OPINION

Denktash’s machinations

Ankara’s strategy, as this is expected to be faithfully followed by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, has become perfectly clear as of last Wednesday, when Turkey’s traditional bureaucracy inflicted a blow on Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the neo-Islamic Justice and Development party. The general characteristics of this strategy are the following: Negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus issue will resume but not under the February 28 deadline, in order to reach a settlement before April 16 – that is, when the accession treaty of the new EU members, including Cyprus, will be signed. In this manner, Denktash wishes to make sure that the Republic of Cyprus will join the European Union with its current borders and without the Turkish side having made any of the territorial concessions foreseen in the blueprint proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Turkish side believes that the entry of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU would «formalize» the partition of the island, which is what Denktash and Ankara have threatened to do for months. In essence, Denktash is trying to annul the asset of the republic’s membership of the Union by safeguarding the occupied territories and by winning recognition of his sovereignty of the occupied section of the Mediterranean island. The future success of the Turkish machinations is questionable, while Turkey’s expansionist ideas may well have dire repercussions in reserve for Ankara and Denktash. However, for this to occur, the Cyprus question will have to be viewed anew in terms of territorial invasion and occupation by foreign forces. The EU itself, must clearly express its objections to Ankara and condemn these sorts of political machinations.