the Aegean archipelago has its own continental shelf. Turkey says that there is a natural prolongation of the continental shelf off its western coast, which takes precedence. If the Greek view is right, then virtually the whole of the Aegean seabed would be Greek giving it the right to all the oil resources. If the Turkish view were to prevail then about half the undersea wealth of the Aegean would belong to Turkey.
The second issue is territorial waters. Greece claims under the Law of the Sea 12-mile territorial waters. Turkey says that if this were implemented it would mean that Greece would control all high seas access to Izmir and the Dardenelles. The Turkish parliament has passed a resolution saying that, if Greece were to extend from its present six-mile limit, this would constitute an act of war. Greece says it reserves its right to extend its territorial waters as and when it wishes but so far has not done so. There is a feature of the Law of the Sea that Turkey conveniently overlooks when making its claims about loss of high seas access. The Treaty provides that in the case where one nation's territorial waters block access to the ports of another that there should be a corridor provided for civilian shipping and innocent passage of warships. Effectively what Turkey is saying is that, if Greece were to extend its territorial waters to 12-miles, the ability of the Turkish Navy to manoeuvre more at less at will in the Aegean would be curtailed.
The third issue is air space. Greece unilaterally declared, in 1931, a 10-mile airspace, at a time when the international norm for territorial waters was only three miles. Now the ten-mile limit falls within the 12-mile zone. The 10-mile limit was acknowledged by an international convention in the 1940s but it is not recognised by Turkey -- nor, for that matter, by the US. Turkish warplanes and American carrier-based aircraft regularly ignore the limit and fly in the four miles beyond the 6-mile zone. Greece regularly scrambles its warplanes to confront what it terms intruders and there are frequent mock dogfights with Turkish aircraft. A NATO officer in Brussels once said to me that the Greek and Turkish airforces had the best combat trained pilots in the Alliance because they had so much practice.
Because of the configuration of the archipelago, the civilian flight information region in the Aegean comes under Athens air traffic control ending only three miles off the Turkish coast. Turkey believes that the ATC should be divided down a median line. Greece says this is unthinkable because it would give Turkey authority over skies to the west of Greek islands in the eastern Aegean. Command and control in the air over the Aegean was one of the key issues that prevented Greek operational reintegration into the NATO military command structure during the 1980s and 1990s. Greece feared that if Turkey gained influence in the military sphere, this could translate into greater control in the civilian.
The most recent issue to emerge regards the sovereignty of uninhabited islets in the Aegean such as Imia (Kardak to the Turks). Greece says that the boundaries of the country were fixed by the Treaties of Laussane in 1923, which sorted out WW I territorial boundaries and reparations, and the Treaty of Paris of 1947, under which Italy ceded the Dodecannese to Greece as WW II reparations. The treaties left Greece with all the islands of the Aegean save for Imbros and Tenedos in the mouth of the Dardenelles. The islands were, however, to remain unfortified so as not to present a threat to Turkey. The colonels' junta began to fortify the islands after 1967, as a counterweight to the threat of a Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Turkey says that this means Greece is in violation of its Treaty obligations. Greece says that the islands have been fortified under a legitimate right of self-defence citing the large amphibious military force that Turkey maintains at bases in and around Izmir -- its so-called Aegean Army. The most recent development in this issue has been that a number of senior Turkish political figures have questioned the sovereignty of uninhabited islets not explicitly mentioned in the Treaties of Laussane and Paris. There are, they say, extensive grey areas as regards sovereignty in the Aegean. This, of course, feeds into the whole issue of territorial waters and continental shelf.
Finally there are the thorny issues of Cyprus and the European Union.
Greece did not secure control of Cyprus, either after WW I or WW II, because Britain wanted it for its own security purposes. When the EOKA guerrilla movement finally convinced the UK that the cost of holding the island was not worthwhile, the British government, instead of granting the demand of the majority Greek Cypriot population for union of the island with Greece, created a consociational power-sharing constitution in which the Turkish Cypriots were partners. This led to repeated friction as the Greek Cypriots tried to reduce the Turkish Cypriots to a minority status. Finally, following the misconceived Greek Cypriot coup against Archbishop Makarios, sponsored by the Greek colonels, Turkey intervened.
