Tuesday

23rd Jan 2018

Cyprus to block restart of Turkey-EU talks

  • Cyprus says there is nothing to compel it to support reopening talks with Turkey (Photo: michael kirian)

Cyprus said on Monday (19 October) that it will continue to oppose restarting Turkey’s stalled accession negotiations to join the European Union because Ankara has not done enough to reunite the divided island.

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said the obstacles still remain that were there in the first place, and there is nothing to compel Cyprus to agree to reopen membership negotiations on chapters that deal with justice and security, as well as wit the judiciary and fundamental rights, AP reports.

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German chancellor Angela Merkel on a visit to Turkey on Sunday said her government is backing to restart entry talks with Turkey on the economy and monetary policy chapters.

The German leader agreed to help accelerate accession talks with Turkey as it seeks Ankara's help with the huge influx of migrants and refugees into Europe, particularly Germany.

The restart for negotiations would require consent from all EU members.

And Cypriot political leaders were not impressed.

Cyprus has blocked six of 35 EU-Turkey negotiation chapters since 2009 because of Ankara's refusal to recognise it and to allow Cypriot ships and airplanes to use its ports and airports.

Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday that Cyprus is sticking to its line as long as Ankara doesn't live up to its obligations.

However, Cyprus' permanent representative to the EU, Kornelios Korneliou, on Monday told Cyprus state radio that his country could agree to EU talks with Turkey on the economy and monetary policy chapter.

Turkey doesn't recognise Cyprus as a state and is the only country to recognise a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence. It also maintains a 35,000 strong military force in the north of the island.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded after a Greek junta-backed coup aimed to unite the island with Greece.

Peace talks between are expected to pick up next month, as Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will try to hammer out sensitive issues, like lost property during the war.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his part said on Saturday that a solution was needed to end the division of Cyprus and guarantee the stability of the eastern Mediterranean.

While opening a water pipeline connecting the north of Cyprus with Turkey, he said: "Let's hope that the waters of (Turkey) lead to an environment where unity takes root and lives forever."

Cypriot president Anastasiades said he would discuss the matter with Merkel at a European People's Party (EPP) congress in Madrid later in the week.

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