No turning back in US-Cuba relations, says academic

There will be no turning back in the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, says a leading Turkish academic.

No turning back in US-Cuba relations, says academic
World Bulletin / News Desk
 There will be no turning back in the recent thaw in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, a leading Turkish academic has said.

In an interview with The Anadolu Agency Thursday, Professor Dr. Mehmet Necati Kutlu, manager of Ankara University Latin American Studies Center, said the recent diplomatic shift had created an opportunity to open talks between the U.S. and Cuba on normalizing full diplomatic relations, easing economic and travel bans after more than 50 years of diplomatic silence.

Relations between the two countries were severed in 1961, when the U.S. imposed an embargo on Cuba.

"The genie has escaped the lamp," Kutlu said using a Turkish idiom that means there will no turning back.

The professor said he also expected a tourism boom.

"There will be a tourism boom after restrictions on leaving for Cuba is removed," he said. "Both Cubans living in the U.S. and millions of U.S. citizens will head to Cuba out of curiosity and holiday purposes," he added.

The professor also expected living standards in Cuba to prosper by “a little bit” when limitations on communication, internet use, and travel between the two countries are removed.

"It is no dreaming that after this diplomatic approach, there will be a change in Cuba," he said.

However, the professor also said that while Cuba suffered because of the U.S. imposed embargo, its people continued to get quality health and education services in the country.

"Cuban people should protect their gains, because with the move, this too can change. The risk is still there for Cuba," he said.

The Turkish academician said the next diplomatic move should be the opening of embassies in both countries.

Turkish Foreign Ministry also welcomed the diplomatic move.

"We congratulate the contributing parts about the issue and wish the initiated procedure brings a speedy outcome in all fields to the U.S. and Cuban people," the ministry said in a statement Friday.

In a landmark address, President Barack Obama said recently “we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests, and instead, we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.”

“Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said.

The U.S. president spoke with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday for more than 45 minutes that was the first such call between both sides since 1961.

The announcement came after American contractor Alan Gross, 65, was released Wednesday from a Cuban prison where he was held for five years.

Castro had urged Washington to lift its trade and economic embargo on the island to fully mend the frosty ties between the two long-standing adversaries.

"As a result of a dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway in the solution of some topics of mutual interest for both nations," the Cuban president had said in a televised address.

However, Kutlu cautioned against interpreting Obama's statements as lifting of the embargo and all limitations on Cuba.

"The most concrete step towards the normalization process is to remove Cuba off of the terrorist countries list," the professor said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he would immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terror after Obama said "a nation that meets our conditions and renounces the use of terrorism should not face this sanction."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Aralık 2014, 13:54