The Moral Grounds for the EU’s Obligation to End the Occupation of Northern Cyprus (ARI)

The Moral Grounds for the EU’s Obligation to End the Occupation of Northern Cyprus (ARI)

Theme: Turkey’s occupation of 37% of Cyprus is a protracted legal and political anomaly that the EU is morally obliged to address immediately.

Summary: Over one-third of Cyprus’s territory remains occupied since the 1974 Turkish invasion. As an act of aggression, the invasion was immediately condemned by the institutions of the international community. The occupation and the illicit 1983 secession of the occupied territory have also been condemned repeatedly by the United Nations, the European Community/Union, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). And yet the gross victimisation of the Cypriots continues unabated, even though they are EU citizens since 1 May 2004. Simultaneously, the EU is pursuing a global role under the aegis of its principles and values of freedom, human rights, democracy, dignity, solidarity and justice; it also threatens with sanctions states that violate their citizens’ human rights. Therefore, if the EU’s cardinal principles and values are to be taken seriously, it follows that Turkey (a candidate for EU membership) should be properly condemned while the process of liberating Cyprus should begin immediately. Otherwise, the EU will undermine its internal credibility and international prestige.

Analysis: The European Union (EU) is an international actor claiming to advance a more rational and humane global order. Accordingly, it tries to accumulate moral kudos in various international activities involving, inter alia, human rights, peace-keeping and peace-making, ecological sensitivity, humanitarian assistance and generous foreign aid.

The relevant discussion of the EU’s international role and emerging identity is currently addressed by the literature on ‘civilian power EU’, ‘military power EU’ or ‘normative power Europe’. By implication, there is an expanding ‘ethical’ dialogue on the EU’s cardinal principles, norms and values, even though most scholars shy away from employing the terms ‘ethical’ or ‘moral’.

Intriguingly, no such discussion has addressed the EU’s moral obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus, although it is a full Member State since May 2004.[1] Given, however, that part of Cyprus remains occupied by Turkey, given the demonstrable illegality and immorality of the occupation and given Turkey’s intransigence and manifest bad faith, it follows logically and ethically that the Cypriots’ human rights and fundamental freedoms should be restored. Therefore, while the EU must advance its ethical role globally, its moral obligations towards one of its Members should, arguably, have logical and political priority.

Sources and Nature of the Union’s Moral Obligations
As the 2006 EU Annual Report on Human Rights emphasised, ‘Human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations in different parts of the world expect a lot from the EU. Rightly so: the EU as a value-based community can be expected to further the cause of human rights and democracy with great ambition’. Similarly, according to Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, ‘Respect for human rights is one of the most fundamental and universal values of our world. All of us, in our official capacity and in our private lives, have a responsibility to promote and protect the rights of our fellow members of the human family, be that at home or elsewhere in the world’.

Professor Ian Manners, elaborating on the ‘normative’ character of this ‘value-based community’, has noted the EU’s five ‘core norms’: peace, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.[2] These norms are solidified, and even celebrated, in every programmatic document of the EC/EU, including the Preamble and founding principles of the 1957 Treaty establishing the European Communities (TEC, art.177 and art. 11) and the 1991 Treaty on European Union (TEU, art. 6 and art. 11), the 1993 Copenhagen criteria, the principles and norms of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter, the draft Constitutional Treaty and the December 2005, European Union Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL)’. Manners, building on the EU’s ‘founding principles’, recalled the Union’s ‘fundamental rights’: dignity, freedom, equality, solidarity, citizenship and justice.

Elsewhere,[3] I propose the notion of a ‘pragmatic idealist EU‘ as a fruitful conception of the Union’s global role, as an intimation of the EU’s ethical goals and as a further conceptual explication of ‘normative’ in ‘normative power Europe’. In any event, my main concern is the insertion in the debate of the terms ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ and the assertion that the EU is ‘already’ a prima facie ethical actor.

