Judy Asks: Is a Cyprus Deal in Sight?
A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.
Michael Leigh - Senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States
Political bluster from Ankara and Athens has led some to conclude that the Cyprus settlement talks in Geneva have stalled. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, they claim, will not move on Cyprus until he has secured an executive presidency at home. High-ranking Turkish military officers in the northern part of the island have reportedly been arrested and deported to Turkey. Russia, some argue, blocked progress behind the scenes to deny the West a breakthrough and protect its own citizens’ interests.
Measured against realistic expectations, however, the talks in Geneva marked progress toward a settlement. For the first time, the two sides exchanged maps that differ only by 1 percent, admittedly in sensitive areas, for the delimitation of the two zones on the island. The Turkish side came to the table and agreed to talk security. The leaders of the two communities defended their respective positions on security, territory, and a rotating presidency, as expected. But both agreed to continue efforts immediately at the level of their deputies. Any nefarious Russian influence was not apparent. The European Commission president and new UN secretary general made positive contributions in Geneva.
Waiting for Erdoğan is an old game, and few would hazard a prediction. But on balance, the Geneva talks moved the settlement process forward.
Photo credit: Kaishu Tai