Monday, 8 November 2010

Turkey, Cyprus and the EU

Important talks are coming up, trying to resolve the tricky situation of a divided Cyprus. And the division of Cyprus is one of the reasons blocking Turkey’s entry into the EU. For years now Turkey has been an enthusiastic supporter of the EU and has brought about many changes (including abolishing the death penalty) to try to move its application forward.

Jack Straw, from the comfort of opposition and holding now no official portfolio, but with the authority of his years as Foreign Secretary, has said that if the upcoming talks don’t get anywhere, then we should consider the position of a divided Cyprus. His lack of position has enabled him to speak the ‘unspeakable’; and he’s right to do so.

Turkey is facing opposition on other fronts to its EU membership, one of which is that it’s a Muslim country; the majority of its citizens are Muslim but Turkey is, officially, a secular state. It’s an important country, in an important position and full of wonderful people.

Jack Straw is right to say what he did, to raise the issue, and, hopefully, add a bit of vigour to talks moving with an unacceptable snail’s pace.

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