EU to be ‘whole’ when all of Cyprus in bloc, says Schulz
NICOSIA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe European Union will not be whole until all of Cyprus, the Turkish and Greek administrations together, becomes a part of the bloc, said European Parliament President Martin Schulz during a visit to the Mediterranean island.
“Europe will not be a whole if there are no Cypriots and this wholeness will be fully reached when all of Cyprus will be part of the European Union,” said Schulz on March 29, during an address to the Greek Cypriot parliament.
“The fate of Cypriots should not be confined to be lost in details anymore,” he added.
He also stated that if the peace talks produced a successful result and reunification was achieved, all Cypriots would benefit from it, in areas varying from political to scientific and cultural issues.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened into the north in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
United Nations-brokered peace talks to find a peaceful solution to the more than 40-year-long dispute were restarted in May 2015, after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı was elected the new president of the Turkish Cypriot administration.
Since then, Akıncı and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades have met multiple times under the guidance of U.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide to negotiate for a lasting solution on the disputed topics.
“I would like to present my deepest gratitude to Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı. The negotiations have been relaunched with their courage,” said Schulz.
Reunification a ‘realistic possibility’
“The reunification of Cyprus has become a realistic possibility; this means that a historic chance can be achieved. Because Cyprus is one territory, Cypriots are one nation,” he said.
“We can see strong signals of the constructive spirit and will of cooperation in the letter of Anastasiades to the Dutch EU presidency, which kindly requests the Turkish language to be used as an official EU language,” he said.
Schulz said that it needed to be understood that a solution to the refugee crisis, which is regarded as the worst refugee crisis the EU has experienced since World War II, was not possible without Turkey, adding that this did not mean the EU would give up its values and principles.
Schulz said a common understanding was necessary to overcome fears about the refugee problem.
He also said the refugee crisis and the Turkish-EU negotiating processes were different issues and should not be mixed.
“The reunification is a message of hope to all of us,” Schulz said, after visiting the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.
Speaking to members of the press after his meeting with Schulz, Akıncı said they had a very constructive meeting with the head of the EP with regards to the steps to take in order to share a common future.
“They [Schulz] said that they would support us with all their strength. Europe, with all their institutions will continue their support for the solution of the Cyprus issue,” Akıncı said.
Prior to his meeting with Akıncı, Schulz also came together with Anastasiades.