EU Commissioner Verheugen cautions Turkey on Cyprus
"Presence of Turkish troops in the northern part of the island is already contrary to the international law"
Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (02.10.03) reports that the EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr Gunter Verheugen, speaking to the CNN ?Turk TV?s ?Manset? programme, called on the sides in Cyprus to resume negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan.
Mr Verheugen said that unless a solution is found to the problem prior to Cyprus? full membership on 1 May 2004, then some additional problems would be surfaced. Verheugen went on and said: ?If the situation on the island is not changed then the following decision should be made: Will it be possible to give a date to Turkey for starting the negotiations?
This without doubt is an obstacle. If we look into the issue from the legal point of view, the presence of Turkish troops in the northern part of the island is already contrary to the international law.
When asked to comment on the possibility of the Cyprus government having and exercising its veto power in December 2004, Verheugen said: ?Yes, exactly, they could use it, not only from the theoretical point of view, but they could put this into practice. As of 1 May 2004 Cyprus will become a full member and will have the same rights and responsibilities as the other members. They will say that EU laws are suspended in the northern part of the island and this would be a very worrying situation, because the Greek Cypriot government will have right to veto. It will have the right to preclude Turkey?s negotiations?.
The EU official went on and noted that in that case Turkey?s presence on the island will mean ?occupying part of the island, that is, one of the members of the EU is occupied by a candidate country?.
Mr Verheugen then referred to the EU Commission?s progress report on Turkey to be published on 5 November and said that Turkey should focus its attention on the application of fundamental freedoms, the right to expression, the right to religious freedom, fight against torture, right to establish association and foundation and struggle against irregularities.