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12° Nicosia,
17 July, 2024
 
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Unmasking Turkey's masterful diplomacy

Analyzing the strategies of Occupied Territory

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Both the history concerning fuel in the Occupied Areas and the ongoing journalistic investigation, initially highlighted by "Politis," about the development of Greek-Cypriot properties on foreign entrepreneurs' lands with Greek-Cypriot connections, argue for a common belief: that in Cyprus, we learn nothing, not only from our hypocrisy - often present in every aspect of social and political life - but also from what happens around us. For instance, last week reminded us that Turkey doesn't necessarily engage in an "Eastern bazaar" like we hastily deny, describing its negotiations with the West, NATO, and the EU.

Turkey conducts tough and well-prepared negotiations, characterized by both style and substance. It is multilateral when negotiating simultaneously with the West and Russia and uses cherry-picking when selecting the issues it places on its agenda while being deeply transactional when dealing with either the USA or the European Union. It acquires F-16s and a progress path, but not the endgame of full EU membership, in contrast to, for example, the upgrading of the customs union.

Labeling Turkey (and Greece) as a "calculating neutral" or a country of an "Eastern bazaar" does not contribute to our national purpose. Even if this negotiating style and content are accepted by both the USA and NATO or the EU (as seen with Mr. Biden, Stoltenberg, and Michel last Monday), and produce results for Erdogan, who gets concessions, we should learn not only how to read and analyze Turkey but also how to negotiate with it, with Plan A - assuming we are talking about resuming talks - and also with Plan B, C, D, and... E. Therefore, in Cyprus, our hypocrisy is not merely rooted in a lack of seriousness when predicting that "Erdogan won't get anything," but it persists, and the foolish tend to ignore it when Erdogan ultimately gets what he wants, and we rush to deceive ourselves about his Eastern bazaar while emphasizing "he got nothing." Like when we shout about gasoline prices in the Occupied Areas but are surprised when we, often the same people, sell our occupied land, too cheap. Or when, in complete contradiction, we seek active EU involvement in the Cyprus issue while seeming to ignore the Green Line Regulation.

In Cyprus, especially during the July events - associated with the national catastrophe of 1974 - we usually repeat with hollow words the need to learn from our mistakes so that we don't repeat them. Are we truly learning? Today, more than ever, the call to "finally learn something" takes on existential importance. Let it not be, this time, through the hard way.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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Cyprus  |  Turkey

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