Cyprus welcomes European Commission’s report on Turkey
Nicosia, Nov 10 – The Cyprus government considers positive Wednesday's European Commission’s report on Turkey as well as statements by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said Mr. Rehn called on Turkey to conform and meet the commitments it has undertaken against the EU by opening its ports to Cypriot ships.
"Mr. Rehn also stresses that this commitment has nothing to do nor is related to the regulations for the Turkish Cypriots, thus he rejects Turkey’s position that both regulations (financial assistance to Turkish Cypriots and direct trade) go together," Mr. Chrysostomides added.
Mr. Chrysostomides noted that he was certain that “this would be seriously taken into consideration by the Turkish government”.
Mr. Rehn presented the Commission’s overall enlargement policy for the candidate countries Croatia and Turkey, describing Turkey's progress report as ''objective and balanced.''
On Turkey's reform process, Mr. Rehn said that the Commission's progress report ''states that Turkey continues to sufficiently fulfill the political criteria of Copenhagen.''
However, he added, that ''the pace of change has slowed in 2005 and even though there is progress in implementation it still remains uneven.''
''Therefore significant further efforts are needed especially as regards freedom of expression, women’s rights, religious freedoms, trade unions and the rights of non-Moslems religious communities,'' Mr. Rehn also said.
Replying to a question, Mr. Rehn noted that ''there are still major problems to be tackled,'' and he focused mainly on the need for Turkey to enhance the rule of law and human rights.