Kosovo and the outlook for Cyprus

The Cyprus problem has entered a new critical phase following Tuesday’s unanimous decision by the 26 NATO member states to vote in favor of Kosovo acquiring independent status. Irrespective of all the hypocritical pretexts that have been voiced, the crux of the matter remains that through its decision on Kosovo, NATO has effectively legitimized the freedom of foreign powers to use military intervention in order to detach a section of a particular country’s territory and then seek official international recognition of the broken-off section as an independent state. Meanwhile, Ankara is quite right to jubilate. NATO’s decision to grant Kosovo independence constitutes a golden opportunity for Turkey to achieve its longstanding aim for international recognition of the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus as an independent Turkish Cypriot state. NATO invoked «humanitarian reasons» – ostensibly aimed at defending the Kosovar Albanians – to justify its condemnation of Serbia and its detachment of Kosovo from the rest of Serbia; similarly Turkey invoked humanitarian reasons – ostensibly aimed at protecting Turkish Cypriots – to justify its invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and its occupation of a third of the territory constituting the Republic of Cyprus. The analogy is quite clear. The likelihood is that there will be many developments on the international stage following Kosovo’s acquisition of independence; after all, this move encourages any country which feels stronger than its neighbor to attack the weaker state and seek to gain a proportion of its territory, which it will either proclaim as independent or annex. Even if one did not expect a different stance from NATO (after all, it was the western alliance that had initiated the air strikes on Serbia in 1999) it is extremely disheartening that efforts were made to legitimize the action on the United Nations level too. The «collateral damage» of the international recognition of Kosovo’s independence is the realization by every country that the ethnic minorities living in their midst could possibly become instruments to execute the shady plans of NATO, the USA or any other foreign nation. However much NATO officials may deny it, the granting of independence to Kosovo will provoke a trend of oppression of minorities on a global scale. The conclusion that many countries will draw from the Kosovo developments is that they should break up their ethnic minorities before the USA or NATO grab the chance to use them as a pretext for destroying their country, as they did to Serbia. Kosovo marks the beginning of a new cycle of violence and bloodshed which will provoke a fresh series of seceded statelets.

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