Even EU member states that have historically maintained excellent relations with Turkey have responded positively to President Nikos Christodoulides’ suggestions to have an institutionalised role for an EU representative in the Cyprus talks, the president said on Friday.
Christodoulides wrapped a two-day working trip in Brussels where he attended the European Council session and held a number of talks where he briefed EU dignitaries on his idea.
“We all know there are some EU member states that historically exhibit a certain sensitivity to Turkey, that historically have excellent relations with it – better than some other member states. If these countries are seeing our approach positively, I believe they should be utilised in that direction,” he said during a press conference.
Christodoulides told reporters he had presented his suggestion to the heads of the EU Commission, Council and Parliament, as well as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He also discussed it with country leaders that he believed he could have a significant role in promoting his idea.
This includes German chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which has close ties with Turkey, the president noted. Christodoulides also met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and is expecting Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Cyprus soon.
A more active EU involvement was seen “as a positive development to break the deadlock and move forward in resolving the Cyprus problem,” Christodoulides said.
The president expects UN officials to visit Cyprus before Turkey’s upcoming presidential elections, where he will also hold talks on how the proposal could be turned into concrete actions.
“The time until Turkey’s elections is not wasted time. It is crucial to prepare the ground.”
Should all parties agree to move forward, the idea will turn into fruition after elections in Turkey, he specified. Turkey, as well as the guarantor powers will have to give the green light on this.
Christodoulides noted he had a non-paper with him over ideas on the Cyprus problem which he did not offer during his meetings, but used as a basis to develop his arguments.
He highlighted he did not seek to have the EU replace the UN. “The EU has all the incentives and tools that can lead us to what we want to achieve,” meaning breaking the deadlock. The EU can also offer technocratic support once negotiations begin, which is also what happened during the last round of talks, he specified.
Asked to comment on the profile of the EU representative, Christodoulides said he was looking for a “political personality that comes from an EU member state, and for it to not be their first time facing the Cyprus problem or EU-Turkey relations.”