Welcome to the Crisis Group blog “Solving the EU-Turkey-Cyprus Triangle”, where we cover the nexus of issues surrounding Cyprus, Turkey and the EU. Here are some of our thoughts as we launched the blog back in February 2009:
This year is a critical year for Cyprus as efforts to resolve the long conflict gather steam, and for Turkey as frustration with EU enlargement fatigue weighs heavy on its chances of approaching membership. With Cyprus a member state of the EU and troops from NATO-member Turkey still in the northern half of the island, the inter-relationships are many.
Will Turkey’s efforts to join the Union be formally blocked if it does not normalise its relations with Cyprus by autumn? Will other EU member states that have a negative stance towards Turkey’s membership continue to argue that Turkey has no place in the Union? Will such moves turn Turkey away from the EU, stifle ongoing reform and push Ankara towards other allies? Will the EU’s need to diversify energy sources and the Nabucco pipeline plans affect thinking in Brussels and member state capitals? And how will all these factors affect the search for a final peaceful settlement between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, elusive for so many decades?
This new Crisis Group webpage is an effort to continually revisit these questions and others with frequently updated analysis and commentary following the situation as it unfolds. The point is not to respond to every new diplomatic twist and turn, but to make a reasoned and considered assessment of events and offer recommendations to the key actors with greater immediacy than can be done with a longer report.
Part of the reasoning behind this new webpage comes from the results of the online survey Crisis Group conducted a few weeks ago. Through that poll, we learned that 74% of our subscribers find our themed pages on specific conflicts useful — our most popular website feature. More than half of the over 11,500 survey respondents said they would like Crisis Group to produce more frequently updated analysis and commentary on our website. Almost as many said they wanted more information from the field.
This new webpage will meet these expectations, with updates and new material from Crisis Group Europe Program Director Sabine Freizer in Brussels and Turkey/Cyprus Project Director Hugh Pope in Istanbul once or twice a week. With these frequent inputs into the public debate, we intend to play our part in the peaceful resolution of the Cyprus conflict in a way that can draw Turkey and the EU closer together.