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Perceptions of the EU by Greek and Turkish Cypriots

Benefits and problems from the EU membership.

Perceptions of the EU by Greek and Turkish Cypriots

Postby rocinante » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:57 pm

Dear Greek and Turkish Cypriot friends,

I want to draw you attention to a project and ask for a little help from you. As a part of a PhD thesis at the UK, I'm writing about the evolving perceptionf of the European Union among the Turkish and Greek Cypriot public. As a part of overall research, including local media, local civil society and politicians, opinion of public is of utmost importance. If you have some time to answer a few questions about your opinion, feeling and criticism of the EU, I'd be very delighted. This would be a contribution to the research and some publications and hopefully by this way opinion of Cypriots on the EU would reach a broader audience. As a part of research, the name of Cyprus-forum will be cited, none of the user names or actual names will be disclosed.

1- What do you think of the European Union's overall role in relation to Cyprus problem? Please divide your answer before -during the accession negotiations- and after accession.
2- Do you consider yourselves as European citizens, why/why not?
3- What is your opinion on the Turkish Cypriot yes vote in the Annan Plan referandum, more clearly was it a yes on the EU or yes on federal state?
4- What is your opinion on the Greek Cypriot no vote in the Annan Plan referandum, more clearly was it a no to power sharing with Turkish Cypriots?
5- How do you think the EU accession affected the overall process of Cyprus problem? Do you reckon it brought an opportunity or brought another stalemate?
6-What do you think of relevant plan to lift the isolation of Turkish Cypriots through trade with and flight to/fro the north of the island as a means to integrate Turkish Cypriots into the EU so that reunification would be easier? Do you think this would help easing the trust problems between the sides?
7- In the future, do you think the EU will play a decisive role in bringing a mutually agreed solution on the island?

Thank you very much for your help!
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Re: Perceptions of the EU by Greek and Turkish Cypriots

Postby Piratis » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:36 pm

Hello rocinante. I am a Greek Cypriot, and I will try to answer your questions.

1- What do you think of the European Union's overall role in relation to Cyprus problem? Please divide your answer before -during the accession negotiations- and after accession.
The role of the EU seems to be neutral "middle ground" and this is the case now and before Cyprus' accession. This is very unfortunate. We don't expect EU to be "pro-Greek" and "anti-Turkish", but we did expected them to be pro-democracy, pro-human rights and pro- their own principles. Unfortunately it seems that for some countries in EU (not all) what is most important is to merely close the Cyprus problem, rather than actually solving it. A real solution would restore the human rights of the Cypriot people and would create in Cyprus a normal democratic state with equal citizens. Closing the Cyprus Problem with some racist undemocratic arrangement that would legalize human rights violations and ethnic cleansing is not something that would solve the problems of the Cypriot people and not something that can bring a long term peace on the island. Unfortunately some countries within EU simply don't care about the rights of their fellow EU citizens. They care more about their political and economic interests with Turkey.

2- Do you consider yourselves as European citizens, why/why not?
Yes, because I am a citizen of a country which is a member of EU, so by definition an "EU citizen". Unfortunately some want to make us second category EU citizens, by suggesting that we should accept derogations from basic EU principles.

3- What is your opinion on the Turkish Cypriot yes vote in the Annan Plan referandum, more clearly was it a yes on the EU or yes on federal state?
It was a yes for "Partition + EU". The Annan plan was only being marketed as a "unification" plan that would create a "federation". In reality it was a partition plan that would have officially divided Cyprus into two separate loosely associated states. In a real federation (e.g. USA, Russia etc) the various states (e.g. Florida, California etc) only have certain powers for their internal affairs, while there is a central government which is elected democratically by the population of the country as whole (California having more votes than Oregon) and this central government is over and above the separate states. This was not the case with Annan plan.

Here I should say that until the ethnic cleansing of 1974 (and for 1000s of years until then) the Greek Cypriots have been the vast majority of the population in all parts of the island, including the north. We accepted to discuss federation not because the Turkish Cypriots had any right for this, but only as a painful compromise, having no power to achieve anything better. But the federation we are willing to accept is something similar to what exists in other federated countries. Also the territory under the Turkish Cypriots could not be much more than 18%, which is their population. The Annan plan gave to them 29%. They voted for this plan because it was not very different from the partition they wanted, they would retain most of the lands they took from us, and it gave to them EU status as a bonus.

4- What is your opinion on the Greek Cypriot no vote in the Annan Plan referandum, more clearly was it a no to power sharing with Turkish Cypriots?
It was a no to partition, a no to an undemocratic and racist system that would legalize human rights violations and ethnic cleansing, a no to Cyprus becoming a banana republic of Turkey. We have no problem to share power with the Turkish Cypriots, as long as this power sharing is proportional to population and does not violate the democratic principles.

5- How do you think the EU accession affected the overall process of Cyprus problem? Do you reckon it brought an opportunity or brought another stalemate?
It brought an opportunity as it gave some incentive to Turkey but that incentive is not strong enough to outweigh the perceived geo-strategic interestes of Turkey in Cyprus. After the invasion of 1974 some embargoes were placed on Turkey. Unfortunately those embargoes were soon lifted (without Turkey complying with the UN resolutions) and since then Turkey had no incentive to end its occupation. The EU accession of Cyprus changed this a bit, but not enough to have any result.

6-What do you think of relevant plan to lift the isolation of Turkish Cypriots through trade with and flight to/fro the north of the island as a means to integrate Turkish Cypriots into the EU so that reunification would be easier? Do you think this would help easing the trust problems between the sides?
The Turkish Cypriots can very easily use the legitimate ports and airports of Cyprus. What they care for is not any lift of isolation, but to legitimize the pseudo state they created on the lands they took from us. The Cyprus government has proposed the return of the fenced part of Famagusta in exchange for opening the Famagusta port under the UN for Turkish Cypriot trade. The Turkish side refused this. It is clear that the Turkish side does not care about the well being of the people. All they care for is how to advance their divisive political objectives.

7- In the future, do you think the EU will play a decisive role in bringing a mutually agreed solution on the island?
No, unless something changes in a big way. As it is now each EU country cares for its own interests and the EU can not act as a single power that can have a major influence.
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Re: Perceptions of the EU by Greek and Turkish Cypriots

Postby supporttheunderdog » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:58 pm

A well thought out reply.
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Re: Perceptions of the EU by Greek and Turkish Cypriots

Postby rocinante » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:32 am

Thank you Piratis! And other friends (Turkish and Greek Cypriots) who agree/disagree with Piratis and who want to add some nuances are most welcome!
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