“We have asked Germany for support for the process of reunification,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami told Spiegel Online on April 1.
“Finally, the two parts of Cyprus—the Greek south and the Turkish north—are prepared for this step, after 40 years,” he continued. “It cannot be allowed to fail. It is an historic opportunity.”
As the Trumpet reported on March 31, Cyprus is moving toward a landmark reunification deal, motivated by the discovery of large offshore gas deposits south of the eastern Mediterranean island. We alluded to the forecast that Cyprus would fall heavily into a German-dominated European sphere of influence.
However, we didn’t predict that it would be the Turkish side of Cyprus leading the overture toward Europe. One would naturally expect southern Cyprus to approach the Germans for help in negotiations, as they are already part of the European Union.
Instead, it is Turkish Cyprus, whose policy is firmly dictated from Ankara, asking the Europeans to get involved. This reveals that Turkey proper is fully behind the reunification of Cyprus and is happy to receive German input. This warming relationship between Turkey and Germany is something the Trumpet has forecast for years.
To top it off, the foreign minister related how Cyprus wished to use Germany’s successful 1989 reunification as its example to follow. He continued:
The Germans are strong in the European Union and specialists when it comes to reunification issues. We in Turkish Cyprus compare ourselves with poorer East Germany because we are not part of the EU like the southern part of the island and are only recognized by Turkey. Our university students, for example, are not allowed to take part in the Erasmus and Socrates programs, our businesspeople cannot engage in direct trade with EU countries, and there are no direct flights from Europe to Northern Cyprus. There are 860,000 Greek Cypriots living in the southern part of the island, and we 300,000 Turkish Cypriots in the north are far behind when it comes to development. We need a special program so that we can achieve EU standards.
The foreign minister later opined that if both sides could move quickly, reunification could be possible within “a few months.”
Continue to watch Cypriot affairs as Germany gets further entrenched in mediating the process of reunification. Then, following successful Cypriot integration, observe how Germany will not give up its post, but rather continue to be the dominant player in post-unification Cypriot policy. ▪