But, then, can the EU qualify as an authentic ‘normative power’ or ‘pragmatic idealist actor’ if it hesitates to apply its essential principles and values to correct the on-going ethical anomaly in Cyprus’ The answer presupposes demonstrating that the Republic of Cyprus deserves the EU’s ethical protection. This desert can be established by proving Cyprus’s prolonged victimisation, primarily by Turkey.

Cyprus’s Victimisation by Turkey
Turkey’s victimisation of Cyprus since the 1974 invasion is easy to establish, once bias and misinformation are exposed. As the relevant record is widely available, a mere sketch should suffice here to show that, whereas the Greek Cypriots (G/Cs) have long worked to achieve liberation and ‘reunification’, Turkey is trying to exploit the occupation in order to attain its own EU accession and to ‘reunify’ Cyprus under crudely self-serving terms.

Besides this blackmail, its geopolitical significance has guaranteed sustained ‘Western’ favouritism to Turkey since the Truman Doctrine. As regards the triangle Turkey-Cyprus-Greece, Washington and London’s frequently immoral Realpolitik has covered both Greece and Cyprus. The most recent such instance is the attempt to sell the Annan Plan as ‘a UN Cyprus reunification plan’. In truth, this plan was tailor-made to serve the strategic interests of the US, the UK and Turkey and the idiosyncratic needs of the Turkish Cypriots (T/Cs). Simultaneously, it intended Turkey’s full exculpation for the invasion and the occupation, it by-passed the complete restoration of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots and it turned a blind eye to the anxieties and rational concerns of the Greek Cypriots, the overwhelming majority of Cyprus’s population.

In my 2006 book, Unfair Play,[4] I demonstrated how the Annan Plan violated cardinal principles and norms of international and European law, thereby creating a deleterious precedent in their legal and ethical culture. Moreover, the plan was manifestly unworkable and blatantly unfair to the G/Cs, as shown by the following selection of structural flaws:

(1) Constitutional provisions for inter-communal majorities amounted essentially to giving the right of veto to the minority T/Cs.

(2) In cases of an inter-communal decision-making impasse, the plan appealed to the new Supreme Court. But here, besides the G/C and T/C judges, the plan had imported three foreign judges.

(3) Most of the economic burden of running the new state would necessarily fall on the G/Cs, whose present per capita income is around three times that of the T/Cs.

(4) The fact that pivotal property issues were handed to a Property Board was causing insecurity and frustration: many ‘very foggy’ compensations could stretch over 35 years while its unclear funding and obscure mechanism were unfathomable by most ordinary people.

(5) Behind calculated ambiguities, the plan had legitimated most of the illegal settlers. Demonstrating utter insensitivity towards the G/Cs, the plan also ignored these settlers’ serious ‘social, economic, psychological and political’ conflict with the indeginous T/Cs, as recognised by the 2003 Report on Cyprus of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Rapporteur Jaakko Laakso): ‘The settlers come mainly from the region of Anatolia, one of the less developed regions of Turkey. Their customs and traditions differ in a significant way from those in Cyprus. These differences are the main reason for the tensions and dissatisfaction of the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population who tend to view them as a foreign element’.

Moreover, the plan contained two revealing legal and ethical sins: (1) the annulment of the citizens’ right to appeal to the ECHR for compensation; and (2) the handing of the continental shelf to the British Sovereign Military Bases, following the discovery of large hydrocarbon deposits south of Cyprus’

This sketch should justify the plan’s rejection by 76% of the Greek Cypriots. Now, once rejected, the plan was to be rendered ‘null and void’. And yet influential power-centres in Europe and beyond embarked immediately on ‘punishing’ the Republic for the Greek Cypriots’ rejection while attempting to ‘reward the Turkish Cypriots’ for the plan’s endorsement. Clearly, this made a mockery of the notion of referendum. It was also blatantly unethical: for one just cannot ‘punish’ those who rejected something unfair and unworkable or ‘reward’ those who endorsed what was serving their interests and needs. All this demonstrates the Cypriots’ victimisation by crude Realpolitik instead of their protection by Moralpolitik.

