Turkish Foreign Policy and Security in Cyprus: Greek-Cypriot Security Perception

PRIO Report

Tziarras, Zenonas (2018) Turkish Foreign Policy and Security in Cyprus: Greek-Cypriot Security Perception. PRIO Cyprus Centre Report: 6. Nicosia: PRIO Cyprus Centre.

Even though Turkey is considered an integral part of the Cyprus Problem and the attitudes of Greek-Cypriots towards Turkey are sometimes taken for granted, not enough research has been done in this respect. Similarly, our understanding of Greek-Cypriot security perceptions in general is also rather limited. Against this background, this study aims to examine the relationship between Turkish foreign policy (not least in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus) and Greek-Cypriot security perceptions. It provides a brief overview and assessment of Turkish foreign policy and examines the role of Cyprus in Turkey's overall regional policy thus explaining the external geopolitical environment in which contemporary Greek- Cypriot security perceptions are shaped, especially in regard to the Cyprus Problem. In addition, the analysis deals with security perceptions in the Greek- Cypriot community based on a wider and more inclusive concept of security.

As far as Greek-Cypriot security perceptions are concerned, Turkey's presence on, role and policy in the island constitute an inescapable reality and certainly a very difficult obstacle to overcome in the inter-communal relations on the island as well. However, as the study demonstrates, there are concerns regarding other security sectors as well – such as the political, the economic and the environmental ones – while the non-official level in particular has a wider understanding of security. Some of these sectors are less sensitive and difficult to manage than that of hard security. This realization could provide fertile ground in the relations between the two communities, not merely for collaboration purposes but also for identifying and addressing common security concerns even as the communities develop a better understanding for each other.

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