Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

Turkey’s interventions in its near abroad: northern Cyprus

11 May 2022 - 15:38
Source: The motto Ne mutlu Türküm diyene! and the Northern Cypriot flag on the Kyrenia Mountains in Northern Cyprus / Wikiwand

The primary objective of Ankara’s recent political and military interventions in northern Cyprus is to use the island as the linchpin for its maritime ambitions in the eastern Mediterranean in terms of the geo-economics of claiming and exploring the hydrocarbon resources around the island and expanding its naval power more broadly. Turkey recently upgraded the military utility of the island in line with its Blue Homeland naval doctrine as one track towards realising its primary objective. Another track consists of Ankara politically empowering Turkish Cypriots who advocate for a two-state solution. In doing so, Turkey aims to maintain the status quo, which it views as a ‘two-states-on-one-island’ situation that brings northern Cyprus under increasing Turkish control and pulls it out of the EU’s orbit. In the process, it suppresses the views of advocates of re-unification in northern Cyprus. The EU also stands to lose as the prospect of settling the Cyprus question via a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation – its preferred option – fades from sight.

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