31 January, 2010

Cyprus to split?

The Guardian reports that Turkish Cypriot officials have warned that Cyrpus is in danger of splitting into two separate countries. This astonishing development could happen as a result of a failure in current talks between the leaders of the two jurisdictions on the island – the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, and the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Leaders of both jurisdictions are under pressure from hard-liners, and it may be impossible to reach a deal.

Given that the island is already divided into two jurisdictions, it is not entirely clear what difference it would make if the talks failed. Maybe the international community might give up trying to put Cyprus back together again and move to recognition of Northern Cyprus as a de facto and de jure state. It is unlikely, however, that Northern Cyprus will find itself a full member of the international community any time soon. The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU and could probably block its engagement with the other Cyprus, while various prominent countries who hate secessionists would probably block wider recognition for it. So, if the talks fail then it's business as usual, though it would probably mean Cyprus would continue obstructing Turkish accession to the EU.

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