A Realist Evaluation of Cyprus’
Survival Dilemma as Result of the Annan Plan
Giorgos I. Kentas
This article elaborates on
theories of international politics in order to evaluate the
provisions of the Annan Plan in relation to Cyprus’ survival
dilemma in the aftermath of its accession to the EU. The author
mainly estimates the survival concerns of Cyprus in the
scenario that Cyprus accepts or denies the provisions of the
Annan Plan. He assumes that should Cyprus join the EU, without a
solution to its political problem on the basis of the Annan Plan, it
will need to redefine its national strategy. The accession of Cyprus
to the EU constitutes in itself a new framework of interaction
between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and offers an alternative option
for the settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the founding
principles of the EU, the Union’s acquis and human rights. At the
same time, Cyprus, as a member state of the EU, has to provide for
its defence and ensure its survival in a world of anarchy. The EU is
not an organisation of collective security and its preliminary
security and defence mechanisms cannot offer military guarantees to
its member states. As a member of the EU, Cyprus will remain outside
regional security structures. Since international politics are
without governance there is nobody to guarantee the survival of
Cyprus. Until a solution is reached, Cyprus needs to continue basing
its security on national defence and on its alliance with Greece.
“Defining the alternative options
of a state
is of no account unless you evaluate
This article aims at elaborating
on Realism Theory to evaluate the options of the Cypriot leaders in
relation to Cyprus’ survival dilemma in the aftermath of its
accession to the European Union (EU). To that end, I will first make
a synopsis of the realism theory in international politics;
secondly, portray the Cypriot state as a unit of the international
system; thirdly, outline the main assumptions of two alternatives to
realism theories (international idealism and neoliberal
institutionalism theory); and fourthly, cross-examine the provisions
of the United Nations Secretary-General’s (Kofi A. Annan) Plan for
the solution of the Cyprus issue (hereafter the Annan Plan or
Plan) with the assumptions of international idealism,
neoliberal institutionalism and realism in relation to the survival
dilemma of Cyprus.
The collapse of the Soviet Empire
which left the United States of America as the only superpower in
the international system is the post-Cold War era’s starting point
for the study of international politics. In the aftermath of the
Cold War, students of international politics sought to portray the
emerging ‘new world order’ and debate the role of state and
international governance. The debate on the future of international
politics was rapidly extended to the role of national power and
multilateral cooperation, international organisation and
distribution of gains, national interdependence and democratic
peace. Students of international relations are interested in the
effects of international institutions (such as the UN, NATO, EU,
IMF, WTO and World Bank) on the international-political structure
and the international-political process. Last but not least, the
research interest of students of international relations is enriched
by discussions on ‘the acceleration of globalisation’,
‘international political economy’, ‘the eroding role of
multinational corporations on national sovereignty’, and the role
of ‘domestic and international civil society’ in the making of
global politics today. This article trusts in realism
epistemology (traditional and structural) to study the nature
and the function of international politics.
In the first part, I will outline
the main assumptions of structural and traditional realism, and
portray the nature of the Cypriot state as a unit of the
international system. I will argue that since the international
system remains statecentric -states are the most important units of
the international system- and constrained by anarchy and the unequal
distribution of capabilities across the units, Cyprus’ primary
concern is to survive as an independent and sovereign state. In
order to survive, Cyprus seeks to deal with structural constraints
and overcome the post-Turkish invasion status quo. Its
foreign policy is mostly conditioned by that situation.
The contemporary survival dilemma
of the Cypriot state is analysed in the second part through three
alternative theoretical approaches of international politics: (a)
neorealism (Waltz, 1979), (b) neoliberal institutionalism (Keohane,
1984, 1989; Keohane and Nye, 1977; Axerlod and Keohane, 1985), and
(c) international idealism (Kant, 1795; W. Wilson, 1916-19). In this
part, I will define and evaluate two options in relation to the
survival dilemma of Cyprus in the aftermath of EU accession. I
elaborate on this methodology having in mind the public and academic
discourses, and the questions raised throughout the debate on the
Annan Plan. Although the review of the bibliography would be of
great importance for the reader to understand the debate on the
Annan Plan and on the alternative theoretical assumptions on
international politics, which are demonstrated by international
idealism, neoliberal institutionalism and neorealism, I will develop
the argument in a way that the main points will be understood
without the review of the bibliography having been a precondition.
The evaluation shows that the
Annan Plan cannot solve the survival dilemma of Cyprus and it does
not improve the sense of security among Cypriots. The Cypriot
leaders need to elaborate an alternative option. The accession of
the Republic of Cyprus to the EU will mainly signal its
‘bandwagoning’ to an intergovernmental regional economic and
political organisation. This will offer Cyprus the opportunity to
increase its capabilities and help the Republic to remain the only
internationally recognised sovereign entity on the island. Although
EU membership does not make for survival under more secure
conditions, it offers Cyprus the opportunity to develop a new
national strategy, set up new goals and influence the framework for
the solution of the longstanding Cyprus issue. The chief aspiration
of Cyprus is to settle its political issue on the basis of the
nature of international politics, the founding principles of the EU
(Article 6 of the TEU) and its ‘acquis communautaire’, a
settlement that will satisfy the state’s survival conditions and
will certainly favour all the legal citizens of the island both
Greek and Turkish Cypriots. That assumption is limited by the
absence of international governance to enforce international law and
human rights in Cyprus, the ongoing imbalance of power between
Turkey and Cyprus and the lack of will by the Turkish side to
compromise on a settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of
fundamental political, juristic and humanistic principles.
1. Realism Theory of International
Politics and the State of Cyprus
The structure and the process of
international politics affect the state of Cyprus. In this part, I
will first make a synopsis of the realist theory on international
politics and then I will examine the nature of the Cypriot state in
the international system.
1.1 The Nature of International
In order to understand how
international politics operate, we need to understand both the
structure and the process of the international system. International
politics are conditioned both by the system’s
international-political structure and the interactions between the
actors of the system. The most important actors of the international
system are the states, which are called the units of the
international system. Hence, I will portray the structure of the
international system and the logic of interaction between the units
of the system. To portray the structure of the international system,
I will use the ontological principles of structural realism’s
research programme; to portray the logic of the interaction between
the system’s units, I will use the explanations of traditional
realism. From a realist -structural and traditional- perspective,
international politics are understood “if the effects of structure
are added to the units-level explanations of the traditional
According to Kenneth Waltz, the
structure of the international system is characterised by three
principles: first, by the arrangement of the units in the
international system; second, by the functional differentiation of
the system’s units; third, by the distribution of capabilities
across the system’s units.
I. International Politics Without
Neorealists define structure as
the arrangement of the units in a system. They show how political
structures shape and shove the political process. Once a
political structure functions enduringly under the same conditions,
it is expected to shape and shove the political process of the
system similarly and to set the same constraints on the behaviour of
the units. Since a system consists of a structure and of interacting
parts, only changes of the arrangement of structure’s parts
are considered structural changes.
The organising principle of the
system’s structure is the anarchical ‘order’ of international
politics. The units of the international-political structure are
arranged within a decentralised system. States interact under the
condition of anarchy; they deal with international politics without
governance. Although states are regularly organised within
international institutions, the authority in international politics
is quickly reduced “to a particular expression of capability”.
The absence of an international agency to regulate international
politics gives states cause for concern over their survival.
Although anarchy is an abstract
condition, its outcomes are visible. So long as anarchy conditions
states’ situations, they will “seek to ensure their survival”.
Neorealists assume that anarchy functions as a structural force when
it constrains states’ worry about survival.
Survival is the primary
goal of states and power “is one of the means to that end”.
Within the neorealism research programme, power is not an end in
itself; it is primarily a means (but not the only one) for
survival. Once states maintain their survival they can use their
power to achieve other goals (e.g. domination over others). Anarchy
conditions the worry of states about the power of others and this
encourages them to engage in balancing behaviour. So long as anarchy
endures, survival becomes “a prerequisite to achieve any [other]
goals states may have”. When states interact within an anarchic
system, they seek to maintain their survival by themselves;
their survival is not given, they gain it. Because this is so, since
states are socialised within an anarchical system, they “prefer
survival over other ends obtainable in the short run and act with
relative efficiency to achieve that end”. States are concerned
about both their power and the power of others. This situation
drives them to competition and generates the security dilemma.
Thus, the neorealism ontology is
firstly defined by the ordering principle of the international
structure, which is the theoretical notion about the condition of
anarchy. States operate within competitive self-help systems without
governance. Although anarchy does not determine the behaviour of
states, it makes them worry about survival. Neorealists assume that
states, which interact under the condition of anarchy, place a high
premium on survival before any other goal. Their relative power is one
of the most important means to achieve survival.
II. The Functional Character of
The undifferentiated functional
character of the system’s units defines the second ontological
principle of the international-political structure. Neorealists
assume that states are the units of the international system,
and the most powerful of them are those which construct, by their
interactions, the international-political structure.
It is assumed that “a structural
definition applies to realms of widely different substance so long
as the arrangement of the parts is similar”. Thus, the system’s
anarchical order implies functional sameness to the system’s
units, regardless of their major or minor role in the international
system; so long as anarchy endures, states remain like units.
International structures “vary
only through a change in the organising principle [from anarchy to
hierarchy] or, failing that, through variations in capabilities of
units”. Although the first part of this assumption deals with an
epistemological dimension of neorealism theory (based on
Durkheim’s theoretical remarks on “mechanical societies”), the
second part (structures vary through variations in capabilities of
units) copes with both epistemological and ontological dimensions.
Waltz assumes that if we wish to explain whether states’ functions
are differentiated or undifferentiated we need to identify
the ordering principle of the structure. When states are organised
within anarchical systems (or metaphorically within “mechanical
societies”), their lives “are characterised by duplication of
effort rather than by a division of labour that would produce their
integration”. One has to be impressed with “the functional
similarity of states” when he or she realises that “[s]tates are
alike in the tasks they face, though not in their abilities
to perform them”.
Thus, the assumption about the
functional undifferentiated character of the system’s states when
they operate under anarchy defines the second ontological
principle of neorealism. Neorealists assume that states are (1)
functionally undifferentiated units (they perform similar tasks) and
(2) differentiated according to their aggregate capabilities (they
have dissimilar means to perform similar tasks). Although the first
part of this ontological dimension is spare to the definition of
neorealism’s structural theory (“is not needed in defining
international-political structure, because so long as anarchy
endures, states remain like units”), it remains a main part of
neorealism’s ontology. On the other hand, the second part of
the statement above (the differentiation of units in aggregate
capabilities), defines in itself a third ontological
principle in neorealism theory.
III. The Distribution of
The capabilities of states
identify the only variance in the international structure
(when the international structure endures under the condition of
anarchy). We can explain how international structures vary
only if we can explain how the distribution of capabilities across
the units varies (or how the units of the system are placed in
relation to their capabilities). Because this is so, neorealism’s
epistemology has a preference for a “materialistic ontology”.
Neorealists assume that the international structure varies only in
the distribution of capabilities (mainly material means) across the
Since international politics are
without governance, Waltz aims at picturing a positional situation
of states by defining them as like units and by distinguishing them
according to their capabilities. In doing so, he abstracts “from
every attribute of states except their capabilities”. This
indicates more plainly what I had described as the materialistic
ontological preference of neorealism’s epistemology: The units of
an anarchic international structure are primarily distinguished
by their greater or lesser capabilities to perform similar tasks.
Structural changes are changes of
the distribution of capabilities across the units under the
condition anarchy. If we wish to explain structural effects within
the system, we need to examine (1) how changes in the distribution
of capabilities affect the behaviour and the attitude of states and
(2) the outcomes of their interactions. Since this is a concrete
epistemological dimension of neorealism (which I will not examine
here), it affects its major ontological principle: neorealism’s
materialistic “ontological preference”. Like all theories,
neorealism has chosen its own ontological premises.
