Sunday, 12 May 2013

Turkey looks to exploit Cyprus’ economic weakness

Cyprus’ foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides was in the USA this week, where he met, among others, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Discussed, obviously, were the latest developments in the Cyprus issue. Where we are at the moment regarding the Cyprus issue is that Turkey, having pulled out of the UN talks last June in protest at Cyprus taking over the rotating presidency of the EU, is now pressing for their immediate resumption. 

Obviously, Ankara detects Cypriot weakness as a result of the economic crisis affecting the island and believes Cyprus is amenable to bullying and agreeing a solution compatible with Turkish aims on the island, a solution along the lines of the 2004 Annan plan. 

As I’ve repeatedly stated, Turkey’s aim is to abolish the Republic of Cyprus and strip the Greek Cypriots of the sovereignty they currently exercise, which would deny them the ability to take decisions Turkey disapproves of or regards are against its regional interests; decisions, for example, that might exclude Turkey from the hydrocarbon game unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean in which Cyprus wants to become a key player, not only for the economic benefits that would accrue but precisely as an assertion of sovereignty and independence.

It’s in this context that the US administration rather unexpectedly invited Kasoulides to Washington and it is the Cypriot perspective on developments in the Eastern Mediterranean that the Cypriot foreign minister confidently outlined in the talk he gave at the Brookings Institution on Thursday, the audio of which you can listen to in full here.

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