By Constantinos Psillides
Cyprus will not agree to take part in any future Turkey-EU Association council meetings if the content of speeches made by Turkish officials isn’t previously known, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said yesterday.
Christodoulides added that Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has already notified Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union.
Christodoulides also requested Turkey’s “provocative behaviour is recorded and reflected in this year’s Turkey’s progress report.”
“These unacceptable Turkish claims are indicative of Ankara’s true intention, which is ignoring the country’s obligations, regarding the accession process. A process that requires a consensus by all 28 member-states, defunct or not.”
Christodoulides was referring to a document submitted by Turkey’s Minister of European Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu during a Turkey-EU Association council meeting on June 23 chaired by Greek Foreign Affairs minister Evangelos Venizelos.
In the document, Cavusoglu refers to Cyprus as a “defunct state”. The term was not included in the speech made by Cavusloglu but was part of the 106-page document submitted by the Turkish delegation.
Kasoulides appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday to assure MPs of the government’s stance.
“We will not participate in any future meetings unless we know beforehand what will be said and submitted,” he said, reflecting the government’s new policy regarding the Turkey-EU Association council meetings.
The term “defunct state” caused some tensions between Greece and Cyprus, when DISY MEP Eleni Theocharous accused Venizelos of not reacting to what was considered an insult.
A furious Venizelos issued anote verbale, a diplomatic tool of protest, to the Cyprus government asking Kasoulides to stand behind his handling of the matter.
The Cypriot Foreign minister complied, saying in a statement that Venizelos handled the issue in a “very satisfactory matter.”
The Venizelos-Theocharous spat ended in a shouting match on both sides, each calling for the other’s resignation.
Kasoulides rejected claims that the note verbale caused a strain in Greece-Cyprus diplomatic relations, explaining it was part of the standard procedure and that the two countries have excellent relations.
Kasoulides also rejected rumours saying that President Nicos Anastasiades’ trip to Athens – scheduled for July 24 – has anything to do with the incident.
The Foreign Affairs minister also told the press the government strongly objects to Turkey’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. “We will fight that bid to the end. Turkey cannot be a part of the Security Council and occupy half of Cyprus at the same time.”
Elections for the Security Council will be held in October 2014 during the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Responding to a question regarding Turkey’s intention to build a pipeline providing the break-away state with water, Kasoulides said that “things are extremely worrisome since Turkey’s intent appears to be to make the pseudo-state completely dependent.
“I prepared a classified proposal to the cabinet of ministers, which appointed a committee comprised of the Agriculture, Interior and Communication ministers to study the effects of this development,” said Kasoulides, adding that the state also commissioned a study by the University of Cyprus.