Merkel Slams Turkey For Hampering Cyprus Peace Talks

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP)–German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday criticized Turkey and Turkish Cypriots for not doing enough to help achieve a deal to reunify Cyprus and pledged to speak to Turkish officials to boost ongoing peace talks.

In the first visit by a German leader to the island, Merkel lauded Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias for his “courage and creativity” in talks with Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu that are now in their third year with limited progress to show for it.

But she scolded the Turkish side for failing to keep up with Christofias in peace efforts.

“We see that you are taking many steps, and we also see that the Turkish side is not responding accordingly to these steps,” Merkel said after talks with Christofias in the capital, left divided after the Turkish military invaded the island in the 1970s. “Your steps show that you are prepared to come to a compromise.”

Cyprus was split into a Turkish Cypriot north and a Greek Cypriot south in 1974 when Turkey intervened to quell an effort by the island’s population to unify with Greece.

The conflict is hampering Turkey’s troubled EU membership bid and holding back closer EU-NATO cooperation. NATO member Turkey has blocked formal NATO-EU relations, while Greek Cyprus has vetoed Turkey taking part in EU defense activities.

Turkey began entry talks with the EU in 2005, but negotiations on several policy areas have stalled or been suspended because Turkey refuses to open its ports to trade with Greek Cyprus since it does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government.

Merkel said her government wants Turkey’s EU entry talks to continue “irrespective of what the decision will be at the end,” but warned that they won’t conclude without Ankara opening its ports to Greek Cypriot trade.

Turkey’s entry talks cover 35 different areas, or “chapters.” Of these, only 11 have been opened in the last five years.

“As long as Turkey doesn’t [open its ports to Greek Cyprus], it cannot close any chapters and none have closed until now,” Merkel said.

Christofias said Greek Cyprus supports Turkey’s EU bid but that Ankara must first live up to its obligation to recognize the Greek Cypriot government. He said he remains steadfast to his vision of turning a reunified Cyprus into a regional “bridge of friendship.”

The German chancellor thanked Christofias for hammering out “a strategic plan of cooperation” between NATO and the EU, despite the difficulties, saying a Cyprus peace accord was the best way to remove all obstacles.

Merkel’s five-hour working visit to the island included a stop at a German cultural center straddling the United Nations controlled buffer zone in the divided capital, eerily reminiscent of once-divided Berlin.

The German leader said she understands the island’s division on an emotional level but doubted whether German reunification could be used as a model for Cyprus because of “many practical differences” between the two countries.

She said the German reunification experience could prove useful once Cyprus talks are further intensified.

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2 Comments

  1. Norin Radd said:

    Where is the OSCE Minsk group now to “resolve” the “conflict”? Or are they are only interested in sticking their nose in Armenia’s domestic affairs? Armenians liberated themselves in Arstakh (FORMERLY known as Nagorno-Karabagh), Turkey is occupying Cyprus, so again, where is the OSCE “Minks” group of stooges?

  2. arziv said:

    Neither the OSCE Minsk group or any other group can meddle into the Cypriot case. The issue of Cyprus is a dead end. The turks wanted partition of the island, that is why they invaded. Now they have got what they wanted. The Cypriot Government is an emasculated ossified structure with an old time communist apparatchik at its head. Greece is prostrate and lying low, and besides the Greeks never had any stomach to bring about an enosis or union between the two. Papandreu the Greek PM is paranoically fearful of the Turks; he is a valuable stooge for the Turks; as far as Cyprus is concerned Papandreu was a champion ( like Christofias) for the Annan Plan which was a pro-turkish plan to the detriment of the Greeks. Christofias is not a nationalist, the last thing he desires is to incur the wrath of the turk.He’ll play to turkish tunes, smoking the narguile and bowing his head to the men wearing the fez. Why should the Turk shift its strategy when it has to contend with a pair of emasculated , defeatists , and pusillanimous leadership in Greece and Cyprus ? . Merkel in Cyprus ? it is a raucous laugh. An old commie visiting a commie pal on the island of cyprus ( feeling nostalgic about the old days ??) They are all cowering and scurrying before the wave of expansion and conquest of the turk toward the Balkans and int the EU. The eastern Aegean is soon to become a turkish lake. Turkish warships ply the Greek sea lanes as if it was a turksh river ; turkish warplanes, in fighting squadrons ,violate Greek air space with monotonous regularity without reciving any riposte form the Greeks. Greece is a target for turkish aggrandisement and a bridge toward the Balkans. The turks are invading Greece by swamping the Greek mainland and islands with a tsunami of illegal afro-asian muslims. Like a trojan horse, these turks bid their time in Greece waiting for the call of Allah to raise a civil rebellion. Thrace is now a virtual turkish province all but in name. Neo -othomanism is on the march once again; the road to re-claim its former Balkan provinces is underway. Davotoglou speaks of “Turkey’s depth of strategic goals” . No one should be kept guessing the significance of this ” strategic depths” of Turkish grand politics.
    As long as Armenia remains strong and steadfast regarding Artsakh, the matter can remain within the motherland’s control. Should we become like our Greek neighbours ( Greece and Cyprus) than we will be buffeted by uncertain storms and squalls .

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