Neorealists do not aim at an
absolute abstraction from the attributes of the states but only at the
maximum of abstraction which “allows a minimum of content, and
that minimum is what is needed to enable one to say how the units
stand in relation to one another”. Neorealists assume that states
are differently placed in the system according to their relative
power. The assumption about the distribution of capabilities
across the units is found at the core of neorealism ontology,
without this meaning that the other principles are of less
importance. Thus, the third, and final, ontological principle of
neorealism is defined by the states’ differentiated positioning at
the system-level in relation to their capabilities.
To sum up, neorealism ontology is
defined by three principles: first, by the anarchical order of the
international-political structure; second, by the functional
undifferentiated character of the system’s units; and third, by
the differentiation of the units’ systemic identities in relation
to their capabilities.
The structure of the international
system defines both the constraints and the attitudes of states. On
the other hand, the structure of the international system does not
function as a deterministic force. Although states are constrained
by the structure of the international system, their decisions are
based on perceptions about national interest and the intentions of
other states. States do not always have the same preferences and
interests and they make decisions without always taking into account
the system’s structural constraints. Since states acknowledge that
they operate in a self-help system, which lacks international
governance, they try to avoid miscalculations. They know that
“those who do not help themselves, or who do so less effectively
than others, will fail to prosper, will lay themselves open to
dangers, they will suffer”.
Since the era of Thucydides’ History
of the Peloponnesian War international politics have operated
under the same logic: The distribution of capabilities across states
is unequal, the growth of power across the international system
continues to be asymmetrical and the system’s units seek power,
wealth and prestige. States are not perfect rational actors. They
sometimes base their decisions on imperfect information.
Thucydides demonstrated the reason
why states are concerned about relative gains and reluctance to
cooperate. States operate under the condition of anarchy and they
seek to maximise their capabilities in order to ensure security.
Their fundamental goal “in any relationship is to prevent
others from achieving advances in their relative capabilities”.
States cooperate when the possibility of war lessens and when the
distribution of the cooperation’s gains will not alter the
balance-of-power between them. Since the shadow of the future is
unknown, the security dilemma operates enduringly.
Although more and more states
become free market democracies, more institutions operate in
international politics and complex interdependence grows between
states, international relations continue to operate under the
“Thucydidian logic”. Gilpin was correct to argue that “[t]he
history of Thucydides provides insights today as it did when it was
written in the fifth century B.C. One must suspect that if somehow
Thucydides were placed in our minds, he would (following an
appropriate short course in geography, economics, and modern
technology) have little trouble in understanding the power struggle
in our age”.
Geopolitics gives a valid picture
of one aspect of the reality of national power. The geostrategic
significance of a state, in the context of geography, natural
resources and the distribution of capabilities across the system’s
units has great influence on its interactive capacity. In each era,
the hegemonic power, superpowers and great powers of the
international system are interested in exploiting the geostrategic
position of others to pursue national interest. They do so by
dominating them, by forcing them to bandwagon or by making alliances
Cyprus, which is under examination
in this article, has an important geostrategic position in the
world. Conflicts of interest between great powers in the Eastern
Mediterranean and the Middle East create problems for Cyprus. Both
the United Kingdom (a great power) -which after the independence of
Cyprus in 1960 established two post-colonial sovereign military
bases on the island, the so-called Sovereign Base Areas (SBA)- and
Turkey (a big regional power) -which invaded the island in 1974
using as pretext the Greek junta’s coup d’état
against the President of the Republic and since then has occupied
37% of the Republic’s territory illegally - managed to exploit the
geostrategic position of Cyprus to pursue their national interests.
Although the structure of the international system, the distribution
of capabilities across the units and the regional power struggle
impose limitations on the sovereignty of the Cypriot state, the
Turkish occupation and the several provisions of the Treaty of
Establishment on the SBA impose constraints, which further restrain
the ability of the Cypriot state to make decisions on internal
politics and foreign policy.
Turkey, another state that
interests us here, also has an important geostrategic position. This
geostrategic position made Turkey a vital ally of the US and a
pivotal member state in NATO. Although Turkey managed -during both
the Cold War and in the post-Gulf War (1991)- to exploit its
geostrategic position in its own national interest, it failed to do
so during the 2003 US-Iraq war, when it refused to grant permission
to US forces to use its territory as a crossroad to the northern
front of the Iraqi war. Turkey understands that should the US manage
to stabilise post-war Iraq politics and use that state as a
protectorate, its geopolitical significance in the region will be
reassessed under the new distribution of capabilities and the new
rules that the ‘hegemon’ will build in the region
Geopolitics is conditioned by the
anarchical structure of the international system, the distribution
of capabilities across the units and the national leadership of the
time. Because this is so, we need to keep in mind that the
settlement of the Cyprus issue has always been affected by the
regional geopolitical realities, the distribution of capabilities
across the units, national interests and national leadership. Each
time those parameters change, the political process for the
settlement of this international problem change too.
II. Democratic Peace?
The new thesis about democratic
peace is a problematic one. The increase of democratic states
-mainly in post-World World II and post-cold war Europe- did not
change the logic of interaction in international politics. Those who
argue that the domination of democracies across the system increases
cooperation and eliminates war (“democracies do not fight
against democracies”) could hardly defend their thesis. States
cooperate not because they are democracies; they cooperate when they
believe that they will pursue a national goal without the risk of
suffering a relative loss, which might deteriorate their power
In 2001, for instance, the US
chose to cooperate with Pakistan and lift the sanctions it raised
against that regime three years ago, not because Pakistan became a
democratic regime -it remains a post-coup d’état
dictatorship- but because Pakistan’s geostrategic position and
intelligence resources were vital for its war against terrorism.
Both theoretically and historically we can hardly find coherent
argument to defend the thesis that democratic states cooperate more
and fight fewer wars. In the post-Cold War era, the US, the most
powerful democratic state of the system, went to war more often than
any other democratic or authoritarian state. States go to war
because they have the power to do so and because they expect higher
payoffs than losses. As long as anarchy endures, wars occur because
there is nothing to prevent them. Democracy may fashion a better
quality of life for the citizens of a state but it does not always
engender an improvement in the quality of relations among states.
Even the abstracted hypothesis
that “democracies of the good kind do not fight between them”
could be scarcely verified. The causes of war vary and it will be
very difficult for a theory to explain how war becomes obsolete in
international politics. Rousseau, explained that war is bound to
endure in international politics so long as states operate under
anarchy and master the means by which to destroy others. Since the
lethality and agility of states has increased due to war technology
and since world disarmament is not possible, the absence of
governance in international politics makes war a choice. When
offensive is better than defensive, war becomes a political choice,
the “continuation of political activity by other means”.
War is unthinkable only between
nuclear powers with second-strike capability. This was the case
during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union,
and the blocs they led (NATO and WTO). The president of Russia
explained that this is still the case between the United States and
Russia: “The state of our deterrence is such that we feel safe and
secure, and this is the most important thing to us”.
III. International Organisation
International organisation has a
minor role in international politics. The national capabilities and
interests of states express the logic of international organisation.
Decisions are taken by member states, which use their relative power
to pursue national interests. Susan Strange explained that
international organisations are ruled by the most powerful states,
which have the power and interest to lead. She explained, for
is above all a tool of national government, an instrument for
the pursuit of national interest by other means... The fate of
Mexico is decided in Washington more than Wall Street. And the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) is obliged to follow the
American lead, despite the misgivings of Germany or Japan”.
States remain deeply concerned
about the strong effects of anarchy and the weak effects of
institutional organisation. Even when they operate within defensive
alliances or other institutions with security aims, states reserve
their self-defence rights and they seek to maintain credible
national power capability. Furthermore, the relative power of states
is important simply because the strongest state has the capacity
to impose its interest within the institutional framework and check
the distribution of the gains. This has always been the case
within both NATO - the most successful alliance of guarantee in the
twentieth century - and the EU - the most successful economic
organisation in Europe, which recently developed security and
The war in Afghanistan and Iraq
demonstrated once more that though international treaties could
facilitate national strategies, great powers prefer to depend on
their national power capabilities. Although in the aftermath of the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NATO -for the first time in
its history- enacted Article 5 (“an armed attack against one or
more of [NATO member states] shall be considered an attack against
them all”) the United States used its national capability to
retaliate against the Taliban regime and al Qaeda, primarily because
its national mechanisms are more effective and flexible than the
allied ones. Henceforth, the US assumes to ameliorate its security
by national means instead of the means of “shared burdens”
within NATO. Although NATO has always been a treaty of guarantee to
its member states, the US has always been the guarantor of the
treaty. In order to fight a preventive war in Iraq the US downgraded
the role of international institutions. The US showed that the
sovereignty of others is a side issue when it comes to national
interest and security.
IV. National Interdependence
National interdependence has
always been a weak effect in international politics. According to
Waltz, in early 1970s interdependence could be described as “an
ideology used by Americans to camouflage the great leverage the
United States enjoys in international politics by making it seem
that strong and weak, rich and poor nations are similarly entangled
in the thick web of interdependence”. In the early twenty-first
century, “democracy, combined with the tightening of national
interdependence, fulfils the prescription for peace offered by
nineteenth century liberals and so often repeated today”. The myth
of interdependence can only promote false promises for cooperation
Contrary to realists, neoliberal
institutionalists endorse the reflections of “complex
interdependence”, as they were developed in the late 1970s. They
argue that complex interdependence is what “characterises
relationships among democratic industrialised countries, though not
necessarily elsewhere in the world”. Interdependence is
conceived as a cause with strong effects for, at least,
international relations of the western democratic countries.
Potentially, this statement flawed after the US withdrawal from the
1972 ABM Treaty. Neoliberals would assume that, at least, the US
would have negotiated its intention to withdraw from a cornerstone
international antiballistic regime with its partners, and their
interdependent relationship would have great influence on its final
decision. Although neither Europeans nor Japanese nor Canadians
favoured the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, the
US chose to “go it alone” because it had the power to do so.
The refusal of the European big
powers (Russia, France and Germany) to bandwagon on the US-led
war-alliance against Iraq showed that interdependence could have a
weakening effect on foreign policy when relative gains are at stake.
The US’s former European allies of the Afghan war were so intent
“on the question of how the pie already in existence [their
influence in the Gulf region, their merit on Iraq’s oil etc]
should be divided that they forgot about the possibility of
increasing the amount each will have by working together to make
more of it [a possible multilateral control of Iraq]”. Even if the
big three European powers knew that they had complex interdependent
interests, the distribution of the post-Iraq war’s gains
constituted a crucial problem that prevented them from cooperating
with the US and making “the largest possible pie”. The Europeans
did not like the US dividing the post-Iraqi war “pie”.
Neoliberals are surprisingly
realising that “[s]o far, the missing criterion is a broad
coalition of allies”. They assume that to fight the Iraqi and
future wars against states that sponsor terrorism, the US cannot go
it alone, but they fail to explain why the US likes to go it alone
when national security is conceived to be at stake and its allies do
not believe it. The US seeks to take partners on board not so much
for fighting wars but for sharing the post-war burdens of security
Cooperation may occur as a result
of structural constraints and perceptions about gains and losses in
the short and in the long run. When states cooperate, they set up
“relative win/loss games” because they know that in any
relationship there is the possibility to enjoy a relative gain and
the risk of suffering a relative loss. A win/loss game lasts so long
as the possibility to run the risk of suffering a relative loss does
not threaten the relative power position of states and so long as
the possibility to run the risk of fighting a war among them stays
at bay. When states decide to cooperate, they have no fear of
suffering a fatal relative loss. Within institutional cooperation,
states seek to avoid losses that will deteriorate their relative
When the game is repeatedly played
successfully, it produces a condition, a coincidental situation,
which confirms that states can cooperate under the anarchical
structure of the international system. That situation is constrained
by the relative sensitivity of states as to their power position and
the distribution of gains. States’ sensitivity on
cooperation is conditioned by their perceptions about the shadow of
the future and the importance of the gains of others. If their
sensitivity is high then the game will not be frequently played, and
it will possibly not be played at all; if their sensitivity is low,
the game could be frequently played.
