Category Archives: EU

Η «Μακαρισμένη» Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία και το «εκ γενετής» Δικαίωμα της Τουρκίας

Source: IHA

Εδώ και 15 περίπου μέρες γίνεται λόγος στα Μέσα Μαζικής Επικοινωνίας για το 105σελιδο έγγραφο, συσσυγγραφής Τούρκου ΥΠΕΞ Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου και Υπουργού Ευρωπαϊκών Υποθέσεων Μεβλούτ Τσαβούσογλου, που κατατέθηκε στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση (ΕΕ) κατά την 52η  συνεδρία του Συμβούλιο Σύνδεσης Τουρκίας-ΕΕ, την 23η Ιουνίου 2014. Το επίμαχο σημείο του εγγράφου, που ξεσήκωσε αντιδράσεις, είναι ο χαρακτηρισμός της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας ως defunct («εκλιπούσα» ή αλλιώς… «μακαρισμένη» – περισσότερα πιο κάτω).

Και ενώ η είδηση έχει καλυφθεί από διάφορα Μέσα, σε επίπεδο πολιτικής τηρείται σχετική σιγή, πλην της αντίδρασης της Κύπριας ευρωβουλευτού, Ελένης Θεοχάρους, η οποία ήγειρε το θέμα στην Ολομέλεια του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου κατά την παράδοση της ελληνικής προεδρίας της ΕΕ στην Ιταλία. Εκεί, η ευρωβουλευτής είχε φέρει τον Έλληνα Πρωθυπουργό, Αντώνη Σαμαρά, και τον Έλληνα ΥΠΕΞ, Ευάγγελο Βενιζέλο, προ των ευθυνών τους σχετικά με την απραξία της Ελλάδας και της ελληνικής προεδρίας της ΕΕ για το συγκεκριμένο έγγραφο και το περιεχόμενό του. Γεγονός που έβαλε την Ελλάδα σε δύσκολη θέση και  εξόργισε, καθώς λέγεται, τον Έλληνα ΥΠΕΞ ο οποίος κινητοποίησε το ελληνικό ΥΠΕΞ στέλνοντας ρηματική διακοίνωση στο αντίστοιχο κυπριακό (περισσότερα εδώ και εδώ). Continue reading

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Ευρωεκλογές 2014 & Αποχή – #Cyprus

euro electionsΤρείς είναι οι βασικές παράμετροι με βάση τις οποίες πιστεύω ότι μπορούν να αξιολογηθούν οι κυπριακές Ευρωεκλογές της 25ης Μαΐου 2014. Η πρώτη έχει οπωσδήποτε να κάνει με το τεράστιο ποσοστό της αποχής. Η δεύτερη σχετίζεται με τα ποσοστά των κομμάτων και των υποψηφίων, ενώ η τρίτη με το ζήτημα των Τουρκοκυπρίων. Εδώ θα επικεντρωθώ κυρίως στην πρώτη παράμετρο, που θεωρώ και πιο σημαντική, στην αποχή.

Αδιαμφισβήτητα η αποχή είναι πάνω απ’ όλα πολιτική επιλογή. Σαν πολιτική επιλογή έχει και πολιτικές συνέπειες. Κατά τα άλλα, το τεράστιο και πρωτοφανές ποσοστό της αποχής – το οποίο συνάδει και με τον αντίστοιχο ευρωπαϊκό μέσο όρο αποχής – έχει σχολιαστεί και αποτελεί ίσως το σημαντικότερο αποτέλεσμα των εκλογών. Θλιβερό μεν, σημαντικό δε. Πολλοί έσπευσαν να πουν ότι η αποχή πρέπει να γίνεται σεβαστή σαν δικαίωμα και πολιτική επιλογή. Ότι πρωτίστως δεν πρέπει να κατακριθεί και να καταδικαστεί. Ορθό. Continue reading

Something is Happening in the MidEast and the EastMed

Something is definitely happening at the geopolitical intersection of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Rapid, crucial, and very much interlinked, developments at the same juncture cannot be coincidences. Here is some of the developments and their geopolitical impact, although only time can reveal the true and complete pattern.

In Turkey, apart from the discussion about the new constitution, the country is going through an historic period as the decades-long conflict between the state and the Kurdish separatist movement, led by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), seems to be coming to an end. The imprisoned Kurdish leader has called for a ceasefire and ordered the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from Turkish soil.http://thegwpost.wordpress.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

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European Energy Security, Geo-economic Competition and Strategic Imperatives

It is widely argued that as a result of the 2008-2009 energy crisis between Russia and Ukraine, member-states of the European Union and European countries more generally, want to diversify their energy sources and ultimately reduce their dependency on Russia. In light of this, continental Europe emerges as an energy market in need, while potential alternative energy (natural gas or oil) producers and/or transporters acquire significant geopolitical, geo-economic, and strategic value. The existing energy pipeline projects that end up in Europe, coupled with other similar projects currently in progress and the newly-found natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean – in the Israeli and Cypriot maritime Exclusive Economic Zones – and in the Black Sea, lead to the emergence of a new geo-economic competition of strategic significance. This competition for fulfilling Europe’s energy needs has political extensions and implications for the actors involved. Τhe most important actors taking part in this competition, at this juncture, are arguably Turkey – along with energy producers such as Azerbaijan – and Israel in cooperation with Cyprus and even Greece.

