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Cyprus

Yearbook 1997

Cyprus. Since the Cypriot government ordered anti-aircraft missiles from the Russian Federation, tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots increased in the spring as well as between Turkey and Greece. The S-300 missiles are so effective that they are said to be able to give Greek Cypriots control over the airspace over and around Cyprus. Several Western countries were trying to get Cyprus out of business and Turkey threatened to use force to prevent missiles from being deployed in the spring of 1998, as planned. Turkey also searched for missiles aboard Russian ships passing through the Bosphorus, after which the Russian Federation declared that a Turkish attack on the vessels would mean war.

1997 Cyprus

In early 1998, the EU will start membership negotiations with Cyprus. The country appears to be an ideal EU member, with high growth and fast-growing prosperity, and would easily qualify for monetary union EMU unlike many EU countries. But politically, membership is a difficult nut to crack.

According to Countryaah, Turkey, which itself has been excluded from the EU, does not want to see Cyprus as an EU member because the Turks fear to lose influence on the island. The Turks threaten to annex Northern Cyprus if the southern part is to be admitted into the EU. Turkey is also using its membership in NATO as a means of pressure and is threatening to halt the Alliance's enlargement in the event of a Cypriot EU accession. But Greece requires Cyprus to join the Union, even if the island remains divided and threatens, on its part, to put an end to EU enlargement in Eastern Europe. Other EU countries want to see the Cyprus issue resolved before joining the EU, all in order not to import the conflict there.

Greek Cypriot President Glafkos Klerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash met several times during the year but made no concrete progress. In June, former Bosnian mediator Richard Holbrooke was appointed as a new US envoy in Cyprus. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots welcomed the appointment.

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