The general theoretical hypothesis
about a multilateral relative win/loss game is that states run
the risk of suffering a relative loss because they bet on a bigger
relative gain. States do not cooperate because absolute gains
could become better than relative gains in the shadow of future. On
the contrary, states cooperate when they assume that the
distribution of gains will relatively privilege them more than
others. Strong states assume that a multilateral game will keep
them strong, and able to check the distribution of gains in a way
that it will not threaten their relative power position. Weak states
assume that when they bandwagon on a multilateral win/loss game they
will not be dominated by the strongest states of the system and they
will probably gain more in a multilateral game than in a solo game.
The decision to play a multilateral game is taken unilaterally
when states believe that their choice is rationally profitable and
it will not cost them a high relative loss.
States which usually play the game
will accept or not accept a new player according to their
perceptions (1) of their relative power position after the accession
of a new player, and (2) of the risk of suffering a high relative
loss. States do not admit a new player to the game when they fear
suffering high relative losses. On the other hand, states invite a
new player to the game when at least one of the following three
preconditions is satisfied: First, its accession will maximise the
possibility of gaining more. Second, the new distribution of gains
will not threaten their relative power position. Third, keeping that
player out of the game is baneful to their interests.
A state will ask to join the game
when it assumes that (1) the possibility of running the risk of
suffering a relative loss is low, and (2) the possibility of gaining
more in the shadow of the future is high. The players of the game
will choose to transform the game when they assume that taking new
enterprises will still offer them (1) low risk of suffering relative
losses and (2) high possibility of gaining relatively more. States
reserve their interest to opt-out or veto the game
when they can either earn more by acting autonomously out of the
game and/or when their relative gains are threatened by the rules of
the game. On the other hand, when states lack the power to doubt the
game, they risk suffering a relative loss. This induces anxiety
about their power position in the shadow of the future. When a
situation like this occurs, the possibility of conflict increases
To sum up, although more states
become democracies, more institutions and regimes are launched, and
national interdependence mediates in international politics, the
international political process operates under the Thucydidian
logic. States seek for power, wealth and prestige and they are
concerned about balance of power and relative gains. Although they
try to avoid miscalculations, states sometimes base their decisions
on imperfect information and misperceptions; states are not perfect
rational actors. States cooperate when they can run freely the risk
of suffering a relative loss. In fact, cooperation between states is
not a permanent phenomenon in international politics; it is a
situation that is caused by structural constraints at the
system-level and by interactions between states at the units-level.
Conflict of interest, struggle for power and the relative gains
problem restrain cooperation. When states cooperate, they bet on the
pursuing of a national interest with low risk of suffering relative
losses. International organisation produces neither a social order
of cooperation in international politics nor conditions of states’
interdependence. Cooperation may become a habit when the structure
of the systems endures alike and serves the states’ interests for
a long period. Once the distribution of capabilities across the
system’s units change, states re-examine cooperation. On the other
hand, when states’ objectives are pursued autonomously and risks
of relative losses rise, cooperation ceases or is cancelled.
1.2 The Nature of the Cypriot State
in the International System
The Cypriot state is a small unit
in the international system which has an important geostrategic
position and remarkable wealth standards. Although all states face
systemic and units-level limitations on their sovereignty, caused by
the anarchical order of the international structure, the
asymmetrical distribution of capabilities across the system and
their inability to control the international-political process,
Cyprus faces extraordinary limitations. Since the day of national
independence, Cyprus has been deeply concerned about its survival
and seeks to overcome the limitations on sovereignty that the
guarantor powers imposed upon it.
In the aftermath of the Turkish
invasion (1974) that created the illegal military occupation of 37%
of the island’s territory, the government of the Republic of
Cyprus makes a twofold struggle for survival. First, it strives to
avoid the military control and the full domination of Turkey. It
seeks to put an end to the illegal Turkish occupation, regain the
territory it lost, restore human rights for all its citizens and
communities, and rebuild the state’s constitutional order under a
new legal and internationally recognised state of affairs. To that
end, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities of the
island have attended (since 1974) bicommunal negotiations under the
good offices of the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG). Those
negotiations are endless and fruitless because they are conditioned
by the absence of balance of power between the two negotiating sides
and by the Turkish side’s lack of will. Turkey, which is the
occupying military power in the northern part of Cyprus, fully
controls and manipulates the politics in the Turkish-Cypriot
community and seeks to enforce its conditions on the new state of
affairs. Since the regional balance of power and geopolitics favour
Turkey, the absence of international governance -UN Security
Council’s failure, for instance, to enforce its Cyprus resolutions
and to put an end to the longstanding political problem of the
island- make breakthrough possible only when the Greek side accepts
the Turkish conditions. Should geopolitics and the balance of power
change and should Turkey lose control over the Turkish-Cypriot
community and run less freely the risk of suffering high cost for
occupying Cyprus’ territory illegally, a balanced and lasting
settlement is possible.
The Republic of Cyprus also has a
second survival concern that conditions its behaviour. Although the
UN Security Council recognises only one sovereign entity in Cyprus,
namely the Republic of Cyprus, and “calls upon all States to
respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of
Cyprus”, Turkey has systematically sought to challenge Cyprus’
sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Both Turkey and
the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, make every effort to
persuade the world that there are two sovereign entities on the
island. Their most important initiative took place in November 1983
when the Turkish-Cypriot community, manipulated by Turkey and Mr.
Denktash, launched a pseudo-state, the so-called “Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”). The United Nations Security
Council considered “invalid” the “attempt (of the
Turkish-Cypriot “administration”) to create a “Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus...[and expressed its concern that this
attempt would] contribute to a worsening of the situation in
Cyprus”. Turkey is the only state that recognises “TRNC” and
it has been unsuccessfully trying to gain, mainly from some Arab
states, political recognition and economic support for its
protectorate in the occupied part of Cyprus. This has alerted the
Republic of Cyprus, which realises that if a separate entity is
recognised, the negotiating position of the Turkish side will be
Cyprus’ struggle for survival is
based on its national defensive and deterrence capability and on the
Common Defensive Space Agreement signed with Greece in 1993. The
Republic of Cyprus’ struggle for “judicial survival” is based
on several juristic and political means, such as its membership in
the United Nations and other international organisations, the
several UN resolutions on the Cyprus issue, the European Court of
Human Rights’ decisions and its recent accession to the European
Union. Both the UN and the EU do not recognise any Cypriot state
other than the Republic of Cyprus.
Thus, since 1974, the primary
concern of the Republic of Cyprus is to survive both as a sovereign
independent state and as an international legal personality. All its
initiatives in foreign policy are conditioned by this dual struggle.
Cyprus makes every effort to weather through the illegal
post-Turkish invasion status quo and to restore its sovereignty and
the human and political rights of all its legal citizens and
The solution process of the Cyprus
issue is externally conditioned by the UNSG’s mission of good
offices, the intervention of other states -mainly the UK and the
USA- the balance of power between Greece and Turkey and the
geopolitics of the region. As I argued in the previous section, the
solution of the Cyprus issue is affected by the regional
geopolitical realities, the distribution of capabilities across the
units, the main players’ national interests and national
The latest proposal for the
settlement of the Cyprus issue, the 2002-2003 UNSG’s Plan (the
so-called Annan Plan), had smoothly portrayed geopolitical and power
“realities”. The Annan Plan proposes the creation of a state
which (1) is “determined to maintain special ties of friendship
with, and to respect the balance between, Greece and Turkey, within
a peaceful environment in the Eastern Mediterranean”, (2) has to
continue serving the national and strategic interests of Britain on
the island and (3) “as a European Union member state shall support
the accession of Turkey to the Union”. On the other hand, the
authors of the Plan miscalculated the ability of the UN to enforce
it and the intention of Turkey to accept it. Although UN, US and
British diplomats assumed that the Annan Plan was the best proposal
for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue, they failed to
acknowledge that international politics are still without governance
and the national interest of the strongest party of the game
(Turkey) did not fall in line with their Plan.
The accession of Cyprus to the EU
is a change that we need to take fully into consideration. Since the
Republic was an independent and sovereign state, even though it
operated under the conditions I have explained, it was able to apply
for accession to the EU. Cyprus has been accepted to join the EU
because it satisfies the rules of the game. Its accession will not
threaten the gains of other member states. Its participation in the
EU’s institutional framework offers to the existing EU member
states relatively more benefits than keeping it out. Cyprus sought
to join the EU in order to strengthen its economy, improve its
survival conditions, avoid domination by stronger states and
increase its possibilities to win more.
To sum up, so long as the
international system remains statecentric, the primary concern of
Cyprus is to survive as a sovereign state. This concern continues to
condition the behaviour of Cyprus. Since Cyprus does not wish to lay
itself open to dangers, it needs to continue to increase its
national means of survival. And the island’s means of survival
depends upon its national defence capability, the effectiveness of
the Greco-Cypriot Common Defence Space, the wealth and the
prosperity of its economy, its national leadership, social cohesion
and citizens’ patriotism.
In the aftermath of Cyprus’
accession to the EU the dilemma before the Cypriot leaders is clear:
Do they regulate the status quo in Cyprus under the provisions of
the Annan Plan, or redefine the national strategy of the Republic of
Cyprus on the basis of the new realities of EU membership? This is
the question to be addressed in part two.
2. Cyprus’ Survival Dilemma as
result of the Annan Plan
In this section, I will analyse
the effects that the accession of Cyprus to the EU and the
provisions of the Annan Plan have on the survival dilemma of the
Cypriot state. Cyprus’ survival dilemma will be examined through
three alternative theoretical approaches: (1) international
idealism; (2) neoliberal institutionalism; and (3) neorealism.
Cyprus is interested in joining
the EU for political and economic reasons. In the aftermath of its
accession to the EU, the Cypriot leaders are trying to figure out
how the Cypriot state can survive and prosper under more stable and
secure conditions. Thus, the Cypriot leaders mainly deal with two
The first option is to seek the
immediate solution of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the Annan
Plan -before May 1, 2004; the actual date of accession- so that a
re-united Cyprus could join the EU. Hence, the Cypriot state will be
transformed on the basis of the provisions of the Annan Plan and it
will enter a new and unknown era. The survival of the state will
then be dependent on the Plan’s functionality and viability and
on the will of the guarantor powers to “keep their promises”. If
this option is chosen, we need to elaborate on the effects that EU
membership will have on the survival dilemma of the new Cypriot
state. Those who consider the Annan Plan to be the best possible
solution to the Cyprus issue, though they understand its weaknesses
and its huge problems of functionality and viability, assume that EU
membership will help to overcome all these problems and weaknesses.
The second option is to redefine
the national strategy of the Republic of Cyprus to the new realities
of the EU accession. Cyprus’ new strategy will aim at taking
advantage of the EU membership to (1) increase its national means
for survival, (2) strengthen its economy, (3) create a centre of
attention to Turkish Cypriots in order to transform their
perceptions about the solution of the Cyprus issue, (4) produce cost
to Turkey for illegally occupying the northern part of Cyprus, and
(5) reinforce the process of negotiations so that the Cyprus issue
could be settled on the basis of the nature of international
politics, the EU norms, the acquis communautaire and the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms. In that case, we need to elaborate on the
effects that the accession of Cyprus to the EU will have on its
survival dilemma and its aims at settling the Cyprus issue on the
basis of international politics, European standards and the
Hence, I will evaluate those two
options through three alternative approaches. I will first make a
synopsis of the fundamental assumptions of each approach to
international politics and then I will examine the parameters of the
Cyprus’ EU accession and the Annan Plan which affect the survival
dilemma of Cyprus. This methodology will help to understand the
philosophical hypotheses of the Plan’s authors on the future of
the Cypriot state as a unit of the international system and evaluate
the alternative options before the Cypriot leaders with regard to
(1) the survival dilemma of the Cypriot state and (2) their
initiatives to settle the Cyprus issue under the state of affairs
proposed by the Annan Plan or under better conditions. At the end of
sections 2.1 - 2.3 we will be able to conceptualise the main
parameters of the survival dilemma of Cyprus and understand what is
2.1 The Idealist Approach
Idealists assume that the
anarchical circumstances of international politics and the political
behaviour of states could be transformed to a condition of world
order, based on normative standards, lasting cooperation and harmony
of interest in peace. International organisations, such as the
United Nations, and the European Union, develop an interdependent
framework for cooperation, mutual understanding and improved human
ethics, and bind states on international law and ethics. It is
assumed that when states operate within international organisations
and regimes the anarchical structure of international politics is
eroded and states are able to develop a new international order; a
world made safe for democracy and lasting peace, in the words of W.
