Greek Cyprus vows to uphold Turkey's EU talks vetoes

Photo: Greek Cyprus vows to uphold Turkey's EU talks vetoes
 / Turkey

Greek Cyprus has said its position will not change with respect to its vetoes of negotiation chapters between the European Union and Turkey as both sides have stressed the need to revive stalled accession talks Today`s Zaman reported.

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said the position of her country won't change regarding the blocking of Turkey's EU negotiation chapters and said, "It is out of the question that Cyprus will change its behavior of vetoing six chapters including energy."

Marcoullis told a news conference on Monday that Ireland, which took over the rotating presidency of the 27-member club after a six-month deadlock in Turkey's accession talks while Greek Cyprus held the term presidency from July last year, is planning to open at least one chapter during its presidency. She added that France is also considering unblocking one or two negotiation chapters in this period.

Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış said last month that he was hopeful France would unblock talks over EU membership on at least two policy chapters in the coming months ahead of a visit to Turkey by President Francois Hollande.

While Hollande has stopped short of endorsing Turkey's EU candidacy, he has said it should be judged on political and economic criteria, in contrast to his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy's position that Turkey did not form part of Europe.

Ankara has completed only one of the 35 policy "chapters" every candidate must conclude to join the EU. All but 13 of those chapters are blocked by France, Greek Cyprus and the European Commission.

Turkey began accession talks in 2005 but the process has ground to a halt due to an intractable dispute over Cyprus, the divided island state which Turkey does not recognize, and opposition from core EU members France and Germany.

Despite waning domestic support for joining the EU, Ankara has continued to push for full membership of the union and has said it wants to join before 2023, the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.

Noting that Ankara's Cyprus policies are the primary reason for their veto, Marcoullis claimed that it seems that the Turkish side is working for a two-state solution.

The foreign minister said proposals of Turkish Cypriot President Dervish Eroglu during negotiations as well as statements made by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials are clear indications that the Turkish side prefers a two-state solution on the island.

Marcoullis also pointed to Turkey's efforts to upgrade the political title of Turkish Cyprus as her country's argument in not unblocking the negotiation chapters. She added that Turkey is lobbying in the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the two-state solution and the recognition of Turkish Cyprus.

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