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Turkey opening its ports to South will impact Cyprus negotiations

19 March 2016

The Greek Cypriot Assembly voted unanimously on Thursday, to adopt a resolution calling on the European Union to separate the refugee crisis issue from Turkey’s EU accession process.

Cyprus Mail reports that the resolution calls also on the South Cyprus government to resist any pressure to consent to the opening of new accession chapters for Turkey, unless Ankara meets its obligations stemming from the 2005 EU-Turkey negotiating framework.

Under the framework, Ankara must normalise its relations with the Republic of Cyprus, open its ports and airports to Cyprus, contribute in an active manner to the solution of the Cyprus issue, and stop blocking Cyprus’ accession to international platforms.

So far, Turkey has refused to comply with those terms.

In its resolution, the Assembly urged the international community to combat any kind of outright rejection of migrants and refugees.

Meanwhile, Kibris Postasi reports that during the EU-Turkey negotiations over the return of migrants and EU funding for Turkey, leader of the CTP, Mehmet Ali Talat said that:

“If Turkey opens its ports, it will no longer be possible to save us  from isolation”.

Commenting on the possibility of Turkey opening its ports to South Cyprus and the lifting of the blockade on negotiating chapters in Turkey’s EU accession talks, during the summit between EU and Turkey, Talat said that the Greek Cypriots would no longer have any incentive to resolve the Cyprus problem.

Talat argued that the EU “lost momentum” in pressuring the Greek Cypriot side when the Republic of Cyprus had taken loans from the IMF and the World Bank. He asserted that that any pressure on the South will only yield “limited results”.

Also commenting on the same issue, former TRNC Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that the opening of Turkish ports to South Cyprus will negatively affect any comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem and will weaken the Turkish Cypriots’ hand at the negotiating table.

“If Turkey opens its ports, this situation will weaken us at the negotiating table, because the situation from our point of view until now was that ‘Turkey does not accept the Greek Cypriot side as its interlocutor”, he argued.

Cyprus Mail, Kibris Postasi

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