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EUROPE > ‘Fly North, then Turkey will end Greek Cyprus ban’

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Turkey’s EU Minister Bağış calls on German Lufthansa to fly to Ercan airport.

Turkey’s EU Minister Bağış calls on German Lufthansa to fly to Ercan airport.

Turkey’s EU Minister Egemen Bağış has challenged German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the Ankara protocol, saying that Ankara is ready to open its ports to Greek Cypriots if a German airline starts flights to Ercan Airport in Turkish Cyprus.

“I’ll call your bluff. The Turkish Republic will open its sea ports, airports, and air space, if Lufthansa embarks on an expedition to Ercan Airport,” Egemen Bağış told reporters yesterday, citing Merkel’s call on Turkey for progress in implementing the Ankara Protocol.

Turkey’s ports were open to Greek Cypriot vessels until 1987, Bağış stressed, adding that letting Greek Cypriots into Turkish ports would not mean official recognition of the state.

Bağış signals no unilateral moves

“Nobody can expect Turkey to unilaterally open its sea and air ports while Turkish Cypriots are suffering due to the embargo, despite the EU decision dated April 24, 2004,” he said.

Merkel is repeating her doubts on Turkey’s full membership of the EU, but she has never made an effort to block the negotiation process, Bağış said, adding that on the contrary, during Germany’s EU term presidency, Turkey actually opened three negotiation chapters.

At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 25, Merkel butted heads with Ankara on the deadlock surrounding Cyprus. “We need Turkey’s progress on the implementation of the Ankara protocol. Otherwise, the number of negotiation chapters that can be opened will be limited,” Merkel said.

February/27/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Murat

2/28/2013 7:28:31 PM

Because they are Greeks!

john albay

2/28/2013 1:46:25 PM

@tekion They are waving the greek flag because they are the puppets of greece and they have to do what their masters in greece tell them to do!

ilker avni

2/28/2013 12:52:06 AM

The EU has for forty years not reconised the North which means they have not reconised the Rights of Turkish Cypriots citizens liveing in Cyprus,they only reconise the Greeks,to any one that is discrimnation.The EU never kept any of its promises to Turkey, and the Turkish Cypriots, who will soon be exstict like the Rhino.The main gainer of all this will be Mr Erdogan and his family who are relying on the embargo to be lifted, as their buy up Northern Cyprus,.Ercan will be called Erdogan airport

Suhail Shafi

2/27/2013 6:57:24 PM

The European Union has repeatedly reneged on its promise to end the suffocating embargo on Turkish Cyprus in return for the Turkish Cypriots supporting the Annan plan. Expecting Turkey to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels while Turkish Cypriots are impoverished by the European Union's policies is one sided, unfair and smacks of a take all and give nothing approach.

Tekion Particle

2/27/2013 6:22:59 PM

After the ROC elections I have noticed that the winning party supporters are waiving Greek flags. I am a little confused, if Cyprus is an independent state why are they waiving Greek flags and not their own? Can anyone shed a light to this?

Brit in Turkey

2/27/2013 6:17:40 PM

I think the calling of Germany's bluff (and the EU's) is just the way I would try it. I await the hate mail! Dennis Kavaz: Touché.

John McAuliffe

2/27/2013 5:38:36 PM

1+1 = 3 What the connection between the two issues ?

Dennis Kavaz

2/27/2013 5:31:11 PM

It would be interesting in this hypothetical scenario; eg the T Cs forced the G Cs to live in enclaves and massacred them (bodies exhumed from mass graves after the 1974 G C coup) and in retaliation to stop the T Cs from killing the G Cs Greece intervened. Would the E U have shown the same care (to the T C) as they have for the G Cs?

Baris

2/27/2013 4:56:31 PM

Robert Ellis, it is still legally possible for EU countries to fly to Ercan. As part of confidence building measures Turkey can open her ports to ROC and ROC can allow direct flights to Ercan. This formula has been mentioned before, along with Turkey reducing her military and opening Varosha, etc. EU can pressurise ROC for this and keep its promise for lifting isolation of TCs, but it has intention of giving up on a powerful tool to stop Turkey's accesion, another example of "bazaar tricks".

Murat

2/27/2013 4:17:54 PM

How alaturka, but I agree with the spirirt. It is EU that has made the mess permenant and only at TC's cost. EU is Germany, they certainly could do more. They choose not to. It is a one large "orta oyun", but we keep paying for the tent.
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