Cyprus problem cannot be associated with Turkey's EU commitments, says President Papadopoulos
Nicosia, Nov 23 - “The Cyprus problem is irrelevant to and cannot be associated with Ankara's commitments vis-a-vis the European Union,” stressed Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
Addressing a state dinner given at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia on Thursday in honor of visiting President of Armenia Robert Kocharian, President Papadopoulos said Turkey's obligations as an occupying power as regards the Cyprus problem are a completely different issue.
“These are obligations that dictate its positive contribution to the efforts to achieve a functional and viable solution. The fulfillment of these obligations is pending for 32 years now, resulting in the continuing forceful division of our country and the terrible tragedy of our people,'' he added.
He also stressed that “we have supported and continue to support the European course of Turkey. However, it is Turkey that undermines this course with its continuous denial to comply with the European prerequisites and respond in a positive way to the commitments she has undertaken.
The Report by the European Commission, issued only a few days ago, notes this provocative denial by Turkey. A denial which in essence equals with contempt of the European accession criteria and the European rules of political behaviour’’, he added.
The Cyprus President also wondered “when Turkey challenges the European Union, of which it aims to become a member, what should be the reaction of the European partners? When Turkey refuses to fulfill her obligations vis-a-vis the European Union in general and vis-a-vis the Republic of Cyprus in particular, what should be the consequences?”
For certain, he added, the European Union cannot tolerate this provocative stand and behaviour of Ankara and has no right to consent to a smooth and unhindered course for Turkey, as if nothing happens. It is not possible, because of Turkey and for the sake of Turkey, to ignore the established European procedures and to bypass the statutory European rules, which are valid for every candidate country, prior to accession.
Mr. Papadopoulos said, however, that there is still time for Turkey to comply with the recommendations and the demands of the European Union. “So far we do not have valid reasons to be optimistic. On the contrary, we have sound reasons to believe that it will continue her negative stand. And unavoidably, it becomes clear that measures and sanctions must be imposed on Turkey by the European Council, in the middle of next month”.
“We are not happy with this development, for which Turkey and no one else is to blame. From the moment, however, that Turkey entrapped itself into provocatively denying to fulfill its European obligations there is no reasonable excuse, nor a legal way to avoid measures against it”, he added.