In such a world, the national
interest will become part of the global interest. The participation
of the people of the world within regional and international
organisations will create a spirit of global solidarity. The nation
state will lose its monopolistic importance in international
politics and the people of the world will seek a global collective
identity. Idealists emphasise the evolution of international
politics in terms of Adam Smith’s liberal principles. In
democratic and prosperous societies there is always an “invisible
hand” to show the way toward harmony of interests among
competitive individuals who strive for their personal good. It is
assumed that when units operate under a perfect liberal order, the
collective interest of the state is expressed by the individual
interest of its citizens. At the international level, the
interdependent relationship of states promotes cooperative normative
standards and encourages states to engage in regimes.
The final purpose of the global
community of institutions, states and people is to create a new
order in regional and world politics where peace will prevail and
the military means of states will lose their importance.
International demilitarisation, starting from the development of
WMD-free regions, will then be possible. International and regional
organisations will have the primary role in international politics
and several forms of international governance will be constructed.
Once an international collective security system is installed and
respected, war between states will be “delegitimised”; states
will not conceive war as the continuation of political activity by
Idealists assume that when
democratic regimes prevail, our world will be free and safe. The
national, regional and international civil society will be
enlightened and motivated to monitor the leaders of the world. The
world’s public opinion will function as a peace-building force.
The third force in international relations is the “uprising”
transnational civil society.
In the previous part of this
article, I showed that international politics are still conditioned
by the anarchical structure of the international system, the
functional undifferentiated character of the system’s states, the
asymmetrical distribution of capabilities across the system’s
units and the lack of change in the logic of interaction between
states. This world is far away from the normative approach of
utopians. It is hard to see how the “order” of international
politics could change into a utopian one. Since cooperation between
states evolves within win/loss games, the risk of suffering a
relative loss and the uncertainty about the shadow of the future
make states sensitive about balance of power, national security,
sovereignty, freedom and independence.
The launch and the evolution of
the EC/EU were based on the security and stability of the post-World
War II environment in Western Europe. The Cold War’s stability
improved the intergovernmental cooperation on free commerce, single
market and integrated several aspects of the economy of the EC’s
member states. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse and
the openness of the former Central and Eastern European states’
economies, the EU accepted the application of ten states to open
negotiations under the conditionality of the acquis.
The distribution of the post-World
War II gains as well as the Soviet threat made longstanding
cooperation between the great EC member states permissible and war
unthinkable. Western European states were the US clients of security
and so long as the Cold War lasted all of them could freely run the
risk of suffering a relative cost.
Although enduring cooperation
developed a sub-system situation among the EU member states, lack of
common interest and concerns about balance of power and relative
gains eliminated cooperation. The EU member states cannot build a
politically integrated super-European state with common foreign,
security and defence policy. Even in low politics, the EU member
states do not share common views. European great powers, which are
EU member states, are disagreeing over Common Agricultural Policy,
Budget, and Taxation. So long as the EU fails to balance the US’s
power, it will not be able to develop credible institutions of
security and defence. NATO is still the only collective defence and
security organisation of Europe and US is the dominant power in
The post-Cold War’s structural
constraints, mainly the new distribution of capabilities across the
system’s units, force EU member states to rethink the possibility
of political integration. The US’s supremacy and unilateralism
drives some EU member states toward wanting to counterbalance the
US’s power. But so long as most of the EU member states feel
comfortable either by bandwagoning on the US’s missions or by
safeguarding their national sovereignty, political integration is
unlikely. A core of EU member states may form a regime of closer
political cooperation outside the Union, but this is not the course
for all EU member states.
When Cyprus joins the EU, it will
become a member of an intergovernmental organisation, which has
common policies on several low-political issues and
intergovernmental policies on some high-political issues. It is
important for Cyprus to be able to fully participate within the
institutional framework of the Union.
First Option: Cyprus Adopts the
Annan Plan and Joins the EU
The Annan Plan is conditioned by
an innovative and misleading idealism about the transformation of
the Cypriot state. This “idealism” is alien to the nature of
international politics and the reality of the EU politics. The
authors of the Plan conceived a state whose survival would depend on
the spirit of good cooperation between the two Cypriot constituent
states and also of the possibility of stable and enduring common
interests between Turkey, Greece and Britain, on the fate of Cyprus.
Such a state can survive only when the constructing parts of the new
state of affairs (Turkey, Greece, Britain and the two Cypriot
constituent states) are able to operate under a condition based on
harmony of interest.
In case of troubles, the authors
of the Plan have the inspiration of a patent breakthrough mechanism
only for potential internal problems. When the two constituent
states or the members of the Legislative Boards or the Members of
the Presidential Council fail to agree on how the federal government
is to function, the Supreme Court can rule on almost the whole
spectrum of the state’s policies and functions; i.e. Budget,
Taxation, Legislation, foreign policy. It is important to mention
here that the Supreme Court will consist of “three judges hailing
from each of the constituent states and three non-Cypriot judges who
shall not be citizens of Greece, Turkey or the United Kingdom”. In
any case, the three non-Cypriot judges will have the “last
word”. The authors’ warped idealism about the survival of such a
state is based on their assumption that a new political culture will
arise in Cyprus. The constituent states, the politicians, the judges
and the guarantor powers will cooperate for the sake of the state.
The Plan has no provisions to settle any external problems between
the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and Britain).
The accession of the “Annan
state” to the EU will add no dynamism for its survival. The EU can
only offer economic aid and technical assistance for the
harmonisation of the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state with the acquis.
As an EU member state, the new Cyprus will have to develop the
judicial and administrative capacity necessary to implement and
enforce the acquis all over its territory.
It is also provided that Cyprus,
“as a European Union member state shall support the accession of
Turkey to the Union”. Once more, this provision shows how the
authors of the Plan understand Cyprus’ participation in the EU;
they dictate Cyprus’ foreign policy as regards Turkey’s
accession route. For the authors, Cyprus foreign policy on
Turkey’s accession route is idealistically conditioned by the fact
that Turkey is a patron and a guarantor of the state. At the same
time, the Annan Plan constrains the participation of Cyprus in the
operational part of the CFSP and the CESDP within “the provisions
of the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance and the Additional
Protocols thereto, and in no sense undermine[s] those provisions”.
Those who idealistically argue
that in the shadow of the future the accession of Cyprus to the EU
will remedy all the possible weaknesses of the settlement proposed
by the Annan Plan, probably base their assumptions on false
reasoning. The EU cannot help its member states to solve either
internal or external problems because it lacks administrative and
legal capacity. In the post-Annan Cyprus, the EU cannot offer any
kind of remedy for problems that might arise in relation to either
the internal stability between the two constituent states or the
external stability between the guarantor powers.
In short, the authors of the Plan
develop a state-model which can function only when its two
constituent states and its guarantor powers operate under a utopian
order based on harmony of interests. Should an “Annan state”
enter the EU, the idealist approach explains nothing about its
Second Option: Cyprus Joins the EU
and Redefines its Strategy
Some idealists argue that in the
shadow of the future, should Cyprus join the EU without the
implementation of the Annan Plan, a solution to its political issue
will be certainly based on the European Principles of Freedom,
Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. They assume that this
will happen because once the Republic of Cyprus joins the EU, the
European Principles, “which are common to the member states”,
will certainly determine the solution of the Cyprus issue. This
assumption is also based on false reasoning. The EU cannot dictate
the constitution of Cyprus; it is only concerned about the
administrative and juristic capacity of Cyprus necessary to
implement and enforce the acquis all over its territory. The
negotiating sides of the Cyprus issue are the forces who will agree
and determine the constitution of Cyprus, and once it complies with
the EU demands, the Union’s European Council will only endorse the
solution sighted. The EU can have a minor role on the endorsement or
pretermission of any European Principles by the new constitution of
Cyprus. Idealists are wrong to overlook the effects of balance of
power, geopolitics, and conflicts of interest, and to overestimate
the role of international organisations in relation to the process
toward the settlement of the Cyprus issue.
Idealists are also wrong to ignore
the importance of national means of survival. In case of a
settlement to the Cyprus issues is not reached, Cyprus as a member
state of the EU has to provide for its defence and ensure its
survival in a world of anarchy. The International organisation has
very weak effects on the survival dilemma of Cyprus.
On balance, the idealist normative
“school of thought” can explain neither how Cyprus could ensure
its survival if it accepts the Annan Plan and joins the EU nor how
to redefine its strategy if it joins the EU without a settlement to
the Cyprus issue being reached. The Cypriot leaders cannot depend on
an idealist approach to deal with Cyprus’ survival dilemma;
wishful thinking is not a policy.
2.2 The Neoliberal Approach
institutionalist theory contains the basic realist assumptions, it
reduces the effect of anarchy. Neoliberals assume that states are
the principal actors in the international system, power remains an
important variable, and the structure of the international system is
anarchic. Neoliberals add to their conclusions that states act with
their conception of national interest. The major contrast to
structural realists is their assumption regarding both international
organisation and states’ concerns about balance of power and
relative gains. They assume that once states systematically
cooperate within international institutions, anarchy is eroded.
Although states use international organisations to pursue their
national interests, in the shadow of the future international
organisations should help states to overcome the problem of anarchy.
International organisations relax concerns about the distribution of
gains across the units and the power of others. Cooperation within
international organisations and regimes lessens the fear of states
over the balance of power and the asymmetrical distribution of
capabilities across the system’s units. Once states continually
cooperate within stable and secure regimes, they are no longer
concerned about relative gains and they prefer to run win-win games
instead of win-loss games. Advanced versions of neoliberal
institutionalist theory promise easier cooperation between states
when they are interested in freezing the status quo. “Institutions
can facilitate cooperation by helping to settle distributional
conflicts and by assuring states that gains are evenly divided over
time, for example by disclosing information about the military
expenditures and capacities of alliances’ members”.
Robert Axelrod elaborated on
repeated plays of the “Prisoners’ Dilemma game” to conclude
that states, which accept the tit-for-tat strategy, could not only
overcome the problem of mistrustfulness but they would also prefer
to cooperate than to defect; mutual cooperation (CC) becomes
preferable to mutual defection (DD). If states wish to play
repeatedly a bilateral (Prisoners’ Dilemma, for instance) or a
multilateral (Stag Hunt, for instance) game, they will no longer
seek to cheat and mislead others to “CD” situations but they
will signal their willingness to move toward a CC win-win situation.
When the desire of states for status-quo preservation is combined
with wise leadership and the will for defensive policies, the
problem of anarchy could be eroded and the security dilemma could be
relaxed. In a more aspirant version, students of neoliberal
institutionalism assume that once states acknowledge that
cooperation is preferable to defection, they form stable
international institutions which promise them protected absolute
gains rather than tentative relative gains; absolute gains become
preferable to relative gains. A theoretical perspective about the
social construction of international politics assumes that
“anarchy is what states make of it”. Neoliberals and social
constructivists -although they do not share all their assumptions-
assume that when international organisation prevails over
balance-of-power politics, the increase of national power is not
conceived as a threat to others. Ideas matter “all the way
Neoliberals cannot deny the fact
that their assumptions about international politics fall in with few
cases. The EU is conceived as the best model that fits with their
theoretical assumptions about international organisation. Some
neoliberals portray the EU as a regional organisation that the
European states developed under a tit-for-tat strategy which evolves
as a regional model of integration in world politics. It is assumed
that the EU member states chose to cooperate not so much for
relative but for absolute gains. Neoliberals also assume that
European states have organised a sub-system order of peaceful
cooperation that reduces the possibility of conflict between the
great powers of Europe and increases the possibility of protected
gains. War is unthinkable between the EU member states because it
does not pay. Although harmony of interest is not achieved, common
interest embeds national interdependence and boosts cooperation. On
the other hand, neoliberals fail to explain why complex
interdependence between the EU great powers does not condition their
national interest in areas of “high-politics”. The conflicting
national interests of European states reduce the possibility for an
international role for the EU. The EU can neither play a leading
role in international politics nor diminish or eliminate conflicts.
