Better off

The EU gave Turkey the go-ahead for entry talks with the 25-member bloc as politicians and military officials in Ankara pledge to bring their country in line with the acquis communautaire. European politicians and officials of Turkey’s deep state are both aware of the hurdles that will have to be cleared. No one can say with certainty when Turkey will be fit to join the bloc. Against the issue of Turkey’s EU bid, which is now topping the European agenda, the Republic of Cyprus enjoys a very strong position. Ankara must convince the EU that it has the desire and determination to change its policy on Cyprus. Notably, only the free area in the south is a full member of the bloc. And now, the Turkish leadership has to recognize a state which it has referred to for 30 years as «the Greek-Cypriot leadership.» After the storm fueled by certain political circles (at home and abroad) following the Greek-Cypriot «no» vote to the UN reunification deal, the status of the Republic of Cyprus is an overwhelming refutation of the fatalism voiced by proponents of the peace plan a few months ago. President Tassos Papadopoulos did not crack under the pressure, as his critics in Athens and Nicosia had foreseen (or hoped). The Republic of Cyprus suffered no diplomatic catastrophe and its government has been quick in adapting to Community practices and procedures. In his contacts with European and American officials, Papadopoulos has managed to persuade them that the landslide rejection of the Annan plan was politically legitimate, that the outcome of the referendum must be respected by all parties, and that Nicosia is always keen to work for a political settlement of the dispute. In light of Turkey’s European needs, Cyprus retains all the advantages that Ankara would like to have seen removed with an approval of the Annan plan.