Turkey and the Cyprus Dispute: Pitfalls and Opportunities
By Tarik Oguzlu
SETA Policy Brief, No 36, November 2009
As the Cyprus dispute continues to damage Turkey’s relations with the European Union, Turkey urgently needs to define its strategy in case that the ongoing inter-communal talks on the island fail to produce a comprehensive settlement soon. Both the prospects of Turkey’s membership in the EU and the institutional relationship between the EU and NATO will be at risk so long as the stalemate on the island continues. How should Turkey behave in response to EU’s demand that Ankara opens its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot vessels and aircrafts? How should one read the emerging Turkish position that the talks on the island cannot last forever and the two communities should reach a settlement by the spring of 2010? What can (should) the international community do in order to facilitate the final solution? Are there enough reasons on the ground to suggest that a final settlement on the island is just around the corner? These are timely questions and require urgent responses.