Turkey sacrificed Cyprus solution at the altar of its new eastern strategy, EPP SG Isturiz tells CNA

Turkey lost the opportunity to “mend” its relations with the EU member states when it decided not to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus issue during the last round of talks under the auspices of the United Nations, Secretary General of the European Peoples Party (EPP), Antonio Lopez Isturiz, told CNA.

Isturiz participated in the last two EPP Summits in Brussels where the Heads of State and Government and the party leaders took decisions on Turkey and the Turkish President. The Secretary General also conveyed the message that the formal understanding of the majority of the EPP EU governments is that Erdogan has now set out a peculiar strategy for his country, looking to the East, Russia and Iran. In this new strategy, he also sacrificed the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Antonio Lopez Isturiz, describing the discussions at the summit of the EPP, told CNA that “the European course of Turkey is going through the solution of the Cyprus problem” and explains that “it is wise not to expect much from a country that has slipped from democratic values”.

The Secretary-General says that during the EPP political assembly two weeks ago, “beyond all doubt, we openly debated and reaffirmed our support for Nicos Anastasiades – led (President of Cyprus) resolution efforts.”

“The view not only of the EPP President but also of all the presidents, prime ministers and members is that Nicos Anastasiades did the best he could but unfortunately Turkey had another agenda for the region, which is unpleasant, first of all for Cyprus and then across Europe,”, the Secretary-General said. “During the last talks, we all expected Turkey to make a move that did not come,” he noted.

He went on to say that “our understanding is that only a good solution for Cyprus will improve Euro-Turkish relations, while non-solution aggravates the negative sentiment against Turkey in the public opinion and in many EU member states”, describing the position of leaders of the EU that are members of the EPP and clarified: “this is one of the fundamental questions of the Cyprus problem, and we know that President Anastasiades had already made many important concessions and really wanted to find a solution, but what Turkey did, for us it was not only a surprise, but a disappointment”.

“As you can see, I have not told you so far the United Nations, as everyone, including the EU, was behind the effort to resolve the issue. Everything was done on the basis of the rules and there was an extraordinary momentum”.

He added that “it was unfortunate when it disappeared, because Erdogan, for selfish reasons, refusing to see ahead, refused to withdraw the 40,000 soldiers from the island”.

“This was another brick in the construction of the lack of trust wall that is being built around Turkey in Europe”, he symbolically stated.

The Secretary-General also conveyed to CNA the view of the EPP members that Turkey, having moved away from democracy, is seeking allies outside the West: “with such a regime, as in Ankara today, we have nothing to wait for. If Turkey was a democracy, we could predict its strategy, but today Erdogan simply seeks more power and more influence by every possible means.”

“This is not a game,” he said, “hence his co-operation with Iran”.

“Erdogan had many opportunities to mend his relations with the EU, the Cyprus Issue was one of them, but the Cyprus Issue was sacrificed for the benefit of his new strategy”, the EPP secretary general concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency