Turkey on Cypriot negotiations (1984-86)

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. A round of negotiations takes place between 1984 and 1986.  The GC side rejects two of the three draft plans, while the TC side rejects one. In January 1985, the UN Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar organizes a high-level meeting in New York, with the expectation of concluding a settlement on the basis of an earlier draft plan. The TC representative, Rauf Denktas accepts the document as a whole and as providing adequate direction to the working groups, but to the surprise of de Cuellar, the GC representative Spyros Kyprianou would only endorse the document as a basis for further negotiations, thus reopening all major issues. While the negotiations take place between Cypriots, the Greek PM Papandreou creates a crisis atmosphere by arguing that the plan will threaten fundamental Greek national interests.[i] One month before the critical January 1985 meeting, Greece changes its defense doctrine and moves troops from the Bulgarian to the Turkish border.[ii] In mid-1996, Turkish troops practice landing exercises in the Aegean, within sight of the Greek islands.[iii] In a full text search for keywords “Cyprus” and “negotiations,” Lexis/ Nexis produces 37 results for the period 1/1/1985-2/1/1985 (under category European News Sources). 

Case Study Features:

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies:   1

Accepting the plan (defensive strategy) is not a better strategy than rejecting it (offensive strategy). Turkey has an interest in preserving the occupation of Cyprus, because this could help to the consolidation of the 1974 effects of the Turkish invasion. Until Turkey receives something in return (e.g. related to EU membership), it is more beneficial not to settle the Cyprus issue. There is no change in the security dynamics between the players which can explain any shift in policy.

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 1

An important issue in the Cyprus negotiations is the security arrangements in the plan, particularly whether the final agreement will include unilateral Turkish guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island. The two sides have diametrically-opposed views, both citing their own needs for security. Neutral observers recognize the overlapping legitimacy of these concerns.[iv] The unpredictable nature of Papandreou, as noted by many international observers, adds another element of ambiguity to Greek motives.[v]

Domestic Setting: 0

The Özal government does not face any major political challenge.[vi]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries: 1

There are “enduring ethnic rivalries” resulting primarily from the 1983 TRNC crisis and the 1974 Turkish invasion. 

Confrontational Policies: 1

Turkey and Denktas reject the plan. They only accept it in those instances when the Greek Cypriots say “no,” for obvious tactical reasons. Greece and the GCs make it clear prior to the January 1985 meeting that they will not accept the plan. Not surprisingly, these signals reassure Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Denktas, that his acceptance of the plan will not lead to a settlement, since GCs will reject the plan anyway. Later, the Turkish Cypriot leader admits that he has been bluffing. The case is coded as confrontational, confirming the security dilemma. 

[i] Athens home service 0905 gmt 6 Dec 85 Excerpts from relay of speech to Chamber of Deputies, Greek Prime Minister's Address to Parliament The British Broadcasting Corporation, December 11, 1985.

[ii] “Greece To Redeploy Forces From North To East,” The Associated Press, December 17, 1984.

[iii] “Greece and Turkey; You say I'm going to hit you?” The Economist, July 12, 1986 p59

[iv] Nick Ludington, “Outlines of New Cyprus Federation Emerge But Problems Remain,  The Associated Press, January 10, 1985.

[v] Henery Giniger and Milt Freudenheim, “Four More Years for Papandreou and Uncertainty,” The New York Times, June 9, 1985, p2.

[vi] David Barchard, “Opposition Efforts Fail to Loosen Ozal's Grip on Political Power”, Financial Times,  January 15, 1986, p.2