Cyprus Reunification: The Relationship of Turkey and the E.U

Turkey has always represented a point of interest for the balance of power in Europe. When it was the Ottoman Empire its territories extended into Asia and Europe, converging with the Hapsburg empire - the other great historical European empire - in the Balkans.

Like Russia and England - who both had international empires and geographical positions on the periphery of the continent - Turkey has always been able to say that it's Asian affairs lay outside the continent and belong strictly to Turkey, but that its Western border mean that its stake in Europe is legitimate; when the Ottoman empire faded and was replaced with the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Ankara lost its Balkan possessions to the National Principle, but it's historical association with the continent, plus the historical interest of the Great Powers in Turkey (in both west and east) means that Turkey seems always destined to have its place in European diplomacy.

In the modern day that interest, on both sides, is filtered through continued attempts to reconcile Turkey with the E,U as it looks to gain membership. again, the Turkish historical association here is a long one; it became an associate member of the official European community, throughout its many guises, in 1963, and it has remained as such since.

It has had several unsuccessful attempts to join the E.u proper, and the European Union is currently in talks with Turkish parliament about reconciling differences so that they may apply again; and this time successfully.

One of the chief issues is that of Cyprus and Cyprus reunification, which the E.U wants to see resolved. And it knows that it will need Turkey's help, with North Cyprus - declared by Turkey and Turkey only as the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus in 1983 - in some way answerable to Ankara.

The crux of Turkish membership to the E.U, then, could well stand on the issue of the Reunification of Cyprus. It is the diplomatic bargaining chip that both sides will use, and as the International Crisis Group has outlined in its most recent report, Turkey and Europe: The Decisive Year Ahead, Turkey looks willing to make headway:

"Turkey now pledges to relaunch reforms with a new National Program for Adopting the EU Body of Law (the acquis communautaire). The draft text focuses on anti-corruption measures through regulation of state tenders and state incentives, judicial reform and more democratic laws governing political parties and elections. In particular, AKP officials mention lowering the 10 per cent national electoral threshold for a party to enter parliament; allowing 100 of that body

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Cyprus Reunification is one of the hottest issues in European diplomacy. Martin Gavin is an expert on the ins and outs, and writes for

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