Nicosia will closely monitor the developments, as they will take place, from Monday, in Brussels, and will expect to see the result of the meetings that Joe Biden and Kyriakos Mitsotakis will have with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Meetings that will have their own impact on issues concerning Cyprus and especially the Cyprus issue.
Recently, several encouraging messages have arrived in the direction of Nicosia, which have to do with the attitude of Washington towards Ankara regarding the Cyprus issue and the effort to resume the talks. As for the meeting of the Presidents of the United States and Turkey, he will be waiting to hear about the results and will then assess the situation as it is.
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Over time, the course of relations between the United States of America and Turkey has been a barometer for the Cyprus issue. It is not a few times that due to these relations and the special role that Turkey wanted to play in the region, the American approach to the Cyprus issue was anything but pleasant for the Cypriot side. On the other hand, Turkey has repeatedly exploited its special relationship with the United States in order to satisfy its claims on the Cyprus issue.
In this case, things are different and Joe Biden, so far, does not follow the footsteps of previous US Presidents in terms of his country's relations with Turkey. His approach has nothing to do with the attitude of Washington even during his time as US Vice President under Barack Obama.
At the moment, the United States and Turkey are having a difficult and at the same time peculiar relationship, which makes it difficult to read how a meeting between the leaders of the two countries can move. That is why in Nicosia they choose to keep a small basket in which, at the moment, they place only what the Americans have told them directly and not what can result from a meeting at the level of Biden and Erdogan.
First and foremost, they do not know whether the Cyprus issue will be on the agenda of the meeting of the two Presidents or whether the Cyprus issue will fall – along with others – under the umbrella of international and regional issues. The agenda of the Biden-Erdogan meeting is already laden with a host of issues, mainly bilateral.
The Blinken message
Shortly before the Biden-Erdogan meeting, the chairman of the US State Department, Senator Robert Menendez, addressed US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and asked to know if he would be involved in the meeting of the two men. “International law, in my opinion, when it threatens Cyprus and its EEZ, when it agrees to an EEZ with Libya, something unrecognized, but it is also involved in the economic zone of Greece.”
The US Secretary of State, after describing Ankara's moves as a member of NATO as problematic, assured the Commission that John Biden will raise the issue of Turkish actions in the Eastern Mediterranean directly with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while clarifying that the ratification of of the USA.
A message to Turkey will be sent the day after the Biden-Erdogan meeting as part of the EU-US summit. And Turkey has already received a first taste of the draft joint declaration of the European Union and the United States. In particular, the statement makes brief reference to Turkey, where the two sides agree to “work together for a sustainable de-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, where disputes must be resolved through a dialogue of good faith and in accordance with international law of the sea.” “The US and the EU further state that their goal is cooperation and a mutually beneficial relationship with a democratic Turkey.”
A second meeting
Tomorrow, Monday, a second meeting of the Turkish President will take place in Brussels, which concerns Cyprus in particular. This is the meeting of the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
If the US-Turkish relations were a barometer for the Cyprus issue, in the case of Greece and Turkey the Cyprus problem affected the relations between the two countries bilaterally.
The Mitsotaki-Erdogan meeting also aims at normalizing relations between Greece and Turkey. A normalization that is influenced by a host of issues, including the Cyprus issue.
Both in Ankara and in Athens, several voices are often heard that want the Cyprus issue not to be a factor that affects the normalization of relations between Turkey and Greece. The Turkish side officially claims that the Cyprus issue cannot be an obstacle to the normalization of its relations with both Greece and the European Union. The Greek side, officially, argues that in order for there to be a full normalization of relations with Turkey, the Cyprus issue must be resolved. However, it is very well known that in Athens and near the Greek government there are people who believe that if the Cyprus issue remained out of the picture then relations with Turkey would be very different.
The current situation does not favor a change in the official position of Athens, that is, the Cyprus issue is a factor that affects its relations with Ankara. Besides, a few messages have recently reached the Greek side that show that Ankara is preparing for a new warm summer in Greek-Turkish.
Of course, Turkey is preparing for a warm summer in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. Moves that are already known to the American side, which will try through the Biden-Erdogan meeting to send specific messages in order to prevent their implementation. Things are difficult, however, since there are no real costs for Erdogan.
In Brussels, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will look for a new beginning in his relationship with Joe Biden. And it is the opportunity that Joe Biden has to say bluntly to Erdogan “that an authoritarian Turkey is a threat not only to basic American values but also to US security,” he notes in his Foreign Policy text. How should he use this meeting to point out to Erdogan the deficits of democracy that exist in Turkey. Biden's mission is not easy, but the power is on his side and Erdogan knows this very well.
The power is on the American side
The Biden-Erdogan meeting comes at a sensitive time for the Turkish president, who sees his country on the brink of an economic crisis, even if he never publicly admits it. This economic crisis has proved to be a powerful asset for Erdogan in his discussions with European officials so far, whom he makes sure to remind in any case of the domino effect that will result if Turkey is allowed to collapse financially. And these threats open an umbrella of protection for Turkey from countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain.
In the case of the United States and Joe Biden, that cannot be the case. Erdogan can not play the same cards and blackmail as he does with Merkel. A lot has been written and said lately about the meeting of the Presidents of the USA and Turkey. A few days ago, in an analysis of the American magazine Foreign Policy, it was noted, among other things, that “Biden must use for the benefit of the United States” that the Turkish economy is on the verge of disaster.
And the economy is a piece of paper that Joe Biden may use in his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan to push for two other important issues on the bilateral agenda. The issue of the Russian S-400 missile system is currently the most serious problem in US-Turkish relations, and despite what is being leaked by the Turkish government, there is no official willingness to deactivate the system and meet a number of requirements. that Washington has. Demands that, if met, would effectively bring Turkey into conflict with Russia and drastically change the situation in Ankara-Washington relations. It seems very difficult or even impossible to change the existing data in relation to the Russian missile system.
One of the pillars of Joe Biden's foreign policy is the restoration of human rights. And in this area he has a lot to discuss with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The agenda also includes actions directed against the United States itself, since in the context of the mass persecution that followed the 2016 coup, those arrested include employees of the US diplomatic mission in Ankara and Istanbul. It is about actions such as human rights abuses that Biden called Erdogan “emperor” in order to show his displeasure.