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Title: Can the European Union build a bridge over troubled waters? : an analysis of the politicised and depoliticised legal approach between the European Union and Cyprus
Author: Dervish, S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 7716
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2015
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The Cyprus dispute accurately portrays the evolution of the conflict from ‘warfare to lawfare’ enriched in politics; this research has proven that the Cyprus problem has been and will continue to be one of the most judicialised disputes across the globe. Notwithstanding the ‘normalisation’ of affairs between the two ethno-religious groups on the island since the division in 1974, the Republic of Cyprus’ (RoC) European Union (EU) membership in 2004 failed to catalyse reunification and terminate the legal, political and economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community. So the question is; why is it that the powerful legal order of the EU continuously fails to tame the tiny troublesome island of Cyprus? This is a thesis on the interrelationship of the EU legal order and the Cyprus problem. A literal and depoliticised interpretation of EU law has been maintained throughout the EU’s dealings with Cyprus, hence, pre-accession and post-accession. The research has brought to light that this literal interpretation of EU law vis-à-vis Cyprus has in actual fact deepened the division on the island. Pessimists outnumber optimists so far as resolving this problem is concerned, and rightly so if you look back over the last forty years of failed attempts to do just that, a diplomatic combat zone scattered with the bones of numerous mediators. This thesis will discuss how the decisions of the EU institutions, its Member States and specifically of the European Court of Justice, despite conforming to the EU legal order, have managed to disregard the principle of equality on the divided island and thus prevent the promised upgrade of the status of the Turkish Cypriot community since 2004. Indeed, whether a positive or negative reading of the Union’s position towards the Cyprus problem is adopted, the case remains valid for an organisation based on the rule of law to maintain legitimacy, democracy, clarity and equality to the decisions of its institutions. Overall, the aim of this research is to establish a link between the lack of success of the Union to build a bridge over troubled waters and the right of self-determination of the Turkish Cypriot community. The only way left for the EU to help resolve the Cyprus problem is to aim to broker a deal between the two Cypriot communities which will permit the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) or at least the ‘Taiwanisation’ of Northern Cyprus. Albeit, there are many studies that address the impact of the EU on the conflict or the RoC, which represents the government that has monopolised EU accession, the argument advanced in this thesis is that despite the alleged Europeanisation of the Turkish Cypriot community, they are habitually disregarded because of the EU’s current legal framework and the Union’s lack of conflict transformation strategy vis-à-vis the island. Since the self-declared TRNC is not recognised and EU law is suspended in northern Cyprus in accordance with Protocol No 10 on Cyprus of the Act of Accession 2003, the Turkish-Cypriots represent an idiomatic partner of Brussels but the relations between the two resemble the experience of EU enlargement: the EU’s relevance to the community has been based on the prospects for EU accession (via reunification) and assistance towards preparation for potential EU integration through financial and technical aid. Undeniably, the pre-accession and postaccession strategy of Brussels in Cyprus has worsened the Cyprus problem and hindered the peace process. The time has come for the international community to formally acknowledge the existence of the TRNC.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available