Turkish Cyprus slams EU official over ‘15-minute visit’

Turkish Cyprus slams EU official over ‘15-minute visit’

Turkish Cyprus slams EU official over ‘15-minute visit’

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Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı lashed out at European Union Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis for his plans to pay a courtesy visit of just 15 minutes when he comes to the island in the coming days.

Speaking at a local SME summit on March 2, Akıncı said they would not prefer a visit from Dombrovskis at all if it is only going to be a courtesy visit of 15 minutes. 

“I would like to openly express to him [Dombrovskis] that if they are going to conduct such visits, then they need not come. We are serious and we expect the people across from us to also be serious,” said Akıncı, adding that top officials from the European Union made regular visits to the island and visited the Turkish Cypriot side, too. 

Turkish and Cypriot leaders resumed United Nations-brokered peace talks in May 2015 in order to find a solution to the more than 40-year-old dispute. In 1974, Turkey partly intervened on the island following a coup attempt by Greece to unite Cyprus with the mainland.

“A person who has the duty of making the Turkish Cypriot side prepare for the EU needs to hold meetings here [in Turkish Cyprus], too. That’s the normal way,” he added. 

“They should know that we will not accept an approach like ‘we also went to that side just for show,’” said Akıncı. 

The Greek Cypriot administration has been an EU member since 2004. Turkish Cypriots are considered EU citizens, even though they live on territory not under the control of the Greek Cypriot government.   

Akıncı said Dombrovskis was going to stay on the Greek Cypriot part of the island for two to three days and hold many meetings, along with a press conference.