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17 July, 2024
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Tatar's plea to Russia to reshape diplomatic landscape

Turkish Cypriot Leader's call to Moscow sparks global interest

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

"I would like to ask the Russian leadership and the Russian people to reconsider their policy on Cyprus, especially after what happened in Ukraine and what is happening in the world with a multitude of global changes," Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar told the Russian state news agency TASS - as reported by the latter.

The Turkish Cypriot leader is essentially calling for Russia's recognition of the occupied territories - and the establishment of bilateral relations - by winking at Moscow and Vladimir Putin. In this regard, he even invoked the communities of Russians permanently residing in the occupied northern part of Cyprus. (...) I would like to express my sincere feelings towards the Russians living in 'northern Cyprus'.

We want our relations with Russia to develop and expand, so I express my gratitude to all Russians and I also ask the Russian government and personally President Putin to consider the issue of relations with 'Northern Cyprus'," he said.

Interesting Signal
The Turkish Cypriot leader's signaling to Moscow comes at an interesting time not only because of the mobility that is being inaugurated on the Cyprus issue due to the arrival, in early January, of the new UN special representative, Maria-Anhela Quayar, but also because of the qualitative upgrading of Russian-Turkish relations in recent years and the "functional relationship" between Russia and the Candidates - even if the latter do not include the dimension of de jure recognition.

After all, in recent years not only have the number of permanently resident Russians in northern, occupied, Cyprus increased, but the Russian Federation has also opened a consulate in northern Nicosia, while some Russian companies, due to EU sanctions for aggression in Ukraine, are operating or have relocated to the occupied territories.

Indeed, Mr Tatar's invocation of the Ukrainian security narrative should not be seen as accidental and because of the phase the conflict has entered after the Russian invasion in February 2022. The leader of the Turkish Cypriot community is, according to the Russian news agency's analysis, "convinced that in a scenario where the whole of a united Cyprus joins the EU, Russia will also lose its influence in the region and any political ties with the island" - a dimension that by definition is a wink to Putin from Mr Tatar.

New facts
How Moscow will move, in the coming months, on the issue of the Cyprus rearmament is a very interesting process to follow in relation to the new geopolitical data that are taking shape in the Eastern Mediterranean against the background of the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

By definition, Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council - from which the terms of reference of both Mrs Quayar and UNFICYP in Cyprus derive, a dimension that has been exerting pressure on multiple levels over time. Beyond that, the emerging trends with regard to Russia's footprint on the Cyprus problem are based on three axes:

- Moscow's official "shift" months ago to the non-philophile status of the RoC due to its consistent stance on the issue of sanctions within the EU and its support to Kyiv due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This trend is also reinforced by Nicosia's continued and dynamic shift towards a more stable Western orientation in recent years

  • The upgraded Moscow-Ankara relationship, especially after 2016, a dimension in which Tatar is also investing and which has a concrete footprint in the occupied territories (Russian economic activity, a large Russian community, the arrival of Russian tourists), which was also evident from the accelerated opening of the Russian consulate
  • The Russian elections next March, which may not be at stake in terms of Putin's re-election to power, but will nevertheless review the Russian system of power as we have known it over time and - potentially - the dimensions of Russia's foreign policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is under pressure from the strong presence of the West

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Turkish  |  Tatar  |  Moscow  |  Russia  |  UN

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