Showing posts tagged as "hugh pope"

Showing posts tagged hugh pope

14 Feb
New Hope for Peace in Cyprus
Hugh Pope, The Majalla  |   14 Feb 2014
As a new round of talks started on February 11, 2014 between Nicos Anastasiades and Derviş Eroğlu—respectively the leaders of Cyprus’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities—cynicism is rife among ordinary Cypriots. Most people think it will take a miracle of some kind to reach a settlement anytime soon.
This is due to a number of reasons: The four-month delay in starting the talks over what were widely seen as pedantic details, the disappointment of high hopes invested in the 2008–12 talks, and the failure of the 2004 Annan Plan, which was accepted by 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots and most of the international community but rejected by 76 percent of Greek Cypriots.
After all, the goal of the talks, a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation for Cyprus, is not new; the UN-facilitated parameters are much the same, and many of those involved in the talks are veteran negotiators. The process now started is in large part an attempt to revive the round of talks held between 2008–12, itself the fifth major round in nearly four decades.
Three new aspects have, however, excited some diplomatic hopes. The first is that Anastasiades, who was elected as president of the Republic of Cyprus a year ago, has made it clear he is seeking a light federal structure for any new republic, with constituent entities controlling their own borders and citizens having no contact with the central federation government in their daily lives. This is a more realistic approach than that of his predecessors and is more likely to lead to a settlement with the Turkish Cypriots, who are keen to keep as much power in their constituent entity as possible.
The second novelty is that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot chief negotiators will soon visit Ankara and Athens respectively, opening up a vital new channel of communication. Especially on the Greek Cypriot–Ankara axis, a lack of trust, and an inability to see that the other side really does want a deal, has long held back progress.
The third new aspect is that the United States has taken a leading role in pressing for this round of talks to start. One reason is the increasingly active world of east Mediterranean energy politics. An American company, Noble Energy, is the main operator working to extract natural gas from deposits discovered in the eastern Mediterranean over the past decade. The most commercial deposits have so far been found in Israeli waters, but there is significant potential in offshore Cyprus too.
The cheapest, quickest, most secure and profitable way to get this gas to market is probably by pipeline to Turkey. But such a pipeline would have to pass through Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and a senior Greek Cypriot official tells us there is no chance Nicosia will allow that to happen before a Cyprus settlement is agreed, or, at the least, before there is a very good prospect of one. And if a settlement doesn’t materialize quickly, energy experts say the Israeli developers will choose a more expensive, but more certain, alternative export method, such as a floating terminal that freezes and liquefies the gas to load into tankers.
The US is interested in supporting Israel as its ally appears to seek an insurance policy against Middle East turbulence by building a stronger line to the European Union through closer ties with Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. A gas pipeline linking three or four of these countries would be one way of reinforcing such a strategy. US mediation since March 2013 is also now close to resolving the crisis of confidence between Israel and Turkey.
The best confidence-building measure to help the talks along their way would be for Turkey simply to extend its EU Customs Union to the Greek Cypriots, a measure that was already fully negotiated back in 2005 and is known as the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement. It has been blocked for political reasons in Ankara, partly as a sanction against Greek Cypriots but also because Turkey lost interest in actively pursuing EU membership.
Ratifying the Additional Protocol would be a leap forward on several tracks: it would normalize trade with Greek Cypriots, helping their economy, which was shattered in 2013 by a financial-sector meltdown, and change their perceptions of Turkey; it would clear the principal obstacle to opening fourteen of Turkey’s thirty-five negotiating chapters with the EU; it would almost certainly result in Turkish Cypriots winning tax-free “direct trade” with the EU; and it would greatly improve the atmosphere of the Cyprus settlement talks.
Turkey has shown no sign of doing any of this yet. But, after years of neglecting Cyprus and its EU accession process, Turkey has now announced that 2014 will be a &lsquoYear of Europe.’ In January, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Brussels for the first time in five years and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, played a crucial part in pushing forward the beginning of this new round of Cyprus talks. Such moves may partly be to shore up domestic popularity after a bumpy year, but they are steps in a positive direction.
Turkey should also undertake sustained outreach to Greek Cypriots. This was successful in 2010, when Prime Minister Erdoğan invited to Istanbul a group of former Greek Cypriot officials, journalists and civil society activists. At the meeting, they were wowed by his repeated assurances that he wanted to do a deal on Cyprus. This visibly began to neutralize one of the most important drivers of the Cyprus dispute: institutionalized Greek Cypriot fear of the intentions of their far bigger and more powerful neighbor.
While all sides would benefit from a settlement—any settlement—failure to make the politically painful compromises necessary to reach an outcome quickly will deepen the de facto partition of the island. Indeed, the level of disconnection between the two communities already looks almost irreversible. Lack of a settlement will leave Greek Cypriots isolated and poorer on the far eastern tip of the EU; Turkish Cypriots will remain stranded with little way to escape integration into Turkey; and NATO-member Turkey will be burdened with, at best, a frozen EU accession process and the steady drain on its resources of propping up the Turkish Cypriot administration. Myriad regional benefits will also likely stay stuck: the EU and NATO will remain unable to share assets; east Mediterranean natural gas will remain orphaned from its most lucrative market in Turkey; and Greece and Turkey will most likely fail to solve their expensive maritime-boundaries dispute in the Aegean.
Original Article (The Majalla)
Photo: khowaga1/flickr

