Turkey Watch

Watching the Turkish nail being put into Europian coffin.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lagendijk: AKP will not Take New Cyprus Steps

From Zaman

Turkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) Co-chairman Joost Lagendijk has said that he did not expect the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to take a new step regarding Cyprus.

"The AKP can continue to take more steps on the freedom of speech and the Kurdish problem but it seems impossible for the AKP to take a new step on Cyprus," Lagendijk said in an interview published in the Milliyet daily on Monday.

The EU official that the AKP would not risk losing the support of its followers by taking a new step on Cyprus as the country was heading towards elections.

The next legislative election will be held in November 2007 with the next presidential elections due in May 2007.

Turkish presidents are elected by parliament members every seven years.

Lagendijk said that the ruling AKP was in a dilemma over Cyprus and over the suspension of the EU accession talks.

"The ruling AKP believes it is the EU's turn to take a new step on Cyprus. The ruling AKP will not take a new step."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has stressed that the prospective new round of peace talks on Cyprus should be carried out on the basis of the Annan Plan.

Signaling a firm stance over Cyprus, Prime Minister Erdogan has said that Turkey will not open its ports to Greek Cypriot traffic even if it jeopardizes the EU talks.

Last year Turkey had signed the additional protocol of the Ankara Treaty which extended Turkey's custom union agreement to the 10 new members of the European Union, including Greek Cyprus.

The signing of the additional protocol had been a condition imposed by the EU prior to the opening of accession talks with Turkey on October of last year.

At the time Turkey specified that its signing of the protocol did not imply recognition of Greek Cyprus.

Turkey has since then declined to implement the EU protocol by opening its ports to Greek Cyprus, due to the lack of a settled solution to the division of the island between the Turkish north and the Greek south.

The EU, which opened actual accession talks with Turkey on June 12, has repeatedly called on Turkey to open its ports to the Greek Cypriots.

Lagendijk said that Turkey's failure to open its ports to the Greek Cypriot traffic would not suspend the accession talks but would stir up a crisis. "The Cyprus issue is a problem but it is not an issue that will stop the talks."

Lagendijk added that the influence of the Turkish army on politics should be reduced.


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