Carnegie Europe launched a debate in the framework of international negotiations on the Cyprus Question. Director General of ELIAMEP Dr Thanos Dokos was among the interviewees by Judy Dempsey. His comment was the following:

‘The reluctance of Greek Cypriots to take the risk of cohabitation with Turkish Cypriots and Turkey’s refusal to relax its strategic grip over Cyprus can explain the failure to resolve the division of the island after more than forty years of negotiations. Now, the stars have aligned for a solution as far as the leaders of the two communities are concerned, and significant progress has been achieved during intercommunal negotiations.

Although important disagreements remain on issues like governance and territory, the real stumbling block is security, and this is one of the issues on which decisions are made exclusively in Ankara, not in Cyprus. Turkey appears unwilling to make any meaningful concessions on the full (albeit gradual) withdrawal of all foreign troops from the island or on the roles of the guarantor powers—Britain, Greece, and Turkey. It sounds almost incredible that a non-EU country would have the right of unilateral military intervention in an EU member state. The security concerns of Turkish Cypriots will need to be addressed through a system of implementation guarantees and a multinational police force.

Should Ankara show the necessary goodwill, there is a fair chance that Greek Cypriots will take the big step of endorsing reunification. Concerns about the functionality and viability of the proposed unified state continue to linger, however.’

By Thanos Dokos

Source: Carnegie Europe