Verheugen urges Ankara to assume initiative for Cyprus solution
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Dec 18 (CNA) -- EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen has said a Cyprus settlement is not a precondition for Turkey's European course but is politically linked with its candidacy for EU membership.
Speaking before the European Parliament plenary yesterday Verheugen called on Ankara to assume an initiative for a Cyprus settlement by May 1st, 2004, when Cyprus will officially join the EU.
Verheugen was answering a question put forward by Greek MEP Myrsini Zorbas who asked him to brief the European Parliament on the European Commission's further steps with a view to encourage a Cyprus settlement.
The Commissioner recalled that the Turkish Cypriot puppet regime in Cyprus' Turkish-occupied areas is recognised only by Ankara and noted that the so-called parliamentary elections, which took place Sunday, could have an impact on the Cyprus problem.
Verheguen said the Turkish government has not informed the European Commission on any compromising proposal for a Cyprus settlement.
He noted that it would be a wise move on the part of Ankara, and for her own benefit, to assume an initiative in order to reach a settlement by May 1st 2004, on the basis of the Annan plan.
Regarding the repercussions of a non-solution situation on Turkey's candidacy, Verheugen said a settlement of the Cyprus problem is not a precondition for Turkey but it is politically linked with its candidacy.
MEP Zorbas asked Verheugen to comment Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayiip Erdogan's statements that no one can ignore the ''people's will''.
The German Commissioner described these statements as ''positive'' noting that what has been made clear from the ''elections'' is the will of native Turkish Cypriots and consider the island as their homeland.
To a remark by Zorbas regarding a statement of an Oslo University group who observed the ''elections'' that referred to a ''voters production'', Verheugen said that according to the data he has collected there was falsification of the ''electoral lists'' in favour of certain political parties.