British MEP Andrew Duff: "2012 a false timetable for a solution to the Cyprus problem"
British MEP Andrew Duff released a statement declaring the idea of holding twin referenda in the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities of Cyprus with the goal of finding a solution before Cyprus’ EU Presidency "a false timetable."
Referring to statements made during Mr. Erdogan's recent visit to the occupied areas, Mr. Duff related that “Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Davutoglu have missed another great opportunity to reconcile the two Cypriot communities and, by doing so, to resurrect the prospect of Turkish membership of the European Union”, adding that the Turkish government "not only clings to outdated hostile rhetoric but it raises an entirely new obstacle to improving relations with the EU.”
Noting that Cyprus will take the chair of the EU Council in July next year the British MEP added that “the Cypriot government will be obliged to represent the views even of those governments which favor Turkish accession to the EU. Instead of using this opportunity to progress their case for membership, the Turkish leadership has blown it."
He also pointed out that “the idea of another referendum on the island next year in advance of the Cypriot EU presidency is a ridiculous false trail in the absence of a genuine deal between Mr.Christofias and ME. Eroglu, the leaders of the two communities, backed by Turkey and the whole international community. 2012 is a false timetable”, he underlined.
Mr Duff also stressed that “the Cypriot problem is and will remain intractable in the absence of outside involvement. Unless Turkey trusts the EU to help reach a settlement there will be no settlement. The good offices of the UN will not be enough, and they are, in any case, almost exhausted”.
Mr. Duff who held high level talks on both sides of the island recently and who is a member of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, added that "instead of moving on from the failed Annan Plan of 2004, the Turks have actually gone backwards."
In his statement Mr. Duff further noted that during his visit to the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, Turkish Prime Minister should have expressed sympathy with the current plight of the Greek Cypriots, arrange direct meetings with President Christofias and propose the establishment of a genuine process of truth and reconciliation. Back in Turkey, Erdogan “should have begun by now the long process of preparing Turkish public opinion to back a bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus and the normalization of relations with all the member states of the European Union which he purports to want to join”, Mr. Duff stated.
"In light of this setback, one must now question whether the AKP leadership is or has ever been truly committed to a European vocation for Turkey”, he pointed out.