Turkey had a legal right to do so. The Turkish Cypriots were beleaguered and Turkey had a guarantor's right to restore constitutional order. There was a question over whether they had the right to use the degree of force that they did but, as this was not defined, and, as war tends to create its own rules, the initial intervention cannot legally be challenged.
What can be challenged is Turkey's subsequent flouting of international law. Instead of restoring the power sharing constitution in a united island as required under the Treaty of Guarantee, the Turkish military forcibly divided the peoples of the island to create a homogeneous mass of Turkish Cypriots in the northern third of the territory. It then nurtured the creation of an independent state -- the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus -- which broke away from the Republic in 1983.
Now Turkey is demanding that the international community recognise this state as sovereign. The very notion flies in the face of international law, which condemns modification of boundaries by force and the seizure of territory.
Turkey insists that its 35,000 troops and 250 tanks constitute a peacekeeping force. The Greek Cypriots view it as an army of invasion and occupation.
Cyprus has further complicated Greek-Turkish relations as regards the European Union. Both Greece and Turkey became associate members of the then EEC early in the 1960s. Greece managed to scrape into membership in 1981 through the consummate political manoeuvring of Constantine Karamanlis despite the objections of the European Commission. Turkey remained outside because of its tottering economy and because of the generals' dictatorship and its political legacy. Once inside the EU, Greece has been able to use its power of veto to frustrate Turkish efforts to secure entry.
In the present process of enlargement of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus, the recognised government of the island applied, and was accepted, as a candidate in a group of nations that was supposed to enter on a fast track. The Turkish Cypriots claimed this denied their putative sovereignty and Turkey objected on the grounds that it would indirectly unite Cyprus with Greece -- within the EU -- so long as it was not also a member.
The Cardiff summit in December 1997 named a list of 11-nations as candidates for enlargement but pointedly excluded Turkey citing its poor record on human and civil rights, its weak economy and its continued failure to resolve the Cyprus issue. This led to a virtual freezing of relations between Turkey and the EU on all matters except the economy for the past two years.
It is against this background that current Greek and Turkish relations have to be viewed.
The diplomat was not joking when he said that all that Athens and Ankara had to do to maintain stability was to keep their rhetoric to a level that it didn't escalate into incidents. There have been three of these in the past thirteen years.
There was the 1987 incident over the issue of territorial waters. The Greek socialist government of the day was trying to nationalise the North Aegean Petroleum Corporation by claiming that it was not fulfilling its drilling programme. The drilling programme related to probably, but not proven, large crude resources in its concession area that fell within the 12-mile limit. When the government insisted that Greece reserved the right to drill in the region, Turkey sent its own exploration ship to sea. It was shadowed by Greek naval vessels, which in turn were shadowed by Turkish warships. It was only through high level NATO intervention that a military clash was averted.
In 1996 there was Imia. In December 1995, a Turkish ship grounded on the island and refused to be towed off by a Greek vessel asserting that it was in Turkish waters. The Greeks took it in tow anyway. The incident led to a low-level exchange of diplomatic notes until some hothead in the Greek foreign ministry leaked the story to a less than responsible journalist. There was, as a consequence, a populist flare up of chauvinism. A local official from an island nearby Imia planted a Greek flag on the rocky outcropping. A party of Turkish television journalists landed by helicopter and replaced it with a Turkish one. Greek troops were landed on one part of the islet. Turkish troops on another outcropping. A military clash was prevented only by direct intervention of President Clinton.