Power and the decision-making process for war or peace, intervention
or non-intervention, defensive or offensive actions remain in the
hands of states and not in the hands of NATO or the EU. Although
institutional organisation has improved, the EU member states are
deeply concerned about the power of others to impose their rules in
the game. As long as the shadow of the future remains unknown,
political integration will be constrained by the concern of the EU
member states about relative gains and the power position of others.
First Option: Cyprus Adopts the
Annan Plan and Joins the EU
The Annan Plan is also alien to
the neoliberal institutionalist approach. The authors of the Plan do
not transform the Cypriot state into a sovereign and independent
state able to participate in the EU and pursue its national
interests. Conversely, they conceive of a weak semi-sovereign state,
which is dependent on thin internal balances between its two
constituent states and on the will of guarantor powers. Those who
assume that in the aftermath of an Annan style settlement to the
Cyprus issue, the so-called neoliberal spirit of the EU will guide
the politics of the triangle of Greece-Turkey-Cyprus either
misunderstand EU politics or are purposely misleading public
opinion. The survival of the Cypriot “Annan state” will be
conditioned by the will of the guarantor powers. So long as
Greco-Turkish interests are common about the fate of Cyprus, the
Cypriot state will be able to continue its life. But the time they
stop sharing a common view about the survival of Cyprus, the new
state of affairs will collapse. Since international politics are
without governance there is nobody to guarantee the survival of
There is a misguided “neoliberal
assumption” about a potential dynamism for the survival of Cyprus
as a member state of the EU. It has been assumed that the EU will
develop a common basis for cooperation, interdependence and peaceful
coexistence between Greece, Turkey and the re-united Cyprus. Cyprus
will become a member state of the EU and, according to the Annan
Plan, as a member of the Union it has to support Turkey’s
accession to the EU. When all three become members of the Union,
conflicts between them will suspend.
Greece has since 1999
enthusiastically supported Turkey’s EU accession route. Its
current government assumes that in order to join the EU, Turkey
should respect the political and legal culture of the Union. As long
as Turkey demands EU accession, it will have to become more
democratic and desirous to cooperate with Greece. As a guarantor
power, Turkey will continue to deploy every effort to reach a
comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issues under the good offices
of the United Nations Secretary-General. Prime Minister Simitis’
administration deeply believes in the political and culture dynamism
of the EU. The Greek government assumes that Turkey’s
pre-accession route will have a determinative effect on its foreign
policy. Thus, Greece sought to develop a tit-for-tat strategy with
Turkey and proposed to engage in a win-win game. During the European
Council of Helsinki in December 1999, Greece lifted its veto power
and allowed the Council to nominate Turkey as a candidate country.
By this (tit) move, Greece looked ahead to a (tat) move by Turkey
for the settlement of their disputes in the Aegean Sea and in
Cyprus. The shadow of the future showed that the Simitis
government’s tit-for-tat appeasement strategy did not only fail
but it also encouraged Turkey to become more demanding and hard
lined about Cyprus and the Aegean.
Turkey does not link its accession
strategy either with the improvement of its bilateral relations with
Greece or with the solution of the Cyprus issue. Turkey seeks EU
accession in order to pursue its national interest, preserve its
power position and become part of the EU game. Turkey is very
sensitive about the stability and the cohesion of its state, its
power position and its relative gains, and checks very carefully
every step it takes to satisfy the political criteria of Copenhagen.
Turkey is mainly interested in opening pre-accession negotiations
with the EU in order to gain the financial aid it really needs to
stabilise its depressed economy and to improve the standard of
living for its citizens. None can tell how many years Turkey needs
to harmonise its economy with the acquis’ standards and
develop the judicial and administrative capacity necessary to
implement and enforce the acquis all over its territory.
The Annan Plan directly links the
sovereignty and the independence of Cyprus with the European future
of Turkey. The authors of the Plan claim that “[u]ntil Turkey’s
accession to the European Union, a constituent state may limit the
establishment of residence by persons hailing from the other
constituent state”. Cyprus should demand exceptions for the EU’s
acquis regarding “the right of Cypriot citizens to reside
in a constituent state of which they do not hold internal
constituent state citizenship status...until Turkey’s accession to
the European Union the percentage of such residents of the total
population of a constituent state has reached 21% [then no more
Cypriot citizens concerned have the right to reside in that
constituent state]”. The Plan also benefits Turkish nationals with
special entry and residency rights:
“The European Union shall
authorise Cyprus to accord equal treatment regarding entry and
residency rights with respect to its territory to Greek and
Turkish nationals without prejudice to policies and arrangements
applying to entry and residency rights of Turkish nationals in
other member states of the European Union”.
The Annan Plan also restrains the
sovereignty of the United Cyprus Republic (proposed name by the
authors) as member states of the EU in relation to its
administrative capacity to participate in international military
“Until the accession of
Turkey to the European Union, the United Cyprus Republic shall
not put its territory at the disposal of international military
operations other than with the consent of Greece and Turkey, in
addition to the consent of the governments of both constituent
In short, the neoliberal approach
cannot explain much about Cyprus’ survival in the aftermath of its
accession to the EU under the Annan Plan’s conditions. Greece
unsuccessfully sought to link on a bilateral tit-for-tat strategy
Turkey’s accession route to the EU. The Greek government’s bet
on a “neoliberal promise” for the solution of the Cyprus issue
and the Aegean dispute before 2004 was proved false. Greece must
learn that its good intentions are not always rewarded. The Annan
Plan can add no hope with regard to the neoliberal promise for the
improvement of Greco-Turkish relations.
Second Option: Cyprus Joins the EU
and Redefines its Strategy
The neoliberal institutionalist
theory cannot explain how the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to
the EU (without a prior solution to the Cyprus issue) could help it
survive under more secure conditions, but it can explain how Cyprus
could improve its national reputation, its wealth and prosperity.
The EU is not an organisation of collective security and its
security and defence mechanisms cannot offer military guarantees to
its member states. As a member of the EU, “Cyprus, even if it
unifies, will remain outside regional security structures”. Cyprus
needs to continue basing its security on national defence and on its
alliance with Greece.
When Cyprus joins the EU, it will
be “socialised” within the institutional framework of the Union
and will learn the “rules of the EU game”, that is, how to
develop and promote its case within the EU, how to ally and vote
during the EU summits, how to develop to apply the acquis
without penalties by the Court of Justice of the European
Communities, how to finance its national projects by using the
financial aid of the Union, how to run an EU-style free market
economy, how to use the institutional framework in order to pursue
its national interests. Cyprus is about to join a tough organisation
with many challenges and opportunities.
The EU member states have no
interest in recognising a separate “Turkish-Cypriot state” in
Cyprus. States like the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium, which
deal with separatist movements, would like to avoid such a precedent
in Cyprus. In the aftermath of Cyprus’ accession to the EU, Turkey
will find it very difficult to gain recognition for its protectorate
in Cyprus. Any Arab state thinking of recognising a
“Turkish-Cypriot state” should also consider abnormal relations
with the EU and maybe of economic and diplomatic sanctions on the
part of the Union.
Cyprus has been accepted to join
the EU as a member state under its current constitutional form. The
application of the acquis will be “suspended in those areas
of the Republic of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic of
Cyprus does not exercise effective control”. Its accession to the
EU “shall benefit all Cypriot citizens and promote civil peace and
reconciliation”. Thus, the Republic of Cyprus should now seek to
strengthen its relationship with its Turkish-Cypriot citizens. Until
a solution is found, the government of Cyprus can develop a
dialectic relationship with its Turkish-Cypriot citizens and bring
them closer to the EU. Turkish Cypriots will then acknowledge that
their future belongs in a democratic and pluralist state where the
rule of law and the respect of human rights are embedded. The EU’s
acquis could become the common reference point of both Greek
and Turkish Cypriots. The post-accession Turkish-Cypriots’
political dilemma is between the continuation of the status quo and
a European solution to the Cyprus issue. The EU repeatedly declared
that it is ready to accommodate the terms of a settlement on the
basis of the principles on which the EU is founded and on the
The government of the Republic of
Cyprus has already taken reconciliation measures for the Turkish
Cypriots. This will increase Turkish-Cypriots’ sense of security
and prosperity within a united and wealthy EU member state.
The accession of Cyprus to the EU
is favoured by the vast majority of the Turkish-Cypriot community,
which constitutionally belongs to the Republic of Cyprus. Today,
Turkish Cypriots have less trust in Turkey for their security and
prosperity than they had in the past. Polls show that they prefer
the soonest possible solution of the Cyprus issue and the accession
of a united Cyprus to the EU. Turkish Cypriots realise that the
Ankara-sponsored regime failed and they seek a new state of affairs.
On the other hand, Turkish Cypriots paradoxically support the Annan
Plan, which keeps them under Turkey’s sphere of influence. Turkish
Cypriots actually deny the solution of the Cyprus issue in line with
the EU founding principles, the acquis and the European
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms. As long as the Turkish Cypriots do not accept a solution
based on non-discrimination and on equal rights for all Cypriots,
Greek Cypriots will find it difficult to accept their demands.
Turkish Cypriots need to
understand that they have to make up their mind whether they wish to
survive within the Ankara-sponsored regime or within an independent
and sovereign democratic state, which respects the rule of law and
human rights. Turkish Cypriots know that the presence of the Turkish
military in the occupied part of Cyprus dictates their future. While
it is hard for them to clash with Ankara’s army, time will show
what they are ready to sacrifice in order to obtain their liberty.
It is well known that the Turkish Cypriots’ will is not expressed
by Rauf Denktash, and they already demonstrated it in December 2002.
It is also known that the Ankara-manipulated settlers, who number as
many as one half of the population in the occupied part of Cyprus,
are those who decide who is going to lead the de facto
Turkish Cypriot “administration”.
In the aftermath of the accession
of Cyprus to the EU a new neoliberal promise is born. Turkey knows
that Cyprus is an EU member state and this fact cannot be altered.
As a member state of the European Council, Cyprus can now check
Turkey’s pre-accession route. Neoliberals assume that should
Turkey continue to be interested in EU membership, it will have to
become more democratic and it will have to behave in line with the
EU principles. When Turkey is ready to join the EU, it will be ready
to solve the Cyprus issue in line with the principles on which the
EU is founded and the Union’s acquis. On the other hand,
neoliberals can neither explain what will happen until Turkey is
ready to join the EU nor how it will react if its national interest
about EU membership changes. They also ignore that Turkey has the
relative power to influence the process and impose its will any time
a settlement comes. Last but not least, neoliberals cannot explain
why Turkey will be forced to link its pre-accession route with the
settlement of the Cyprus issue and the Aegean dispute. Turkey
declared that it would like to settle all Greco-Turk disputes when
it joins the EU.
Turkey has systematically opposed
the accession of Cyprus to the EU. It would not like to see Cyprus
flourishing in the European Union and its government undermining its
presence on the island. Its generals conceive the occupied part of
Cyprus as a military asset, which they want to keep under control.
Turkey rejected the Annan Plan because of its maximalist theses on
the Cyprus issue and because of the unstable transitional period
that it currently goes through both internally and externally. The
Annan solution does not ponder the proportional offset to accept a
new state of affairs in Cyprus, namely to take its occupying forces
out and become just a guarantor of the new state of affairs. Turkey
would like to review its military occupation in Cyprus only after
its accession to the EU and under its own conditions.
Turkey assumes that it can begin
pre-accession negotiations without a settlement being found either
in Cyprus or in the Aegean. Turkey is concerned about the economic
and wealth superiority of Greeks on the island and it assumes that
if Cyprus reunites and joins the EU it might lose influence over
Turkish Cypriots. If Cyprus reunites and the Aegean dispute is
settled, Turkey will lose the strong leverage it enjoys in relation
to Cyprus, Greece and the EU.
