Liberal EU parliamentarians expressed dismay that the amendment proposal was rejected. In a statement after the vote, British Parliamentarian Sarah Ludford strongly condemned the majority in the European Parliament, which has blocked plans to invite Turkish Cypriot observers in the European Parliament.
“I am angry that instead of helping find a solution; too many MEPs [European Parliament members] have made the situation worse by taking their cue from the obstructive line of the Republic of Cyprus. It is particularly outrageous that an institution — the European Parliament — that is supposed to assist in dialogue and compromise refuses to allow Turkish Cypriot voices to be heard in our debates,” she said. “Turkish Cypriots have been denied representation in the European Parliament since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004. The six MEPs representing Cyprus are all elected solely from the Greek Cypriot community, and no effort has been made to ensure that Turkish Cypriots have a proper say about EU legislation.”
According to Ludford, observer status would have allowed Turkish Cypriot representatives to attend debates and take part by invitation. “Even though they would not have been able to vote or exercise other official duties like full MEPs, this would have been an important step towards respecting and enfranchising Turkish Cypriots,” she said, promising to “continue to fight for the interests of Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament in order that they have some reflection of their interests from within the EU.”
Helene Flautre, co-chairperson of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee who tabled the proposal, said it was highly likely that the issue will be resolved in the Conference of Presidents.
“We hope to see Turkish Cypriots in the European Parliament. We also believe that European Parliament President Martin Schulz will take necessary steps to reach a compromise between the two sides and we will have positive result at the end,” remarked Hannes Swoboda, president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.