Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Professor S R Sonyel


  Turkey has been, and still is, a staunch supporter of European defence. She is a loyal and active member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and in that capacity has made invaluable contributions to the defence of Europe and Western causes since the establishment of NATO. Turkey's recent and justified objection to the use by the European Union (EU) of NATO resources (because Turkey is not a member of the EU but still needs to be consulted) has now been resolved.

  The United Kingdom (UK) has a long relationship with Turkey, including the military sphere. She is also allowed to use Turkey's air-space. At a time when the West is taking effective action against international terrorism, Turkey's invaluable contribution to those efforts is beyond dispute. Turkey can be a valuable member of the Western European Alliance and the planned European Rapid Reaction Force, but she needs to be accepted as a full member of the EU, and therefore membership negotiations should be initiated as soon as possible.

  Until recently Turkey was treated by the EU establishment in a rather cavalier manner and marginalised, whilst Greece became a member without much fuss. Recently the EU-Turkey relations were soured because the EU allowed itself to be blackmailed by Greece to accept to consider for membership the unilateral application of Greek South Cyprus, which poses as "the government of all Cyprus". The EU ignored completely the de facto existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and did not bother to consult the Turkish Cypriots about membership.

  Turkey-UK relations also were soured over this issue, because the Turks believe that the UK should have used her authority as one of the guarantor Powers of the 1959 Cyprus Treaties, to veto the application of South Cyprus, which does not represent North Cyprus. That application is contrary to the letter and spirit of the 1960 Cyprus Treaties, which the UK officially still endorses, and which make it clear that "Cyprus" cannot become a member of any organisation in which both Turkey and Greece are not members.

  If, with the threat of Greece, the EU is forced to admit for membership a divided Cyprus before a final and viable settlement is reached on the issue, then Turkey's chances of ever becoming EU member will be lost forever. Turkey would then have to find solace elsewhere, while the EU would be lumbered with the small Greek state of South Cyprus (a market of 650,000 people), and with the loss of Turkey (a market of 66 million people), and face prolonged military and political instability in the Aegean and Mediterranean areas. The UK, too, will stand to lose many of the advantages she enjoys in the areas.

Professor S R Sonyel

January 2001

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