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Media Watch 2006

05 November 2006
Source: Sunday Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Sunday Mail of Nicosia on 5 November 2006.
Government’s main aim to see Turkey comply with obligations
"PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday the government’s main objective was to see Turkey comply with its EU obligations to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic. He said this must not be linked with other developments on the Cyprus issue"

"PRESIDENT Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday the government’s main objective was to see Turkey comply with its EU obligations to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic. He said this must not be linked with other developments on the Cyprus issue.

Papadopoulos’ comments came two days after the EU’s Finnish presidency abandoned attempts to arrange a meeting between the parties in Helsinki this weekend.

The object of the meeting was to thrash out an agreement on a compromise formula that would help avert a Turkey-EU crisis this week when Ankara’s progress comes up for review.

It reportedly centred on a proposal involving the return of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots in return for Turkey opening some of its ports and airports. It also reportedly provided for the opening of Famagusta port under EU or UN control for 24 months.

Although the Helsinki meeting was cancelled, talks on the deal are set to continue, all sides said on Thursday.

Papadopoulos said Europe did not want to replace the UN as the main protagonist in the search for a Cyprus settlement.

“Efforts by the EU Finnish presidency aim merely at helping Turkey to meet its EU obligations. Our main policy objective is to see to it that Ankara fulfils these commitments, which are also commitments towards Cyprus,” Papadopoulos said yesterday.

He said that all EU member states believed Turkey must meet its obligations, irrespective of developments in the question of Cyprus. “The overall feeling is that Ankara’s EU obligations are autonomous and must not be linked to other developments relating to Cyprus. Whether this could lead to sanctions is difficult to say as most members remain in anticipation of the Commission progress report on Turkey, to be published on Wednesday 8 November,” he said.

“Europe is addressing enlargement, which includes Turkey’s accession. When Europeans discuss Turkey’s obligations, they are not, much as we would like it, bound to link a Cyprus settlement with Ankara’s accession course.”

He said it was Turkey that was trying to connect the two by claiming that the meeting of its obligations to the EU would depend on progress towards a settlement in Cyprus."