EU Commission report “perhaps the most critical” on Turkey since 2005, Foreign Ministry says

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said an annual European Commission report on enlargement is the possibly the most critical against Turkey since the beginning of accession negotiations in 2005 and has also stressed Ankara’s crucial role in reaching a just, comprehensive and viable solution of the Cyprus problem while also reiterating the EU’s solidarity with Cyprus as regards Turkey’s actions within the Cypriot EEZ.

According to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release the Commission report is perhaps the most critical which has been issued since the beginning of accession negotiations in 2005.

It notes, the country’s further deterioration from European norms, particularly as regards the areas of rule of law, fundamental freedoms, judiciary independence, public administration reform, freedom of expression and the economy.

Despite public declarations and commitments on the part of the country’s leadership on its accession course, the press release adds, not meeting undertaken obligations leads Turkey further away from the EU and makes the opening of new negotiating chapters impossible.

In this context, the Ministry says, the European Commission’s reference that under the present circumstances it is not foreseen that work to upgrade a Customs Union between EU and Turkey will continue, is considered to be particularly important.

The report, the press release notes, records once more the full lack of progress on all Cyprus related obligations of Turkey.

In particular, it continues, the lack of progress in the full and without discriminations implementation of the Additional Protocol, as well as Turkey’s obligation to normalize bilateral relations with the Republic of Cyprus is stressed.

The European Commission, the Foreign Ministry says, also notes that Turkey continues its policy of discriminating against the Republic of Cyprus and has yet to meet its obligations as set out in the Negotiating Framework in successive EU Council Conclusions as well as in the EU Statement of September 21, 2005.

In relation to the Cyprus problem, the press release notes that the report stresses again Turkey’s obligation to actively contribute in the efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem under the aegis of the United Nations.

At the same time, it stresses that the Ankara’s crucial role in the effort to reach a just, comprehensive and viable solution, including external aspects, highlighting Turkey’s role and responsibility in the key matters of security and guarantees.

In this context, the Foreign Ministry says, it is reconfirmed that the goal is to reach a solution in the framework of the United Nations, on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions and the European acquis.

The Ministry considers as particularly positive, the fact that he report refers to Turkey’s illegal actions and the heightened provocative stance as it has been expressed since the beginning of May within the Republic of Cyprus’ EEZ, noting the European Council’s strong condemnation of these actions and reiterating the EU’s position that it will react to Turkey’s illegal actions in an appropriate manner and in full solidarity with the Republic of Cyprus.

At the same time, the report recalls Turkey’s obligation to respect international legitimacy, to have good relations with its neighbours and to normalize its bilateral relations with all member states, the press release says.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also assures that the Cypriot government is studying the report’s content in depth and will express the appropriate position in the context of the relevant EU institutional bodies, in view of Turkey’s accession process review next June by the EU Council when relevant Conclusions will be issued.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

Ankara has issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. The Turkish drill ship Fatih is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus News Agency