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Croatia’s EU accession: Why is everyone so happy about it?

It seems that on July 1, 2013, Croatia will become European Union’s (EU) 28th member-state after all – that is if EU still exists as we know it today. The referendum that determined Croatia’s future with the Union took place on the 22nd of January, 2012, and had an admittedly poor outcome of about 43.5%. This means that most of the eligible voters did not even bother to support or reject their country’s bit for accession into the EU. Of course, the EU welcomed the result of the referendum while Croatia’s Prime Minister thinks of it as a “historic decision”; but the question remains: if the EU is facing its deepest political and economic crisis yet and the ballot results were anything but indicative about what the Croatian public opinion wants, then why is everyone so happy about it?

Although there are some reasons for both the EU and Croatia to be happy about this development, it is a matter of subjectivity whether they could counterbalance the above mentioned negative factors. To unpack this problem we briefly look into the situation in Croatia and the EU.

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Will Libya be the New Iraq?

The coalition military intervention in Libya that began on March 19th was an example of a well coordinated and organised operation, with a legitimate legal mandate in the form of UN Resolution 1973. Nonetheless, there are several debates regarding the intervention in question as well as the strategy that is being followed by the coalition.

There are two central questions that should be answered in order to understand the discourse regarding the intervention in Libya: (a) what do we want to achieve? (b) How far are we willing to go? If the operation has limited goals such as the maintenance of the no-fly zone it would probably be qualified as a success whereas if the plan is to intervene politically undertaking peace/state-building operations, it might result in a catastrophe or in a long-lasting, torturous situation like Iraq.

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Turkey and the European Union*

Introduction
It has been over 50 years since Turkey expressed its interest in accession to the European Communities; thus far the EU’s longest application process. The cooperation with western organizations and institutions has always been an integral part of Turkey’s policy and Kemal’s idea of a secular and democratic Republic since the beginning of 20th century. However, Turkey began to adopt a less pro-Western political stance following the Cuba Missile Crisis (where Turkish territory was put under risk of Soviet bombing since it had American missiles on its soil), and the hostile American response to the Turkish intervention in Cyprus in 1964.
After the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union into numerous independent nation-states, the E.U modified its accession criteria in Copenhagen in 1993, further setting the bar higher for Turkey. Yet in 1995 the customs union between Turkey and E.U was completed and came into effect in 1996. In December of 2004 the E.U leaders decided that the 2 years (2001-2003) reform process which took place in Turkey was enough to open the negotiations process for accession on Oct. 3, 2005.
Skepticism and Debates
Although the Turkish public was very excited about the news, European public opinion was very skeptical. One could say there remains a longstanding debate among the E.U countries on whether they want a full Turkish membership or a ‘Special Relationship’ with the country of Kemal. Based on this debate, E.U countries were divided into two sides: one side supporting the full membership of Turkey, led by the U.K, including countries such as Poland and Sweden, as well as additional support from the US; on the other side is France and Germany and their allies, pushing for a ‘special relationship’ with Turkey.
The first side has much to gain from the full Turkish membership (e.g. Turkey is a big market open for new investments and trading and also has cheap labor; Turkey can be the mediator and the bridgehead between the east and the west regarding security and energy issues, etc.). The second side feels threatened by possible migration waves coming from Turkey; they also feel threatened by the great power that Turkey can gain in the European Parliament and as a result affect European decision-making according to its and NATO’s own interests.
The Last Five Years
Throughout the last five years U.S has been pressuring the E.U and its counties to carry forward Turkey’s accession process. Furthermore certain E.U presidentships – such as U.K’s and Sweden’s – clearly stood for the Turkey’s membership. Sweden even tried to skip major problems that Turkey is facing in its foreign policy (e.g. the Cyprus Problem) by trying to convince the General Affairs Council of the E.U that bilateral differences between candidate countries for membership with other countries, should not affect their accession process. However Cyprus and Greece did not let that happen. The problem with Sweden’s proposal is that Turkey is facing major legal problems in Cyprus regarding human rights and violations of the international law, and with Greece concerning the delimitation of its continental shelf as well as the Exclusive Economic Zone in the Aegean Sea.
Also dogging Turkey are issues related to human rights, particularly the rights of its Kurdish minority, as well as problems related to its democratic political structure, though its recent constitutional reforms were widely praised in the EU. Even so, U.S and the other Turkey’s supporters in the E.U want Turkey to be a full E.U state-member in order to serve their interests both in Europe and the Middle-East. It is surprising how some counties are willing to overlook vital legal problems in order to serve their political and economic interests.
What’s next?
American influence has shrunk over the last few years because of its two wars (Afghanistan, Iraq) and the effects of the global financial crisis. Therefore they cannot influence European behavior the way they used to. In addition, the E.U is in a very bad financial situation and therefore cannot afford another enlargement at this time, especially with a country the size of Turkey. What is sure is that Turkey has a long way to go and that for now things are most probably going to remain mostly unchanged.
Zenonas Tziarras 
*This is a revised version of an article with the same title published on http://www.global-politics.co.uk/ on the 22th of Oct. 2010.