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Commission urges Turkey to fully implement Ankara Agreement
2006-09-27 12:26:43

Nicosia, Sep 27 -- The European Commission, through its Commissioner for Enlargement Mr. Olli Rehn, said on Tuesday it expects Turkey to fully implement the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement and adapt it to the accession of the ten new member states.

Speaking in Strasbourg before the European Parliament?s debate of a report prepared by Dutch rapporteur Camiel Eurlings on Turkey's progress in its accession negotiations, Mr. Rehn pointed out that Turkey's obligations under the Ankara Protocol are not linked to the ending the so-called economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Referring to Turkey's obligation to respect its commitments, Mr. Rehn said ?we expect Turkey to fully implement the Additional Protocol of the Ankara Agreement and adapt it to the accession of ten new member states?.

He underlined that ?Turkey should remove obstacles to the free movement of goods, including those on means of transport, which are in breach of the Association Agreement. Hence, Turkey should open its ports to vessels under flag of all Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus?.

As set out in the Negotiating Framework, the Commissioner said, ?the progress in the negotiations also depends on Turkey meeting its obligations? and repeated that ?Turkey's obligations under the Ankara Protocol are not linked to the ending of economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community?.

Mr. Rehn said ?the draft report rightly calls on the Council to make renewed efforts to reach an agreement on the trade facilitation regulation concerning the Northern part of Cyprus?.

He stressed that ?the Commission fully supports the efforts of the Finnish Presidency to overcome the stalemate on the trade regulation, thus helping the Council and the EU member states to live up to their commitments?.

Furthermore, he said "it is also appropriate to underline the continuation of the constructive commitment by Turkey in finding a comprehensive settlement on the Cyprus question, acceptable to both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, based upon the principles the EU was founded?.

Turkey, an EU candidate country, refuses to implement a Protocol extending the Ankara Agreement (Customs Union) to the ten new EU member states, which among others provides for the opening of Turkish ports and airports to Cypriot ships and airplanes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

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