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Cyprus President says Turkey seeks to avoid EU evaluation
2006-05-16 13:50:08

Nicosia, May 16 - Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said Turkey aims to avoid its evaluation by the European Union regarding its obligations, which includes the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

''Turkey's aim is to avoid this examination. Since September 21, when the relevant decision of the EU Council was made, we had stressed to the people how important this decision was and how useful a tool it would be in our effort to promote the fulfillment by Turkey of the obligations it undertook through its negotiating framework both towards the EU and Cyprus,'' he said.

Commenting on information that Turkey was seeking to postpone its evaluation, the President also said that Ankara, in one way or another, wants to avoid this examination, ''and it is natural for us to try, and we are already trying with various contacts and explanation of our positions, to tackle this tendency.''

''I believe Turkey will find itself in a very difficult position if it is called upon to undergo the scrutiny the 21 September 2005 decision imposes,'' he added.

Asked if Cyprus was considering the option of blocking the opening of new negotiating chapters for Turkey if it's progress is not assessed in October, President Papadopoulos said he was not going to announce Cyprus' stance.

On the same issue, Government Spokesman George Lillikas said ''some countries, very few, would want a postponement of Turkey's evaluation by the Council in October,'' adding that ''there is a very large group of countries that want Turkey to be assessed and judged, just like all the other candidate countries.''

Replying to questions, Mr. Lillikas said that ''it is during this period that the countries will form their final positions, from now until the Summer in my opinion.''

''However, there is a previous binding decision by the Council, in any case, for the evaluation to take place within the year 2006. This decision has not been retracted or cancelled by any other Council decision,'' he pointed out.

''The government of Cyprus adheres to the unanimous position taken by the Council of the European Union on September 21, 2005 and trusts that the EU will respect its unanimous decisions and show credibility and consistency,'' he added.

Invited to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that unless the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is lifted, Turkey, being a guarantor power of Cyprus, would take action, Mr. Lillikas said that this statement is provocative and unacceptable.

''There is no isolation of the Turkish Cypriots that is due to the Greek Cypriots or the Republic of Cyprus. If there is any problem, this is due to the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continuous occupation of Cyprus. Erdogan's reference to the Treaty of Guarantee is a provocation, since the most serious violation of the Treaty is the invasion and occupation with the continuation of the Turkish army's presence in Cyprus,'' he added.

Moreover, British High Commissioner in Nicosia Peter Millet pointed out yesterday that Turkey must fulfill its obligations towards the EU, adding that there should be an evaluation report of Turkey before the end of the year.

''We have to have the report before the end of the year. It is clear that Turkey has obligations that it has to fulfill,'' Mr. Millet said.

Replying to questions regarding Britain's stance on Turkey's evaluation by the EU, Mr. Millet also said ''There are some rumors but it is not Britain's position that we want the postponement of the report.''

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