Then there was the Ocalan affair. This is so recent and so murky that it is hard to be certain exactly what happened. The official version is that extreme nationalists who supported the Kurdish cause -- on the grounds that my enemy's enemy is my friend -- smuggled Ocalan into Greece after he had been forced to leave Italy. The Greek government panicked and packed him off to its embassy in Nairobi while it looked for another country to take him off their hands. The Turks found out -- probably through Israeli or American intelligence. Pressure was put on Greece to remove Ocalan from the Nairobi compound. En route to the airport Turkish special forces captured him and took him to Turkey where he was put on trial and condemned to death -- a sentence that has been temporarily stayed.
The incident led to a war of words between Greece and Turkey, which, at the time, looked as though it might escalate into something more. It might well have, had the Greeks not been so humiliated by the fiasco they could not muster sufficient invective to respond to Ankara's bellicose condemnations. Three Greek ministers lost their jobs including the belligerent foreign minister, Theodore Pangalos.
The Greek prime minister, Costas Simitis, is a pragmatic politician and has long favoured the idea of better relations with Turkey. He knows that it is very much in Greek interests. Turkey is a country of 60 mn people rapidly heading for 100 mn compared to Greece's 11 mn, which is in decline. The population of Istanbul alone is nearly as large as the population of the whole of Greece.
If there ever were to be a war, Greece would be overwhelmed. Its strategists like to argue that numbers are not all and that Greece has superior tactics and firepower. However, the attrition rate in the Greek air force even in peacetime suggests that this is simply not true. The only persons killed in the Imia incident were three Greek servicemen who died after their helicopter crashed because of lack of proper maintenance.
Conversely improved relations with Turkey would open a vast new market for Greek businessmen. I am reminded of a Herblock cartoon that appeared in the US press about the time that Nixon began to re-establish relations with China. It depicted a parade of redneck Texas businessmen -- hitherto staunch anti-communists to a man. They were carrying placards reading 'Two billion customers can't be all wrong'.
Greek businessmen positively salivate over the prospects of access to the huge Turkish market and the even larger market in the Turkic-speaking nations of the former Soviet Union.
Over the longer term it is probably in both countries' interests that Turkey should be in the European Union. Turkey is a divided society with a secular elite in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir that is oriented to the west and with an increasingly religious society in much of the rest of the country having sympathies with the Arab world.
If the Turkish establishment wants to keep its western orientation it needs to be anchored in the European Union as well as in NATO. It is also to the advantage of Greece and the Greek Cypriots to have neighbours who play by European rules.
Mr. Simitis has been constrained in his efforts to improve relations with Turkey by domestic political considerations. There is a caucus in his socialist party which insists that Greece has right on its side in every particular in its disputes with Turkey and that there must be no dialogue and no compromises. A large part of the population has maintained a similar attitude.
The Ocalan incident wrought a change in this mind set. It made Greeks look inward and caused many to decide that, while they weren't in the wrong, they might not entirely be in the right. In political terms it undermined the influence of the anti-Turk hardliners.
Mr. Simitis' new foreign minister, George Papandreou, is entirely the opposite of his flamboyant father. Andreas' politically formative years were in the States. George's in Canada. We have a saying in North America that the thing that distinguishes Americans and Canadians is that Americans are problem solving people while Canadians are problem accommodating.
George Papandreou is a man who by nature is accommodating. His inclination is to see how to find a way to avoid the security challenge presented by Turkey while at the same time taking advantage of living alongside it.
During the Spring and early summer last year, Mr. Papandreou and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismael Cem, repeatedly were thrown together in meetings in the margin of the Kosovo crisis. They also met in other fora such as the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council and the Balkan Forum.
They developed a personal rapport which allowed them to feel sufficiently confident to promote within their respective governments low level dialogue designed to build confidence.
In July, the respective foreign ministries formed a series of committees at ambassadorial and department director level to try to reach common positions on six non-controversial areas of common concern:
economic co-operation, including such things as eliminating double taxation;
multilateral co-operation in the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean;
citizens security, including co-operation in the combating of organised crime, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism;
The choice of topics is like agreeing to promote apple pie and motherhood but the notion that the two sides could even think about discussing joint action to combat terrorism just five months after Turkey was publicly demanding that the world brand Greece a terrorist state was indicative of just how much the climate had changed.
