|Turkey’s persistent vetoing of Cyprus’ membership
In International organizations, arrangements and treaties|
|I. WEAPONS EXPORTS´ CONTROL REGIMES|
A.Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
The MTCR is an informal and voluntary association of countries which share the goals of non- proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, and which seek to coordinate national export licensing efforts at preventing their proliferation.
The regime was established in 1987 and has 34 member- states. New members are admitted by consensus. The meeting of the plenary takes place once a year. The last meeting took place in Copenhagen (2-6 October 2006) during which Turkey exercised a veto against Cyprus´ application for membership.
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies was established in 1995 and came into force in 1996. It is one of four multilateral export control regimes whose purpose is ”to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual use goods and technologies thus preventing destabilizing accommodations”. The Arrangement has 39 members and is open, on a global and non-discriminatory basis, to prospective adherents that comply with the agreed criteria. Admission of new participants is based on consensus.
The Arrangement’s Secretariat is based in Vienna.
In the last two years Turkey exercised a veto against Cyprus’ application for membership three consecutive times: in May 2005 when Cyprus´ application for membership was discussed, during the General working Group meeting held in Vienna on 17-18 May 2006 and 24–25 October 2006, and during the most recent Plenary Meeting held in Vienna on 5-6 December 2006.
II. INTERNATIONAL TREATIES
Open Skies Treaty
It was signed in 1992 in Helsinki between the members of the Atlantic Alliance and the former Warsaw Pact. “The area of application of the Treaty stretches from Vancouver to Vladivostok and opens up the North American continent (US and Canada) to observation from the air for the first time along with Russian territory east of the Urals”.
“The goal of the Treaty is to promote greater openness and transparency with regard to the military activities of OSCE states and to enhance their security through confidence building measures. It constitutes a regime allowing free over-flight of the territory of the member states by means of aircraft equipped with approved sensors.”
Cyprus submitted her application for membership in 2002 and the application remains on the Agenda of the Consultation Committee of Open Skies.
The application, however, cannot move forward due to Turkey’s refusal to consent to it. It should also be mentioned that Ankara has been raising objections to Cyprus´ presence at the workings of the Organization.
III. INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
A.Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
It was established on 25 June 1992 in order to promote the economic cooperation between the states that border the Black Sea. The Organization comprises of 12 states. Another 12 countries have observer status.
The Charter of the Organization of 1992 provides for cooperation in, inter alia, the areas of trade and economic development, banking and finance, communications, energy, transport, agriculture and agro-industry.
New members are admitted by consensus.
Cyprus submitted its application for observer status in the BSEC in 1996. It renewed its application in 2005, during the Senior Officials meeting in Istanbul (14 – 15 September). The issue was examined in October 2005 (26 – 28 October) during the 13th session of the Ministerial Conference in Moldova. Turkey, contrary to her obligations emanating from the EU-Turkey Negotiating Framework, exercised a veto and blocked Cyprus’ participation.
Turkey maintained its opposition to Cyprus’ application during the most recent Ministerial Conference held in Moscow (30 – 31.10.06).
B.Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
The OECD was established in 1961 as the successor to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), which had come into being in 1948. The OEEC had emerged from the Marshall Plan and the Conference of Sixteen (CEEC) for the economic reconstruction of Europe. The OECD provides a forum for maximizing economic development and employment within its member states, thus contributing to the world economy.
The Organization has 30 members and is based in Paris. New members are admitted by the unanimous consent of the existing member states.
Cyprus’ application for membership was vetoed by Turkey in 1995 and continues to be vetoed ever since.
Turkey has vetoed Cyprus’ participation in OECD’s survey of “Teachers, Teaching and Learning” in December 2005 and more recently in April 2006 in OECD’s “Programme on Educational Building” (PEB) and the survey “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA), as well as in the participation of Cyprus (as observer) in OECD’s Committee on Statistics.
Since, in order to become a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Cyprus has to become a member of OECD, its participation in IEA is prevented by the Turkish veto.
C.Obstacles in the Development of the European Security and Defense Policy
Based on the Declaration of the Council Meeting in Copenhagen in 2002, concerning the cooperation between the EU and NATO in crisis management, Turkey consistently attempts to extend the concept of “strategic cooperation” to anything that involves EU – NATO relations, with the aim to deliberately exclude the Republic of Cyprus (and Malta, consequently) from any participation at any EU – NATO events. Furthermore, Turkey does not consent to the expansion of the EU – NATO dialogue with the participation of Cyprus (and Malta).
D.European Center for Medium – Range Weather Forecasts
The ECMWF is an international organization supported by 26 European states, based in Reading, west of London, in the UK. Cyprus´ initial application for membership was filed in 1998 (28.9). Because of the unanimity rule and Turkey’s objections, Cyprus´ application was rejected on 17 June 2002.
Due to Turkish opposition, during the 66th Session of the Organisation in December 2006, the assessment of the Cypriot application for membership in the ECMWF was postponed for the Organization’s next session.
E.European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT)
The European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) is an intergovernmental organization established by Protocol signed in Brussels on 17 October 1953. It is a forum in which Ministers responsible for transport and more specifically on the inland transport sector, can cooperate on policy. There are 43 Full Member countries (all EU member states with the exception of Cyprus), 7 Associate Countries and 1 Observer Country. Cyprus submitted its application for membership in 1989 (7.6). The application was renewed in 2001 (29.8), but was rejected due to Turkey’s veto.
Cyprus’ application for membership was vetoed by Turkey at the last Ministerial Conference that took place in Dublin between 17-18 May 2006.
F. International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM)
The International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, CIHEAM, was founded at the joint initiative of the OECD and the Council of Europe on 21 May 1962 and now consists of 13 members (France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Malta, Morocco, Albania and Lebanon).
According to article 15 of the 1962 agreement, any state with a Mediterranean shoreline potentially qualifies for membership of CIHEAM.
Cyprus’ application for membership has been vetoed by Turkey three times, the most recent being during the meeting of the Governing Boards’ meeting held in Algiers in June 2006.
IV. UNITED NATIONS
Conference on Disarmament
The Conference on Disarmament was established in 1978. It is a multilateral disarmament negotiating forum based in Geneva. The CD is a body of limited composition. It currently consists of 65 member states. It takes its decisions on the basis of consensus.
In June 1996 the CD agreed to expand its membership and Cyprus submitted its application in September 1996. On 25 November 1996 Turkey sent a letter to Ambassador Ludwik Dembinski of Poland, the then President of the Conference, with an attached letter from the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash. In his letter, Mr. Denktash disputed the right of the Republic of Cyprus to apply for membership.
On 13 December 1996 the then Permanent Representative of the Republic of Cyprus in Geneva replied by also sending a letter to Ambassador Dembinski in which he contested Turkey’s right to question the legality of the Republic of Cyprus.
Each year, at the beginning of the Conference’s Session, Turkey issues a declaration amounting to a reservation with regards to Cyprus´ legal status. The last time this happened was in Geneva on 24 January 2006.
Last updated: January 2007
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