OPINION

Poorly informed?

It was not long after the submission of Annan’s proposal for a Cyprus solution that we witnessed a transformation of the stage on which Athens and Nicosia have been negotiating up until now. It was Ankara that provoked this change, by means of the new «star» of Turkish politics, Recep Tayyip Erodgan, who quickly familiarized himself with the traditional diplomatic tactics of his country. Ankara made it very clear that the issue of Cyprus is one it takes very seriously, too seriously for it to respond with a simple «yes» or «no» to some «Annan plan» and without some hard bargaining. … Costas Simitis’s government now finds itself in a difficult position following two decisions: 1) to accept Annan’s plan from the outset despite its awareness of the complex reforms the proposal would entail; 2) to accept that the proposal would be made public after Turkey’s parliamentary elections, leaving little time for negotiations before the EU’s Copenhagen summit in December. Essentially, the Greek leadership conceded to the launch of a critical phase of negotiations over Cyprus without any indications of Ankara’s stance regarding Annan’s proposal. Athens had been so inadequately briefed that even the government’s initial «forecasts» regarding Erdogan’s outlook and actions were mistaken. Simitis appears to have been no better briefed on Washington’s reaction to the «package» of demands submitted by Erdogan at last week’s NATO summit in Prague…