Preliminary talks concluded in December leading to draft agreements in four areas that were signed in Istanbul during Mr. Papandreou's three-day visit to Turkey last week -- the first by a serving Greek foreign minister since 1962.
The agreements focussed on co-operation in fighting crime and terrorism, on the environment, on tourism and on financial matters including double taxation and the protection of investments. Each side granted the other 'most favoured nation status' in matters of trade and the agreements assure free movement both of labour and goods.
Five further agreements are supposed to be signed in February when Mr. Cem pays a return visit to Greece.
We have been here before. During the late 1970s there were talks at secretary general's level that dragged on for two years but these collapsed over Turkey's continued efforts to prevent Greece from returning to the integrated military command of NATO (from which it had withdrawn after the Turkish intervention in Cyprus).
Again in the 1988 after the naval confrontation of the previous year Andreas Papandreou and the then Turkish prime minister Turgut Ozal tried to initiate a high level process at heads of government level. It was to be shored up by joint committees of MPs, business, cultural and academic leaders who would cut a swathe through the outstanding differences. This ill-prepared effort -- based largely on charismatic posturing by the two prime ministers -- collapsed in a matter of months. Its only legacy was a Turkish - Greek business council which continued to promote economic co-operation and trade in the same mind set as western and communist leaders had agreed to trade across the Iron Curtain without abandoning their respective ideologies. The Turkish side pulled out of even of this forum after the Ocalan affair but have since re-entered.
Much has been made in the press of so-called earthquake diplomacy following the earthquakes in Turkey in August and in Athens in September to which both countries reciprocally sent rescuers and aid.
The incidents contributed little to the diplomatic process but they did contribute to a change in popular attitudes, particularly in the opinion-making press and media which began to stress the humanitarian virtues and other similarities between the two peoples rather than to stress their faults and historical differences.
This has done much to engender a climate in which better relations could be further pursued.
In this light in September, the Simitis government decided to take a gamble over its policy stance regarding Turkey's efforts to become an EU candidate. It did something that it should have done years ago. Instead of saying that Greece would exercise its veto and keep Turkey out of the EU until their bilateral disputes were resolved and there was a settlement in Cyprus, the government said that it would welcome Turkish membership of the EU provided that it made a commitment to settle outstanding differences.
This did several things at once. First it shifted the emphasis to be accommodating onto Ankara. Second it meant that forces in northern European nations that oppose Turkey's membership could no longer hide behind the Greek veto. (These include, e.g., German xenophobes who fear Turkish emigration, French agriculturalists who are afraid at the Turks will eat up all the farm subsidies and English civil servants who are horrified at the thought of addingTurkish bureaucracy to the complex mix already emanating from Brussels.) Thirdly, it made it incumbent on the EU to get involved in trying to resolve the differences rather than allowing it to continue to turn a blind eye to them as purely bilateral disputes.
But to accompany the shift in policy Greece needed a quid pro quo. It wanted Turkey to accept the notion of legal adjudication of differences in the Aegean and a commitment to negotiate a settlement for a unitary federal state in Cyprus. Failing the latter, it wanted a commitment from the EU that the Republic of Cyprus could enter the EU regardless of whether there was a settlement.
(Four leading member states -- Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands -- had raised objections to Cypriot entry before a settlement on the grounds that the government of the Cyprus would not be able to apply the acquis communitaire over all the territory it claimed to represent because its writ does not run in the north.)
Turkey insisted that EU candidacy was its by right and that it had no intention of offering anything to Greece over either the Aegean or Cyprus in return for being offered a place in the queue.
But after three months of tortuous back stage negotiations a deal was struck which made Turkey a candidate, with all the benefits that entails of economic, administrative and political aid, while still managing to satisfy Greece.
The Helsinki heads of state and government Council in December 1999 said that Turkey would not have to satisfy the Copenhagen criteria on human rights and civil liberties in order to become a candidate but it would have to do so before negotiations for entry could ever start. Negotiations with all the other 12-candidate countries were to continue or start immediately but no date was set for talks to begin with Turkey.
