The EU Council on Thursday called on Ankara to stop all actions that could potentially upgrade the breakaway state in the north of the island, a development that was welcomed by the foreign ministry.

The warning, which was outlined in the EU Council’s conclusions on enlargement, was the first time such a reference has been made in this forum. It said that all of Turkey’s actions that could lead to the upgrading of the north were contrary to UN Resolutions 541 and 550.

“This is the first time the said reference is included in EU conclusions and it is deemed as a reference of vital significance in light of Turkey’s efforts to upgrade the status of the secessionist entity,” the foreign ministry said in a written statement welcoming the development.

“The Council precisely and accurately records the state of affairs as regards Turkey, underlining the absolute lack of progress in relation to Turkey’s accession process.”

Furthermore, the Council in its conclusions reiterated Turkey’s responsibilities and obligations emerging from its institutional obligations – in other words – the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, normalisation of relations and the extension of the Additional Protocol for Customs Union.

According to the foreign ministry, the conclusions “are extremely critical of Turkey”, since they reaffirm the commitment on the part of the EU to finding a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem on the basis of an agreed bizonal, bicommunal federation in line with the relevant UN security council resolutions, as well as the European acquis and the principles upon which the EU is founded. Moreover, the conclusions call upon Turkey to contribute in the above direction.

The EU Council conclusions also make reference to Varosha, condemning the illegal actions taken by the north and Turkey to open the fenced-off area of the city, and called on Ankara to reverse its attempts to impose a “fait accompli” within the fenced – off area and to fully comply with the UN Security Council Resolutions 550, 789, 1251.

According to foreign ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou, the references to Varosha and the condemnation of illegal Turkish actions are particularly important, seeing as it is the first time, the Council of the European Union on Enlargement, in its text of conclusions, calls on Turkey to stop any actions that could potentially lead to the upgrading of the north.

Speaking to Cybc’s Trito, Demetriou pointed out that this was an important innovative element, which is considered to be of great importance for the Republic of Cyprus, in light of the ongoing provocative actions on the part of Ankara. He noted that the Council was taking accurate stock of the current situation with Turkey and underlined the complete lack of progress on its accession process.

At the same time, the Council expressed the EU’s strong disappointment with Turkey’s non-alignment with the EU’s restrictive measures against Russia as well as Ankara’s overall distancing and conflicting policy from the adoption of the political priorities of the EU, especially those that fall under the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In addition, the EU conclusions also touched on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including those of June 2022, when European leaders expressed once more their concern over the continuing “provocative moves and the hybrid rhetoric of Ankara against member states,” and the issue of migration, with the EU Council reminding Turkey of its obligations to fully implement the 2016 EU – Turkey Statement on Migration without discrimination.

Another significant new element of this year’s conclusions is the reference to Turkey’s obligation to align its visa policy with that of the EU.

Meanwhile speaking at a function at the presidential palace later in the day, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides sought to portray Turkey as a pariah state. He slammed Ankara for its disregard of international law and norms – ongoing daily violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean, encroachments into the buffer zone in Cyprus, and its actions at sea in relation to the demarcation of economic waters with Libya.

Kasoulides made the remarks on the occasion of Human Rights Day.

Noting that condemnation of the declaration of the breakaway north in Cyprus is a mainstay of UN Security Council resolutions, the minister said the Turkish side is now deviating from international law by insisting that the north be recognised as a precondition for the resumption of peace talks.