Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Media Watch 2003

31 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 31 May 2003 written by a staff reporter.
Gul sees Cyprus settlement by end of next year


TURKISH Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday he believed a settlement in Cyprus was possible by the end of next year, when Turkey hopes to launch its European Union accession talks.

The EU is prepared to admit a divided Cyprus next May if a deal with Turkish Cypriots to end the island’s division cannot be reached.

That could cement Cyprus’ partition, isolate Turkish Cypriots and wreck Muslim Turkey’s own hopes of joining the European Union.

“I am of the opinion a settlement can be reached by the end of 2004,” Gul said in a live interview with news channel NTV.

UN-backed peace talks on the island collapsed in March.

Turkey faces mounting diplomatic pressure to push the Turkish Cypriot side towards a settlement. Only Ankara recognises the Turkish Cypriot statelet, which it maintains with 30,000 troops.

Gul also said he believed parliament would pass a raft of reform legislation aimed at boosting political and human rights in time for an EU summit next month in Greece.

“Our goal is for the EU’s report on Turkey to appear in the best form, therefore we will not miss this opportunity.”

Turkey became a candidate in 1999, but is the only aspirant not yet negotiating its entry because it has failed to fulfil basic political and human rights criteria required by the bloc.

Brussels has offered a conditional date for talks to begin at the end of 2004 if Turkey can implement reforms.

Asked if 2011 or 2012 was a realistic date for Turkey’s EU accession, Gul said: “If we begin accession talks at the end of 2004, and I believe that is when we need to start, it is a realistic date.” "