(JNi.media) The island of Cyprus, a full member of the European Union since 2004, was partially occupied back in 1974 by an invading Turkish army, followed by the creation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is currently recognized only by Turkey, which still keeps troops there, just in case. And so there’s no love lost between Greek Cypriots and Turks. It also explains why Cyprus has been such a close ally of Israel.
Last Thursday, the EU leadership, facing a harrowing tsunami of asylum seekers from the Middle East which is threatening to bring down their economy, turned to Ankara for help, namely, trying to reach a deal over how much it would cost the EU to get President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to keep all those millions of refugees of all colors and creed from crossing over to Europe.
So far, as Sputnik reported Saturday, European Union leaders have agreed to pay Turkey $3.4 billion and to allow visa-free EU travel for Turkish citizens, if the Turks agree to help stem the tide of asylum-seekers crossing its borders to Europe.
Then, on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Erdogan and told him she supported his country’s bid to join the EU — if only he help stop the refugee flow.
The Turks have been trying to enter the EU from its inception, and were getting very close to the prize, when, in June 2013, following Erdogan’s crackdown on mass demonstrations in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Germany blocked the new EU talks with Turkey.
Now Merkel is back with her hat in her hands, because she is facing harsh criticism at home for her decision to open Germany’s gates to the uncontrolled flood of asylum seekers, and now she can’t very well turn them away, and winter is approaching — so she’s turning to Erdogan.
At which point, on Monday, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that Cyprus would not lift its veto on Turkey’s EU membership for “the reasons which still exist.”
By which he means the Turkish occupation army and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, both of which would have to fold before Cyprus gives its nod for Turks in Brussels.