Turkey and the T/C leadership are orchestrating the revival of the null and void Annan Plan. They are persistently supported by Washington and Turkey’s current ‘EU lobby’, bent on whitewashing Turkey’s illegal and unethical behaviour. Worse still, this behaviour has recently been ‘enriched’: first, by the blatant violation by Turkey of its obligation to open its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus, and secondly, by the unceasing campaign to build homes and hotels in the occupied territory, on Greek Cypriot properties abandoned during the bloody Turkish invasion.[5]

Furthermore, the AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and its apologists have cultivated and spread a tripartite mythology: first, that Turkey has ‘fulfilled its Cyprus obligations’ by endorsing the Annan Plan; secondly, that the EU must keep its ‘promises to the Turkish Cypriots’ before Turkey fulfils its contractual obligations; and thirdly that ‘the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriots must end’.

The first myth is palpably absurd. Since the Annan Plan was concocted to exculpate Turkey and to serve the US, the UK and the Turkish Cypriots, it is mind-boggling to claim that Turkey has fulfilled the obligations that follow from the invasion, the 33-year-old occupation and the gross violation of the human rights of all legitimate Cypriots.

The second myth also collapses by recalling that, with Nicosia’s consent, the EU adopted the Green Line Regulation for the circulation of persons and goods. Moreover, the financial aid of €259 million allotted by the EU for delivery to the ‘Turkish Cypriots’ was approved by the legitimate Nicosia government. Therefore, this myth represents another colossal lie.

Thirdly, by referring to the ‘isolation’ of the T/Cs, Turkish propaganda hopes, first, to evade recognition of the generous assistance extended to the T/Cs by the Cyprus Government[6] and, secondly, to cover up the international community’s condemnation of the illicit and unrecognised regime of occupied Cyprus (‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ or ‘TRNC’). This condemnation resulted as follows: first, the 1974 invasion was universally acknowledged as illegal and immoral, and, secondly, the November 1983 ‘unilateral declaration of independence’ (UDI) by the occupation regime was universally declared null and void.

Condemnatory legal rulings, resolutions, and political declarations were issued by the Court of the European Communities, by the European Community and the UN Security Council. Thus, UNSC Resolution 541 (1983) stated that it [the Security Council] “…1. Deplores the declaration of the Turkish Cypriot authorities of the purported secession of part of the Republic of Cyprus; 2. Considers the declaration referred to above as legally invalid and calls for its withdrawal;…7. Calls upon all States not to recognize any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus…”

The European Community immediately issued its explicit condemnation of the UDI. Six months later, the Security Council, by Resolution 550, reaffirmed the condemnation as per resolution 541 (1983) and demanded its urgent implementation. None of these resolutions have been respected by Turkey.

But here is yet another myth, completely glossed over by most Cyprus-watchers: any vague and unqualified talk of ‘Turkish Cypriots’ is utterly misleading and unethical. The indigenous Turkish Cypriots have long been a minority in occupied Cyprus. They are outnumbered dramatically by the illegal Turkish settlers, methodically brought over in order to make unrecognisable the Republic’s pre-invasion demography. As noted by the aforementioned 2003 Council of Europe Report:

“Despite the lack of consensus on the exact figures, all parties concerned admit that Turkish nationals have been systematically arriving in the northern part of the island. According to reliable estimates, their number currently amounts to 115 000… [The Turkish Cypriots’] number decreased from 118,000 in 1974 to an estimated 87,600 in 2001. In consequence, the settlers outnumber the indigenous Turkish Cypriot population in the northern part of the island”.

This illegality constitutes a war crime. However, the United Nations allowed these Turkish nationals to vote in the Cypriot referendum as equals to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots.

