Turkish Cypriot ''opposition'' leaders meet Pat Cox
by Emilia Christofi
Strasbourg, Nov 18 (CNA) -- Turkish Cypriot ''opposition'' leaders voiced their positions on the Cyprus problem and the forthcoming ''elections'' in the occupied north of Cyprus during a meeting here Tuesday with European Parliament President Pat Cox.
Prior to the joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Cyprus-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, Mehmet Ali Talat of the Republican Turkish Party, Ali Erel of the Solution and EU Party Movement and Mustafa Akinci of the Peace and Democracy Movement said they had a constructive meeting with Cox where they analysed their positions on the Cyprus problem and the ''parliamentary elections'' scheduled in the Turkish occupied north next month.
In statements to the press, Akinci said Cox has shown his interest in Cyprus even before his election to the presidency of the EU Parliament.
There is one thing on the agenda, and that is Cyprus and nothing more, he said, to add that they exchanged views. Cox now knows the prevailing conditions better, Akinci said.
The Peace and Democracy Movement, said Akinci, ''is considering these platforms as very important, in order to convey the feelings of the Turkish Cypriots and to seek the solidarity of the international community. Therefore I took this opportunity to explain what is going on in our country, and the prevailing conditions on the election side as well, the continuing naturalisation process, the continuing employments in the public sector, just prior to the elections and therefore the interferences in the elections.''
Akinci stressed that all interested parties should play a positive role and explained that ''the first duty rests with the Turkish Cypriots for the opposition to win the 'elections'''
''Then (Cyprus President) Tassos Papadopoulos should stick to the main parametres of the Annan plan, Turkey should implement the Copenhagen criteria and should help solve the Cyprus problem before May 2004 so that a united country can become a member of the EU, and the EU as well should give a clear signal to Turkey that if she does all these things, she can get a date for accession talks to begin when they meet in December 2004,'' he added.
Talat described the meeting ''constructive'', noting they discussed the ''prospects of a solution to the Cyprus problem and the role of the EU in these efforts''.
He said the results in his opinion, ''were quite successful, the EU is still defending the idea of unification of Cyprus before 2004 so we are in the same line.''
On his part, Erel said that apart from the Cyprus problem they talked about the enlargement process coming to an end, as well as the ''elections'' in the north and the possible results.
''Of course we are optimistic about the results of our elections coming soon, of course there are more elections to come, one in Greece, municipality elections in Turkey, German elections, so it will not be an easy period for solutions. But we are still very optimistic and I think we will manage to get a good result from our own elections at least,'' he concluded.