This post was most recently updated on December 13th, 2020
No, Cyprus isn’t a NATO member. In fact, Cyprus is the only European Union member country that is not a NATO member.
Let’s learn something more about Cyprus and NATO, shall we?
What is NATO, and how does it work?
NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
It is an international military alliance where 30 countries from North America and Europe have signed the treaty where 2 of the countries are from North America, and 28 of them are from Europe.
NATO was established on 4th April 1949, with only 12 founding nations. Now there are 30 countries that have signed the treaty.
Article 5 of the treaty says, “If an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.”
In simple words:
If one of the NATO member countries is being attacked by a non-NATO country, then all the other NATO countries have to assist the attacked country by all required means.”
For example, If Cyprus was a member country of NATO and it was being attacked by some country in the … let’s say… Middle East, then all the other NATO member countries have to support Cyprus during the war.
But unfortunately, Cyprus isn’t a NATO member yet.
Not only it’s not a NATO member state, but it’s also not a member of the PfP(Partnership For Peace) program.
What is the PfP (Partnership For Peace) program?
The Partnership for Peace (PfP) is a NATO program aimed at creating trust between NATO and other states in Europe and the former Soviet Union.
The PfP was established in 1994 to enable participants to develop an individual relationship with NATO, choosing their own priorities for cooperation and the level and pace of progress.
Based on a commitment to democratic principles, the purpose of the Partnership for Peace is to increase stability, diminish threats to peace, and build strengthened security relationships between NATO and non-member countries in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Did Cyprus ever try to join NATO?
In February 2011, the Parliament of Cyprus suggested a resolution that Cyprus should seek membership in NATO, but it didn’t happen.
The then President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias, did not act on it, saying it would hamper his attempts to negotiate an end to the nation’s dispute with Northern Cyprus.
Will Cyprus ever be a NATO member?
Actually, there is very little chance for that to happen. As long as Cyprus’s dispute with Turkey doesn’t get resolved, Cyprus might never join NATO.
Just as Cyprus has the upper hand in the EU, where Turkey is not a member, Turkey has the upper hand in NATO, where Cyprus is neither a member of the alliance nor of NATO’s Partnership for Peace.
If Cyprus tries to become a NATO member, then all the existing NATO member countries have to accept Cyprus.
As Turkey is a NATO member, it will never vote to accept Cyprus in NATO until their dispute is resolved.
Turkey has not recognized the Republic of Cyprus since 1963, however, and has blocked its accession to PfP.
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