Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nationalist Wins Cyprus Election, Sparking Concern about Peace Talks

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nationalist Wins Cyprus Election, Sparking Concern about Peace Talks

Article excerpt

Hardline nationalist Dervis Eroglu won Sunday's Cyprus election, but his victory in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus could stall fragile peace talks and harm Turkey's troubled bid to join the European Union.

Sunday's presidential election in Northern Cyprus, won by a hardline nationalist, could send ripples far beyond the divided island's territory by stalling fragile peace talks and harming Turkey's troubled bid to join the European Union, analysts say.

According to unofficial results, hardline leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) Dervis Eroglu won the election in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a country only recognized by Ankara.

Mr. Eroglu had said that if elected he would revisit ongoing reunification talks that have been conducted by the outgoing president, Mehmet Ali Talat, for the past two years.

Mr. Talat, leader of the left-leaning Republican Turkish Party (CTP), supports reunification of the island, which has been split into Greek and Turkish sides since 1974. Eroglu, currently Northern Cyprus's Prime Minister, has said he would like to see a two-state confederation, something the Greek Cypriots oppose.

"What Eroglu wants is very difficult for the Greek Cypriot to accept and he wants to revisit everything that's been talked about over the last two years. If time runs away with this again, then partition will become irreversibly entrenched," says Hugh Pope, an analyst with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

"Barring a miracle, [a suspension in talks] would put Turkey's EU membership negotiations in deep freeze," says Pope. "Everyone loses."

Turkey's EU bid

Turkey's troubled EU-membership drive is inextricably tied up with the Cyprus problem.

The Greek-speaking southern part of the island joined the EU in 2004, and has since used its position in Brussels to stymie Ankara's EU bid.

Turkey, meanwhile, is using its NATO membership to strike back, blocking enhanced cooperation between the EU and the defense alliance in protest of what it considers a Brussels held captive by the Greek Cypriot agenda. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.