New Hope for Peace in Cyprus

Hugh Pope, The Majalla  |   14 Feb 2014

As a new round of talks started on February 11, 2014 between Nicos Anastasiades and Derviş Eroğlu—respectively the leaders of Cyprus’s Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities—cynicism is rife among ordinary Cypriots. Most people think it will take a miracle of some kind to reach a settlement anytime soon.

This is due to a number of reasons: The four-month delay in starting the talks over what were widely seen as pedantic details, the disappointment of high hopes invested in the 2008–12 talks, and the failure of the 2004 Annan Plan, which was accepted by 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots and most of the international community but rejected by 76 percent of Greek Cypriots.

After all, the goal of the talks, a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation for Cyprus, is not new; the UN-facilitated parameters are much the same, and many of those involved in the talks are veteran negotiators. The process now started is in large part an attempt to revive the round of talks held between 2008–12, itself the fifth major round in nearly four decades.

Three new aspects have, however, excited some diplomatic hopes. The first is that Anastasiades, who was elected as president of the Republic of Cyprus a year ago, has made it clear he is seeking a light federal structure for any new republic, with constituent entities controlling their own borders and citizens having no contact with the central federation government in their daily lives. This is a more realistic approach than that of his predecessors and is more likely to lead to a settlement with the Turkish Cypriots, who are keen to keep as much power in their constituent entity as possible.

The second novelty is that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot chief negotiators will soon visit Ankara and Athens respectively, opening up a vital new channel of communication. Especially on the Greek Cypriot–Ankara axis, a lack of trust, and an inability to see that the other side really does want a deal, has long held back progress.

The third new aspect is that the United States has taken a leading role in pressing for this round of talks to start. One reason is the increasingly active world of east Mediterranean energy politics. An American company, Noble Energy, is the main operator working to extract natural gas from deposits discovered in the eastern Mediterranean over the past decade. The most commercial deposits have so far been found in Israeli waters, but there is significant potential in offshore Cyprus too.

The cheapest, quickest, most secure and profitable way to get this gas to market is probably by pipeline to Turkey. But such a pipeline would have to pass through Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and a senior Greek Cypriot official tells us there is no chance Nicosia will allow that to happen before a Cyprus settlement is agreed, or, at the least, before there is a very good prospect of one. And if a settlement doesn’t materialize quickly, energy experts say the Israeli developers will choose a more expensive, but more certain, alternative export method, such as a floating terminal that freezes and liquefies the gas to load into tankers.

The US is interested in supporting Israel as its ally appears to seek an insurance policy against Middle East turbulence by building a stronger line to the European Union through closer ties with Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. A gas pipeline linking three or four of these countries would be one way of reinforcing such a strategy. US mediation since March 2013 is also now close to resolving the crisis of confidence between Israel and Turkey.

The best confidence-building measure to help the talks along their way would be for Turkey simply to extend its EU Customs Union to the Greek Cypriots, a measure that was already fully negotiated back in 2005 and is known as the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement. It has been blocked for political reasons in Ankara, partly as a sanction against Greek Cypriots but also because Turkey lost interest in actively pursuing EU membership.

Ratifying the Additional Protocol would be a leap forward on several tracks: it would normalize trade with Greek Cypriots, helping their economy, which was shattered in 2013 by a financial-sector meltdown, and change their perceptions of Turkey; it would clear the principal obstacle to opening fourteen of Turkey’s thirty-five negotiating chapters with the EU; it would almost certainly result in Turkish Cypriots winning tax-free “direct trade” with the EU; and it would greatly improve the atmosphere of the Cyprus settlement talks.

Turkey has shown no sign of doing any of this yet. But, after years of neglecting Cyprus and its EU accession process, Turkey has now announced that 2014 will be a &lsquoYear of Europe.’ In January, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Brussels for the first time in five years and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, played a crucial part in pushing forward the beginning of this new round of Cyprus talks. Such moves may partly be to shore up domestic popularity after a bumpy year, but they are steps in a positive direction.

Turkey should also undertake sustained outreach to Greek Cypriots. This was successful in 2010, when Prime Minister Erdoğan invited to Istanbul a group of former Greek Cypriot officials, journalists and civil society activists. At the meeting, they were wowed by his repeated assurances that he wanted to do a deal on Cyprus. This visibly began to neutralize one of the most important drivers of the Cyprus dispute: institutionalized Greek Cypriot fear of the intentions of their far bigger and more powerful neighbor.

While all sides would benefit from a settlement—any settlement—failure to make the politically painful compromises necessary to reach an outcome quickly will deepen the de facto partition of the island. Indeed, the level of disconnection between the two communities already looks almost irreversible. Lack of a settlement will leave Greek Cypriots isolated and poorer on the far eastern tip of the EU; Turkish Cypriots will remain stranded with little way to escape integration into Turkey; and NATO-member Turkey will be burdened with, at best, a frozen EU accession process and the steady drain on its resources of propping up the Turkish Cypriot administration. Myriad regional benefits will also likely stay stuck: the EU and NATO will remain unable to share assets; east Mediterranean natural gas will remain orphaned from its most lucrative market in Turkey; and Greece and Turkey will most likely fail to solve their expensive maritime-boundaries dispute in the Aegean.

Original Article (The Majalla)

Photo: khowaga1/flickr

2 Oct
Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope
Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.
Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same U.S. and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.
FULL ARTICLE (International Relations and Security Network) 
Photo: david_shankbone/Flickr

Israel’s plan to bring Cyprus and Turkey together | Hugh Pope

Israel is quietly challenging Turkey and Cyprus to make a choice: move together to develop Israel’s share of the East Mediterranean’s natural gas riches, or stay on the sidelines and perpetuate their decades-old stalemate over Cyprus.

Israel has stated its preference for export pipelines to both Turkey and Cyprus, and is in a strong position to elicit both countries’ cooperation: only Israel has big proven reserves, while test drillings are still trying to establish whether Cyprus has major exportable quantities. Both fields are being developed by the same U.S. and Israeli operating companies, who will make the main export decisions – subject, in the case of Israeli gas, to Israeli government permission.

FULL ARTICLE (International Relations and Security Network) 

Photo: david_shankbone/Flickr

17 Sep
Downed Syrian Helicopter Highlights Dangers of the Volatile Turkey-Syria Border | Piotr Zalewski
It’s far from what the Turks had in mind. In late 2009, at the height of its detente with Syria, the Ankara government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted visa requirements for Syrian nationals and floated plans for future energy cooperation, investments, as well a free trade zone. Less then four years later, with its southern neighbor gripped by war, and with Turkey openly calling for the US to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s regime, the border has become a flashpoint. The area — expected to be a crossroads for traders, business people and tourists — now teems with refugees, smugglers and insurgents.
FULL ARTICLE (Time) 
Photo: airwolfhound/Flickr

Downed Syrian Helicopter Highlights Dangers of the Volatile Turkey-Syria Border | Piotr Zalewski

It’s far from what the Turks had in mind. In late 2009, at the height of its detente with Syria, the Ankara government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan lifted visa requirements for Syrian nationals and floated plans for future energy cooperation, investments, as well a free trade zone. Less then four years later, with its southern neighbor gripped by war, and with Turkey openly calling for the US to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s regime, the border has become a flashpoint. The area — expected to be a crossroads for traders, business people and tourists — now teems with refugees, smugglers and insurgents.

FULL ARTICLE (Time) 

Photo: airwolfhound/Flickr

9 Sep
Greek Cyprus ‘punished for blackmailing Europe’ | Barçın Yinanç
Greek Cypriots used every means available to them by virtue of their membership in the European Union to punish the Turks, but the EU is now taking a manner of revenge on the country, said analyst Hugh Pope, adding that Greek Cypriots never expected to be humiliated this much by Europeans.
“Cypriots tested everyone‘s patience. But they did not realize they were doing it,” said Pope, the Turkey-Cyprus project director for the International Crisis Group.
FULL ARTICLE (Hürriyet Daily News)
Photo: European Council/Flickr

Greek Cyprus ‘punished for blackmailing Europe’ | Barçın Yinanç

Greek Cypriots used every means available to them by virtue of their membership in the European Union to punish the Turks, but the EU is now taking a manner of revenge on the country, said analyst Hugh Pope, adding that Greek Cypriots never expected to be humiliated this much by Europeans.

“Cypriots tested everyone‘s patience. But they did not realize they were doing it,” said Pope, the Turkey-Cyprus project director for the International Crisis Group.

FULL ARTICLE (Hürriyet Daily News)

Photo: European Council/Flickr

28 Aug
Turkey’s Tangled Syria Policy | Hugh Pope
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, Turkey has struggled to develop the best strategy to manage the crisis. The war has brought fatalities, shellfire, bombs, militias, sectarian tensions and uncertainty to Turkey’s long southern border. Turkey has also welcomed at least 450,000 Syrian refugees, a number that could rise sharply. Security problems are also multiplying for Turkey, with Syria’s conflicts in a roiling stalemate and Syria itself turning into a failed state.
FULL ARTICLE (Combating Terrorism Center) 
Photo: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı/Flickr

Turkey’s Tangled Syria Policy | Hugh Pope

Since the start of the civil war in Syria, Turkey has struggled to develop the best strategy to manage the crisis. The war has brought fatalities, shellfire, bombs, militias, sectarian tensions and uncertainty to Turkey’s long southern border. Turkey has also welcomed at least 450,000 Syrian refugees, a number that could rise sharply. Security problems are also multiplying for Turkey, with Syria’s conflicts in a roiling stalemate and Syria itself turning into a failed state.

FULL ARTICLE (Combating Terrorism Center) 

Photo: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı/Flickr

13 Jun

Watch Hugh Pope, Crisis Group’s Turkey/Cyprus Project Director, discuss the unrest in Turkey on the Charlie Rose Show

Photo: Flickr/Alan Hilditch

7 Jun
Listen to Crisis Group’s Turkey/Cyprus Project Director, Hugh Pope, discuss protest and crackdown in Turkey with Tom Ashbrook of WBUR’s On Point.
Photo: Elif Altinbasak/Flickr

Listen to Crisis Group’s Turkey/Cyprus Project Director, Hugh Pope, discuss protest and crackdown in Turkey with Tom Ashbrook of WBUR’s On Point.

Photo: Elif Altinbasak/Flickr

Erdogan can win by engaging Turkey’s park protesters | Bloomberg
By Hugh Pope
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in tighter spots: He was thrown in jail for alleged Islamism, saw his last political party closed down and survived a showdown with the once all-powerful Turkish military.
Yet the street protests that erupted first in Istanbul and then across the country at the end of last month present a challenge he has never faced before. So far, he has mishandled the situation, and on June 6 showed no sign of backing down. That’s a mistake, because he has the ability to turn the protests to his advantage and the country’s.
Erdogan is Turkey’s most effective leader since the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and much of his success has been based on determination, populist rhetoric and a focus on business. Born into one of Istanbul’s notoriously tough neighborhoods, he is both the unyielding bulldozer of Turkish politics and the fix-it charmer. Almost 50 percent of the population voted for his Justice and Development Party two years ago.
What is happening in Turkey today is mostly about the other 50 percent of the country’s 76 million people. An opinion poll by academics at Istanbul’s Bilgi University found that 70 percent of the protesters had no strong political affiliation. The protests have been full of humor, volunteer enthusiasm, modern women, celebrities and bands of idealistic children skipping school. For the first week, the crowds were leaderless, the only things uniting them being social-media networks and a common slogan: “Tayyip, resign!”
FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)
Photo: Flickr/Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Erdogan can win by engaging Turkey’s park protesters | Bloomberg

By Hugh Pope

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in tighter spots: He was thrown in jail for alleged Islamism, saw his last political party closed down and survived a showdown with the once all-powerful Turkish military.

Yet the street protests that erupted first in Istanbul and then across the country at the end of last month present a challenge he has never faced before. So far, he has mishandled the situation, and on June 6 showed no sign of backing down. That’s a mistake, because he has the ability to turn the protests to his advantage and the country’s.

Erdogan is Turkey’s most effective leader since the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and much of his success has been based on determination, populist rhetoric and a focus on business. Born into one of Istanbul’s notoriously tough neighborhoods, he is both the unyielding bulldozer of Turkish politics and the fix-it charmer. Almost 50 percent of the population voted for his Justice and Development Party two years ago.

What is happening in Turkey today is mostly about the other 50 percent of the country’s 76 million people. An opinion poll by academics at Istanbul’s Bilgi University found that 70 percent of the protesters had no strong political affiliation. The protests have been full of humor, volunteer enthusiasm, modern women, celebrities and bands of idealistic children skipping school. For the first week, the crowds were leaderless, the only things uniting them being social-media networks and a common slogan: “Tayyip, resign!”

FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)

Photo: Flickr/Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

(Source: ekathimerini.com)

6 Jun
Turkey Finds that Trouble Knows No Bounds | Chatham House
By Hugh Pope, Crisis Group’s Turkey/Cyprus Project Director
As instability undermines the Arab states established in the post-First World War map of the Middle East, a now vigorous Turkey, heir of the Ottoman Empire that was the main loser from that 20th century order, is taking a new look at the region.
‘Those borders are all false’, sniffed one of Turkey’s former top diplomats over dinner in February. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, says that Syria’s growing troubles since 2011 now amount to ‘an internal affair’ for Turkey, while in private officials talk breezily of Syria as ‘our former province’.
In the capital Ankara, a senior security official agreed that tumult in Syria over the past two years had vaporized much of the Cold War frontier of barbed wire and watch-towers. ‘The borders have become meaningless,’ he said.
In short, a major change is under way after decades in which Turkish policy was predicated on making the best of what it found in the Middle East.
FULL ARTICLE (Chatham House)
Photo: Carlo Rainone/Flickr

Turkey Finds that Trouble Knows No Bounds | Chatham House

By Hugh Pope, Crisis Group’s Turkey/Cyprus Project Director

As instability undermines the Arab states established in the post-First World War map of the Middle East, a now vigorous Turkey, heir of the Ottoman Empire that was the main loser from that 20th century order, is taking a new look at the region.

‘Those borders are all false’, sniffed one of Turkey’s former top diplomats over dinner in February. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, says that Syria’s growing troubles since 2011 now amount to ‘an internal affair’ for Turkey, while in private officials talk breezily of Syria as ‘our former province’.

In the capital Ankara, a senior security official agreed that tumult in Syria over the past two years had vaporized much of the Cold War frontier of barbed wire and watch-towers. ‘The borders have become meaningless,’ he said.

In short, a major change is under way after decades in which Turkish policy was predicated on making the best of what it found in the Middle East.

FULL ARTICLE (Chatham House)

Photo: Carlo Rainone/Flickr

5 Jun
Our recent blog post on the protests in Turkey was featured in the Wall Stret Journal’s “What We’re Reading Wednesday,” by Gerald F. Seib and David Wessel. Read the full article here.
Photo: Eser Karadağ/Flickr

Our recent blog post on the protests in Turkey was featured in the Wall Stret Journal’s “What We’re Reading Wednesday,” by Gerald F. Seib and David Wessel. Read the full article here.

Photo: Eser Karadağ/Flickr