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Between NATO and the EU, Cyprus is causing trouble. Turkey puts pressure (Shift)

The "Foreign Affairs" ministerial meeting room in Berlin (credit: NATO)

(BRUSSELS2) The meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin did not only have Libya on the agenda. Another delicate issue was also on the table: NATO-EU cooperation. And, there too, the dialogue was difficult, even stormy, between the different participants if we judge by some elements of the conversation which leaked to the Turkish press. It is the Cypriot question which has sowed trouble and raised the tone, in particular, between the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and his Czech counterpart, Karel Schwarzenberg.

In Berlin, all the pressure is on Cyprus

It all started when NATO Secretary General AF Rasmussen strongly reiterated his determination to bring about a NATO-EU cooperation agreement. “ This cooperation is not possible and undermines our meetings » he explained, reiterating the need for Cyprus to allow Turkey to participate in joint meetings at the European Defense Agency. “ I agree " approved the High Representative of the EU, Catherine Ashton (*).

Letting Cyprus into the EU was “a mistake”

The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, then explained Turkey's European commitment, but also all the complexity of the Cyprus problem. We must define what Cyprus is first of all if it also represents the Turks, we must let them sit at the table. If it represents the Greek Cypriot administration, then let the TRNC (Northern Cyprus) be defined. He then underlined how much Letting Cyprus into the EU without resolving the Cyprus question was a mistake. That's the whole problem."

Schwarzenberg then saw red: “ We support Turkey's membership in the EU. But, for us, a country that does not belong to the EU cannot teach us lessons and interfere in our internal affairs. »

The Europeans gave in to blackmail of Greece, says Turkey

Ahmet Davuto?lu did not let this fool him and gave a little history lesson: “ We are the oldest in the family here. We were there when you arrived. Referring to Greece without naming it, he explained that " this country had linked its approval of the candidacy of Eastern European countries to the European Union to that of the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.. But when the countries of Eastern Europe knocked on NATO's door on the same day, " several European Union countries came to Turkey and told us that if we blocked these applications, we could gain entry. But Turkey, an Eastern European country due to historical ties, did not engage in such blackmail. We didn't blackmail it maybe it was a mistake . The words of the Czech minister therefore sadden me. (…) Why, have you tried to resolve the conflict between Croatia and Slovenia. Because there can be no border conflict between EU member countries. (…) If you care about the NATO-EU relationship, then the Cyprus problem must be resolved. The Greek Cypriot EU administration can block me. And should I tell him to sit on an equal footing here, facing me then? That, never in life. You need to get that out of your head »

Schwarzenberg apologized. The British William Hague approved the Turkish minister “ Unfortunately it's true ". Catherine Ashton followed, being surprised at the vigor of the Turk's words " This is the first time I've seen you so nervous ". Everything is then in order, well almost. Davuto?lu was able to conclude: “ This question should not be reopened again. Every time, I tell you. Either the problem with Cyprus is resolved. Either there is no point in putting this issue back on the agenda. » Rasmussen sketched: can we at least discuss it informally? Davuto?lu replied, “ I have already told you, officially a representative of the Greek Cypriot administration cannot sit there in front of me »

Close the ban!

(*) It can be noted that the High Representative of the EU has decided to defend the Turkish position within the EU rather than the reverse. According to our information, this is not the first time that she has expressed personal opinions on Turkey by making promises which are not shared by the 27.

(Update) In gray: some elements have been clarified, with an additional translation. Thanks to my Turkish friends for their help.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “Between NATO and the EU, Cyprus is causing trouble. Turkey puts pressure (Shift)"

  • the position of the baroness is that of London! Simply ! Who controls it in the EU?

    What is the EU policy line on these issues? Who fixes it? Who drives it? ….

    We are going to have a good time when Cyprus takes over the Presidency of the Council in a few months…..

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