No concession on Cyprus without easing isolation
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated his government's firmness on not opening Turkey's ports or airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus unless the European Union takes steps to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
“No one should expect us to open our ports and airports as long as the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) is not lifted,” Erdoğan told a group of businesspersons during a meeting of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO) on Thursday.
Brussels has warned of a train crash in Turkish-EU relations by the end of the year over Turkey's refusal to open up its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus unless the international isolation of the KKTC is eased.
Praising his government's performance concerning the Cyprus issue, Erdoğan also dismissed allegations that the government has been in an appeasement mode concerning the same issue.
The prime minister explained that several visits to and from the KKTC had taken place during his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) governance.
Giving a landmark visit by KKTC President Mehmet Ali Talat to Pakistan earlier this month as an example and in an apparent comparison between performance of his government and earlier governments, Erdoğan asked, “Why did these visits take place now and not in the past?"
In apparent response to interpretations that Greek Cyprus might exercise its veto right and halt Turkey's negotiations with the 25-member bloc, Erdoğan said: “If the 24 countries are considering wasting Turkey with a population of 75 million for Greek Cyprus which has a population of 600-650,000; then it is up to them. We have told this to them very clearly and succinctly.”
Earlier this week, Ali Babacan, the chief negotiator for Turkey's EU accession talks, said that Turkey and the EU were trying to find an interim solution to avoid a crisis over Cyprus that could overshadow their relations in coming weeks.
“We see that the European Commission, member states and the EU Presidency are expending serious efforts to find a provisional or partial solution. What they are trying to do is to look at the bigger picture and produce technical alternatives. We are optimistic that there will be a provisional or partial solution,” Babacan had said in an interview.
Source : TurkishDailyNews