Turkey on Cyprus-EU accession and negotiations  (2002)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:

Given the nature of the Cyprus problem, any failed attempt to settle the issue increases the chance for future confrontation between the two sides. Moreover, a lack of settlement in Cyprus might lead to Turkey’s exclusion from the EU, due to a Greek or Greek Cypriot veto.[i]  A year earlier the Turkish PM used the threat of annexing Northern Cyprus if the island is admitted to the EU. [ii] In the Copenhagen summit of December 2002, the EU fails to start negotiations for Turkey’s candidacy, and in return, Turkey fails to convince the Turkish Cypriot leadership to support the Annan plan settlement.[iii] Lexis/Nexis provides 57 results for the terms “Greece,” “Turkey,” “crisis,” and “Cyprus” for the period 12/1/2002 to 1/1/2003 (full text search under European News Sources).

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 1

The decision to postpone Turkey’s accession membership prompts Turkey’s hesitation to endorse the Annan plan. Turkey has an incentive to use Cyprus as a trump card for its future negotiations with the EU, even though this might eventually lead to a worse settlement for the Turkish Cypriots.

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 1

The EU candidacy talks suffer from this indistinguishability. An interpretation supported by commentators is that nobody is certain whether Turkey is excluded because of its human rights record and economic performance or simply because Turkey is a Muslim country.[iv] For this reason, Turkey is unwilling to make compromises in Cyprus without being granted an EU accession date.

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries: 1

There are enduring rivalries with Greece, resulting from crises in Cyprus, Thrace, and the Aegean, as well as the support that Turkey claims Greece and Cyprus have given PKK.

Domestic Challenges: 1

The new Islamist government elected a month earlier in November 2002, faces the suspicion of the military and the Kemalist establishment. [v]

Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 1

Turkey rejects the Annan plan and supports the Turkish Cypriot leadership on a similar decision, despite pro-peace mobilizations by thousands of Turkish Cypriots. A few months later, Turkey repeats this policy in The Hague Cyprus negotiations. This case study confirms both the diversionary theory and the security dilemma.


[i] “Turkey's new team: Erdogan must act quickly on Cyprus to win EU backing”, Financial Times, November 21, 2002 p. 20; Clement Dodd, “Comment & Analysis: A shotgun deal for Cyprus that could backfire”, Financial Times, December 5, 2002, p.13

[ii] “Greek Cypriots say annexation threat is blackmail,” Agence France Presse, November 4, 2001.

[iii] Judy Dempsey, Robert Graham, George Parker and Stefan Wagstyl, “Setback for Turkey over EU entry Accession Talks EU Leaders’ Decision could Hamper Progress on UN Plan for Cyprus”, Financial Times, December 13, 2002, p.2

[iv] Donald Macintyre, “Europe must not turn its back on Turkey at such a pivotal moment” The Independent, December 5, 2002, p.20.

[v] “Eurofile: Big Issue-Turkish Elections”, The Independent, November 9, 2002, p.28.