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.