FM: Turkey must table positions before Association Council meeting
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he has sent a letter to Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, clarifying that Cyprus will not consent to a Turkey-EU Association Council meeting if Ankara’s positions are not communicated to EU member states beforehand.
“Each candidate state is obliged to table its views in time so that they can be made known to EU member states, allowing the 28 to give the proper answers”, Kasoulides said.
He added that Turkey had not tabled beforehand the document it submitted at the end of the EU-Turkey Association Council during the EU Greek Presidency, in which Ankara talked about a “defunct Republic of Cyprus”.
Asked about the transport of water from Turkey to the occupied north, Kasoulides said “this issue is very disturbing” as Turkey is trying to make the occupied areas wholly dependent on Ankara.
Kasoulides said he prepared a confidential report for the Cabinet on the issue and a ministerial committee has been set up to examine the consequences of such a move. The University of Cyprus is also preparing a report on the scientific consequences of this development.
Regarding May’s decision of the European Court of Human Rights urging Turkey to pay millions of euros in compensation to Cyprus with respect to human rights violations, Kasoulides said that “we should not undermine the significance of the decision”.
According to the minister, the ECHR clarifies that Turkey is obliged to implement the contents of the interstate appeal regarding the properties of the displaced, the missing persons and their relatives as well as the enclaved (Greek Cypriots living in occupied Cyprus) and at the same time demands compensation.
He also said that the Republic of Cyprus strongly objects to Turkey’s candidacy to become non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. “We will fight this candidacy.
Turkey cannot become a member of the Security Council when it is occupying half of Cyprus”, he stressed.
Kasoulides said the opening of the energy chapter during Turkey’s EU accession negotiations is out of the question for the moment as Turkey continues to violate Cyprus’ EEZ. He predicted that there will be more pressure in the coming months to open chapters 23 and 24.
Asked about the confidence building measures regarding the occupied town of Famagusta, Kasoulides said this is part of a package deal. The return of the fenced off area of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants, the Minister said, would signal readiness to examine legal ways for trade between the Turkish occupied north and the EU.
Kasoulides announced that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will visit Cyprus on July 24.