To satisfy Greece, the Council Conclusions made some broad assertions without specifically naming Turkey. It said that all candidates had to accept the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the UN charter (i.e., a unitary state in Cyprus) and they had to to resolve outstanding border disputes and issues (i.e., the Aegean) by peaceful means. Failing such a settlement the Conclusions said that any disputes should be referred to the International Court of Justice. This is a long- standing Greek demand as regards the Aegean issues. The Council said specifically that it would review Turkey's accession by 2004 in the light of progress made in resolving such issues.
As regards Cyprus, the Council said that a constitutional settlement would facilitate accession but that it was not a precondition. There was, however, a highly ambiguous rider to this. The Council said that its decision on Cypriot accession would "take account of all relevant factors". This could mean anything and everything but it is being interpreted by the Greek side as meaning that the Republic of Cyprus has to be seen to be more accommodating in its negotiating stance vis a vis the Turkish Cypriots in the proximity talks now going on.
Turkey was not happy with the conditions and for a time it appeared it might not accept. But it has and so, for the time being at least, the Council seems to have squared the circle involving Turkey in the accession process while giving Greece more backing on some of its key concerns. The situation has improved to a degree that Greece has said that it will, if requested, coach the Turks in their bid for membership. (Or as one Greek columnist put it, teach the Turks how to shake the Brussels money tree.)
The opposition parties in Greece have been highly critical of the Simitis government for its new posture towards Turkey claiming that it is giving and getting nothing in return. Bulent Ecevit has had difficulties selling some of the EU human rights standards -- such as elimination of the death penalty -- to his coalition partners, the right-wing National Action Party.
But for the time being both governments seem to have been able to accept the terms without them affording any serious challenge to their political stability.
Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Cem appear intent on keeping the focus on low key issues, for the time, being in hopes of expanding the climate of goodwill sufficiently to tackle the tougher issues.
Mr. Simitis has obliquely turned down an invitation from the Turkish prime minsiter Bulent Ecevit, to visit Turkey saying that the time is not yet right. (Namely he has an election coming up this year and can't afford to get caught short on anything to do with Turkey.)
The Greeks have also shied away publicly from embracing Turkish ideas for military goodwill measures. Turkey, e.g., has suggested that combat aircraft might fly unarmed over the Aegean. Greece has said that the Turkish aircraft should first stop violating its claimed airspace.
During his recent visit, Mr. Cem proposed greater exchange of information between the two armed services, fewer and smaller exercises in the Aegean and joint exercises.
Mr. Papandreou said he would relay the message to the Greek Pentagon. In other words, 'not just yet'.
In parallel with the efforts to move forward on Greek-Turkish issues, the UN and the United States administration have been pressing to get negotiations restarted for a Cyprus settlement.
Just what role President Clinton may have played during his swing through the region late in November is unclear. He insisted that he was acting as a facilitator not a mediator and said that he fully backed continuation of the UN Secretary General's mission of good offices.
In any event, talks resumed December 3 for the first time since July 1997 when Mr. Denktash walked out of a high-level meeting to protest the EU's decision to admit the Republic of Cyprus as a candidate while excluding Turkey.
The current round of talks are proximity talks -- i.e., the leaders of both sides talk with the Secretary General and/or his deputy -- without either side being told what they other has said.
The UN looks for points of concurrence in hopes of finding common ground that might form the base for some future face to face negotiations. The talks are being held under a news blackout so, for the time being, we know nothing about what either side has said.
But the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash continues to insist that he will not meet the Greek Cypriot president of the Republic Glafkos Clerides unless on equal terms, i.e., as the recognised president of a sovereign TRNC.
The UN terms of reference for negotiations are that they should pursue a federation with a single citizenship, sovereignty and international character. This is consistent with Greek Cypriot positions. However, the Greek Cypriots also demand restitution of the so-called three freedoms -- the right of freedom of movement, settlement, and ownership of property. The Turkish Cypriots say these demands are unacceptable as they are unprepared to live again among the Greek Cypriots with their homogeneity diluted.
