Turkey amenable to Greek Cyprus switching to Turkish Lira: EU minister
ISTANBUL – Anatolia News Agency
'If the Greek Cypriots had approved the UN reunification blueprint in 2004, they would have been spared their recent economic woes,' says EU Minister Egemen Bağış, an outspoken critic of Greek Cyprus' membership in the EU. AA photo
Turkey would support an eventual transition to the use of the Turkish Lira in Greek Cyprus, the currency in the northern part of the island, should the south be forced to exit the eurozone, EU Minister and chief EU negotiator Egemen Bağış said March 22.
The minister, speaking at an event in Istanbul, argued that if the Greek Cypriots had approved the U.N. reunification blueprint in 2004, known as the “Annan Plan," it would have been spared its recent economic woes, in which the bloc has demanded the country implement harsh financial measures in return for a bailout.
“Nicos Anastasiades’s government is paying the price of the [previous] leadership and trying to put the pieces back together. It’s not proper to kick someone when they are down. God save them,” he said, referring to the fact that Anastasiades had supported a reunification plan when it was voted on nine years ago. "We hope that they will reach a solution and the uncertainty will come to an end as soon as possible," he added.
The European Union has given Nicosia until March 25 to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.47 billion) to unlock loans worth 10 billion euros or face being cut off from the European Central Bank emergency funding in a move that would bankrupt the island. Turkey is also on alert for the long term knock-on effects that such a bailout could entail for Europe.
Meanwhile, the northern part of the island is following closely the developments in Greek Cyprus. Turkish Cyprus Finance Minister Ersin Tatar had said last week that if Greek Cypriot banks went bankrupt, Greek Cypriots could open accounts in Turkish Cypriot banks.