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Charalambos Sotiriou

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to examine the geopolitical dimension of the Cyprus problem, focusing on the regional balance of power from the perspective of Greece and Turkey. Given that the Turkish military occupation of northern Cyprus entails Turkey's control, or at least paramount influence, over the Turkish-Cypriot community, and given that Greece is engaged in a defence alliance with the Republic of Cyprus, Ankara and Athens are crucial actors in the Cyprus problem. Their policies, therefore, constitute one of the decisive factors that will determine the success or failure of international efforts to solve the Cyprus problem. In focusing on the geopolitical dimension, I do not mean to suggest that the constitutional questions that preoccupy the two communities in Cyprus are peripheral to the quest for a solution. The nature of a future Cypriot constitution, that would bring the two communities together again under one political system, is an issue of vital importance to the Cypriots. Nonetheless, I shall steer clear of the intricacies of the constitutional debates, in order to focus in greater depth upon the, at least equally important geopolitical lmpediments to a solution to the Cyprus problem. The paper will begin by examining the geopolitical aspects of the Cyprus problem from the perspective of Turkey. It will then proceed to an examination of the Greek perspective. The priorities of the EU and NATO will be outlined next, in light of the analysis of the perspectives of Ankara and Athens. The paper will conclude with recommendations concerning the geopolitical conditions for a viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

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