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President Eroglu complains of EU insensitivity

30 April 2013

TRNC President, Dervis Eroglu has sent a letter to the President of the EU Commission, Jose Manuel Barosso telling him that the Turkish Cypriot side expects the Commission to prevent any action that “ignores sensitivities on the island”. Eroglu noted that he felt the need to convey to Barosso his concerns regarding certain developments, which had taken place in the EU.

Saying that he had congratulated President Anastasiades after the latter’s victory in the elections and invited him to a meeting for determining a road map for the commencement of the talks with the aim of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Eroglu added:

 “While the Turkish Cypriot side takes positive and constructive steps for finding an overall solution to the Cyprus problem, the fact that the General Secretariat of the European Commission has sent a letter that instructs all general directors and heads of departments to use Greek names in the signboards and names for North Cyprus, is unfortunate. Such a move is far from contributing to the possibility of an agreement to be reached by the two sides on the island. We expect the European Commission, as one of the leading institutions of the EU, to prevent any act which will ignore sensitivities on the island”.

Eroglu said that using the mother tongue is one of the most fundamental human rights protected with various agreements and conventions of the EU and argued that it is Turkish Cypriots’ “most natural right” to use signboards and names in the Turkish language, which is their mother tongue.

The President said that the Turkish language has been registered as one of the official languages of the EU in 2004 with the accession of the Greek Cypriot administration. He argued that in spite of all the calls made by the Turkish Cypriots towards accepting Turkish as one of EU’s official languages, the Greek Cypriots refuse to do this and in this way, they have violated article three of their own constitution.

Eroglu also said that another issue which caused disappointment, was the fact that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport demanded that representatives of Turkish Cypriot civilian organizations, who participate in working visits in Brussels, travel through Larnaca International Airport. “I would like to bring to your attention that there is no international decision that prevents the use of the ports in Northern Cyprus”, he argued continuing that “it is not practical” for the Turkish Cypriots to use Larnaca Airport. He further added that forcing them to do so is contrary to EU norms and values.

Eroglu told Barosso that he hoped that next month he will meet with President Anastasiades and that this meeting could be the means for the commencement of the negotiations.

The President concluded by arguing that the EU, by avoiding decisions and by actions taken, such as the above-mentioned are potentially harmful to the efforts of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

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