Europe's Coming Crisis with Turkey

LONDON: By the end of the second week of December the European Union will finally have decided which countries will be asked to enter membership negotiations. Most people expect that invitations will go out to six countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia), because this was the list recommended by the European Commission earlier this year.

In Eastern Europe, the EU choice will no doubt be well received by the fortunate five. In the case of Cyprus, unfortunately, the EU commitment to negotiate now looks more and more like a lethal political detonator, with explosive but incalculable consequences for the future of the European Union, and major dangers for the political and security order in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The problem is that the officially-recognised government of Cyprus does not really represent the whole island. Cyprus has long been divided between the Greek Cypriot majority in the south and the Turkish Cypriot minority in the north; it is thus in some sense a miniature of the larger and long-standing conflict between Greece and Turkey. But for the past two decades the division of Cyprus has been physical and military, ever since the Turkish government in 1974 sent troops to the north, and helped create a separate so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.