December 2009 and EU-turkey relations

29 October 2009

Markos Kyprianou, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus covered two main issues at the EPC Breakfast Briefing: Turkey’s EU accession and the “Cyprus problem”.

He felt that Turkey has been treated more leniently than other EU candidate countries, considering that it occupies the territory of an EU Member State. It is “a myth” that Cyprus wants to block EU membership, as it wants a European Turkey that thinks, feels and acts like an EU Member State, not “as a guest having a free ride”, and Nicosia would welcome a Turkey as a peaceful, democratic neighbour and partner.

In September 2005 the EU Council gave a Turkey a set of obligations, many concerning Cyprus. However Ankara has failed to comply with these, so the EU needs to make it clear that candidate countries cannot set their own conditions for fulfilling their obligations.

On the “Cyprus problem” Minister Kyprianou said while the Turkish government had been more conciliatory since the 2003 election of the Justice and Development Party, it had not tried to reach a solution.

It is undermining the process by calling for a new partnership of two states, which is contrary to UN Security Council resolutions and the EU’s and international community’s support for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Instead of accepting that this is the target of the negotiations Ankara continues to blame the Greek Cypriots for lack of progress.

The Greek Cypriots have accepted that Cyprus will become a federal state even though it is a small country with no history of a geographical separation of the people of the island. President Christofias initiated a new round of negotiations after his election in 2008 and Greek Cypriots have made many gestures to solve the situation.

He was concerned about Turkey’s so called “Plan-B” as there is no alternative to reunifying the island. Negotiations would only speed up if there is a federal solution, as both Greek and Turkish Cypriots had suffered enough and deserve the opportunity to live together in prosperity.