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Cyprus backs a democratic Turkey in Europe, says House President
2007-05-17 12:25:56

Nicosia, May 15 – A democratic Turkey in the European Union will serve the interests of both the Turkish and the Cypriot people, provided that Ankara ends its decades-long military occupation and meets its commitments to Brussels.

This is what Cyprus House President, Demetris Christofias, stressed in his toast at a formal dinner in honor of visiting South Australian Premier, Mike Rann.

He also said that a political settlement in Cyprus, of a bizonal bicommunal federation, must be based on international law, UN resolutions and European principles and also serve the interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole and not the interests of third parties.

The House President also expressed regret that the Turkish side has reneged the UN-brokered July 8, 2006 agreement to prepare the ground for substantive negotiations, through talks between representatives of the leaders of the two communities who will work to set up working groups and technical committees to deal with substantive issues as well as issues that affect the day to day life of the people in Cyprus.

“In spite of Turkey’s attitude so far, we support the accession of a democratic Turkey in the EU because we believe that it serves the interests of the Turkish and the Cypriot people, provided that Ankara ends its occupation and meets fully its commitments to the EU, including commitments to Cyprus,” he stressed.

As for the South Australian Premier, he noted that at the moment it seems that there is a possibility once again the military will call the tune in Turkey, and if that happens then obviously that means that they do not have European values and do not abide by European laws.

Mr. Rann also reiterated his support to the struggle of Cyprus, noting that during his visit to the island apart the political leadership he had meetings with the lawyers representing the 15 South Australians of Cypriot origin, who lost their properties due to the Turkish invasion on the island in 1974. They have filed cases against Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights, with funding from Mr. Rann’s government.

“I guess for me as an Australian and as Australian Premier obviously there are few things that we can do and one of the important things is that while I’ve been here I've been meeting with the lawyers acting on behalf of 15 South-Australian Cypriot refugees,” he said.

“We are funding this. We are the only government outside Cyprus that has been prepared to step in and so what we are seeing is a complete breach of international law,” he added.

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