Opinion:The link between the Turkish economy and the ongoing talks in Cyprus.

written by Costas Mavrides MEP &  (S&D & DIKO), Economist.

Unfortunately, Turkey has immersed itself into authoritarianism, instability and economic impasses. These conditions are substantiated  by Turkish academics / analysts living abroad and others. For instance, a confidential report of the IMF, records a deterioration of country’s economic indicators, adjusted to the orders of the “New Sultan“, where paranoia has taken hold and this might has reached the point of no return. Erdogan sees his country’s economy, which is the key factor of  his strength, to get crushed, the turkish lira in free fall, domestic and foreign capitals flowing out of the country and people escaping Turkey anywhere else towards safety. In desperation, he proposed barter trade with other countries such as Russia, which was rejected as there is a need for  hard currency exchange to the dollar or  euro and not to the weak turkish lira.

After the recent slaughter in Istanbul (31st terrorist attack in Turkey only in one year and a half) at Erdogan’s Palace, Sultan’s advisers they did not hide their joy. Directly after the terrorist attack, Mr Burhan Kuzu, a top adviser of Erdogan, announced, solemnly, the proposed constitutional changes which will expand the duration of his rule  in Turkey “for many years in such manner as  there can be no alteration of the system without bloodshed“. In the aftermath of every attack, the fissure regarding  democracy deepens as the circle of imprisonments and oppression is expanding. Nowadays, in Turkey, a person could potentially face jail for communicating “subniminal messages”, while investments and people are flowing out of the country.

usd /try december 2016

While Τurkey is becoming ever more isolated, in Cyprus the prevailing view is for a settlement with removal of all turkish occupying forces and without any sort of Turkey’s guarantees. Nonetheless, at the President’s Office in Cyprus, it’s like living in their own parallel universe! They are the only ones who still believe that Erdogan wants a fair solution in Cyprus. While in the EU, there is a clear understanding for the a solution without Turkey’s role the day after, the only ones who explained the … need to keep some form of Turkish guarantees  and some Turkish occupying forces, are some Greek Cypriot politicians, led by the Cypriot President Mr Anastasiades and the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Two statements made during the previous weeks indicate that the President Anastasiades and his advisers are living in their own parallel universe. Mr N. Anastasiades credited Turkey for adopting a positive rhetoric regarding the Cypriot issue, while the Greek Prime Minister when asked about it he stated that ” we have entered a downturn period regarding the relations between the European Union and Turkey, because there is currently an escalating tension coming from Turkey especially since the failed coup… which is expressed several times with unacceptable statements that questioned relevant international treaties between the two countries . Yet, who is telling the truth?

Moreover, Cypriot President’s close environment does not have the same understanding ofthe reality as him. At the beginning of the intensive negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, he made a public commitment that what is agreed at the negotiating table, must be fulfilled by the Turkish side in order to continue discussion on security issues through an international conference. His stance was very clear: the Turkish stance should deliver a map, on the basis of clear agreed benchmarks, for areas to be placed under Greek Cypriot command within the settlement, while all the remaining pending issues, such as issues of Governance and Presidency, should have been concluded or very closed to be agreed. Theother day, we learned from the Greek Cypriot negotiator Mr A. Mavrogiannis that “we still have some way to go regarding the remaining matters outstanding, some of which are very important ones, including the property issue”. Additionally, some “presidential mouthpieces” used to interrupt broadcastings in order presumably to “clarify that the property issue is closed with a full recognition of property rights to all displaced /owners in the northern occupied territories.” Now, the Greek-Cypriot negotiator himself has confirmed that open issues include the property chapter as well! Unfortunately, vociferous mouthpieces do not have their own opinion, ’cause others submit to them what to say.

The centre of gravity of Turkey as a modern state, which lasted nearly a century under oppression, is shifting rapidly. People inside and outside Turkey  are aware of this. Only the Cypriot President has his own different interpretation, sees a positive rhetoric from Turkeywhile proposing enhanced guarantees along with presence of Turkish occupying troops in a possible solution. At this point, it’s a waste of time in asking why. What is fundamental is to save our existence as a functioning country within the EU.

Turkey economics 2016
  • Costas Mavrides, MEP (S&D) – costas.mavrides@europarl.europa.eu
*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the  position of Eyes on Europe & the Middle East. Translations are only an approximation of the author’s original content. The MEP is aware of the translations we make of his articles in French or English on this blog.

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