Cyprus President not satisfied with Barroso’s statements
by Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Dec 16 (CNA) – Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said he was not satisfied with a statement made by the European Commission President that Ankara is obliged to recognise the Republic of Cyprus before Turkey joins the European Union.
Jose Manuel Barroso had called on Turkey to make “certain gestures” that will help her win the support of all EU member state in order to begin accession negotiations with the European Union. These gestures include signing the supplementary protocol of the Ankara Agreement, relating to the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
Responding to questions, Barroso said diplomatic recognition of Cyprus has to take place before Turkey becomes a full member of the EU.
Asked what Ankara should do, Barroso replied “Cyprus will be sitting at the same table as Turkey when accession negotiations begin. What message will Turkey send if it does not recognise a member state sitting at the same table”.
Speaking to reporters on arrival in Brussels, President Papadopoulos said “I am not satisfied with Mr. Barroso’s statements that recognition must take place before Turkey joins the EU.''
Asked how the presence of Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus can be reconciled with the start of accession negotiations between the EU-Turkey, Barroso said he opposed setting new political conditions on Turkey, other than those included in the Copenhagen criteria, adding that a UN plan (Annan Plan) for a Cyprus settlement was supported by Turkey.
He said the decision the European Council will take today with regard to Turkey is of historic significance to the country, mainly because of its size, its geographic position and the possibility it might become a bridge between the EU and the Islamic world.
The Commission President said the European Council should not take a middle of the road decision but a coherent decision, which will stress that negotiations will begin with a view at seeing Turkey becoming a full member.
Barroso defended the Commission’s recommendation for special provisions including a permanent ban on the free movement of Turkish workers in EU states.
He said that although he appreciates Ankara’s sensitivities on the issue, the EU wants to allay fears among European public opinion.