Turkey’s EU ties on hold
The Greek Cypriot flag (L) fluttering next to the EU flag at the Davila Moat in Nicosia. AFP photo
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot State will try to use Greek Cyprus’s term presidency as an opportunity to bring the decades-old Cyprus problem before the relevant European Union institutions and to inform ignorant European politicians about northern Cyprus.
According to a plan crafted by Ankara and Nicosia, an effort to add northern Cyprus to the itinerary of European bureaucrats and politicians, who will pay visits to the southern part of the island as part of its term presidency, will be carried out.
“Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have agreed on an action plan,” İrsen Küçük, prime minister of the Turkish Cypriot State, told a group of journalists over the weekend. The plan suggests massive protest campaigns by Turkish Cypriots in Brussels and elsewhere, with the first such protest already having taken place last week in the Belgian capital.
The activities and political statements of Greek Cyprus will be closely followed and any action to use its term presidency in its bid against Turkish Cypriots’ rights will be brought to the world’s agenda. This also includes Greek Cypriots’ oil and gas explorations in the eastern Mediterranean, which are seen as violating the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
“Turkish Cypriots will invite politicians and members of civil society who are coming [to the island] to participate in EU meetings to be held [in southern Cyprus],” Küçük stated. The reason for this action is the fact that many European politicians have little or biased information about the Cyprus problem, Küçük said, which he observed on a recent trip to Strasbourg, home of the European Parliament.
Greek Cyprus is expected to host nearly 700 meetings during its six-month presidency, but is also expected to delegate many to the outgoing term president, Denmark, due to its financial restrictions.
“We don’t expect a high-profile term presidency from Greek Cyprus due to their financial crisis,” Foreign Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün told reporters over the weekend. “The Greek Cypriots will have to chair more than 700 meetings during their presidency. However they declared EU that will not be able to hold meetings such as farming, environment and forestry. They try to delegate its missions to previous term president Denmark and upcoming president Ireland,” he said.
Ankara to scrap meetings with term presidency
The Greek Cypriot term presidency will also have some consequences for Turkey’s accession talks with the EU, as Ankara has already announced that it won’t join meetings to be held by the Greek Cyprus as term president.
However, Ankara said relations will continue with other EU bodies, especially with the European Commission.