Editorial

The divided status of Cyprus has been evidently exerting impact beyond the borders of the island for some time now. Over the decades of stalemate, it has grown into a major force affecting not only the wellbeing of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, but Turkish foreign policy, the EU’s civic capabilities, Turkey-EU relations, European Mediterranean Policy and the future of transatlantic security as well. This issue of the Journal of Cyprus Studies seeks to display how influential the Cyprus question still is in the current course of international affairs. In this respect, the articles of this volume are not concerned directly with the past and present attempts at solving the Cyprus problem, but they rather dwell on the resonances of failed attempts to reconcile the two Cypriot communities in other contexts. As the reader will see, our main focus rests on the decisive role that the Cyprus problem plays in Turkey’s EU candidature in particular, and the EU’s enlargement, neighbourhood, Mediterranean, security, and defence policies in general. In this rather implicit way, we hope to lay emphasis on the fact that the EU’s performance in its dealings with Cyprus has been underwhelming and that the non-solution of the Cyprus problem damages not only the credibility of the EU’s normative action-tools such as conditionality and Europeanization but equally its actor capacity in its periphery and beyond. 

The first article is the product of a comprehensive research and first-hand results of a survey conducted by the authors, S. Barış Gülmez and M. Didem Buhari-Gülmez. With a particular concentration on the impact of the EU’s conditionality on Turkish foreign policy vis-à-vis the Cyprus problem, this article magnifies the link between the Euro-scepticism among Turkish political elite and the EU’s Cyprus policy. Our second article, written by Petek Karatekelioğlu and Volkan İpek, examines the phases that Turkish foreign policy has gone through with regard to the Cyprus question under the influence of Turkey’s EU candidacy. In doing that, it grounds its arguments mainly in the official documents of the EU and, accordingly, adopts the discourse-analysis method of inquiry. In the third article, the author has ventured to highlight the challenge that the Cyprus problem poses to the EU’s self-perception as a normative power. In its foreign-policy actions, the EU experiences serious difficulties in terms of creating outcomes desirable for all parties involved, and such a deficit generates doubts about the normativeness of the EU’s position in the face of current global affairs. Finally, the article by Emel G. Oktay and Yiğit Uçak elaborates on the EU’s neighbourhood, security, and Mediterranean policies and puts forward the necessity of solving the Cyprus problem as a necessary condition for the development of these policy areas. The Union for Mediterranean, the most recent initiative of the French presidency of the European Council, is also treated within this context.
In addition to articles, this issue comprises a discussion paper and a book review, whose contents are highly relevant to our general theme. Sinan Ülgen’s discussion paper is a quest for the implications of EU-NATO relations on the future of the transatlantic security community. One of the impediments in front of the full
reconciliation between the EU and NATO is undoubtedly Turkey’s veto on the adhesion of Cyprus to NATO, which seems to be the only leverage left in Turkey’s hand to better negotiate a substantial solution on the island. Ülgen draws attention to this crucial point, which has been, in fact, insufficiently stressed in the discussions of Cyprus. In closing this issue, the book review by Nur Köprülü introduces us to a “good read”; Mesut Özcan’s Harmonizing Foreign Policy: Turkey, the EU, and the Middle East, published by Ashgate. Harmonizing Foreign Policy offers insight into the recent political phenomenon of Europeanization and treats it within the context of the Middle East. A probe of Turkish foreign-policy actions towards the Cyprus question alongside the dynamics of the Middle East provides the reader with a fresh view. I would like to thank my colleagues in the Journal of Cyprus Studies, especially Özlem Çaykent, for their invitation to compile this issue in co-operation with them. I have taken this opportunity to assess the Cyprus question from the current perspective of the foreign-policy dynamics of Turkey and the EU. I would also like to thank all the authors, whose generous contributions have made this issue possible, the Centre of Cyprus Studies, and the staff of the Eastern Mediterranean University Printing House. 

C. Akça Ataç

Published: 2019-04-16