Worth a second look

The Cypriot dilemma cannot be answered here with a simple «yes» or an even more simple «no.» The UN solution is obviously not the ideal one, nor does it vindicate our rightful demands stemming from Turkish occupation. Warm advocates of a no-vote deem that Cyprus’s EU accession will strengthen its bargaining position as the dispute will also become a European problem. It is far from certain, though, that this stand will not have negative side effects, such as an official recognition of a Turkish-Cypriot state or the island’s final partition. No one can provide such guarantees, hence we have to take another look at Kofi Annan’s plan. True, the draft incorporates many negative points that derive from the 1974 fait accompli. But it contains a number of provisions that will improve the state of affairs that has come about over the past three decades. Moreover, there is good reason to believe that the momentum of EU membership will further improve matters. Although the plan is out of step with the acquis communautaire, the EU integration process is strong enough to tilt Cyprus onto a radically different track than a dogmatic «no» (and Rauf Denktash’s continued presence) would entail. Greeks should be the first to acknowledge the positive influence of the EU on political, economic and social life. When Constantine Karamanlis insisted on Greece’s EEC membership back in 1979, he met with a great deal of criticism, but developments eventually vindicated his position. Long-term dynamics must also be taken into close consideration before a decision is reached. They are not to be found in any deal or treaty. Prudence and farsightedness are needed. Whenever Greece played with fire on Cyprus, it lost. And it lost badly. When Greeks used their comparative advantages, the economy, trade and society itself, they accomplished a good deal.

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