Cyprus: Endgame

It is an open question whether the two leaders of Cyprus will go into the history books as joint authors of a difficult settlement that brought a new style of government under the European Union. It is equally possible that the current talks will break down, that the Republic of Cyprus will enter the Union, and that northern Cyprus will vote to become part of Turkey.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Christopher Brewin

Senior lecturer, Keele University

Since this change of frontiers without the consent of all parties would bring sanctions against Turkey, it would also mean the end of its customs union with the EU, and its membership option. Cyprus would be the scene, not only of a clash of communities and nations, but of civilizations.

The Cypriot kaleidoscope is being shaken again. On December 4, Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, agreed to hold direct talks until ‘a comprehensive settlement is achieved.’ The target is for the two to agree the main lines of reunification of the island by July.

If agreement is not reached, the risks are great. Turkey is likely to match the integration of Greek Cyprus into the European Union (EU) with its formal integration with Turkish Cyprus. This would end its customs union with the EU, thereby damaging trade relations, and its own path to membership, reducing foreign investment.

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