Greek Cyprus’ ‘caprice’ should not be allowed in Turkey-EU deal: Turkish minister

Greek Cyprus’ ‘caprice’ should not be allowed in Turkey-EU deal: Turkish minister

Greek Cyprus’ ‘caprice’ should not be allowed in Turkey-EU deal: Turkish minister

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The “capriciousness” of the Greek Cypriot administration should not be allowed to block the EU-Turkey deal reached last week in order to curb the migrant influx into the EU, a Turkish minister said on March 16. 

“When the EU’s continuity is under threat, it should be out of question that this [the Turkey-EU deal] is being prevented with one country’s capriciousness,” said Turkey’s EU minister and chief negotiator with the bloc, Volkan Bozkır, during a televised interview with Turkish private broadcaster NTV. 

“It is out of the question to recognize the Greek Cypriot administration in Southern Cyprus just to open one [EU] chapter,” said Bozkır. The “Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus” is the name Turkey uses to show Ankara does not recognize the Greek Cypriot-controlled “Republic of Cyprus.”

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is scheduled to meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late March 16, one day after telling EU President Donald Tusk in Nicosia that Greek Cyprus had no intention of permitting full negotiations for Turkey’s EU membership unless Turkey fulfilled the Greek side’s longstanding demands - a position that could scuttle the whole deal.

The two-day EU summit starting on March 17 will try to make sure all EU nations sign off on a deal with Turkey that even Tusk has said still needs to be “rebalanced” to make it acceptable to all. The tentative agreement struck March 7 would allow Greece to return migrants to Turkey as Europe opens new routes for pre-screened migrants to seek asylum legally.

Bozkır added that the deal presented by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on March 7 in Brussels during an extended meeting with the heads of the 28 states of the EU was a “whole package.” 

“Our prime minister clearly said that the package was a whole. The package will enter into force if a consensus on all the matters will be reached,” said Bozkır. 

“Here the responsibility falls on the EU. The EU administration should talk the Greek Cypriot Administration in Southern Cyprus into [the deal].” 

Turkey has demanded an extra 3 billion euros in addition to the 3 billion euros the EU initially pledged in October 2015. 

There is still “hard work” to do to adjust a new refugee deal with Turkey so that it becomes “acceptable” to all members of the 28-member European Union, Tusk said late March 15 after a meeting with Davutoğlu in Ankara, which came hours after Tusk’s meeting with Anastasiades in Nicosia.

For his part, Davutoğlu said the aim of the 6 billion-euro agreement with the EU on refugees was to reduce illegal migration and make their passage to Europe safe.