EU efforts to normalise Cyprus - Turkey relations
By Nicos Bellos
Brussels, Feb 2 (CNA) -- The Council of Ministers in cooperation with the European Commission exercise pressure on Turkey to sign the Protocol of the Ankara Agreement and expand the Customs Union with all EU member-states, including Cyprus.
This effort includes changes in the Turkish law so as to lift the embargo imposed by the Turkish government as regards the anchoring of ships under Cyprus flag in Turkish ports and use of Turkey's FIR by Cypriot aircraft.
Luxemburg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has referred to these efforts in his answer, here Tuesday, to a question tabled by Cypriot Member of the European Parliament Yiannakis Matsis during a meeting of the Committee of European Affairs.
Matsis had asked if the European Council was taking any action so as Turkey sign the Protocol, according to the 17th December 2004 decision for Turkey's European course and whether there were any efforts as regards the change of Turkish laws. The Cypriot MEP noted that if these two issues were settled it would be a step towards the normalisation of relations between Cyprus and Turkey.
In his answer Asselborn said: ''The Presidency and the Commission will start intensive efforts to help the relations between Cyprus – Turkey and bring an end to the current deadlock. There is a lot of activity for these issues in coordination with (EU) Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn''.