EU tells Ankara to stay calm, re­spect UN frame­work for Cyprus

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion backs a Cyprus set­tle­ment process un­der the aus­pices of the United Na­tions and calls on Turkey to re­frain from cre­at­ing any source of fric­tion that could dam­age neigh­bourly re­la­tions, an EU spokesper­son told EURACTIV.com.

Turk­ish Cypriot For­eign Min­is­ter Tahsin Er­tu­gru­loglu heated up the Cyprus re­uni­fi­ca­tion de­bate re­cently by rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a “quasi-an­nex­a­tion” of the is­land’s north­ern ter­ri­tory, oc­cu­pied by Turkey since 1974.

Er­tu­rulo lu de­scribed how the North of Cyprus could look like: “An au­tonomous repub­lic where Turkey may be re­spon­si­ble for de­fence and for­eign af­fairs but other af­fairs are within the rule of the repub­lic, just as in the FranceMonaco model or UK-Gi­bral­tar model.”

Asked to com­ment on the pro­posal, Re­cep Akdag, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble af­fairs, did not rule out such a sce­nario.

“Turkey and Turk­ish Cyprus will de­cide on a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to­gether,” he told the daily Mil­liyet on 9 Oc­to­ber.

The state­ments trig­gered strong re­ac­tions from Athens, which dis­missed them as “un­ac­cept­able”.

Such a set­tle­ment would “un­der­mine the ac­tions of UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res to re­solve the Cyprus is­sue,” stated Gior­gos Koumout­sakos, the shadow for­eign af­fairs min­is­ter of the cen­tre-right New Democ­racy party, cur­rently in op­po­si­tion.

EURACTIV asked the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion on Mon­day whether this “sce­nario” is on the ta­ble in the event of an­other fail­ure of the Cyprus talks.

“We be­lieve every­one in­volved is aware of the need to avoid any kind of source of fric­tion which could dam­age the neigh­bourly re­la­tions,” a Euro­pean Com­mis­sion spokesper­son replied.

The Com­mis­sion spokesper­son sent an­other mes­sage to Turkey, say­ing the EU re­mained fully sup­port­ive of the Cyprus set­tle­ment process “un­der UN aus­pices”.

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“We stand ready to pro­vide what­ever as­sis­tance both par­ties and the UN would find most use­ful when the time is right to re­sume talks,” the spokesper­son added.

Fol­low­ing the fail­ure of the Cyprus talks in Crans Mon­tana in July, Turk­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Mev­lut Cavu­soglu said it was im­pos­si­ble to find a so­lu­tion within the pa­ram­e­ters of the UN mis­sion.

“This out­come shows that within the UN Good Of­fices mis­sion’s pa­ram­e­ters a res­o­lu­tion can­not be found. There is no mean­ing left in con­tin­u­ing within these pa­ram­e­ters,” Cavu­soglu stressed.

Since then, how­ever, Turkey has never clar­i­fied the mean­ing of such a sce­nario. Ankara has not re­peated this ar­gu­ment but has not pub­licly de­nied it ei­ther.

In an in­ter­view with EURACTIV in July, Greece’s Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Nikos Kotzias said that any so­lu­tion should be within the frame­work of the UN and more gen­er­ally, within the frame­work of in­ter­na­tional law.

“There can be no so­lu­tion to the Cyprus prob­lem by im­pos­ing mech­a­nisms and pro­ce­dures that are out­side the in­ter­na­tional con­text.”

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