Sovereignty and engagement without recognition: explaining the failure of conflict resolution in Cyprus

George Kyris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
166 Downloads (Pure)


This work explores if and how UN and EU engagement without recognition with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has failed to promote the resolution of the Cyprus conflict. To be more specific, the paper traces the process via which ideas of sovereignty impact the approach of those organisations towards Cyprus and their engagement with the de facto state of TRNC and the consequent impact on the conflict. It is shown that sovereignty plays a major role in the approach of the UN and the EU towards the Cyprus conflict and the TRNC because of normative pressures and because of how the norm is evoked from the side of the parent state, Republic of Cyprus. As a result, it is argued that engagement without recognition results in failure of conflict resolution because it leads to intransigence to both the parent and the de facto state but also because it undermines broader reconciliation and the chances to create conditions favourable to a successful settlement. These are important lessons for the discussion on the range of international responses to failed secession, and especially the impact of sovereignty ideas and the limitations of engagement without recognition, a strategy increasingly deployed with reference to de facto states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-442
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Early online date25 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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