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A Forgotten Promise: Ending the Isolation of Turkish Cypriots

Despite repeated calls and promises, Turkish Cypriots live in economic, political and humanitarian isolation. This paper tries to address one aspect of it and elaborates on the legal basis of these isolationist practices imposed on one side of the island. It challenges the international legal validity of the de facto sanctions. Furthermore, it claims that lifting economic isolation will also serve as a confidence building tool between Greek and Turkish Cypriots as well as between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus represented by the Greek Cypriots since such an act will lead to Turkey’s reciprocation and the normalization of relations with the Republic of Cyprus. It also argues that neither the UN, nor the EU has ever imposed any sanctions on Turkish Cypriots and the policy of isolation, as such, has only been practiced by the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks. This paper intends to clarify the distinction between sanctions and non-recognition. It also highlights the promises made by the EU to the Turkish Cypriots, in particular, the one made on April 26, 2004, when the Council of the EU proclaimed its commitment to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

A Forgotten Promise Ending the Isolation of Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots still live in economic, political and even cultural isolation and repeated calls to end their isolation have landed on deaf ears.
 

On December 7, 2009, the General Affairs Council of the EU, in its declaration while praising Turkey for the achievements in democratization, human rights and good neighborly relations, expressed its deep regret that “Turkey, despite repeated calls, continues refusing to fulfill its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol2 to the Association Agreement.”3 However, the Council neglected to mention its own responsibilities and its own commitments with respect to the Association Agreement.

As it might be remembered, the European General Affairs Council declared on April 26, 2004 that the EU was ready to put an end to the isolationist practices, which were being imposed on the Turkish Cypriots for decades. The promise was made only two days after the simultaneous referenda4 on the adoption of the Annan Plan, in other words immediately after the rejection of the plan by the Greek Cypriot side by a 75.8 percent of the votes casted. 

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