What to Watch in 2016: GMF Experts Look at the Year Ahead (with reference to Cyprus)

A Cyprus Settlement is Within Reach

Over the coming months, the parties in the long-running Cyprus dispute are likely to finalize the terms of reference for a referendum on reunification to be held on the Greek and Turkish sides of the island, possibly as soon as the late spring of 2016. Although it is too soon to predict success in a process that has seen many past disappointments, the prospects are now about as good as they can get. The leaders of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish community are genuinely committed to a deal. Economic travails on both sides have increased the incentives for a settlement. A Cyprus settlement would be a transforming development in a chaotic and insecure region. It would open the way for formal NATO-EU cooperation on everything from Ukraine to the Middle East — a key transatlantic interest — and would give Turkish-EU relations a huge boost. One wild card: the role of Moscow in the context of Turkish-Russian friction. A Cyprus settlement would threaten Russian interests, and Moscow could use its influence on the island and in the UN Security Council to impede a settlement.

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