Opinion: The new Turkish lobbyist in the European Union.

At present Turkey has become one vast prison where tens of thousands of dissidents have been prosecuted,  media operations were shut down by decree, hundreds of journalists have been imprisoned , leadership, deputies, mayors and thousands of executives of HDP party (second biggest party of the Turkish opposition) have been wiped out among others. All these took place after the state of emergency imposed in Turkey since the failed coup in July 2016 which even Erdogan called as a “gift from Allah.” where he governs by decree as the country’s New Sultan.

A report made by  the relevant Council of Europe  committee  regarding the referendum on constitutional reform in Turkey and adopted in early March of this year  concluded that this referendum carries an intrinsic danger of degenerating into an authoritarian rule in Turkey. The report considers that  the proposed changes would “further weaken the already inadequate system of judicial oversight of the executive and the independence of the judiciary.” To summarise, the report says that the proposed changes to the constitution in Turkey place the country “on the road to an autocracy and a one-person regime,” and asks Turkey  to postpone  the upcoming referendum until the lifting of the state of emergency making it “ex-ante invalid“.

Furthermore,  Erdogan’s regime refuses to give access to any international observers to visit the Kurdish-majority provinces where the HDP party had 90%  at the last general election. In the face of this authoritarian regime, the imprisoned charismatic leader of HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş, went on hunger strike and a letter is expected to the Council of Europe that will question in advance  the validity of the referendum due to numerous violations of elementary fundamental rights.

While all these are taking place, at present, in Turkey and met with a vehement reaction from the EU Member States, the Cypriot Republic is an exception!  The views of the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kasoulides, have been summarised by the Cypriot newspaper “Alitheia” as follows: ” If the result of the upcoming referendum in Turkey is “Yes”, then perhaps Turkey’s stance may become more accommodating  regarding the issues related to security ” in Cyprus. In other words, if Erdogan becomes Turkey’s new Sultan , Cyprus could benefit from this result! 

Even if Mr Kasoulides personally believes that, is not something that a Minister of Foreign Affairs of a country under turkish occupation would say. Additionally,  when  the Foreign Affairs Minister was asked about Mr. Eide’s role , for whom he said a  lot without even mentioning a word regarding his role as a promoter-lobbyist of Turkey’s interests when he asks for the application of the four basic european freedoms for Turks (not only the Turkish Cypriots) after a solution.

However, regarding now the repeated and illegal  NAVTEX (navigational telex) issued by Turkey  within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus for military training this time,  he also provided comprehensive explanations, that the “reserved” areas where Turkey is involved is not Cypriot territory adding that everyone has the right to “perform military exercises” adding that “they are simply not allowed to proceed to explorations at the bottom of the sea.”

The Cypriot President, as well, expressed the same considerations regarding the upcoming turkish referendum while expressing the hope that after the referendum the Turkish side will adopt a new stance in Cyprus. Nonetheless, he didn’t say a word about Mr Eide’s  about  Mr. Espen Barth Eide’s positions as if they were not relevant to us.

However, the Cypriot newspaper “Politis” holds the most pro-Erdogan stance until now. The day after the recent Turkish elections it welcomed Mr Erdogan’s victory with an inimitable front page title ” AKP (Erdogan’s party) won! Cyprus can have hope!”

Unlike other member states which oppose to Erdogan, the positions of the Cyprus Government seem to run counter to these positions. Additionally, the Greek Foreign Minister, Mr Kotzias, condemend Mr Eide’s actions and wondered whether Mr Eide acts as a mediator between the two communities or if he declared himself as a mediator between Turkey and the EU pointing out that he cannot use the Cyprus issue in order to promote Turkish requirements satisfaction with the European Union.

“If Turkey has a request to make to the EU it should go itself and negotiate, but others have no business believing that, on the occasion of the Cyprus issue, they should help meet Turkey’s requirements on its relations with the EU,” the minister said.

Do they work as lobbyists for Turkey?

Taking into account the prevailing circumstances in Cyprus, this favourable moment to promote our interests within the EU will be missed, unless people (of Cyprus) take action.

*Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the  position of Eyes on Europe & the Middle East.
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