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Government says EP report on Turkey vindicates Cyprus (Updated)

file photo: turkish president tayyip erdogan arrives for a meeting with eu council president charles michel in brussels
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan

The European Parliament’s position that Turkey needs to act within the framework of international law, European principles and values and European treaties, confirms the firm position expressed by the Republic of Cyprus, government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said on Thursday.

The European Parliament (EP) 2019-2020 Report on Turkey was adopted by the plenary on Wednesday and calls for the formal suspension of accession negotiations with Turkey. This prompted strong reaction by Ankara that rejected the report as “a biased text with false allegations”.

Koushos said the government welcomed the report as it “sets and determines the path and the actions that Turkey is obliged to follow, if it really wants a European perspective and a positive agenda with the EU”.

According to Koushos, the fact that the EP recognises that any candidate country seeking to upgrade its relations with the EU must act within international law, European principles and treaties, confirms the firm position of Cyprus which is included in a number of decisions of the European Council.

“The EP, with its decision, sends a clear message that Turkey must end its provocative actions and any violations of sovereign rights and international law in the wider eastern Mediterranean region and beyond,” Koushos said.

He added that Turkey must fulfill its accession obligations to Cyprus and work constructively to resume substantive talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana in 2017, to reach a lasting, functional solution within the framework of UN resolutions and decisions. “So, it becomes clear that any positive development in Euro-Turkish relations depends solely on Turkey itself.”

The EP expressed serious concern that in recent years, despite being a candidate country, Turkey’s government has pursued a continuous and growing distancing from EU values and standards, according to its report on the accession process.

“This unilateral and by no means objective report, adopted in a period when efforts are made to revive Turkey-EU relations on the basis of EU membership perspective within the framework of a positive agenda, is unacceptable,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

It said that Ankara rejects “this biased text which not only includes false allegations regarding human rights, democracy, the rule of law, our governmental system and political parties; and views Turkey’s effective, solution-oriented, humanitarian and enterprising foreign policy as a threat; but also reflects the completely unfair and biased Greek and Greek Cypriot arguments regarding the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus issue and supports the one-sided and inconsistent Armenian narratives regarding the 1915 events.”

It added that the wording in the report reflects a lack of vision and an effort to deviate from the principle of pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept).

“It is well known by the EU institutions and the EP members that the standstill in Turkey’s accession negotiations is not due to Turkey’s lack of will for reforms or any shortcoming in assuming the EU acquis, but, rather, to the fact that certain circles have exploited the membership process as an opportunity for political gains against Turkey since the beginning of this process,” it said.

It added that EU membership is a strategic goal for Turkey and will be beneficial for all of Europe and beyond. “Turkey will decisively continue its efforts in line with this objective.”

The Turkish foreign ministry also called on the EU “to get out of the vicious circle of not taking any concrete step to fulfil its own commitments in the 18 March (2016) Statement, ranging from Turkey’s EU accession process to cooperation on migration.” It said it has fulfilled its own commitments.

It also called on the EP to carry out constructive efforts about how relations can be improved with Turkey and how it can contribute to Turkey’s EU integration process, “rather than being a platform for baseless allegations and blind accusations against Turkey.”

The report called upon the Commission to recommend, the formal suspension of accession negotiations with Turkey, so that both sides can review their relations in a realistic manner. The EP also referred to Turkey’s unilateral actions in the eastern Mediterranean. It also expressed concerns as regards backsliding in relation to the rule of law and fundamental rights, adopting regressive institutional reforms and pursuing a confrontational and hostile foreign policy, including towards the EU and its member states, especially Greece and Cyprus.

Commenting on the EP report, main opposition Akel said that though it was important, it was not enough to lead to the goal of the restart of substantive talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Akel leader Andros Kyprianou said this “powerful political resolution” must be matched with actions and initiatives by the Greek Cypriot side to create the conditions of the restart of substantive talks. Kyprianou said a way ought to be found to convince Turkey abandon its unacceptable demands for a two-state solution and return to the agreed framework of the bizonal bicommunal federation.

 

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