OPINION

Opinion

. ..Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Ankara have repeatedly torpedoed talks on the Cyprus issue by demanding a different framework for negotiations, that is, recognition of the breakaway state prior to a confederal solution rather than a federal one in line with UN Security Council resolutions. Turkey’s negative stance has forced Turkey’s traditional European allies to distance themselves from Ankara. Turkey’s diplomatic isolation has not, so far, affected its stance. It clearly thinks that its inflexible behavior will eventually force the Americans and Europeans to adapt, even partially, to its demands as they have in the past. This time, however, things are different. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has warned that Turkey’s intransigence will have an adverse effect on European-Turkish relations. It is clear that should Ankara continue on the same course, the EU will have no other choice but to proceed with Cyprus’s accession without a prior solution of the political problem, even though it does not wish to do so. This is not only because it has formally committed itself, but rather because Athens’s and Nicosia’s moderate position provide no pretext for withdrawal. If Turkey does not change its policy, its only practical option would be to implement Bulent Ecevit’s threat to annex northern Cyprus. This, however, would also be a direct political challenge to the EU, forcing it to freeze its relations with Ankara. In other words, Turkey’s European prospects would be fatally undermined or indefinitely shelved. The humanitarian aspect of the problem, however, should not provide a pretext for the perpetuation of a policy of half-measures. All these years, the EU has essentially avoided taking a clear position on the issue. Officially, states are against illegal migration but, in reality, they tolerate all immigrants who manage to settle in their territory.