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Closer Turkey-EU relations must come through us, says Cyprus

2 min

Closer relations between Turkey and the European Union are contingent on Turkish engagement in solving the decades-old partition of Cyprus, the EU country's president said on Monday.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier shake hands during a welcome ceremony outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus February 12, 2024. Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Closer relations between Turkey and the European Union are contingent on Turkish engagement in solving the decades-old partition of Cyprus, the EU country's president said on Monday.

Turkey has been an official candidate to join the EU for decades, but accession talks have stalled in recent years over EU concerns about Ankara's record on human rights and respect for the rule of law.

Cyprus, an eastern Mediterranean island that was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 prompted by a brief Greek-inspired coup, has veto rights over Turkey's EU ambitions, like all other members of the bloc.

The Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, while the northern half of the island is a self-declared state recognised only by Turkey.

"Cyprus is a strong supporter of closer relations between the EU and Ankara; (such) closer relations pass through developments and a solution to the Cyprus problem," Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters after meeting Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's president in Nicosia.

Steinmeier, on an official visit to the island, said Turkish actions on Cyprus should be taken into account in assessing its overall relations with the EU.

"Member states should send this message to Turkey," he said, speaking though an interpreter.

Peace talks to resolve the longstanding conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots collapsed in 2017. Nicosia wants the EU to appoint an emissary to oversee attempts to revive talks, though says it would be supportive of any role of the United Nations, which takes the lead in Cyprus peacemaking.

Violence between the two Cypriot communities broke out in 1963, prompting the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force that still patrols a 180-km (116-mile) long ceasefire line.

Germany's cabinet last week approved the dispatch of police officers who will join the civilian police contingent of the U.N. force, Steinmeier said.


The situation in Cyprus according to the Turkish side

1) “invasion” is in contrary with what we understand from international law as 1974 is a result of Türkiye’s using her rights from agreements to which Türkiye, Greece, the UK, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were party to. We call it “intervention”.

2) In April 2004, EU, despite its promises to accept the Turkish and Greek Cypriots together into the community as a united federal state if parties would endorse the UN Secretary General Annan’s plan for reunification of the island which was seperately taken to the referanda in the north and south, Greek Cypriots (who voted no) were let in and the Turkish Cypriots (who voted yes) were left out. Because Greece threatened the EU for vetoing all other 9 states (Czechia, Poland, Hungary etc….) if EU leaves Greek Cypriots out.

3) In 2021, in Crans Montana, all parties met again for the last time, but without any results because Greek Cypriots interpreted unification in a federation with an understanding of imposing minority status to the Turkish Cypriots.

So, now, Turkish Cypriots do not want to discuss any solution other than 2-state solution.

Reporting by Michele Kambas and Mena Today 


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