The survival dilemma before the
Cypriot leaders is clear: In case they assume that Turkey’s route
to the EU has a positive dynamism in itself, they can accept, at any
time, an agreement with Turkey, even on the basis of the Annan Plan;
in case they assume that Turkey cannot at the moment respond to a
neoliberal European political culture but still believe that one day
Turkey will become a European state, then in order to trust a new
state of affairs in Greco-Turkish relations they will have to wait
until that moment comes.
On balance, although the
neoliberal approach can explain how the accession of Cyprus to the
EU will help the state improve its reputation and wealth, it can
neither explain how the state will survive under more secure
conditions nor how Greco-Turkish relations will be normalised under
a so-called European political culture. Greece has learned from its
NATO experience that international organisation has a minor effect
on national security. It is hard to understand how Greco-Turkish
relations will be improved within the EU, an institution that has no
role with regard to the national security of its member states, if
they did not improve within NATO, an institution of collective
defence. International organisations did not save Cyprus from
aggression in 1974 and could not prevent Turkey from challenging
2.3 The Neorealist Approach
International politics are better
understood through the combination of the structural realism’s
theoretical hypotheses and the traditional realism’s explanations.
In the first part of this article, I outlined the main parameters of
this approach, and throughout the previous sections I raised the
main realist doubts on the explanations that idealists and
neoliberals try to offer regarding Cyprus’ survival dilemma.
According to Imre Lakatos,
theories are evaluated by the fruitfulness of their research
programme. The view adopted in this paper is that neorealism can
explain the survival dilemma of any state better than any other
In order to understand the
survival dilemma of the Cypriot state, we need to understand both
the structural and the units-level causes that form it. Structural
realism portrays the structural causes of international politics;
traditional realism portrays units-level causes. Structural causes
explain the systemic constraints each state faces about survival;
units-level causes explain how interactions between states condition
their perceptions about foreign policy. At the system-level, the
international-political structure shapes the political process; at
the units-level the interactions between states shape their
perceptions and priorities.
The Cypriot state is a small unit
within the international system. It seeks to survive in a self-help
system which is constrained by the condition of anarchy and by the
asymmetrical distribution of capabilities across the units.
Units-level interactions force it to make tough decisions concerning
the improvement of its national means for survival.
At the system-level, Cyprus’
decisions are conditioned by the absence of governance in
international politics; it has to survive by its national means and
by making defensive alliances with others. When danger gathers,
there is nobody to guarantee its survival. At the units-level,
Cyprus cannot ignore the fact that its sovereignty is limited by
Britain and challenged by Turkey. Although the British military
Sovereign Base Areas do not threaten its survival, the stationing of
some 35,000 Turkish troops in the occupied part of Cyprus and
Turkey’s offensive intentions cause Cyprus grave concern over its
survival. In the first instance, the Cypriot state should develop a
national strategy in order to prosper and survive. In the second
instance, it should seek to settle its political problem; to end the
de facto status quo the Turkish occupation created in 1974
and re-unite its territory and its citizens. Internally, Cyprus
needs to reserve the monopoly on the use of legal force, safeguard
the state from external threats, provide for its defence, and ensure
its survival. National power is the ultimate guarantee of survival.
Political stability, social cohesion, wealth and prosperity back the
efforts of the Cypriot state to succeed in its mission. Externally,
since Cyprus cannot balance Turkey by itself, it has to increase its
means for survival and ally with stronger states.
First Option: Cyprus Adopts the
Annan Plan and Joins the EU
The Annan Plan seeks to offer an
alternative option to the survival dilemma of Cyprus. In case of a
settlement to the Cyprus issue on the basis of the Plan’s
provisions, the survival means of Cyprus will be “ensured” by
two given allies: Greece and Turkey (a non-EU member state), and its
constitutional order will be guaranteed by three given guarantors;
Greece, Turkey and Britain. The Cypriot state will give up its right
to defend itself and will entrust its survival and national security
in the hands of three states, Greece, Turkey and Britain, which
share no common interest in Cyprus. They also have a long history of
The survival of such a “state”
is based on four controversial assumptions: First, the Cypriot state
will no longer deal with external threats and if it ever faces any,
its guarantor powers will take care of them. Greece, Britain and
Turkey reaffirm “their pledge to resist any attack or aggression
against the independence or the territorial integrity of Cyprus”.
Second, since Greece and Turkey will become institutional allies of
Cyprus and will have equal defensive forces stationed in Cyprus,
there will be no opportunity to deal with any security dilemmas.
Third, in the aftermath of a “fair settlement”, a stable Cyprus
will help Greece and Turkey to reconstruct their bilateral
relationship and become “perpetual allies” for the sake of
Cyprus. Greece and Turkey are bound “to contribute to a peaceful
and harmonious future for Cyprus”. When it comes to Cyprus, the
anarchical structure of the international system and the
antagonistic nature of international relations will not affect
Greco-Turkish relations. Fourth, the EU’s institutional framework
and the European political culture will be additional elements to
the reconstruction of Greco-Turkish relations. In short, the authors
of the Annan Plan attempt to solve the survival dilemma of Cyprus by
sui generis assumptions.
The authors of the Plan strongly
believe that Cyprus will become “a bridge of friendship between
Greece and Turkey within a peaceful environment in the Eastern
Mediterranean”. Regardless of the absence of governance in
international politics, the antagonistic nature of Greco-Turkish
bilateral relations, the unequal distribution of capabilities across
them, their different national interests and the ongoing
developments in international politics, their experimental state
model will succeed in Cyprus because the concerned parts of the
issue will pledge to succeed.
The Reconciliation Commission will
fend for the development of a new political and social culture in
Cyprus. The history of Cyprus will be re-written. Economic
inequalities between the two constituent states are to be relieved
by the EU’s financial aid to the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state
and by the development of a mechanism to redistribute the national
wealth across the constituent states. Notable research papers and
books by Aimilianides et al (2003), Theophanous (2003), Papasavas
(2003), Drosos (2003), Chrisogonos (2003) and others showed that the
Plan underestimates problems about functionality and viability. The
main failure of the Plan is to explain how such a state could
The Plan seeks to create a state
without sovereignty, a state that cannot defend itself, a state
guaranteed by three competitors. The Cypriot state will give up
power over both its internal and external sovereignty. It will no
longer have the monopoly on the use of legal force to implement
order, safeguard the state from external threats, provide for its
defence, and ensure its survival in a world of anarchy. I have
already explained how the Supreme Court, which will consist of three
judges hailing from each of the constituent states and three
non-Cypriot judges who shall not be citizens of Greece, Turkey or
the United Kingdom, will “rule” the state. In the absence of
appropriate decisions that the state will need to function, the
three non-Cypriot judges will rule out concerning on everything. The
authors of the Plan introduce breakthrough mechanisms, which are
based on deus ex machine.
After the foundation of the new
state of affairs, the Cypriot state will be fully dependent on
foreign intervention. The Plan provides, for instance, that during
the transitional period, in case the two co-presidents fail to
compromise with the nomination of the Supreme Court or Central Bank
members, Mr. Kofi Annan will nominate them. There are at least
twenty more cases where “the United Nations Secretary-General
shall insert his suggestion for completing” the Plan’s
provisions “if agreement is not reached”.
Cyprus will become a protectorate
of three states, which do not share common interests with regard to
the future of the island. Greece, Turkey and Britain, which maintain
the right to intervene and restore order, will guarantee this
constitutional alchemy. It is well known that the regime of
guarantees, which was established in 1960, did not work and it is
hard to understand how it can work in the future.
Important questions need
answering. Since the politics of the region are fundamentally
characterised by conflict and since the interests of the three
guarantor powers are diverse, how will they cooperate in stabilising
Cyprus and implementing the Foundation Agreement? Since there is no
international agency to govern their relations, how will they
overcome a disagreement over Cyprus? The authors of the Plan do not
explain how Cyprus could pass such tough tests; they propose wishful
thinking as a political choice.
A UN force, which will be
stationed on the island, will only monitor the solution without any
right of intervention. Greece, Turkey and Britain never, and I
strongly doubt if they will ever work together in order to develop a
stable status quo in Cyprus. It is not only because of the nature of
international politics that such states, like the “Annan state”,
do not survive, but because these kinds of states are actually never
born in the international system. States that lack sovereignty
cannot be named states. The absence of central or superordinate
authority over states, the absence of international governance,
makes states claim individually to be sovereign with the right to be
independent and autonomous with respect to one another. Only such
sovereign states manage to survive in our world out there. Since
Cyprus has become an EU member state, it can only survive as a
sovereign and independent state or otherwise it will not be capable
to operate within the European regional system or within the
In short, the authors of the Plan
believe in a dogma concerning the “end of the history” of the
Cyprus issue after a settlement is found on the basis of their
Plan’s provisions. It is obvious that they are giving the wrong
impression with reference to the conditions under which a state can
Second Option: Cyprus Joins the EU
and Redefines its Strategy
On 16 April, 2003, the Republic of
Cyprus signed the Treaty of its Accession to the EU and ratified it
on 14 July, 2003. Since the Annan Plan has not been approved, the
Republic of Cyprus needs to think about the future.
Cyprus’ survival dilemma endures
under the same conditions; it is constrained by the structure of the
international system and affected by units-level interactions. The
Cypriot state is primarily concerned about security while it also
seeks a settlement to its political problem. Although Cyprus will
join the EU, its sovereignty will continue to be limited by several
provisions of the Treaty of Establishment on SBA and threatened by
Turkey. Regional developments in the South-eastern Mediterranean,
the Middle East and the Gulf will set further constraints. Needless
to say that Turkey’s intentions about the future of the Cyprus
issue are of great importance.
A significant question needs
answering: What is the impact of the additional dynamism of
Cyprus’ accession to the EU on its survival dilemma? A neorealist
response to that question is obvious: Since the balance of power is
in favour of Turkey, and since its intentions on the Cyprus issue do
not change, Cyprus cannot rely on the EU accession to ensure
survival. Concerns about security, prosperity and of the settlement
of the political problem constitute the priorities in foreign
policy. Cyprus has to remain deeply concerned about its national
capabilities to ensure survival. The EU accession can be used as a
means -not as an end- to pursue national interests, increase
national power and international reputation and strengthen the
The accession route of the
Republic of Cyprus to the EU was used as leverage on its leaders to
compromise with unbalanced political demands on the solution of the
Cyprus issue. In order to join the EU, Cyprus was unsuccessfully
pressed to accept a solution to the Cyprus issue that would have
offered several benefits to the Turkish side and several burdens to
the Greek side. On the other hand, Greece suggested vetoing the EU
enlargement in the case that Cyprus was forbidden to join the EU due
to the island’s unresolved political problem, which is essentially
caused by Turkey’s occupation and the lack of will by the
Turkish-Cypriot side to compromise on a balanced and comprehensive
settlement to the Cyprus issue in line with the EU founding
principles and the Union’s acquis.
In the aftermath of Cyprus
accession to the EU, Greece and Cyprus seek to draw out the
appropriate combination of carrots and sticks to be brought to bear
on Turkey, so as to press it to contribute to the solution of the
Cyprus issue in line with the EU founding principles and the
Union’s acquis, and to ease its provocations against Greek
territory in the Aegean Sea. Greece was wrong to allow Turkey to be
nominated as candidate state by the European Council of Helsinki and
to accept Turkish conditions on the Common European Security and
Defence Policy (CESDP); Greece offered two carrots but it did not
bring out any credible sticks. Greece missed the chance to
counterbalance the leverage of Turkey in the aftermath of Cyprus
accession to the EU; to exchange (1) the admission of candidacy to
Turkey with concrete progress on the Cyprus issue and (2) the
reducing of Turkish demands on the EU-NATO compromise with a
security package in the Aegean Sea and in Cyprus, based on the
principle of sovereignty.
Cyprus’ EU accession is a
cornerstone development which signals the beginning of a process
that will counterbalance Turkey’s leverage on Cyprus’
sovereignty. The EU membership could be used as a means to incur
cost to Turkey for illegally occupying northern Cyprus, and as a
means to legitimise its policy to solve the Cyprus issue on the
basis of the EU’s political and juristic standards.
The Republic of Cyprus may use its
accession to the EU in order to carry on punishing Turkey for
occupying 37% of its territory and being responsible for the
suspension of the acquis and human rights in the occupied
part of Cyprus. By occupying Cyprus, Turkey violates systematically
the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms and several other International Conventions.
