EU Commissioner repeats warnings to Turkey on the Cyprus issue
Cyprus News Agency, Nicosia, Oct. 10
In an interview with the ?Financial Times? (10.10.2003), EU Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Gunter Verheugen, notes that as one of the most important Muslim countries in the region, Turkey, could be an advantage to the EU. ?As ever, though, hanging over a date for starting accession negotiations with Turkey is the question of Cyprus?, Verheugen said.
?There is a window of opportunity. There are ?elections? in the northern part in December. Either way, Turkey holds the key?, Verheugen added.
The EU Commissioner emphasized that ?Turkey knows how the balance of power will shift after May 1 (2004) when the government of the Republic of Cyprus will be here in Brussels. This will be a complete change for Turkey. The Greek Cypriots will set the agenda?, Verheugen said, stressing ?Turkey loses after May 1?.
Cyprus Government Spokesman, Mr. Kypros Chrysostomides, referring to the interview by Verheugen, noted that references to the Cyprus problem in relation to Turkey?s EU accession course are on the increase. Chrysostomides described the interview as a ?clear warning to Ankara to change its stance?, and that the Cyprus problem will be an obstacle for Turkey?s EU accession course if it is not solved by 1st May 2004, when Cyprus will fully join the EU.