STUMBLING ON CYPRUS

We lost that chance with wrongheaded policies. We’ll want reasonable changes. Of course we could reject the plan wholesale, but that would be counterproductive. We haven’t forget the embargos [which followed the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation] and have no desire to experience them again. The United Nations, the European Union and the US are all waiting for a solution from us. Not a single country considers us to be in the right. Our diplomacy shouldn’t have been this clumsy because at the root of the issue we’re correct. However, we have little maneuvering room now.

What would happen if we don’t get a date for EU membership negotiations even if we make concessions on Cyprus? It’s a small but real possibility. The EU might ignore the issue once more due to the strong influence of those opposing Turkey and our lateness in sufficiently implementing the Copenhagen criteria. However, then it would have to take the consequences, because the risk is mutual. Then Turkey’s reaction might threaten the EU’s larger interests.

Even in such a crisis, as a nation we would benefit from accepting Europe’s standards. Possibly there would be a backwards-looking policy in Ankara. Those who support the status quo are looking forward to it, and are warning of difficulties on the Cyprus issue, and they might even want us to forsake reforms on the path to EU membership, painting them as useless concessions. However, then we would end up in a worse situation both economically and democratically. Wasting time on the Cyprus issue is great risk. If Brussels treats us cruelly, we could postpone implementing Annan’s plan.”

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