Ankara hopeful over new Cyprus peace bid

Türkiye Materials 9 November 2013 05:53 (UTC +04:00)
Turkey reiterates its desire to see a lasting solution to Cyprus’ division in the hopes of kick-starting Ankara’s slow-moving EU accession process, Hürriyet Daily News reported.
Ankara hopeful over new Cyprus peace bid

Turkey reiterates its desire to see a lasting solution to Cyprus' division in the hopes of kick-starting Ankara's slow-moving EU accession process, Hürriyet Daily News reported.

Ankara has voiced hope for a comprehensive solution on the Cyprus dispute so that membership negotiations between the European Union and Turkey can get back on track.

"We hope comprehensive talks on Cyprus will be launched and so that the issue will no longer be a discouraging factor between the EU and Turkey," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters on Nov. 8 at a meeting with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle. The Turkish side has the determination to launch a process on Cyprus gathering together Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders while pursuing negotiations on the basis of earlier talks before reaching a solution through an international conference, Davutoğlu said. A solution in the Cyprus dispute would not only bring peace to the island, but also pave the way for the EU to become a global actor with Turkey's accession to the union, he said.

"With Turkey's accession to the EU, a historical step will be taken that will influence the international agenda in various ways," said the minister.

Füle, for his part, said the timing was right to launch Cyprus talks. "I'd like to express that we give full support to talks," the EU commissioner said, adding that he hoped the parties would use this "window of opportunity" to the fullest.

Touching upon the Gezi Park unrest, Füle reiterated that the protests displayed the presence of a vibrant civil society. Nothing will ever be the same in Turkey, Füle said, noting that civil society needed to be consulted when making reforms. Davutoğlu also expressed Turkey's expectations that France would lift its embargo on the remaining accession chapters, saying Ankara and the EU had also made progress in visa liberalization and readmission agreement talks.

"We made progress in the text; we are working on the road map. We hope that we can take some final steps in the upcoming weeks that will facilitate the next phases," Davutoğlu said. The signature of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement and simultaneous launching of visa dialogue would be another positive step in relations between the EU and Turkey, following the opening of chapter 22, Füle said at a press conference on Nov. 8 following his talks in Ankara. In his talks in Ankara, Füle said he discussed the EU accession process, democratic reforms, fundamental rights, the judiciary, the new Constitution and the role of civil society in Turkey's political life.

The EU commissioner also met with President Abdullah Gül and the head of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission, Volkan Bozkır. Gül said opening a chapter was a positive step, but other chapters should also be opened without losing time. Füle said he agreed with Turkey that new chapters should be opened, and added that the EU was working on particular chapters to this aim.