Cypriot FM hopes for clear message to Turkey by EU countries
London, Nov 5 (CNA) -- Cyprus Foreign Minister Georgios Iacovou has expressed the wish that the main European powers, including the United Kingdom, will reiterate to Turkey what the EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen had said, that it is impossible for Turkey to join the EU without solving the Cyprus problem and that it is impossible for an applicant state to occupy the territory of an EU member state and not legally recognise the existence of a member state.
Addressing last night a dinner hosted here by the Cypriot Brotherhood, on the occasion of Cyprus' Independence anniversary, attended by British MPs, members of the House of Lords and journalists, Iacovou said ''it is time for the European nations to come out loudly'' and ''Turkey must be told clearly that it will help itself by solving the Cyprus problem in the fist half of 2004.''
''It must be told that although the solution of the Cyprus problem is not part of the legal requirements that Turkey has to fulfill, it is a strong political criterion that needs to be fulfilled'', he stressed.
Iacovou said a European leader, who visited Ankara recently, had told him that during his conversation with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the latter said the Cyprus problem will not be solved in the first half of 2004.
According to the European leader, Iacovou said, Erdogan noted that the Turkish public opinion was not for a solution and that if the European nations are ready to treat Turkey generously and give her a date to start accession negotiations, the Turkish public opinion will be so impressed that perhaps Turkey will, maybe in the year 2005, be able to come out with a resolution of the Cyprus problem.
Referring to Verheugen's statements for Turkey, Iacovou said: ''I hope that the main European powers - including the United Kingdom - also make this statement to Turkey. If they do, I feel that Turkey out of interest for the prosperity of the 70 million Turks will not continue to support the aging, obstinate and negative (Turkish Cypriot leader) Mr. (Rauf) Denktash.''
''We want a Turkey that satisfies the Copenhagen criteria for democracy, for the respect of human rights and international law,'' Iacovou said and reiterated the commitment of the Cyprus Government to accept fully the UN Secretary General's good offices mission.
He questioned whether the Turks accept this, noting that ''we get so many different messages from Ankara and the Turkish leadership.''
The Cypriot minister reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side accepts the philosophy and basic parameters of the Annan plan, and is prepared to negotiate on the basis of this document in order to find a settlement, noting that ''we want a settlement before May 1st 2004.''
As regards the so-called elections to take place in December in Cyprus' Turkish-occupied areas, Iacovou said he could not forecast their results ''especially because of the settlers' problem.''
''It is difficult to say whether the opposition has any chance. But even if the opposition wins it is not enough. This is necessary but not a sufficient condition,'' he added.
Iakovou noted that Erdogan in spite of his aloud intention to do so, has not been able to reign in the military in Turkey.