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Northern Cyprus is the part of the island of Cyprus that has been occupied by Turkey since its invasion of Cyprus in 1974. As far as I can tell, the Republic of Northern Cyprus is only recognized by Turkey.

What is the EU’s position on this? Why does it not do something about the seemingly illegal occupation of one of its member states? Is it because the accession of Cyprus to the EU happened in 2004, after the invasion took place? As the EU recognizes the North as part of the country of Cyprus, does it try to enforce EU legislation within the territory, for example?

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    The EU views it as part of Cyprus which is currently a special case. It does not try to enforce laws, but I believe some North Cyprus residents are viewed as EU citizen (if they were to fill the forms Cypriot to claim that status ...). – o.m. Dec 5 '19 at 19:15
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    @o.m. anyone with citizenship of an EU member state is an EU citizen. If the Cypriot law says that someone in Northern Cyprus is a citizen of Cyprus then that person is an EU citizen. (For that matter, if Portuguese law says that someone in Cyprus is a citizen of Portugal, then that person is an EU citizen.) I do not know what Cypriot nationality law has to say about people in Northern Cyprus, so I have no idea how many citizens of Cyprus actually live in Northern Cyprus. – phoog Dec 5 '19 at 20:23
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The assumption that the EU is not doing anything about the occupation of one of its member states is incorrect. The EU's support of its member state is primarily in the diplomatic sphere, including supporting a wider economic embargo.

European Union law pertains in Cyprus on the basis of Cyprus's sovereign decision to join the EU, so EU law pertains where Cypriot law does, and only to the extent that Cypriot law does. Any country with disputed territory that is in fact controlled by the opposing party cannot directly enforce its laws in that territory. This follows from the definition of "controlled by another party." In Northern Cyprus, Cypriot law, including EU law, is nominally in force in the eyes of Cyprus (and of the EU), but in fact it is not, because Cyprus cannot actually enforce its laws there.

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    Its also one of the sticking points for Turkeys application to join the EU, with it being a major factor in every round of negotiations - Cyprus is currently holding a veto on 6 chapters of the ascension negotiations, which means they cannot proceed. – Moo Dec 5 '19 at 22:42
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    Cyprus joined the EU at around the time of the reunification referendum. It is worth understanding this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… for further context – mikado Dec 8 '19 at 7:45
  • @mikado thank you for your comment. Could you say a word or two about the implications? – phoog Dec 8 '19 at 16:09
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    @phoog my understanding is that most EU countries had invested a lot of hope in reunification prior to Cyprus joining the EU. They felt let down when (Greek) Cyprus rejected this in a referendum while (Turkish) North Cyprus voted for reunification. This has probably reduced the pressure that the EU might otherwise have placed on Turkey and North Cyprus to resolve the situation. – mikado Dec 8 '19 at 16:21

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