08 November, 2005
Turkey must fully meet its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus, first of all with implementation of its EU extended customs union protocol, and secondly with recognition of Cyprus and the lifting of all obstacles to the Cyprus Republic's participation in international organizations, Greek main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou said Monday, after a meeting with visiting speaker of the Cypriot parliament Demetris Christofias.
"We consider that Turkey must fully meet its obligations to the Republic of Cyprus, first of all with the implementation of the Protocol, secondly with the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, and, of course, with the lifting of all obstacles to the Cyprus Republic's participation in international organizations," Papandreou told reporters after the meeting.
He said that Cyprus' membership must be utilized in any new initiatives that arise, so that a solution to the Cyprus issue would, beyond international law, be also clearly a solution that fully takes into consideration the new European reality in Cyprus, in other words the incorporation of the EU acquis communautaire in any new proposal for a Cyprus solution.
The PASOK leader also said the incompatibility of an EU candidate country commencing accession negotiations while it maintained occupation troops in an EU member state needed to be increasingly underscored.
"It is a self-evident fact, but many times the international community forgets that this is the reality, an oxymoron and unacceptable reality vis-a-vis Turkey's course to the EU," Papandreou stressed.
Christofias, in turn, said he briefed Papandreou on the recent visits by EU officials to Cyprus, as well as on Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Talat to Washington, at the invitation of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.
"The goals of those visits were not assisting in a resolution of the Cyprus issue based on the UN resolutions, and on the European principles. They were more aimed at upgrading Mr. Talat's prestige, perhaps of the (Turkish Cypriot) pseudo-state itself, and an effort to place pressure on the Greek Cypriot side," Christofias said.
He noted, however, that Talat had not been satisfied upon his return from the US, because he had failed to attain the targets he had set, such as more direct flights to and direct trade with the Turkish occupied sector of Cyprus, and various other things he and Turkey want to achieve.
Christofias also said that he and Papandreou had discussed the issue of stressing the anti-occupation nature of the Cyprus issue, adding that there was a methodical attempt by certain forces in the international field to suppress the occupation aspect and exonerate Turkey.
"By involving the EU in the process for a solution of the Cyprus issue -- without removing it from its natural forum, which is the United Nations, because we are dealing with an occupation and a violation of international law, and the organization that has established the rules of international law and is responsible for its preservation and implementation is the UN -- we believe that Turkey, if it wants to become a member of the EU, will have to abide by the principles on which the EU daily declares that it is founded: respect of the independence and sovereignty of the member states, and at the same time respect and implementation of human rights. Both are blatantly violated by Turkey in Cyprus," Christofias said.
He called for coordination of actions and forces so as to utilize the EU procedures to underline this aspect of the Cyprus problem, so as to substantively pressure Turkey into respecting the EU principles, since it was entering the process of negotiations for its own accession.
Source: Athens News Agency