Foreign Minister Ertuğruloğlu: “I believe that an open-ended negotiation process is not healthy”
Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu expressed that an open-ended negotiation process is not healthy. Ertuğruloğlu received the Undersecretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Turkey Feridun Sinirlioğlu and his accompanying delegation yesterday. Turkish Ambassador to Lefkoşa Derya Kanbay also accompanied Sinirlioğlu and his delegation. Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erhan Erçin was also present at the meeting.
In his speech, Minister Ertuğruloğlu said that consultation of the Motherland Turkey with the TRNC to defend our national case is natural in the continuing negotiation process. Adding that the negotiation process in Cyprus has been continuing for about 50 years, Ertuğruloğlu said that Turkish Cypriots do not deserve to be exposed to the current treatment. Ertuğruloğlu also expressed that he believes that an open-ended negotiation process is not a healthy approach.
Furthermore, in his speech, Sinirlioğlu said that it is their common responsibility to determine about the current stage of the negotiations. Indicating that he paid a visit to the TRNC to discuss the negotiation process and also to congratulate the new government, Sinirlioğlu expressed his satisfaction for being in the TRNC.
Leaders to meet today
President Mustafa Akıncı and the Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades will meet today within the framework of Cyprus negotiations.
The leaders’ last meeting was on 25 April. In his statement following the last meeting Akıncı had said that they held a “fruitful” meeting in terms of reaching a full consensus on the first four chapters. Stating that it is not possible to make new progress at each meeting, Akıncı said that he believes progress has been made for an agreement.
Akıncı received Sinirlioğlu and his accompanying delegation
President Mustafa Akıncı received Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and his accompanying delegation.
Turkish Cypriot Negotiator Özdil Nami, Presidential Spokesperson Barış Burcu and Undersecretary Gürdal Hüdaoğlu also attended the meeting. No statement was made to the press before or after the meeting.
President Akıncı evaluated the visa issue
President Mustafa Akıncı said that Turkey could not fulfil all the necessities of recognizing or not recognizing the ‘Republic of Cyprus’ in the current international circumstances regarding the visa Liberalization Dialogue between Turkey and the European Union.
Speaking during one of his receptions, President Akıncı evaluated the “third progress report on the visa liberalisation roadmap.”
Akıncı said that Turkey’s diplomatic recognition of the “Republic of Cyprus” depends on very different conditions, primarily Turkey needs to take a decision for the recognition but such a decision will not come into question unless the United Federal Cyprus is established.
Özyiğit: “Real normalization will only be possible with the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem”
TDP Leader Cemal Özyiğit said that while Turkey-EU relations are becoming normal and developing, steps should also be taken in this direction in Cyprus.
“The real normalization in Cyprus can only be possible with a comprehensive, fair and permanent solution of the Cyprus problem” Özyiğit added.
Özyiğit also expressed that the recommendation of the European Commission regarding visa-free travel is towards normalization and developing Turkey-EU relations, adding that the decision also predicts visa-free travel of Turkish citizens to South Cyprus.
Furthermore, Özyiğit said that while Turkey is progressing on the way to EU membership, we should do together whatever is necessary to reach a permanent solution in Cyprus. The current developments put forth once more the importance of a solution in Cyprus.
Merkel: “I believe Turkey will fulfil all criteria for visa liberalization”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she believes Turkey will fulfil all required criteria for visa liberalization.
Stating that she was pleased with the recommendation decision of the European Union Commission which provides visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, Merkel said, “I believe there is a realistic opportunity for Turkey to complete other obligations because of its achievements on the other issues.”
First Phase of restoration works on the Apostolos Andreas Monastery nearing completion
The first phase of the restoration works on the main church and adjoining buildings of the Apostolos Andreas Monastery is nearing completion.
The restoration of the monastery, according to UNDP, intends to contribute to the on-going confidence building process between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots within the context of cultural heritage preservation and protection. The overall restoration of the Monastery will take place in four phases.
Turkish Cypriot co-chairman of the committee Ali Tuncay, Greek Cypriot co-chairman of the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage Takis Hadjidemetriou, Cyprus Vakıflar Administration vice general director Mehmet Kanan, Programme Manager of the United Nations Development Programme Tiziana Zennaro and the experts who work on the restoration of the monastery attended the information meeting which was organised by the Cultural Heritage Technical Committee and the United Nations Development Programme – Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF) Office in order to inform the press.
Making the first speech UNDP-PFF Officer Tiziana Zennaro said that the Apostolos Andreas Monastery project is a great example of the fruitful cooperation in the field of cultural heritage between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot people. Zennaro said, “We stand in pride as we see the monastery coming to life again and acknowledge the progress the UNDP has made in facilitating the restoration in partnership with the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage.”
Turkish Cypriot co-chairman of the Cultural Heritage Technical Committee Ali Tuncay stated that the present situation of the restoration works is the result of the equal cooperation of both parties.
Tuncay said: “I think that the work of the committee has shown to both sides that the two can cooperate and can have many good results. It is not just a monument for Greek Cypriots but also a monument for Turkish Cypriots, it is our heritage, humanity`s heritage.”
Tuncay stated that in the second phase of the restoration project, the historic chapel, the holy fountain, the building to the north of the monastery and environmental planning are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Meral Akinci and Andri Anastasiades attend a bicommunal concert by young musicians
First Lady Meral Akıncı, and the spouse of the Greek Cypriot leader Andri Anastasiades, attended on Thursday evening a concert by young musicians from both sides in Cyprus, at Pallas theatre in Nicosia, and both expressed their support to efforts for a solution that would reunite Cyprus. Soloist at the concert was Wolfgang Schroeder, violin, and Artistic Director George Kountouris.