The European Court of Human Rights has already ordered Turkey to pay
hundreds of thousands of dollars for barring Greek Cypriots from
having access and making use of their property. The Court ruled that
properties in the occupied part of Cyprus that belonged to Greek
Cypriots before the Turkish invasion still belong to them. The
victims of the Turkish invasion may demand compensation not for
losing their properties but for not being allowed to have access and
make use of their property. The Court has also ruled that Turkey is
responsible for all the violations of human rights in the occupied
part of Cyprus. The EU is deeply concerned about Turkey’s refusal
to comply with the European Court decisions and to pay the victims.
The EU is also deeply concerned about Turkey’s systematic
violations of the Convention, not only in Cyprus but also in Turkey.
Cyprus can use the EU’s concerns as leverage on Turkey so as to
make difficult Turkey’s progress toward EU accession. In order to
work toward a settlement of the Cyprus issue, Turkey has to pay a
high price for occupying the northern part of Cyprus. As long as it
believes that it can continue this occupation at low cost, Turkey
will not be interested in settling the Cyprus issue.
The Republic of Cyprus can try to
demonstrate its sovereignty. As an EU member state, Cyprus can
contribute to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and to
the Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP), when the EU
conducts Petersburg operations without making use of NATO assets. It
is important to mention the fact that Cyprus, after Greece’s
compromise in the face of Turkish demands, even when it joins the
EU, will not be able to participate in the Union’s Petersberg
operations “conducted using NATO assets”. That development was a
serious drawback because it limits the sovereignty of Cyprus as a
member state of the EU. On the other hand, if the EU or a core of EU
member states develops independent of NATO capabilities, Cyprus
could fully participate in the Union’s operations, whenever and
wherever they might be taking place.
Cyprus, as an EU member state,
could examine the possibility of application for joining NATO’s
Partnership for Peace, and let Turkey veto its membership. If this
happens, Cyprus will have a concrete reason to veto every move
Turkey makes to join the EU. On the other hand, in order to carry
out such a strategy and make a decision to counterbalance Turkey’s
leverage, Cyprus needs to take into account all relative political
issues including its own means and the cost.
Cyprus could also collaborate with
other EU member states which are concerned about Turkey’s
violation of human rights and lobby for its case.
On balance, neorealist theory
explains how the Cypriot state deals with its survival dilemma under
the ongoing status quo and how difficult it would be to deal with it
in the aftermath of a settlement to its political issue on the basis
of the Annan Plan. Although the Republic of Cyprus is now in a
position to deal with its survival dilemma, a “United Cyprus
Republic” (that would be established under the Annan Plan) will
not have a say on how to deal with it. I have argued that, although
Cyprus membership of the EU will not enhance the island’s security
situation per se, Cyprus will nevertheless be able to ensure
survival for itself. This is very important considering that our
world lacks an agency to ensure the survival of states. On the other
hand, not only realists but also every rational person would find it
very difficult to understand how a state without any say in its own
survival will be able to survive.
This article demonstrated the
hypothesis that misjudgements in making national decisions are
regularly based on misinterpretations of the nature and the
functioning of international politics. In order to deal with its
survival dilemma readily and settle its political issue
comprehensively, Cyprus needs to avoid misperceptions and
miscalculations; it has to evaluate its options carefully.
Our world is still constrained by
the absence of governance in international politics and the
asymmetrical distribution of capabilities across the system’s
units. In order to understand how international politics operate we
need to understand how structural constraints affect the interacting
capacity of states and condition their worry about survival. Since
states operate in self-help systems, they are deeply concerned about
their power position, their means for survival and their relative
gains. When danger gathers there is nobody to rescue them. Once
Cyprus operates in such a world, it needs to be deeply concerned
about security; it has to provide the necessary means to achieve
survival. The survival of the Cypriot state becomes a prerequisite
to achieve any other goals it may have.
The Annan Plan does not make for
better survival and security conditions for the Cypriot state. The
authors of the Annan Plan try to settle the Cyprus issue by
assumption. They proclaim “the end of the history” of the Cyprus
issue and the reconstruction of the Greco-Turkish relations without
sparing any concrete explanation on how this might happen. Cyprus is
used as a “test tube” for the resolution of the causes of
conflict between Greece and Turkey. The authors of the Plan
underestimate both the logic of international politics and the will
of the people of Cyprus to operate under such a hegemonic regime.
The Plan constrains the
sovereignty, the independence and the freedom of the Cypriot state
and its people. Most of the Annan Plan’s provisions are alien to
the nature of international politics, the rules of international
law, the founding principles of the EU and the embedded political,
juristic and human culture of Europe. The citizens and the
communities of such a state will have to accept their coexistence
within a dyadic and loose Cypriot state, which restricts fundamental
human rights and freedoms. If such a settlement is enforced, it will
have been based on a totally misleading assumption about lasting
peace in Cyprus.
The authors of the Plan believe
that although the “guarantor states” are longstanding
competitors, they will automatically become lasting allies. When it
comes to Cyprus, their national interests, their policy
differentiations and dilemmas will be suspended. The authors of the
Plan failed to explain how this is possible. Their innovative and
experimental “state model” is based on an assumption about the
renouncement forever of “the threat or the use of force, or any
domination by or of either side”. This reminds us of the
“Wilsonian” misleading assumptions about lasting cooperation and
peace in the world.
Should Cyprus join the EU without
a solution to its political problem on the basis of the Annan Plan,
it will need to redefine its national strategy. The accession of
Cyprus to the EU constitutes in itself a new framework of
interaction between Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and offers an
alternative option for the settlement of the Cyprus issue on the
basis of the founding principles of the EU, the Union’s acquis
and human rights. On the other hand, EU accession cannot function as
a catalyst for either its survival under more secure conditions or
for the solution of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the nature of
international politics and the fundamental principles of the
European political and legal culture. The settlement of the Cyprus
issue will be conditioned by both the structure of the international
system and the interactions between the sides concerned.
1. Research Fellow at the Research
and Development Centre, Intercollege (BA in Political Science,
University of Cyprus and MA in International Relations, University
of Kent at Canterbury). The author would like to thank Van
Coufoudakis, Savvas Papasavvas, Andreas Theophanous, Achilles
Aimilianides, Lysandros Avraamides, Andreas Ioannou, Michalis
Stephanides, George Psomas and Andia Mavrommati for their valuable
2. The Annan Plan is originally
titled Basis for a Comprehensive Settlement of the Cyprus Problem.
The first version of the Plan was submitted on 11 November 2002. It
was twice revised; on 10 December 2002 and on 26 February 2003. All
the references made in this article concern the final version of the
Plan (26 February 2003).
3. For general debates about the
post-cold war international politics see, for instance, Brzezinski,
1997; Fukuyama, 1989; Geeraerts and Stouthuysen (ed.), 1999;
Huntington, 1999; Keohane and Martin, 1995; Keohane and Nye, 2001;
Layne, 1994; Mearsheimer, 1990, 1995, 2001; Nye, 2002; Owen, 1994;
Waltz, 1993, 2000; Wohlforth, 1999. Note: The full titles of
the references are included at the end of the article (see
4. Krasner (ed.), 1983; Keohane
and Martin, 1995.
5. See, for instance, Florini,
2000; Gilpin, 1987, 2000, 2001; Hirst and Smith, 1996; Tsinisizelis
and Ifantis (eds.), 2000.
6. See Link, 1966; Garr, 1939;
7. Couloumbis, Ntokos, and Kintis
(eds.), 2003; Aimilianides, Kentas, Kontos, Mavrommatis and
Phocaides, 2003; Theophanous, 2003; Alivizatos, 2003; Drosos, 2003;
Chrisogonos, 2003; Papasavvas, 2003.
8. TEU, Article 6: “1. The Union
is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law,
principles which are common to the Member States; 2. The Union shall
respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed
in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the
constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general
principles of Community law; 3. The Union shall respect the national
identities of its Member States; 4. The Union shall provide itself
with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through
9. See United Nations, Security
Council, ‘Report by the Secretary-General on his Mission of Good
offices in Cyprus’, S/2003/398, 1 April 2003. Previous
Secretary-General’s Reports are also worth reading. Also, see
United Nations, ‘Summary of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Views on
the Set of Ideas’, 11 November 1992 (S/24472).
10. Waltz, 1988, pp. 41-42.
11. Waltz, 1979, p. 88.
12. Ibid., p. 91.
13. Waltz, 1997, p. 913.
14. Conversely, Mearsheimer, in a
resent definitive work on offensive-realism, assumes that great
powers seek power as an end in itself. See Mearsheimer, 2001, pp.
15. Waltz, 1979, Chapter 6.
16. Ibid., pp. 91-92.
17. Ibid., p. 93.
18. Herz, 1950.
19. Waltz, 1979, p. 80. Waltz has
also assumed that (1) “structures may endure while personality,
behaviour, and interactions vary widely; and (2) “because this is
so, theories developed for one realm may with some modification be
applicable to other realms as well”.
20. Waltz, 1979, p. 93.
22. Waltz, 1986, pp. 323-330.
23. Ibid., pp. 323-324.
24. Waltz, 1979, p. 97.
25. Ibid., p. 96 (Italics are
26. Ibid., p. 93.
27. Ibid., p. 99.
28. Ibid., p. 97.
29. Wendt, 1999, argued (like many
did before) that neorealists take states identities “as given”.
This is a simplistic statement. Neorealists assume that at the
system-level the identities of states are “characterised” by
their functional undifferentiated character and by the distribution
of capabilities across the system’s units. This might be a simple
definition about the “structural identities” of the system’s
units, but obviously, neorealists do not take the identities of the
states as given.
30. Waltz, 1979, p. 118.
31. See, op. cit., Thucydides, History
of the Peloponnesian War.
32. Grieco, 1988, p. 498.
33. Jervis, 1978, has a different
opinion. Giorgos Kentas, Confronting Anarchy with Perceptions: A
Study of the Security Dilemma. Unpublished thesis.
34. Gilpin, 1981, p. 211.
35. Cohen, 1964; Mackinder, 1942.
36. Coufoudakis (ed.), 1976.
37. See Treaty of Establishment of
the Republic of Cyprus. Cmnd. 1093, (Presented to the British
Parliament by the Secretary of State for Colonies, the Secretary for
Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence by Command of Her
Majesty, July 1960).
38. See Eric Schmitt with
Dexter Filkins, ‘Erdogan to Form New Turkish Government as US
Presses for Use of Military Bases’. The New York Times, 12
March 2003. Associated Press, ‘US Must Rethink Strategy Without
Turkey’, 3 March 2003. Frank Bruni, ‘US Ties to Turkey May Face
Enduring Strain, Officials Say’, New York Times, 4 March
2003. Glenn Kessler and Philip P. Pan, ‘Diplomatic Missteps With
Turkey Prove Costly’, Washington Post, 28 March
39. See Murat Unlu, ‘Turkey’s
Presence in Iraq Disturbs US Plans’, Turkish Daily News, 14
July 2003. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, ‘US Wants to Redesign Turkey’,
Turkish Daily News, 14 July 2003.
40. Ifestos, 1999; Platias, 1999.
41. Geeraerts and Stouthuysen
42. Kant, 1795.
43. Rousseau op. cit., 1917.
44. Jervis, 1978; Van Evera, 1998.
45. Clausewitz op. cit., 1968,
Book I, p. 87.
46. Waltz, 1988.
47. See Andrew Gowers, Robert
Cottrell and Andrew Jack, ‘Putin Interviewed on ABM Treaty’, Financial
Times, 13 December 2001.
48. Strange, 1996, p. 192.
49. See Presidency Conclusions,
European Council of Laeken (December 2001). Also, see Consolidated
Version of The Treaty on European Union (Title V, Articles 11-28).
For an historical analysis about the foreign policy of EC/EU from
the European Political Cooperation to the Common Foreign and
Security Policy, see Regelsberger (ed.), 1997; Ifestos, 1997.
