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UK newspaper says breakthrough in Turkey EU talks imminent

by Upstate NY Fri Aug 18th, 2006 at 10:42:07 AM EST

The Independent quoted diplomatic sources who said that the EU and UN are combining to find away out of the Turkey-EU Customs protocol impasse over Cyprus.


The proposal is for the UN to take over the port of Famagusta which will allow the export of Turkish Cypriot goods.

In the Cyprus News this morning, the Turkish Cypriot gov't spokesman responded to the proposal by stating, essentially, that the isolation of Northern Cyprus is not economic but political:

"Hasan Ercakica, the spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, said the north was not involved in any such discussions. The aforementioned media reports state that some of our ports will be opened to international trade under such a system and that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots will be lifted," Ercakica said in a statement. "However, all the involved parties are aware that our ports are already being used for international trade and that the isolation of Turkish Cypriots cannot be lifted through such a practice."

"As the Turkish Cypriot side, we demand that the conditions of export from our ports to the EU countries are changed and regulated in line with the trade rules between EU countries."

Ercakica said the ports in north already had the necessary facilities for imports and exports. "There is no need for the UN or the EU to take over this mission," he said.

This is a real conundrum for the EU since the EU understands the isolation of Northern Cyprus to be economic in nature. In other words, when the EU promised to help the Turkish Cypriots after the 2004 referendum, the promise was in the form of economic and legal upgrading through the opening of ports, not a political upgrading in the form of recognition.

This is the crux of the problem with Turkey as well. There is a logical impasse here. The only way Turkey will allow the Customs Protocol to go into effect is for the North to be recognized, because Turkey argues the Customs Protocol forces it into a de facto recognition of the Cyprus Republic. As long as the logic of this argument holds, there doesn't seem to be much room for maneuver at all. And the only reason that I can see for Turkey to adopt this logic is that it doesn't have much trust or faith that the EU will ultimately accept it down the road. So why make the only logical move on Cyprus now?

Essentially, I'm arguing that the Cyprus snafu is obviously NOT the problem.

This article somehow got missed...do you think something will really come of this?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 05:05:48 AM EST
Sadly I don't see a ready solution. The problem for the turkish cypriots is that their resolution is in the hands of the greeks, who have no reason to play ball.

The Northern cypriots voted against a solution when it was within their grasp and also in the interest of the south. Now the South has no interest in solving the problem as they've got what they wanted and so are using their power of veto to let the N Cypriots hang out of resentment for the invasion.

This will only be fixed if Turkey, the EU and the UN take the decision out of the hands of the Greek cypriots. Which will require both Turkey and the rest of the EU to get mutually enthusiastic about Turkey joining up. An enthusiasm currently on the wane.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 06:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's more complex. The Greek Cypriots already have a huge incentive in this, and that is reunion and recovery of land for citizens. That's why they have to deal, and that's why the gov't has already said they are oriented toward Turkey's entry into the EU. That would mean a de facto reunion of the island.

The problems, as always, are the terms of the negotiation. So, I don't think one can say that Cyprus is against Turkey's accession the way some other European countries are. Put it this way: if Turkey were on the brink of joining this week, I guarantee you that Cyprus would vote for it. Turkey joining the EU would imply a de facto reunion of Cyprus since the acquis communitaire would take effect immediately. The question of turkish troops in Cyprus would be brought before EU courts. In many ways, the Greek Cypriots would far prefer Turkey's accession to the alternative.

Since Turkey's accession is not at all assured, Cyprus simply cannot give up the rights of its citizens as the Annan Plan envisioned. The Annan Plan was contradictory to the EU acquis communitaire, and it had to be agreed to prior to Cyprus' joining for it to take effect. This is why there is slow going on the island right now because legally everyone realizes that any reunion will have to take place according to EU rules, and without Turkey's progress toward the EU, the Turkish side is unwilling to negotiate. The Greek side is effectively prevented from negotiating.

My diary was made essentially to point out that Cyprus, in fact, has already proposed free trade for the north, under EU auspices, and that therefore they weren'tt he cause of the north's isolation.

by Upstate NY on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 09:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think something HAS to come of this or else Turkey's progress will experience the train wreck that Ollie Rehn predicted. In other words, this is the only out for Turkey.

I also wrote a few months ago that this was the only logical way out of the conundrum since Turkey could sell it to the electorate as the opening up of Turkish Cypriot goods for the European market.

by Upstate NY on Mon Aug 21st, 2006 at 09:27:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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