Republic of Cyprus: Risk Assessment Report (4 February 2016)
The Northern third of the island is the primarily Turkish Cypriot & Turkish settler “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” Although arguably de facto sovereign, TRNC is recognized as a state by only Turkey. The internationally recognized government de jure of all of Cyprus is the Republic of Cyprus with its capital in the south. This report undertakes an analysis of conflict risk based on risk assessment indicators and stakeholders (internal and external). It analyzes the relationship of stakeholders to the conflict in Cyprus, and investigates what the stabilizing and destabilizing factors of the risk assessment indicators are. The report concludes that the most likely outcome in the short term in Cyprus is a continuation of the status quo with high militarization, unpopular austerity measures, unsuccessful reunification talks and substandard treatment of refugees.
Cyprus achieved independence in 1960 from the British. Relations between Turkish Cypriots in the Northern third of the island and the rest of Cyprus have been rocky since the 1974 attempted coup and Turkish invasion of Northern Cyprus, which prompted a mass exodus of Greeks from the north to the south, and Turkish Cypriots from the south to the north. Despite repeated UN Security Council resolutions calling for Turkish withdrawal, Turkey has maintained its presence north of the 1963 Green Line. Reunification talks failed in 1985, 1989 and 1992 before violence in the buffer zone killed two Greek Cypriots. Talks failed again in 1997. The listing of Cyprus as a potential EU member then sparked new tensions between Cyprus and Turkey, particularly after Russian involvement in selling anti-air missiles to Cyprus. In 2001, Turkey threatened annexation of the north if Cyprus joined the EU prior to a reunification settlement. Reunification plans failed again in 2003, but Green Line border restrictions were lifted. In 2004, a referendum for reunification failed as it was rejected by the South, although accepted by the Turkish Cypriots in the north. Cyprus joined the EU that year despite Turkish opposition. The benefits of this membership, however, only apply to the Republic of Cyprus with its internationally recognized government and not to the TRNC. Cyprus adopted the Euro in 2008, just before the financial meltdown. The economic crisis in 2008 forced Cyprus to begin drilling for oil, renewing tensions with Turkey, which raised maritime zone issues over areas that were being drilled. In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay €90 million in damages to Cyprus for the 1974 invasion, a ruling that Turkey refused to comply with. Reunification talks resumed in 2015. Cyprus President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci appeared on TV together for the New Year’s address in 2016 signalling continuation of peace talks. The two leaders also met with Ban Ki Moon at Davos in January 2016.