“It was anticipated that the negotiations between EU and Turkey would bring a stir to the process of the Cyprus problem. However there has been very little activity in this respect. Brussels has many opportunities in this issue. There are no activities in the peace process between Greek Cypriots and Turks. However the negotiations started in the fall between EU and Turkey bring with itself the opportunities for Cyprus question. The Turkish government may conduct a new policy depending upon reconciliation. EU has to be more active in this field. As a matter of fact EU has seen what a displeasing potential the problem has. The Cyprus question delayed the decision regarding beginning negotiations with Turkey for weeks. The matters that form the focal points in the conflict will regain actuality. It is a fact that Turkey doesn’t recognize Republic of Cyprus, which is recognized by the international community, as the representative of the entire island. Indeed the Republic of Cyprus represents only Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots haven’t had the right to vote for any establishments of the republic. If the Greek Cypriots hadn’t refused the United Nations’ reunification plan, the question would have been solved long time ago. If the reunification were possible today, the problem would be solved. But the recognition and the problem of Turkey opening its harbors and airports to the Greek Cypriots’ ships and planes hinder taking even a step toward reunification. Thereby the unilateral attitude of the Greek Cypriot government is reinforced. Annan’s plan failed because the Greek Cypriots had said “No.” On the other hand the Turkish Cypriots had said “yes” and European Parliament called it as a historic reconciliation. Now is the time for EU to focus on the fundamental problem in the continuing divided island’s question. In June the UN said deservedly that there was no proper atmosphere for new negotiations regarding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus question, determining that there are too much deference in viewpoint and lack of confidence. However the Greek Cypriot government takes steps in the opposite direction. The president, Papadopulos, doesn’t want to meet with his with his Turkish counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat even unofficialy. Talat is a pro-European Union and contributed much in the isolation of his nationalist predecessor Rauf Denktash. Under these conditions it is not enough for the EU to ask the UN to restart the negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Even though the reunification will ultimately be possible with these negotiations under the UN supervision, UN Secretary-General will avoid taking risk. The EU establishments, like the Commission, Council and Parliament, and the member countries should contribute to the changing of the political atmosphere. The Greek Cypriots can block the decisions by veto in the Council of Europe. For example they have blocked the decision to lift economic isolation against the Turkish Cypriots for more than a year. However EU is not a captive of the Greek Cypriots. Papadopulos failed to pass in the Council of Europe his demand for recognition of the Republic of Cyprus as a condition to start the negotiations. The council decided that this question should be solved in the course of integration. It is expected the process completed in 10-15 years. A contact group for Turkish Cypriots was formed in the European Parliament. But this is not enough at all. EU’s Cyprus policy includes serious initiatives to break the Greek Cypriot’ resistance against lifting isolations enforced over the Turkish Cypriots. If that is achieved, then another problem will disappear. Turkey said that in this case it would lift the restriction against the Greek Cypriot’s planes and ship entering its airports and harbors. There is no guarantee for such a Cyprus policy to be successful, but it will form a very good example for EU to solve an ethnic factor in its backyard, while it makes effort to peacefully solve conflicts in the Balkans and the Middle East.” Published by German daily, Die Tageszeitung, on December 29, 2005 by Jerry Sommer
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