North Cyprus – what if Turkey annexed it?

Turkey’s European Affairs minister, Egemen Bagis, has apparently said that Turkey would consider annexing northern Cyprus if talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots failed to reach a reunification deal. Back in 2002, according to Col. Steve Norton1, Senior US Policy Advisor, “this could result in an outright political union or a mini-Turkish Economic Union. In either case, the Green Line separating the two communities would effectively become a permanent, armed, demarcation line, and Turkey’s EU future would be ended. In this scenario, everyone would be a loser.”

The point is, what would Turkey and the TRNC actually lose? Would Turkey suffer if hopes for a far off membership of the EU were extinguished? In 10 years time would membership of the EU even be the best bet in a world where growth is outside the EU? If wealth was to remain in Europe then perhaps the EU would be a good option but with India, China, Russia and many other countries becoming more wealthy then this relatively small market appears to be losing importance.

Looking at a list of countries ordered by their growth2 you find that EU members are noticeably missing from the top 100, only Sweden appears and that’s at the 86th position. From their current form, the EU is not a club you’d want to rely on to help you economically. On top of that, you could end up contributing a sizeable portion of your economy just to keep it afloat.

In the case of North Cyprus, it really has no choice, in my opinion. It is financially bankrupt and recent events suggest that it is finding great difficulty managing the issues it finds itself embroiled in. For example, it needs to privatise several of its industries in ordered to inject capital and yet it cannot persuade the Unions that this is inevitable and that they should become involved in change instead of fighting it. Additionally, North Cyprus has an archaic legal system which is blamed on legislation passed over 50 years ago by the British and which the government seems unable to update. This has wrecked confidence in the type of foreign investment which might bring stability and benefits to the general population. Instead the kind of money that is attracted is of the get rich quick variety which seems to go arm in arm with corruption.

All this said, to be honest, I don’t believe Turkey has the stomach to take complete responsibility for the North Cyprus wasp’s nest.






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