The proliferation of cypriot states of exception: The erosion of fundamental rights as collateral damage of the cyprus problem

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This paper argues that, despite some promising signs in the early 2000s that the ‘Cypriot states of exception’ might be superseded with a rights-based normality via the resolution of the Cyprus Problem together with accession to the EU, we instead have witnessed a proliferation of regimes of exception and derogation of rights. After briefly discussing the diminishing potential for solving the Cyprus Problem and the faltering EU integration process as a rights-based democratic space, the paper focuses on developments within the Republic of Cyprus. It demonstrates that, despite some welcome developments in the institutional frame as a result of acceding to the EU as well as implementing the Charter of Fundamental Rights, there are two tiers of problems the Republic of Cyprus faces. As an EU member, it is plagued by a triple crisis undermining fundamental rights in the Union and its members: securitisation, particularly after 9/11 and recent terrorist attacks; austerity measures following the financial crisis; and the post-2015 ‘refugee crisis’, which has unleashed disintegration processes, rightwing anti-Europeanism and leaving the EU. This second tier of problems relate to the Cypriot states of exception. The paper illustrates that these processes have intensified the deteriorating situation at the expense of fundamental rights, particularly since the financial crisis-and-austerity packages in post-2013, into four distinct areas: (1) many aspects involving Turkish-Cypriots; (2) migration and free movement; (3) economic and financial aspects relating to the causation and management of the financial crisis; and (4) environmental issues. Finally, it proposes a schematic theoretical critique of how to go beyond the logic of ‘states of exception’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-84
Number of pages42
JournalCyprus Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


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