Cyprus settlement talks should start again in a given moment, says Federica Mogherini

The question of the resumption of negotiations on the solution of the Cyprus issue is among the issues that the European Union discusses on a regular and permanent basis with its Turkish counterparts, confirmed today EU High Representative Federica Mogherini from Sofia, Bulgaria, where the Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (GYMNICH) is taking place.

Responding to a question about the release of journalist Denis Yusseel by the Turkish authorities, and stating strictly that her answer is not related to the discussions held at ministerial level yesterday and today, Federica Mogherini said that Turkey remains a candidate country, whether or not opens any accession chapters and noted that “EU and Turkey share common strategic interests” and occasionally the same views, referring to the stability of the region.

More specifically: “We have a common interest in improving the lives of our citizens, including Turkish citizens, and this is centered on our common strategic interests in the region, Turkey is not only a candidate country, it is also a partner in the region, we do not always share the same views , as we have made clear in some of our previous replies, but we are working together on a number of issues, not last of which, let me just mention this, the settlement of the Cyprus issue, that for sure would have to come back at the table at certain moment”, said the EU High Representative.

Earlier, while avoiding commenting on the news of Yushels release, the High Representative stressed that the EU is constantly putting the issue of the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and freedom of the press on the table of dialogue with Turkey. He also noted that in recent days he met Melvut Tsavousoglu in Kuwait and Omer Chelik in Sofia, in the framework of lasting contacts with the Turkish authorities.

Federica Mogherini even called on Turkey to “honor its own commitments”, as it is not only a candidate country of the EU but also a full member of the Council of Europe.

In response to a question, the High Representative stressed that GYMNICH did not discuss the forthcoming EU – Turkey Summit in Varna on 26 March. However, she recalled that the EU is talking on a regular basis with Turkey, and a high-level (ministerial level) dialogue on transport, economy and energy has already taken place. As she said, the EU should focus on the Turkish population now, as in the past the focus has been on the administrative issues and the process of EU accession.

The High Representative, on the other hand, confirmed that the Informal Council discussed Turkeys recent operation in Afrin, Syria, and recalled that “we have expressed as the EU and Member States in recent weeks our concerns about civilian casualties and the humanitarian consequences of the operation, recognizing Turkeys legitimate security concerns but at the same time clarifying that, with regard to the EU, the targeting of military operations should continue to be the Daesh, and terrorist organizations listed by the UN.”

“We have reaffirmed this position to our Turkish friends today, and I would like to subscribe to what Rex Tillerson said yesterday in Ankara ,that we are urging our Turkish friends to show restriction on their operations because we see there and in other parts of Syria, an escalation of military operations that is not encouraging. “

Source: Cyprus News Agency