Meral Akinci said that women are part of the population and have the need for opportunities to put all their power, knowledge and enthusiasm to solve the Cyprus problem. Akinci thanked the Bicommunal Technical Committee on Culture for the concert, which was under its auspices, as well as the young musicians.
“It is a great pleasure to be here at this concert with Meral,” said Andri Anastasiadis, adding that “this is one of many steps that prompt us together to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.” I believe that women can do a lot and that we are part of the solution to our problem. My wish is to have a solution to the problem this year, “she added.
In his address Co-President of the Bicommunal Technical Committee Kani Kanol said “we fully understand the role of art and artists and particularly young artists in creating a free, independent, democratic and bright equal future.” He welcomed with great enthusiasm the effort made by young musicians from the two communities who have worked together.
In her address, Co-President of the Bicommunal Technical Committee Androulla Vasiliou said “we want to hope that the solution to the Cyprus problem and the reunification of our island is not far.” However, she added, for the eventual solution to be consolidated and stand the test of time, political will and cooperation from the political leaders will not suffice. “We will need to create the proper climate between our people. All of us, and especially younger people, will need to believe in the solution and the peaceful coexistence, as well as the cooperation between the two communities. We must believe that, together, we will be able to work towards and create our mutual future, in our mutual homeland, Cyprus”, she said.
UN special adviser to Secretary-General for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, also attended the concert.
Fierce spat over Turkey – EU deal
European Commission’s proposal on lifting the visa for Turkey created trouble between the Greek Cypriot politicians.
“DIKO (South Cyprus political party) leader Nicolas Papadopoulos does not want a solution to the Cyprus problem”, South Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Thursday, as a row between the two escalated over the European Commission’s proposal for the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens.
Earlier this week the Turkish cabinet approved waiving visas for visitors from all 28 EU member states once Europe relaxes its own visa requirements for Turks.
Although the visa waiver will apply to Greek Cypriots, Turkish officials said it did not amount to recognition of the Greek Cypriot Administration.
Papadopoulos, who is the leader of DİKO political party in the south, insisted the visa waiver raised other concerns, such as illegal migration and asylum seekers.
Accusing the Greek Cypriot Administration of a weak foreign policy for not objecting to the European Commission’s document, Papadopoulos zeroed in on the South Cyprus Foreign Minister, whom he accused of having a history of ‘exculpating’ Turkey’s policy on Cyprus.
Kasoulides suggesting that Papadopoulos’ concerns were merely a vote-grabbing ploy – directed particularly at Greek Cypriot refugees – in the midst of an election campaign.
Kasoulides said Papadopoulos’ track record spoke for itself.
“There are certain politicians, and Papadopoulos is one of them, and I say this responsibly and on the record, who do not want a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Coming back, Papadopoulos said he felt insulted by Kasoulides’ remark that he was against a solution, and demanding a retraction.
The DIKO leader demanded also that Anastasiades immediately convene the Greek Cypriot National Council to discuss the EU visa waiver for Turkish nationals, which he called a “highly negative and dangerous development.”
Papadopoulos’ stance on visa issue lacks political judgment and perspective
Greek Cypriot daily Cyprus Mail commented on Papadopoulos’ response on lifting of the visa requirements for Turkish nationals.
The article is as follows: “It is very difficult to say what prompted DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos to make such a big issue of the European Commission’s proposed lifting of the visa requirements for Turkish nationals. Are opinion polls forecasting that his party’s share of the votes would be low in the elections and he resorted to some old-fashioned alarmism in order to rally support? Did he feel this was suitable issue for highlighting government weakness on matters of national interest, in comparison to his own party’s uncompromising stance? Does he enjoy confrontation so much that he would use any excuse to engage in it?
Whatever the motives, his outbursts of the last few days suggest that he lacks political judgment, perspective and the capacity for rational thought. They also indicated a basic ignorance with regard to how the EU operates. That he could blame the Anastasiades administration, for a proposal prepared by the European Commission, over which it had no say, was beyond a joke. Anticipating the proposal, he said: “Questions are raised by the stance of the government on this matter: which are these 72 criteria (set for the lifting of the visa requirements), when were they decided, how were they defined by the European Commission and why had the DISY government agreed to these 72 criteria?”
Is Papadopoulos not aware that the Commission takes decisions without consulting national governments? Is he not aware that this is one of the main reasons many Britons want to leave the EU? Quite clearly not, or he would not have asked “why were these 72 criteria not discussed at the National Council?” He did not even bother to find out what these criteria were, speculating instead that these involved respect for the right to property and for basic human rights, before asking why the Commission believed Turkey had complied with these.
As if this rant were not ridiculous enough Papadopoulos also saw another danger emanating from the Commission’s “totally wrong and provocative” proposal. It would allow “70 million Turks to move freely in Cyprus “with preferential treatment”. We are to believe that 70 million Turks were waiting for the lifting of the visa requirements so they could visit the Republic en masse. Yesterday he corrected this point on a radio show by saying there were 80 – not 70 – million Turks ready to flood Cyprus.
This nonsense may be taken seriously by a few ignorant voters, but it would also lead to a lot more voters not taking Papadopoulos seriously. He will have nobody but himself to blame for this.”
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