Politics, not stubborn stands

Washington said last week that Turkey’s use of US military equipment by its occupation forces on Cyprus is governed by legal agreements while keeping up the pressure on Athens and Nicosia to withdraw the US-supplied weapons of the National Guard. Several US officials are using this issue as a lever for pressuring Nicosia into finally accepting the UN peace plan. Britain is trying to upgrade the breakaway state’s status by increasing EU economic aid to the Turkish Cypriots. According to Kofi Annan’s blueprint, the UN plan would only come into force if it were approved in both referenda. Nevertheless, it is often said that since Turkish Cypriots voted in favor, no substantial changes will be made while the Greek Cypriots should bear the consequences of killing the plan. One would expect powers like the US and Britain to act more politically and less stubbornly. Still, the US recognizes the legality of Turkish occupation forces and it might well recognize the breakaway state; for who is to tell the superpower what to do? The fact that it has not done so yet is not due to Greek diplomatic skill or the courage of those who condemned the invasion. Turkey’s invasion was in such blatant violation of international law that it could only have prompted condemnation by all other UN members. But US recognition of the occupation regime would abolish the constitutional order on the Republic of Cyprus and along with it, the legal foundations of Britain’s bases on the island. In fact, Nicosia could refer that issue to Brussels for contravening the acquis communautaire – for Cyprus is, after all, an equal EU member. Politicians in Athens and Nicosia have common sense: They are well disposed toward the EU and US, and want to protect the national interest without creating tension. Being less stubborn and more political would be in everyone’s interest, including Ankara.

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