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President Papadopoulos says EC progress report on Turkey positive for Cyprus
2006-11-08 10:57:53

Split, Nov 8 -- Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Wednesday that the European Commission's progress report on Turkey was on the whole positive for Cyprus.

In remarks from Split, Croatia, President Papadopoulos noted that nothing has changed from the draft, adding that the report contains quite a few positive points, although some points could have been more specific and more detailed regarding Turkey's stance.

Asked what he thought of the report, President Papadopoulos said that ''generally the report is positive as far as Cyprus is concerned.''

''From what I have read so far, they have not changed anything from the draft we had in mind. It contains several positive points. Some other points could have been more specific and more detailed regarding Turkey's stance. But on the whole it is positive. It does not contain any suggestions,'' the President pointed out.

He added that from what he has been informed from Brussels, ''the argument is that, since a period of time is given until early December for Turkey to comply, it would not be right to include messages now concerning what Turkey should do, because it would eliminate the message the Commission wishes to give, by allowing this short extension.''

Asked if the government has been approached about the possible content of the suggestions or sanctions, Mr. Papadopoulos pointed out that over the recent period there have been meetings and visits.

''This was the purpose. We have expressed our views, we have heard other views. I have repeatedly said that it is still not certain that the majority of the council of leaders will choose, as measures, sanctions against Turkey,'' he noted.

Asked if this issue was in any way connected to the Finnish initiative or if the initiative was independent, President Papadopoulos said that ''although it is independent, of course it is connected.''

''Let us say that Turkey is stating that it will not implement the protocol unless the so-called embargoes, which we dismiss exist, against the Turkish Cypriots, are lifted,'' he said.

He added that ''recently the phrase is not economic embargo, as the agreement of April 26 provided for, but international isolation, which of course means broader issues.''

''I assume that the reasoning is that even if Turkey is given an excuse that this term it is placing has not been met for the lifting of the economic embargo or the more general isolation, it will find an excuse to implement it. This is the reasoning. I believe this reasoning will not prevail. It is in this way that the issue of the Finnish presidency is involved, along with Turkey's obligations towards Europe which, as it has been repeatedly stated, are autonomous, independent and must not be linked with what is happening regarding the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus,'' President Papadopoulos concluded.

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