Turkey denounces recent EU enlargement decisions

Turkey said on Friday that recent decisions adopted by the EU at the bloc’s General Affairs Council have once again shown that the EU is not approaching enlargement with a strategic approach but rather an approach based on the bloc. solidarity of membership.

The related sections of the EU’s enlargement decisions concerning Turkey ignore the fact that the country is conducting membership negotiations with the bloc, and they deny, if not distort, the importance of Turkey to the EU as well as regional peace, stability and prosperity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The decisions, another example of some Member States using the EU for their narrow and selfish interests, do not contribute to Turkey-EU relations, do not serve the general interests of Europe and do not bring us closer to the objective of create a positive and constructive agenda, ”the press release noted.

The ministry said it was surprised that the EU, while making these decisions, acts as an interest group based on negotiation, and not as a group acting in accordance with principles and values.

The parts of the decisions on the issue of the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus are also “disconnected from reality”, “one-sided” and “inconsistent” as before, reflecting the maximalist approach of the Greek Cypriots and Greece, he said. he adds.

The statement said the recent rulings ignore the rights of Turkish Cypriots and ignore ongoing unilateral activities by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration which have exacerbated tension in the Eastern Mediterranean in recent days.

The EU cannot make a constructive contribution to the Cyprus issue as long as the bloc continues its recent approach, he said.

The ministry urged the EU to see the realities of the island and end its policy of ignoring Turkish Cypriots and their vested rights.

Turkey is determined to develop its relations with the EU through a concrete and positive agenda based on the prospect of membership, the statement noted.

It is clear that these policies, detached from reality and based on ideological motives and solidarity of membership, will not benefit Turkey-EU relations, he added.

The ministry called on the EU to abandon this “strategic blindness”.

The EU, in its final statement issued after the last General Affairs Council meeting of the year on December 14, condemned Turkey’s “unilateral actions” regarding Maras (Varosha in Greek).

The bloc said relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be “fully respected”, demanding that all measures taken in Maras since October 2020 be rescinded.

Maras had practically become a ghost town because it was cut off from the world for 47 years.

Part of the region – about 3.5% of the total area – was reopened in October 2020, with people welcomed daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Maras was abandoned after a 1984 UN Security Council resolution that stipulated that only original residents could resettle in the city.

Entry was prohibited except for Turkish Army personnel stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

– Conflict of several decades

Cyprus is mired in a decades-long dispute between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of UN diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks that began in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to retreat to enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at the annexation of the island by Greece led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an intermittent peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of the guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year the Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the long-standing dispute.

Sharon P. Juarez