Back to “the Tradition”: Turkey’s Changing Position from a Federal to a Two-State Solution to the Cyprus Conflict Notes de l'Ifri, July 2021
When it came to power in 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) defended a bicommunal, federal solution for Cyprus, and supported the Annan Plan to reunite the island.
This appeared at the time as a remarkable change in Turkish foreign policy, which had backed a confederal solution in Cyprus since 1997. Nevertheless, after years of negotiations to solve the Cyprus conflict, Ankara has decided to leave aside its support for a federal solution and re-embrace “the traditional policy.” Following the failure to reach a resolution in 2017, Ankara, together with the officials in Northern Cyprus, now proposes a two-state solution or a loose confederation in Cyprus. This dramatic shift shows that the gap between Greeks and Turks has widened ever more.
This paper analyzes the evolution of Ankara’s position by looking at the very essence of the new proposal and the irreconcilable positions between the parties. It further argues that the change in Turkey’s position is the product of many variables, including negotiations that lasted for decades, the weakening transformative power of the European Union (EU), and the changing balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean.