Tozun Bahcheli


What accounts for the decisive Turkish Cypriot endorsement of the Annan plan in the referendum on 24 April 2004? In spite of considerable reservations, most Turkish Cypriots supported it and the prospect of imminent EU citizenship. Offering better economic prospects and an end to their isolation in the midst of an economic crisis, the Annan plan's prospects were considerably enhanced. Also, even as the plan foreclosed independent statehood, most Turkish Cypriots were satisfied with the wide measure of autonomy that they would be able to exercise in the envisaged constituent state in northern Cyprus, and the fact that Turkey would retain its status as guarantor.

Furthermore, by endorsing the Annan plan, Tayyip Erdogan's AK party government in Turkey influenced the referendum outcome in an important way; emboldening those who favoured the plan to overcome the opposition led by veteran Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.