Greek–Turkish Dilemmas and the Cyprus EU Accession Process

Journal article

Loizides, Neophytos G. (2002) Greek–Turkish Dilemmas and the Cyprus EU Accession Process, Security Dialogue 33 (4): 429.


Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Canada

This article compares the processes of foreign policymaking in Greece and Turkey in order to examine why the incentives and pressures of the enlargement process have failed until now to initiate a settlement in the Cyprus bicommunal negotiations. While most studies on the Cyprus problem have focused on the two communities of the island, little attention has been paid to the policies of the two ‘motherlands’, namely Greece and Turkey. Yet their leverage on the two Cypriot communities and their conflicting expectations with regard to an enlarged Europe in the Eastern Mediterranean constitute a complex security puzzle. The Republic of Cyprus stands as a champion candidate member for the next enlargement, amid fears of Turkish reprisals and hopes for a political settlement on the island. With the benefits of settlement overwhelming the benefits of any other alternative, it is paradoxical that the parties seem to be about to fail to reach a last-minute, mutually beneficial compromise. I try to resolve this paradox by supplementing rational choice theory with cognitivist theories of international relations. While rational choice predicts a direct relationship between external environment and foreign policy shifts, the case of Cyprus suggests that this relationship is actually indirect. Without understanding how the external environment is framed in the domestic political discourse of Greece and Turkey, it is impossible to demonstrate how outside pressure and incentives affect foreign policy shifts.

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