DISI leader: Erdogan assures Turkey will back efforts for a Cyprus solution
by Maria Myles
Brussels, Mar 22 (CNA) -- Nicos Anastasiades, leader of the main opposition Democratic Rally (DISI) party in Cyprus, has said he got assurances from Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would back in a constructive manner, efforts to find a solution of the question of Cyprus as soon as talks between the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots sides resume.
Anastasiades also said that Erdogan expressed his readiness to sign the protocol to Turkey’s customs union agreement with the European Union, extending it to all ten new members including Cyprus, as soon as he receives certain clarifications from the Commission.
The DISI leader met here today with Greek premier Costas Karamanlis who briefed him on his discussions last night with Erdogan. He also talked to other heads of state on the sidelines of the summit of the European Peoples’s Party (EPP).
He said his meetings, which he described “important”, provided an opportunity for him to “outline the positions of the Greek Cypriot side with regard to Cyprus, to hear what others have to say and exchange views and assessment.”
Anastasiades said that European leaders with whom he has had the chance to talk are interested in the future of two European Commission regulations (on direct trade with the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and on financial assistance to the Turkish Cypriots) as well as on efforts to resume negotiations with a view at finding a political settlement in Cyprus.
Responding to questions about his conversation with Erdogan, he said this was in essence a continuation of discussions he held in mid February with the Turkish premier during a visit of a DISI delegation to Turkey, when there was talk about some good will gestures on the part of the Turkish side.
In a written statement on his meetings here, Anastasiades said he stressed the need for the EU to play a more active role and be present in any new initiative for a solution in Cyprus.
“Erdogan has informed me that he is ready to sign the protocol as soon as he receives some clarifications he is expecting from the Commission”, the statement said, adding that Erdogan expressed his commitment to support “in a constructive manner efforts to find a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus as soon as bicommunal talks resume”, the statement added.
Erdogan insists that signing the protocol does not constitute recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, whom Ankara does not recognize, and he is seeking to get some kind of assurances from the EU that his signature on the dotted line of the agreement is not in fact recognition of the government of the Republic of Cyprus, whose northern territory is occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.