All this helps explain why my recent book was entitled, Unfair Play. London, Washington and Ankara emerged therein as protagonistic in Realpolitik immorality; however, Greece and the EU were praiseworthy for supporting Cyprus’s rightful claims. In particular, the EU’s ethical role emerged as follows: first, whenever the EC/EU raised obstacles to Turkey’s accession ambitions, the Cyprus occupation was present. Secondly, it immediately condemned the 1983 UDI by the secessionist regime. Thirdly, it decoupled the Republic’s EU accession from its problem’s resolution at the December 1999 Helsinki summit. Fourth, the December 2002 Copenhagen European Council decided that the (indivisible) Republic of Cyprus should sign the Treaty of Accession in April 2003. Finally, the Republic joined the Union officially on 1 May 2004. By and large, therefore, EU institutions have kept recognising and defending for decades Cyprus’s rightful case.

Some Post-Annan Plan Cypriot Vicissitudes
Aspiring to start accession negotiations on 3 October 2005, Turkey signed the Additional Protocol to its Customs Union agreement on 29 July 2005. It added, however, a ‘declaration’, asserting that ‘it does not recognise’ the Republic of Cyprus. But then, an EU ‘Counter-declaration’ was issued on 21 September 2005, demonstrating the Union’s determination to assert its essential principles and values.

The ‘Counter-declaration’ embodied legal, political and ethical commitments. Paragraph 2 stressed that Turkey’s declaration ‘is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol‘. According to Paragraph 4, “The European Community and its Member States recall that the Republic of Cyprus became a Member State of the European Union on 1st May 2004. They underline that they recognise only the Republic of Cyprus as a subject of international law“. Equally explicit was the next paragraph: “Recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process. Accordingly, the EU underlines the importance it attaches to the normalization of relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, as soon as possible”. Finally, while reiterating support for the UN’s efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, the Anti-declaration (par. 7) demanded that Cyprus’s settlement should now be “in line with the principles on which the Union is founded…“(emphases added).

During this period, Nicosia accumulated warm political and moral support, in COREPER and the Council of General Affairs and External Relations, by up to 19 other fellow Members. This support arose because Ankara’s provocative acts and omissions were increasingly frustrating EU Members and institutions; the UK, then presiding, was frequently isolated due to its excessive Turkophilia; and the Annan Plan’s errors and sins were being revealed and appreciated.

Then, on 3 October 2005, the Council endorsed the ‘Negotiating Framework for Turkey’, demanding inter alia: (b) its “continued support for efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded…”; and (c) “progress in the normalisation of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus”.

On 12 October 2005, ‘The Committee for a European Solution in Cyprus’, presented in Brussels its Report entitled, A Principled Basis for a Just and Lasting Cyprus Settlement in the Light of International and European Law. This Report, produced by an international panel of distinguished professors of Political Science, International Law and Constitutional Law, contained a devastating critique of the Annan Plan, followed by recommendations for the achievement of ‘a European solution’ to the Cyprus problem. The Report was praised by numerous MEPs tutored in the matter.

Another Commission document was welcomed by all those who envisage the fair, viable and dignified resolution of the problem in tandem with the authentic rapprochement and solid friendship between Greece and Turkey. The Proposal for a Council Decision on the Principles, Priorities, and Conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey reiterated that Turkey should “Continue to support efforts to find a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded“.[7] Thus, given Turkey’s repeated faux pas and the Annan Plan’s gradual demystification, while Cyprus was becoming a less misunderstood and increasingly respected EU Member, the Commission was re-asserting that the Cyprus settlement must be co-determined by the Union’s axiological principles and norms.

