European Commission’s report on Turkey most critical since 2005, FM says

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed the view that a European Commission progress report on Turkey published on Tuesday is the most critical one since 2005 and has also agreed with a Commission assessment that the implementation by Turkey of its Cyprus related obligations would significantly boost its relations with the EU.

In a press release issued here today, the ministry notes “with satisfaction the tough reference as regards Turkeys aggressive rhetoric vis-a-vis EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus, while Turkey is called on to avoid any type of provocative and aggressive actions against a member state or other source of tension and friction which undermine good neighbourhood relations and the peaceful settlement of differences.”

“In the report it is stressed that Turkeys actions were in full contrast with the continued calls if the European Unions Council to respect all member states sovereign rights with their EEZ as well as their sovereignty over their territorial waters and their airspace,” the press release says.

It adds that “the report refers to a recent incident when an ENI drill ship was prevented from approaching a dedicated drilling area within the Cypriot EEZ, while the same wording the European Council of March 2018 is reiterated as regards strongly condemning Turkey for its illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, recalling at the same time its obligation to respect international legitimacy, neighbourly relations and a normalisation of its bilateral relations with all the member states.”

The European Commissions report, the Foreign Ministry says, “is the most critical issued since the beginning of accession negotiations in 2005.”

It records, “a general deterioration from European standards and in particular in areas such as the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, independence of the judiciary, public administration reform and freedom of expression.”

“Despite the Turkish leaderships public commitments to the accession process, the lack of fulfilment of its EU obligations which is derived from its status as a candidate country has meant that it has shifted away from the EU, something which makes the opening of new negotiating chapters impossible,” it notes.

The Commission, the ministry says, reiterates that there has been no progress on the part of Turkey in its Cyprus related obligations.

“We share the Commissions assessment that the implementation by Turkey of its Cyprus related obligations will significantly boost its relations with the EU,” it points out.

As far as the Cyprus problem is concerned, “the report underlines again Turkeys obligation to actively contribute to the efforts for a settlement and stresses that its rule is a crucial one.”

According to the Foreign Ministry the need to protect the progress achieved and preparation so far for a just, comprehensive and viable solution, including the external aspects of the Cyprus problem is also referred to, something which showcases Turkeys role and responsibility in the crucial matters fo Security and Guarantees”, adding that it was Turkeys positions as they were expressed in Crans – Montana which lead the Conference to a deadlock.

This reference on the external aspects of the Cyprus problem is included in the Commissions report for the first time, it adds.

A reference on the goal which is none other than a solution in the UN framework and on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolution is also considered to be important, the press release continues.

At the same time the inclusion of a paragraph in which it is stressed that the process of granting full access to the Committee of Missing Persons to records and military areas under Turkeys control needs to be accelerated, is also of particular importance the ministry says.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest round of peace talks took place in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana. The talks ended without a positive outcome.

The two leaders, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met last Monday for the first time at a UN hosted dinner. In statements afterward President Anastasiades said that they had a frank and calm discussion, during which they talked about the problems they are faced with and the prospects of a new dialogue.

Source: Cyprus News Agency