By Evie Andreou
Cyprus disagrees with any notion of suspending Turkey’s EU accession negotiation, it said on Friday.
Government spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, said: “The accession dialogue must not be substituted with an upgraded, enhanced of enlarged customs union of Turkey with the EU, bearing in mind the fact Turkey that has not appropriately implemented even the initial customs union.”
He was commenting on the call this week by the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, Kati Piri, for formal suspension of accessions talks with Turkey.
In her draft 2018 Commission Report on Turkey, released this week, Piri said that continuing a negotiating process aimed at EU integration of Turkey has lost all credibility under the present circumstances.
“Apart from the clearly autocratic nature of the recently introduced presidential system, which lacks the necessary democratic checks and balances, it is impossible to ignore the further regression of the rule of law with over 50,000 people, including journalists, politicians and human rights defenders still in jail since the attempted coup and 150,000 civils servants dismissed without proper legal procedures,” the report said.
Even though Prodromou said that draft report on Turkey’s accession progress includes important references concerning “exactly the fair, objective and real recording of the data”, Cyprus does not agree with a possible discontinuation of the country’s accession process.
The trend observed lately, he said, “not only in the report, but more generally in the European policy on the possible disruption of Turkey’s accession course – a direction unfortunately caused by developments in Turkey – creates a great deal of concern (to the government).”
He added that the government does not agree with such a prospect in the sense that the accession dialogue should not be substituted “by the upgrade, strengthening or enlargement of Turkey’s Customs Union with the EU, bearing in mind that Turkey does not even apply properly the original Customs Union (agreement).” Turkey does not fully implement the EU Customs Union agreement, as, since it does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus, refuses to open its ports and airports to Cyprus’ vessels and aircraft.
Prodromou said that the issue is being handled by the foreign ministry and that developments are expected.