The Cyprus Government was pressed by an angry public opinion to veto the start of EU-Turkey negotiations. It could have done so on either 17 December 2004 or 3 October 2005 or on both occasions. Resisting this temptation demonstrated its decision to show respect for the Union’s values of moderation and reconciliation. Simultaneously, Nicosia expected EU solidarity in the form of genuine pressure on Turkey to begin fulfilling ‘at long last’ its legal and moral obligations. Such pressure did not materialise and the many Ankaras have not budged. By August 2007, Turkey refuses to ‘recognise’ the Republic. It follows that Turkey today keeps violating its legal, political and moral obligations towards both Cyprus and the EU itself.

In 2006, Nicosia’s case received further moral and political support from many European capitals, the European Parliament and some of its distinguished representatives. They have all been shaping an ‘ethical acquis‘ vis-à-vis Turkey concerning its Cyprus-related tricks and antics. Quite telling was the September 2006 Report on Turkey by the EP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, written by the Dutch MEP (EPP) Camiel Eurlings. Among the issues preoccupying MEPs were Turkey’s non-fulfilment of its obligations towards Cyprus. For instance, in paragraph 52, the Report expressed the Committee’s disappointment over the fact that, in spite of its contractual obligations, Turkey continues to maintain restrictions on vessels flying the Cypriot flag…; reminds Turkey that this practice constitutes a breach by Turkey of the Association Agreement, the related Customs Union and the Additional Protocol, as the restrictions infringe the principle of the free movement of goods;… regrets that Turkey maintains its veto against the participation of the Republic of Cyprus in international organisations and in multilateral agreements. Moral support to Cyprus was also extended by leading MEPs, responding to the publication of the Regular Report on Turkey’s Progress towards Accession. Observing the Commission’s emerging passivity towards Turkey’s non-fulfilment of its contractual obligations, Elmar Brok (EPP) -at the time Chairman of the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee- lamented a ‘shift of responsibility’ by the Commission to the December 2006 summit: “The Commission evades a final evaluation of Turkey, in particular with respect to the unresolved Cyprus question. This means not only lack of credibility towards the European public, but also continues to weaken the EU negotiation position vis-à-vis Turkey“.[8] Similarly, the Socialist Group’s Vice-President, Jan Marinus Wiersma, said: “… [The] Ankara protocol is an important question of law: it is not up for negotiation and it must be implemented fully” (ibid.).

In Cyprus, political elites academics, and public opinion were dismayed by Commisioner Olli Rhen’s sudden backsliding on the aforementioned issues. Throughout 2006, Rehn was warning of an EU-Turkey ‘train crash’ unless Turkey fulfilled its legal obligations and ethical duties. But then, yielding to widely reported pressures by the usual suspects, instead of endorsing the long-threatened substantive sanctions against the guilty country -such as proposing the suspension of Turkey’s accession negotiations- he was actively engaged in a European Commission ‘compromise’. Turkey was ‘punished’ by the ‘freezing’ of only eight (accession negotiation) ‘chapters’ out of 35. Elmar Brok now advocated that “no new negotiation chapters should be opened as long as Turkey does not meet its legal obligations”.

In December 2006 Turkey was handed a ‘toleration period’ of up to three years to meet its violated obligations towards Cyprus and the EU. The implicit rationalisations “in terms of helping Turkey transcend its domestic travails and political malaise” are deplorable. Turkey’s own problems cannot excuse either the transparent victimisation of an EU Member State or the crude violation of the Union’s norms, principles and values.

Does Cyprus Deserve the EU’s ‘Ethical protection’?
Turkey’s accumulated guilt towards Cyprus results, inter alia, from the continued use of military force in the illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, the gross violation of elementary human rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, the refusal to recognise the Republic -in contrast to the entire world and the EU itself-, the implied threats to use again military force in Cyprus, the persistence of hypocrisy and deception, the intentional distortion of legal, political and ethical facts, the incessant use of political and military blackmail and the violation of the cardinal norm of pacta sunt servanda.

