Turkey must realise any European ambitions it harbours can only be met if it recognises the Republic of Cyprus and by implementing the Ankara protocol opening its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes, House President YiannakisOmirou said on Saturday.
Speaking a day after the EU and Turkey clinched a deal aimed to halt illegal migrant flows to Europe, Omirou stressed the agreement did not satisfy Turkey’s request that five chapters blocked by Cyprus were opened.
Rather, only chapter 33, blocked so far by France on budget policy was opened.
“The point that there will be preparations for the opening of chapters but on the basis of the existing framework, and noting that actions by the European Commission for opening chapters is not binding on member states, safeguards the interests of the Republic of Cyprus,” Omirou said.
The same applies to Turkish hopes for visa-free travel for its nationals to Europe as they will have to recogniseRepublic of Cyprus passports without visas, he added.
Government spokesman NicosChristodoulides told state radio this was the first time Turkey had found the Cyprus problem getting in the way of its European ambitions.
Even half an hour before the crucial meeting was about to start, Turkey was still insisting all chapters should be opened.
Nevertheless, President NicosAnastasiades did not budge and as a result, it was not just Cyprus that did not seek the opening of the chapters but all 28 member states, the spokesman said.
Christodoulides said President of the European Council Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras were particularly supportive.
AKEL’s general secretary Andros Kyprianou said the worst had been avoided.
“But we know more pressure will be exerted. We expect within 2016, more pressure will be put on our part to satisfy Turkey’s demands,” he said and urged Anastasiades to remain strong in Cyprus’ position.
DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos, however, was scathing, calling it a “national failure” as Cyprus did not have to consent to the opening of chapter 33. Instead it ‘rewarded’ Turkey.
Ruling DISY’s chief AverofNeophytou praised Anastasiades’ “tough battle” saying Cyprus emerged dignified after the meeting.
Responding to criticism from opposition parties, Neophytou said during Tassos Papadopoulos’ presidency, chapter 33 was not considered to be of any significance “or related to the Cyprus problem and human rights, and for that reason was not one of the chapters blocked by the Republic of Cyprus.”
The Citizens Alliance said they were glad none of the Cyprus blocked chapters were opened, but it was unfortunate chapter 33 was a part of the deal.
“We believe, if Turkey is getting rewards, they should just be financial and to do with creating infrastructure for the well-being of refugees,” a party statement said.
Hardline EDEK sought to question what Cyprus had won out of the meeting, stressing the island had lost a chance to have the upper hand. Turkey had chapter 33 opened, financial help, a promise by the EU more chapters would open and if it fulfils certain criteria, visa free travel for Turks, the party added.