why isn't cyprus in nato?

In addition, the waters surrounding Cyprus have become an area of concern for non-state threats such as proliferation, organised crime, terrorism, human trafficking and refugee flows. In many respects, Cyprus is a European outpost with strong links to a strategic and complicated region in the Middle East and North Africa. After the end of World War II, policymakers in London and across the Atlantic feared that the Cyprus problem could unravel the entire eastern Mediterranean. Under Anastasiades, the Republic of Cyprus has pursued a strategic partnership with the US, identifying a common positive agenda in the bilateral relationship and developing areas of practical cooperation.

In turn, NATO forces from across the Alliance travelling to Cyprus would also provide the confidence-building presence necessary to ensure the success of the agreement. However, rather than being, at worst, a potential vulnerability or, at best, a disabled partner in the transatlantic community, Cyprus could offer an opportunity for another strategic victory for the free world. By developing and publicly communicating such a strategy agreed between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities in advance of any settlement, a unified national security strategy could serve as a confidence-building measure at home and a demonstration of Cyprus's ability to provide security in the first instance within the Partnership for Peace and as a potential NATO ally. The recent success of the Prespa Agreement - ending the 27-year name dispute between present-day North Macedonia and Greece - may also have a knock-on effect for Cyprus.

Lifting the limitations imposed on the Republic of Cyprus by the so-called International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) would allow the US, for example, to strengthen the republic's ability to monitor its own waters to prevent arms trafficking or conduct search and rescue missions. Resolving the Cyprus problem in a way that brings Greece and Turkey closer together would only strengthen the prospects for regional security and prosperity. When Cyprus gained its qualified independence in 1960, Greece and Turkey had already signed the so-called "Gentlemen's Agreement" on 11 February 1959, agreeing that they would support Cyprus' accession to NATO. Cyprus's accession to NATO - at the beginning of the unification process - could help both sides commit to forging a single state.

Cyprus's unfinished business is also the unfinished business of a whole, free and peaceful Europe. That is why it does not trust Cyprus, given the strength of the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) and its links to Moscow.

Latisha Busler
Latisha Busler

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