Such behaviour is ethically intolerable. It demonstrates Turkey’s attempt to disregard the EU’s normative (ie, legal and ethical) acquis expecting to serve narcissistic interests and geopolitical ambitions. Equally painful is that certain EU Members and (recently) the European Commission stand idly by at Turkey’s illegal and immoral provocations. Therefore, once the record of victimisation is recalled, any further delay to satisfy the Republic’s rightful claim to liberation amounts to an ethical scandal: legal paradoxes, ethical sins and political anomalies are being tolerated in favour of a problematic ‘and deeply unpopular’ geopolitical experiment.

This ethical scandal contains profound implications for the EU’s credibility and prestige. A grand contradiction emerges in the rhetorical celebration of the Union?s essential principles, norms and values while failing to honour what is being celebrated. Liberty, Democracy, Respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Rule of Law, Dignity, Equality, Solidarity and Justice are not metaphysical abstractions, but the Union’s constitutive legal, political and ethical commitments. If their enunciation and celebration are to be taken seriously, especially when globally pursued, it should follow -ethically and politically- that they have to be applied a fortiori to Cyprus and Turkey.

Final Considerations
According to Immanuel Kant, “ought implies can”. Is the EU capable of satisfying Cyprus’s rightful claims so that we can establish what it ought to do?

First, we saw how the EU has demonstrated repeatedly the will and the ability to protect Cyprus’s rights and frequently to ‘punish’ Turkey for its Cyprus policies.

Secondly, an ethical acquis regarding Cyprus has been crystallised by resolutions, declarations, statements and actions, issued by most EU institutions, by the United Nations with EC participation and by distinguished EU personalities. This acquis entails the EU’s proved capability to protest the unethical victimisation of the Republic.

Thirdly, if the EU can threaten Third Parties with substantial sanctions should they violate their citizens’ human rights, it is incomprehensible that no substantial sanctions are imposed on a candidate state that keeps victimising the citizens of an EU Member State. To be sure, traditionally, the EC/EU has relied on the UN to handle the Cyprus problem. Today, however, the picture has changed dramatically: the Republic is an EU Member State, the UN’s role in the Annan Plan is seriously discredited and Turkey’s arrogance, unreliability and bad faith are demonstrated. Therefore, the EU ought now to assert its essential principles and values in tandem with assisting a fair UN role: to protect the human rights of the (legitimate) Cypriots and the Union’s credibility, prestige, and self-respect.

Fourth, regarding the measures of an effective EU modus operandi, they should start with the speedy withdrawal of Turkey’s occupation troops; with radical changes in the Turkish Penal Code (TPC), which prevents debate and self-criticism; and with respect by Turkey of pacta sunt servanda, giving priority to the normalisation of Turkey-Cyprus relations, beginning with recognition. To be sure, the Republic’s recognition will entail de-recognition of the secessionist regime. But this, like the normalisation of Turkey-Cyprus relations, will not be an act of generosity. It is merely what Turkey ought to do, given the countless UN and EC/EU Resolutions and decisions and the explicit obligations attached to its EU candidacy.

Fifth, the above do not imply that the EU is expected to resolve the Cyprus problem. Turkey does not desire it, worried about enforcing ?the principles on which the Union was founded?. And Nicosia does not demand it, expecting implimentation of the UN Charter’s norms and values in tandem with application of the EU’s principles and norms.

Therefore, here is a preliminary catalogue of what the Union can, and therefore morally ought to, do:

(1) To emphasise consistently -in statements, declarations, actions and decisions- that one of its Members is being victimised by a candidate eager for accession.

(2) Turkey should be forced to speed up the withdrawal of its troops from Cyprus.

(3) Turkey should recognise the Republic following its 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections.

(4) Because Turkey has engineered the evasion of the UN-sponsored inter-communal negotiations -agreed upon on 8 July 2006- it should be forced to commit the T/C leadership to these negotiations.

(5) The Union should demand the immediate abolition of Art. 301 and all analogous articles of the TPC.

(6) The proverbial ‘moral conscience’ of the Union, the European Parliament, should take further bold initiatives to defend Cyprus.

