Cypriot Members of the European Parliament called for more strictness towards Turkey on Tuesday, in light of the imminent approval of the EU-Turkey report.

Speaking to journalists, Akel MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek said “it appears that the EU is giving a helping hand to Turkey, in terms of a customs union and visa liberalisation, while there are clear references which show that building a better trade relationship between Turkey and the EU is favoured.”

However, he called for there to be a requirement that the customs union be applied equally across all 27 EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus.

“For me, it is very important that for any modernisation of the customs union, there must be a stipulation that the customs union be implemented across all member states. That is that Turkey open its ports to the Republic of Cyprus,” he said.

He noted, however, that such a stipulation may not be accepted lightly by Turkey.

He also pointed out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now speaking “carefully” about a solution to the Cyprus problem, pointing out his usage of the term “based on political realities” as opposed to his previous calls for a “two-state solution”.

Additionally, he spoke about how the coming Turkish local elections in March may impact Turkish relations with the EU and Cyprus.

“We must wait to see if Erdogan stays on his line of cooperation with [conservative nationalist party MHP Leader] Devlet Bahceli, or if he will move away. If he continues his cooperation with [them], no steps will be taken regarding the Cyprus problem,” he said.

Fellow Akel MEP Giorgos Georgiou criticised what he saw as a double-standard between the EU’s dealings with Russia and their dealings with Turkey.

“We see that the Europeans very easily imposed sanctions against Russia … but now they are preparing to give many things to Turkey, putting very anaemic conditions on everything concerning their behaviour, especially with regard to the need to resolve the Cyprus problem,” he said.

Disy MEP Loukas Fourlas echoed Georgiou’s sentiments, saying “it is an oxymoron and at the same time provocative to take immediate action by imposing sanctions on a third country, and yet to wash one’s hands of Turkey’s gross violations and piracy.”