NO AMOUNT of positive spin by the government can cloud the fact that Cyprus’ EU partners committed to precisely naught in terms of a tangible response to Turkey’s ongoing and escalating violations of the island’s maritime zones.
Nicosia was banking on an unequivocal show of support from the Europeans. But now that it didn’t get it, what next?
The conclusions of the European Council summit in Brussels amounted to a classic dodge and kicking the can down the road. It adopted conclusions “aimed at imposing targeted measures against Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zones”.
In short, we shall see when we shall see.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Photos snapped at the Brussels confab show a sullen-looking Nicos Anastasiades trying to make a point to his European counterparts, who look more interested in having a chuckle.
Unsurprisingly, the following day Nicosia put on a brave face, insisting that so long as the European Council mentioned future measures against Turkey, it was a good outcome.
Had the government thought Turkey would not carry out its threats? Had it calculated the United States would have stopped Ankara drilling in the Cypriot EEZ? And how wise was it calculating the situation could be managed when they have an unpredictable Turkish leader opposite them?
“I do not believe the government was naive, to actually believe that Turkey would not carry out its threats” energy analyst Charles Ellinas tells the Sunday Mail.
“Perhaps it hoped for stronger support from the EU – in the form of sanctions. If it did, it was, and proved to be, a forlorn hope. Turkey is an important trading partner to many EU member states, but also importantly it holds the refugee key. If it opens the floodgates Europe could be swamped with refugees.”
If the government expected the situation could be managed, then it got it wrong.