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, 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.