The Turks and the Turkish Cypriots demand a sovereignty association between two internationally recognised states. This would give the Turkish Cypriots the right legally to allow immigration to the TRNC from the Turkish mainland and to sign military treaties with Ankara whereby Turkey would continue to station troops on the island. In other words, they want the status quo legally acknowledged.
The gulf looks too deep to bridge unless there is some fundamental change by one side or the other. For the time being, the Greek Cypriot side does not have to change because it has the legal backing of the UN for its position. Equally the Turkish Cypriot side does not have to change its position because it has the military backing of Turkey which no international state is prepared to challenge.
A new round of proximity talks is to commence on Monday (January 31) but I for one hold out little hope of them achieving anything -- unless there has been some broader deal cut behind the scenes by the Clinton administration about which we do not yet know.
Rather I expect that Turkey will prolong resolution of its differences with Greece in the Aegean for as long as it can, trying to engage Athens in a general dialogue before finally coming to some form of settlement which largely satisfies Greek interests. Turkish legal positions are weak on all legal aspects of the Aegean disputes except the delineation of the sea bed and Greece has already said that it is prepared for this to be referred to the International Court of Justice for adjudication. What often happens in cases that go before the court is that there is a compromise share-out that either satisfies or dissatisfies both sides but, nevertheless, provides a solution.
My guess is that having given ground in the Aegean, Turkey will then say that it is up to Greece to making concessions in Cyprus where there can be no movement unless Turkey changes its policy on sovereignty or its troops are forced from the island.
This may be overly cynical but nothing Turkey has done as regards Cyprus during the past quarter century suggests that it has any intention of seeing the northern third of the island again come under Hellenic influence. The military has established there the buffer zone that it has long sought to protect what it perceives as the soft underbelly of Turkey. Indeed, every measure that Turkey has taken has been towards integration of the TRNC with the mainland as a dependent territory -- even like a province.
Thus the prospects for relations between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey will continue for some years to be less confrontational but still uneasy. Bilateral relations will improve in the Aegean. Business relations will improve markedly between Greece and Turkey. A highlight of the Papandreou visit was a meeting of the Turkish -Greek Business Council jointly chaired by Cem and Papandreou.
Greek companies have already invested in Turkey in agri-businesses and the tobacco industry. The state-controlled National Bank has announced plans to establish in Istanbul. A deal was recently announced by a consortium of US, Greek and Turkish businessmen to build a gas-fired power station in eastern Thrace to provide electricity for the Istanbul region.
Before the Ocalan crisis much of the meat sold in Greek supermarkets was being imported from Turkey without labelling as to country of origin. Greek and Turkish contractors are already talking about joint reconstruction ventures in the Balkans.
The more deals like this are done the less interest there will be both in Greece and Turkey to rock the boat in a confrontation over Cyprus.
If the Republic of Cyprus does enter the EU without the island having been re-united then this will constitute a virtual admission that it has given up its claim to sovereignty over the north. It is likely, however, that in Cyprus, too, economic interests will prevail and, that faced with a choice of entering the EU as a divided island rather than not at all, the Greek Cypriots would chose to abandon the north in the faint hope that something might happen in future to restore the territorial integrity of the island.
Thus the Greek Cypriots will probably join the EU around 2004 to 2005 in a first wave of enlargement Turkey may join in the fullness of time without there having been a settlement on the island. The people who will suffer most in all this will be the Turkish Cypriots left in a limbo tagging along on the fortunes of Turkey.
If their political leadership is to be believed, they don't mind this. The security of not having to live together with the Greek Cypriots more than compensates for any economic hardship. However, the high levels of emigration by Turkish Cypriots and their replacement by mainlanders, for whom the TRNC standard of living seems high, would seem to belie such assertions.
Copyright: Robert McDonald