Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Live And Learn
I expressed some surprise yesterday at Turkey's rapid recognition of Kosovo's independence, especially in light of their concerns over Kurdish separatist sentiment. Today I came across these remarks by a "high-level" Turkish diplomat in the Turkish Daily News:
Kosovo and Cyprus are two different cases and we are not trying to take advantage of the former's independence for the Turkish Cypriots. But we naturally cannot stop any third party's drawing similarities between the two.
The diplomat went on to emphasize that Turkey's priority is to proceed with Cypriot reunification talks under UN auspices, and to that end is watching the outcome of the Greek Cypriot presidential elections closely. But their recognition of Kosovo does seem to make more sense now, even if it seems like a pretty fine line to walk, given how closely the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq already resembles a sovereign state.
Meanwhile, to give you an idea of how prickly the Cyprus issue is, while Turkey has recognized Kosovo and the EU as a whole has not (leaving it up to individual members to decide for themselves), Turkey has warned that it will veto any NATO cooperation with the unanimously approved EU support mission being organized for Kosovo because of the presence of a Greek Cypriot contingent.