OPINION

Opinion

Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s refusal to take part in the proximity talks on the Cyprus problem leaves the entire process up in the air… Denktash has once again retreated behind his well-known intransigent positions – what is more with Ankara’s political support… For the time being, Turkey’s negative stance seems to favor the Greek-Cypriot side which, because of the prospect of EU accession, cannot afford to suffer the penalties of failure. The Europeans neither want to break the formal commitment which they made during the Helsinki summit on Cyprus’s accession, nor to allow the island into the Union without having first resolved the political problem. Their only option is to impose some solution – but they are not interested in the content of that solution. For this reason, and in conjunction with the USA, they will exert strong pressure for one. If Denktash finally returns to the negotiations and adopts a more flexible position, Clerides will most probably have to face two painful dilemmas. Western pressure will primarily be brought to bear on Nicosia, which will succumb to behind-the-scenes blackmail of this kind: that unless it makes the necessary compromises, the Europeans will hold it responsible for the failure of the talks so that they can then renege on their obligations. For this reason, the refusal of the Turkish-Cypriot leader, despite the perils that it may entail, for the time favors Greek interests. An anti-terrorist campaign is, obviously, the means by which the Bush government will attempt to appease the feeling of insecurity of the American people and restore the country’s international status. Judging from the fact that nearly all democratic societies have clearly expressed their political will to eliminate terrorism, the day after may have a dramatic transformation of the international arena in store. The nature of that transformation, however, remains to be seen.