Greek Cypriot leader finds freeze of Turkey's EU talks too soft
(CIHAN) - Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos said on Thursday that his government was not satisfied with an EU recommendation to partially freeze talks with Turkey, adding that the decision was far from pressuring on Turkey, reports Trend.
On Wednesday, the European Commission (EC) announced that it recommended the suspension of negotiations on eight of the 35 chapters due to Turkey's failure to open its ports to traffic from Greek Cyprus.
"Everybody wants a strong message to be given to Turkey. A message was given, (but) it's not strong enough, Papadopoulos told reporters on Thursday in Nicosia.
"We are not satisfied with the decision because we believe it doesn't put any pressure on Turkey to comply with its obligations, he said in his first comments about the recommendation.
"Negotiations have not been stopped, but only slowed down", PM Erdogan told a press briefing on Wednesday evening. "We have no further commitments to give on Cyprus issue," Erdogan remarked, adding that the EU was trying to force Turkey to give concessions.
Erdogan also recalled that the EU leaders would decide whether to adopt the recommendation at a summit to be held in Brussels on December 14-15.
Despite huge pressure from the EU, Ankara still refuses to open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic although it signed in July 2005 an additional protocol, which extends the customs union agreement between Turkey and EU to the 10 new EU members including Greek Cyprus, which Turkish government does not officially recognize. Turkish government says it will open its ports to Greek Cyprus only after economic sanctions imposed on Turkish Cyprus are lifted.
Cyprus has been split into ethnic lines since 1974 when Turkey took control of the northern part of the island in response to a Greece-backed coup which aimed to unite the island with Greece.