50. Doubtless, the NATO airplanes,
which were deployed over the US skies in the aftermath of the 11
September 2001 terrorist attacks (October 2001), had just a
ceremonial role to play. See CNN, ‘NATO Aircraft Guard US
Skies’. 12 October 2001 (Resource: www.cnn.com).
51. Waltz, 2000, p. 16.
52. Ibid., p. 14.
53. Keohane and Nye, 1975, 1977,
1987, 2001; Keohane, 1984, 1989.
54. Keohane, 1989, p. 9 (Italics
55. Keohane argued that the
neorealism’s relative gain problem and the realism’s relative
capabilities problem “do not accurately describe [the] US policy
toward Europe or Japan for at least twenty years after World War
II”. See Ibid., p. 10.
56. See Terence Neilan, ‘U.S.
Pulls Out of the ABM Treaty’, International Herald Tribune,
14 December 2001.
57. Waltz, 1959, p. 203. Also, see
Neumann and Morgenstern, 1953.
58. See Joseph S. Nye, ‘Before
War’, Washington Post, 14 March 2003. Walt, 2001, is of the
59. Axelrod and Keohane, 1985, do
not agree with that. They assume that in the shadow of the future,
states prefer to cooperate for absolute gains.
60. Population (2001): 762.300,
GDP per capita (2001): 18.500 EUR (20.0747 USD), Fiscal Deficit on
GDP (2001): 2.8%, Inflation rate (2001): 2%, Unemployment rate
(2001): 4%, GDP real growth (2001): 4%. Sources: Eurostat. National
Sources. OECD External Debt Statistics. For further
information see, European Commission, ‘2002 Regular Report on
Cyprus’ Progress Toward Accession’, Brussels, 9 October 2002.
61. Sovereignty is defined as the
capability of the states (1) to freely make decisions on internal
politics and (2) to have independent foreign policies. All states
face limitations of sovereignty due to systemic causes and
units-level interactions. Cyprus is an extraordinary case. It cannot
function as a full sovereign state because (1) its constitution is
given by three other states, (2) it cannot revise several articles
of its constitution, (3) the guarantor powers intervene in the
internal politics of the state, (4) it could not make decisions on
several aspects of foreign policy -including defence- without the
permission of its “guarantor powers” and (5) Britain established
fully sovereign post-colonial military bases on the island, which
excludes them from the acquis. In the aftermath of the
Turkish-Cypriot community’s rebellion in 1963, when its members
gave up their constitutional rights and abandoned their governmental
positions, the Republic of Cyprus was forced to function without the
constitutional provisions that concerned Turkish Cypriots. Although
in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the illegal
military occupation of 37% of the state’s territory, the
sovereignty of Cyprus was further narrowed, the Republic of Cyprus
managed to survive and join the EU. Hence, Cyprus can participate as
a full member state of the EU and make decisions that concern the
Union and its member states.
62. Papademetriou, 1992.
63. Coufoudakis (ed.), 1976.
64. See fn. 9.
65. Sarris, 1977, 1982, 1983.
66. See UNSC Resolution 186, 4
March 1964; UNSC Resolution 354, 20 July 1974; UNSC Resolution 541,
18 November 1983.
67. Denktash, 1982.
68. Sarris, 1977, 1982, 1983.
69. UNSC Resolution 541, 18
70. It is important to mention
here that some mediators use the Republic of Cyprus’ concern about
international recognition as leverage. They exert pressure on the
Greek-Cypriot side to retreat from fundamental negotiating positions
and accept a solution it would never like to accept.
71. Ifestos, Platias, 1992;
Aristotelous, 1998. Although the Common Defence Space Agreement
between Greece and Cyprus is vital for the security of Cyprus, it
twice failed to demonstrate deterrence credibility (when Turkey
invaded the Greek islet of Imia in 1996 and when Cyprus cancelled
the deployment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in 1998).
See Michele Kambas, ‘Cyprus Alters
Missile Plan After Threat’, Washington Post, 30 December
1998. Associated Press, ‘Cyprus Leader Cancels Plan to Deploy New
Missiles’, The New York Times, 30 December 1998.
72. Chrisostomides, 1994.
73. European Court of Human
Rights, Cyprus v. Turkey, 10 May 2001. European Court of
Human Rights, Titina Loizidou v. Turkey, 18 December 1996.
74. Annan Plan, p. 7.
75. Ibid., pp. 159-168.
76. Ibid., p. 8.
77. See United Nations, Security
Council, ‘Report by the Secretary-General on his Mission of Good
offices in Cyprus’, S/2003/398, 1 April 2003. Especially
78. See Kentas in Couloumbis,
Ntokos, Kintis (eds.), 2003, pp. 251-263. Turkey believes that for
the time being its national interest is better served through the
ongoing status quo in Cyprus than through a new state of affairs
based on the Plan. Turkey had the power to say “no” without
suffering any cost.
79. See Vassiliou, Stylianides and
Savvides in Couloumbis, Ntokos, Kintis (eds.), 2003, pp. 210-220,
80. The Annan Plan is alien to the
nature of international politics. Furthermore, the Plan satisfies
neither EU standards and the Union’s acquis nor the human
rights standards of the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Plan promotes a base of
discrimination between the two constituent states and their citizens
in relation to social and political rights.
81. Florini, 2000.
82. Within the thirteen EU
nominated candidate for accession states ten are former Eastern and
Central European States. Eight of them will join the Union on 1 May
2004; Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Estonia, Hungary, Poland; and two of them are expected to become
members in 2007; Rumania, Bulgaria. Cyprus and Malta will join the
EU on 1 May 2004. Turkey seeks for a date to launch pre-entrance
negotiation in December 2004.
83. Annan Plan, pp. 11, 36-37.
84. Ibid., p. 95.
85. Ibid., pp. 95-96; “Article 4
Decisions of the Supreme Court: 1. In accordance with the
Constitution, the Supreme Court shall strive to reach decisions by
consensus and issue joint judgments of the court; 2. In the absence
of consensus, a majority of the Cypriot judges may take the decision
of the court and issue a joint judgment; 3. In the absence of a
majority among the Cypriot judges, the non-Cypriot judges, acting
together and speaking with one voice, shall participate in the
decision of the court”.
86. Ibid., p. 8.
87. CFSP stands for Common Foreign
and Security Policy.
88. CESDP stands for Common
European Security and Defence Policy.
89. Annan Plan, p. 179.
90. See Article 6, 1 of the TEU.
91. Treaty of Accession, Brussels,
3 April 2003. Protocol 10 on Cyprus, pp. 4803-4807.
92. Keohane and Martin, 1995, pp.
93. Axelrod, 1984.
94. Axelrod and Keohane, 1985.
95. CD stands for
96. Jervis, 1978.
97. For the leading works on this
course see: Stein, 1980; Young, 1980; Keohane and Nye, 1977;
Keohane, 1984, 1989; Krasner (ed.), 1983.
98. Wendt, 1992.
99. Wendt, 1999. Also, see
100. Telò et al., 2001.
101. George A. Papandreou, ‘A
Unified Cyprus is Essential for European Unity’, International
Herald Tribune, 21 May 2002.
102. See Kathimerini,
‘Erdogan becomes uncompromised’, 12 March 2003 (in Greek).
103. Giallourides, 1999;
Giallourides and Tsakonas, 1999; ELIAMEP, 2002.
104. Annan Plan, p. 9.
105. Ibid., p. 178.
106. Ibid., 179.
107. Ibid., p. 44.
108. “Javier Solana, the
European Union’s foreign policy chief, said…that Turkey has
agreed to drop its veto of EU cooperation with NATO in return for a
commitment that the island of Cyprus, even if it unifies, will
remain outside regional security structures…Agreement on the issue
was reached…in Copenhagen on EU expansion. Solana, the key
interlocutor, said he had worked over the past two years to clinch
the deal and finally devised a set of conditions acceptable to
Greece, Turkey and the United States. Over lunch with Washington
Post editors and reporters, Solana explained that Turkey «did not
want to have a divided Cyprus have anything to do with NATO»”.
Quoted in Nora Boustany, ‘Clearing the Way for EU-NATO
Cooperation’. Washington Post, 18 December 2002.
109. Treaty of Accession,
Brussels, 3 April 2003, p. 4805.
111. Ibid., p. 4804. Also, see
Presidency Conclusions on Cyprus from the European Council of
Luxembourg 1997 to the European Council of Thessalonica 2003 and
European Commission’s Regular Reports on Cyprus (1998-2002).
112. Republic of Cyprus,
‘Government Policy Vis-à-Vis The Turkish Cypriots (Set Of
Measures)’. Nicosia, 30 April 2003.
113. European Commission concludes
that “[t]he economic situation in the northern parts of
Cyprus is still very weak and the population is undergoing severe
hardships more than a year after the economic and banking crises in
Turkey had damaged economic activity in the north. Real output
growth contracted by 3.6% in 2001, following a 0.6% fall in 2000.
Consequently, per capita income has continued to decline in 2001,
with the economic crisis aggravating the income gap with the rest of
the island. Estimates put income at some €4,000 per head in
2001”. See European Commission, ‘2002 Regular Report on Cyprus
Progress toward Accession’, 9 October 2002, p. 28.
114. Reuters, 27 December 2002.
“«Enough, nobody believes you...» Turkish Cypriot rally calls
for Denktas[h] to quit. One of the biggest [rallies] in north
115. This is one of the
conclusions reached in the Council of Europe’s Reports on
Turkey’s colonisation policy. See Council of Europe, Parliamentary
Assembly, ‘Report on the demographic structure of Cypriots
communities’, 1995. Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly,
‘Colonisation by Turkish Settlers of the Occupied Part of
116. This is a statement made by
Turkey’s Prime Minister, Mr. Abdullah Gul, in Copenhagen (December
2002) and repeated by his successor, Mr. T. Erdogan in Turkey’s
National Assembly. See Yiannos Charalambides, ‘Breath of Hope’, Simerini,
14 December 2002 (in Greek). Yiannos Charalambides,
‘Erdogan speaks with the voice of Denktash’, Simerini, 19
July 2003 (in Greek).
117. See fn. 103.
118. Lakatos, 1970; Waltz, 1997.
119. Hereafter, when I refer to
neorealism I refer to a combination of structural and traditional
120. Annan Plan, p. 170.
121. Ibid., ‘Additional Protocol
To The Treaty Of Alliance’, pp. 170-174.
122. Ibid., p. 160.
123. See George A. Papandreou,
‘A Unified Cyprus is Essential for European Unity’, International
Herald Tribune, 21 May 2002. United Nations, Security Council,
‘Report by the Secretary-General on his Mission of Good offices in
Cyprus’, S/2003/398, 1 April 2003. Especially paragraphs 4-7.
124. Annan Plan, p. 160.
125. Ibid., ‘Reconciliation
Commission’, pp. 155-57. S. Papasavvas, ‘Education and Public
Law in Tomorrow’s Cyprus. The Annan Plan Provisions’, European
Public Law Series (forthcoming).
126. See Mavrommatis, 2003, ‘The Financial
Aspects of the Annan Plan’ in Aimilianides et al., 2003, pp.
127. Annan Plan, pp. 2, 51, 52,
53, 59, 61, 65, 69, 70, 72, 90, 93, 94, 95, 101, 103, 106, 110, 138,
156, 157, 181.
128. Ibid.,pp. 12, 160, 182-3.
129. See Treaty of Accession,
‘Protocol 3 On the Sovereign Base Areas of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Cyprus’, pp. 4745-4762.
130. European Court of Human
Rights, Titina Loizidou v. Turkey, 18 December 1996.
131. European Court of Human
Rights, Cyprus v Turkey, 10 May 2001 Application No.
132. See, for example, European
Commission, ‘2000 Regular Report on Turkey’s Progress toward
Accession’, p. 20.
134. See Douglas Hamilton,
‘Turkey Blocks Deal To Share NATO Force’. Washington Post,
16 December 2000. Michael R. Gordon, ‘Turkey Tentatively Agrees
European Union Force May Use NATO Bases’, The New York Times, 5
June 2001. Nora Boustany, ‘Clearing the Way for EU-NATO
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24-25 October 2002.
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