(7) A ‘Committee of Wise Persons’ could well be formed to play the role of ‘honest broker’ between Nicosia and Turkey, and between the two main Cypriot communities, and to liaise with the appropriate UN officials and the Permanent Members of the Security Council.

(8) The newly-envisaged -after the June 2007 European Council- EU Foreign Affairs High Representative should include among his/her priorities the coordination and implementation of the above.

If, however, the proposed measures do not suffice to mobilise the Union as required by its moral obligations to Cyprus, the Cyprus Government, supported by the like-minded fellow-Members, should definitely change its strategy and resort ?at last? to the use of its right to veto.

Conclusions: This author is fully aware of the manifold support extended to Turkey on account of its geopolitical value, its growth potential, its possible role as a ‘bridge’ between the EU and the Muslim world, etc. In fact, these reasons and the likelihood of establishing a zone of peace and friendship between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece -once Turkey should become ‘Europeanised’- explain my warm, earlier support for Turkey’s EU accession ambitions.[9] But the assumption of Turkey’s ‘Europeanisation’ is being progressively falsified: by rising nationalist passions generated by the ‘perception’ that the EU is being ‘unfair’ to Turkey, by a misplaced eagerness to influence its membership’s terms, by an elite and popular reaction to the negative perceptions of many Europeans (for whom “Turkey is too large, too poor and too Muslim”) and by a contradictory and confused political culture where narcissism, arrogance and aggressiveness co-habit with pessimism, insecurity and confusion. This very picture explains both the animosity towards and support for Turkey’s EU trajectory. It might also account for the notion that, since Turkey’s accession road looks increasingly bumpy, one need not expect it to conform to EU principles, values and norms. This notion, however, represents a serious fallacy, for it entails either that the EU must alter its axiological character to accommodate Turkey or that accession must preceed conformity to EU values and norms. Both these readings imply that the Union should yield to Turkey’s blackmail, something politically and morally intolerable. There is, however, a third way suggested by this essay: first, whatever the EU-Turkey future holds (including ‘strategic partnership’), Turkey should be helped to fulfill its legal-political-moral obligations without affirmative action or negative discrimination; secondly, the Union’s moral obligations to Cyprus must be fulfilled, for they now constitute a test-case of the EU’s axiological authenticity and ethical identity on which its internal credibility and international prestige largely depend.

Costas Melakopides
University of Cyprus

[1] The accession covers the entire Republic of Cyprus as an integrated international actor. According to Protocol 10 of the Treaty of Accession (2003), the acquis communautaire will be applied to the occupied territory after the resolution of Cyprus’s (political/legal/moral) problem.

[2] Ian Manners, “Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?”, Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 40, nr 2, 2002, p 235-58.

[3] Costas Melakopides, Achilles Emilianides and Giorgos Kentas, The Cyprus Yearbook of International Relations 2007, KIMEDE and Power Publishing, Nicosia, 2007 (forthcoming).

[4] See Costas Melakopides, Unfair Play: Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, the UK and the EU, Martello Papers 29, Centre for International Relations, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, 2006.

[5] The invasion’s human cost on the Greek Cypriot side included 6,000 dead, 180,000 refugees and displaced persons and 3,000 missing persons. As regards material losses, the invasion resulted in the appropriation by Turkey of 70% of Cyprus’s ‘productive resources’, according to Strategic Survey 1974, IISS, London, 1974, p. 82n.

[6] See Unfair Play for details on this crucial matter.

[7] European Commission, Brussels, COM (2005) 559, 9 November 2005, p. 10, emphasis added.

[8] ” ‘Last Opportunity’ for Turkey”,, 8 November 2006, emphasis added.

[9] See Costas Melakopides, “On the Mediterranean ‘Fuzzy Edge’ of the EU: The Candidacies of Malta, Cyprus and Turkey”, Journal of European Integration, vol. 22, 2000, p. 299-34.