Cyprus. The incumbent President Glafkos Klerides, who belongs to the right-wing Rally Party or DISY (Dimokratikos Synagermos, Democratic Assembly), won a tight victory in the February presidential election. He lost to Communist-backed challenger Giorgio Iakovou in the first round but won the second since most other candidates gave him his support. After the election, Klerides formed a new broader government with representatives of a number of parties.
The development of the island was characterized by the tension between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and between Greece and Turkey. A new military airport built by Greece was inaugurated in western Cyprus in January. According to Countryaah, the capital of Cyprus is Nicosia. Cyprus does not have its own air force, and the airport is intended to serve as a temporary base for Greek flights in the event of an escalated conflict with Turkey. Turkey protested against the airport and against a Russian air defense intended to protect the facility. In December, President Klerides decided after pressure from, among other things, EU not to deploy air defense. He would instead explore the possibilities of placing the controversial system on the Greek island of Crete.
In July, the European Court ordered Turkey to pay damages to a Greek Cypriot woman whose property was seized in connection with the 1974 invasion of Turkey. Turkey took no notice of the ruling. It was the first time a member of the Council of Europe ignored a ruling in the court’s body. In November, Cypriot police arrested two Israelis suspected of being security agents deployed to gather information in the context of Turkish-Israeli military cooperation. Independent Israeli sources, however, said that both of them, even if they were agents, probably did not work for any country other than Israel.
At the end of March, Cyprus and ten Eastern European countries began their membership negotiations with the EU, and at the same time Cyprus applied to become an associate member of the Defense Alliance Western European Union (WEU). In November, several leading EU countries announced that they did not want to continue negotiations with Cyprus unless a solution to the conflict could be discerned. But it is unlikely that Turkey, itself ratified by the EU, will work together for such a solution. Greece’s position in the power play is to oppose the entry of new members into the Union if Cyprus is left outside.
In January, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership agreed to merge their diplomatic missions abroad. The agreement means that Turkish Cypriot representatives may be included in Turkish delegations at international meetings and work at Turkish embassies.