Cyprus President hopes EU will pressure Turkey on protocol decision
Nicosia, Oct 13 – Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed the hope that the European Union will hold up to its decisions, which are also positions of the Republic of Cyprus, as regards the implementation of Turkey’s protocol extending its customs union with the 10 new EU member states, including Cyprus.
The President was commenting on reports that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan said he would not open Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and aircraft.
“The EU has given a reply to Turkey’s position”, the President said, adding that “this is a disagreement which directly concerns us but we hope that the EU will support its own decisions, which are also our positions”.
Asked if Mr. Erdogan’s statement proves hardening of Turkey’s positions, President Papadopoulos said that he did not want to interpret Mr. Erdogan’s actions, noting that before the start of accession talks Mr. Erdogan had not said anything different.
“He has said the same things in the past”, the President concluded.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister George Iacovou said in Athens yesterday that vetoing Turkey’s accession to the European Union has never been an end in itself.
Mr. Iacovou also said that Cyprus will not prevent Turkey from acceding to the EU if during its European course it proves that it has changed its aggressive attitude, it implements as soon as possible the obligations it has undertaken, including the Ankara Agreement, and it contributes decisively to a fair and European solution of the Cyprus problem.
''Turkey's European course is a process that, for the first time, does not provide clearly a timeframe, nor does it secure the outcome of accession negotiations,” Mr. Iacovou added.
A European Turkey will benefit the entire region, Mr. Iacovou stressed, adding that the government expects Turkey to put into practice the obligations it has undertaken, that is to implement the Ankara Protocol and to open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and aircraft as well as to gradually proceed with harmonizing its relations with Cyprus following the de facto recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, which the EU considers that it has already taken place.