President Nicos Anastasiades has filed a request to make Turkish an official EU language, it was reported on Monday, an intention that was welcomed by the Turkish side when it emerged a month ago.
According to the Brussels-based online newspaper euobserver, Anastasiades had filed the request in February 17 letter to Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders – whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency — and to the Secretary-General of the EU Council Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen.
“I am writing to inform you of my government’s decision to actively seek the introduction of the Turkish language as an official language of the European Union,” Anastasiades was quoted as saying by the euobserver.
“In view of the possibility of reaching a settlement on the Cyprus problem, without prejudice to whether this is actually achieved … the time has come to launch preparations to enable the Union to start using Turkish as an official EU language upon reunification,” he said.
Greek and Turkish are Cyprus’ official languages.
Back in January, Baris Burcu, spokesman for Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci hailed the move saying it “is good will initiative” and confirmed the matter was discussed during the last meeting between the two leaders.
Cyprus had made the same request in 2002 during its accession talk but it was told not to insist due to the limited practical purpose and significant cost.
According to the euboserver, it would cost €37mln a year to add one more language to the existing 24.