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CyprusCyprus Talks

EU declaration welcomed but parties say more needs to be done

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras (right) represented Cyprus after President Anastasiades was taken ill

Political parties on Saturday deemed Friday’s European Council conclusions urging Turkey to show restraint and respect Cyprus’ sovereignty a good start to build on, calling for more dynamic measures that would discourage acts of aggression.
Turkey’s move to dispatch a research vessel into Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone to collect seismic data prompted President Nicos Anastasiades to pull out of Cyprus problem talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.
Escalating tensions led the Council to urge Turkey to “show restraint and to respect Cyprus’ sovereignty over its territorial sea and Cyprus’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone.”
In a warning to Turkey’s hopes of EU accession, the Council also invoked the 2005 Declaration of the European Community and its Member States, which states that “the recognition of all Member States is a necessary component of the accession process.”
Main opposition party AKEL said that the conclusions “include items that must be exploited, despite the lack of explicit condemnation of Turkish illegalities.”
But it deemed the reference to “renewed tensions in the Mediterranean” and ensuring a “positive climate” as politically neutral.
Even worse, AKEL said, the “absence of a demand to resolve the crisis caused by Turkey herself” is a negative outcome.
Former government coalition partners DIKO said the European Council issued self-evident proclamations, which it deemed “positive but not satisfactory” as it confined itself to a “mild intervention.”
“The European Council did not condemn Turkey for the illegality it has already committed, nor has it called on Turkey to stop this illegality, and it does not warn Turkey with sanctions in case it continues to conduct the illegality,” said the party’s spokeswoman Christiana Erotokritou.
“Unfortunately the Council followed the example of Turkey’s powerful allies and confined itself to a mild intervention, showing tolerance it did not have in other cases, when countries that are not even part of the EU were treated unjustly,” she added.
Socialist EDEK’s leader Yiannakis Omirou welcomed the conclusions but said Turkey must be faced with the prospect of “final and irrevocable” suspension of its EU accession talks.
“Since Turkey appears determined to continue violating Cyprus’ EEZ, the next step for Cyprus must be to ask for sanctions against Turkey,” he said.
“We must resort to the United Nations Security Council because of the threat posed to peace,” he added. “We must also announce that not only will we not allow the opening of further chapters in the Turkey-EU accession talks, but we will oppose the closing of any chapters, sending the message that we finally and irrevocably disrupt Turkey’s accession course.”
Citizens’ Alliance leader Yiorgos Lillikas also said more is expected from Cyprus’ European allies.
“We feel the conclusions are a step in the right direction,” he said. “They provide the Cyprus government with the option to demand sanctions against Turkey at the next European Council summit in December, if she doesn’t withdraw her ships and end research within Cyprus’ EEZ by then.”
EVROKO leader Demetris Syllouris described Turkey’s dispatch of a research ship into Cyprus’ EEZ as an “act of piracy”.
Ruling DISY said that the conclusions were a profound victory of our foreign policy, as it exemplifies “our allies’ solidarity.”
“We note that the Cyprus delegation and our diplomacy fought and won a significant diplomatic battle, as the final conclusions were the result of three successive improved drafts,” the party said in a statement.
“We must also praise the support and contribution of Greece, especially since Prime Minister Antonis Samaras represented Cyprus in the summit,” it added.
Samaras, who represented a hospitalised Anastasiades, said the summit culminated in a “very important decision.”

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