Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
We have to disagree on the strategic importance of the bases. I would point you to the Downing Street Memos, which in 2002 underlined the importance of the bases. The invasion of Iraq pinpointed Cyprus as one of the two most important bases for its execution. Many military commentators have oft-cited Cyprus' military strategic benefits for its proximity to the Middle East (a stone's throw away).

You are mistaken about the Annan plan. I suggest you look up the terms. It's the Greek Cypriots who would absolutely love full compliance with the Acquis Communitaire. If the EU and UN would grant them that, they would have signed on 40 years ago. In fact, the Greek Cypriots agreed to much less than the rights granted to all other EU members, when they accepted less property rights and restrictions on freedom of movement and work privileges in Annan 3. Annan 5 went much further in violating the Acquis Communitaire, and for that reason it was rejected.

In point of fact, the property controversy in Cyprus mainly addresses the loss of Greek Cypriot property in the North after the Greeks were removed from the north by the Turkish Army in 1974. See the Loizidou case in the European court of Human Rights which ruled in favor of a private citizen regaining her property rights. For its part, the Cypriot gov't has stated that Turkish Cypriots can regain their properties in the south upon unification. This is part of the Annan plan. They can move south. That same right is not given to 50% of the Greek Cypriots who own land in the North. Only 50% will be reimbursed and/or retain the property rights.

I'm afraid you have the positions of the North and South exactly reversed.

Can you be specific about the compromises that you are referring to in Annan 5? Let's cut to the chase and talk about specifics. You say the Greek Cypriots did not like the final compromise. What did Turkey compromise on? What was not to the Greek's liking?

Your last paragraph is a good one. Since the actual Annan 5 agreement violated the Acquis Communitaire, no one actually knows how much of it would have stood the test of time, given the legal ramifications of joining the EU. It could be the Greek Cypriot side erred, and that had they accepted it, the Annan 5 plan would have been null and void regardless. However, it's clear the Greek Cypriots were not very willing to take that risk. If I lived on the island, I'm not sure I would have. Even clearer, given last week's referendums in France and Holland, there is no longer any guarantee that Turkey is bound to join the EU, and thus the requirement for Turkey to ascribe to EU laws isn't a strong stick either. They might have insisted on the Anti-EU provisions of Annan 5 regardless. Obviously, Turkey, if it were to remain a non-EU entity, would not have to attend to EU laws.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jun 15th, 2005 at 10:16:08 AM EST
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