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Cyprus Government: Britain's position on Cyprus' recognition is unconceivable
2005-03-15 12:05:32

Nicosia, Mar 15 (CNA) -- The non-recognition of an EU member-state by Turkey is unconceivable, Cyprus Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has said, commenting on a statement by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that the issue of Cyprus' recognition by Turkey would be resolved in the context of Turkey's full membership of the European Union.

Chrysostomides also said that Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's statement that Turkey's customs union with the 10 new EU member- states already functions does not respond to reality.

He reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side pursues the normalisation of relations with all states that wish to join the EU, including Turkey.

Turkey, which occupies 37 per cent of Cyprus' territory since 1974, is the only country in the world which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus although it is a guarantor of the island's independence together with Greece and Britain.

''I think it is inconceivable for Turkey not to recognise a state full member of the EU. I am sure that everyone realise that Turkey's negotiations with the EU will be carried out at an intergovernmental level, and Cyprus as a full, independent and sovereign member-state will participate in the negotiations with Turkey,'' Chrysostomides added.

As regards Gul's statement that the customs union with the 10 new member-states already functions, Chrysostomides not that this does not respond to reality ''because ships under the Cyprus flag are not allowed yet to dock into Turkish ports and airplanes registered in Cyprus or belonging to Cyprus companies are not allowed to use the Turkish airspace.''

Asked if the Cyprus Government will raise the issue of the non-recognition at an intergovernmental level, the spokesman noted that ''it will be raised automatically'' since one state cannot participate in an intergovernmental conference ''at which the member- states recognise each other and there is the suspicion or the statement of non-recognition on behalf of another state that participates in the intergovernmental conference.''

Asked if the government is concerned by the fact that Britain will take over the EU presidency during that the second half of 2005, when Turkey's accession negotiations are set to start, the Cypriot official said that this issue will be discussed in the framework of the EU Council.

''I don't think that we should see the issue of recognition on the basis of some statements,'' he added, reiterating that Cyprus' participation in the Intergovernmental Conference and in the EU is on the basis of a full, sovereign and independent EU state.

Answering another question, Chrysostomides said that it is expected that Britain's Presidency will be balanced, just as previous EU presidencies.

Invited to comment on a statement by Jack Straw that all those who are planning to buy properties in the island's occupied areas must seek an independent legal advice, the spokesman expressed the hope that the British Foreign Secretary ''implies that the purchase of properties belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees is illegal. And the advice that the potential purchasers will seek or are recommended to seek is whether these properties belong to Turkish Cypriots and can be sold legally.''

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