STRASBOURG–France (Reuters)–The parliament passed a report on each of the 12 candidate countries as part of a broad debate on EU enlargement.
Like the other reports–the one on Cyprus–drafted by Luxembourg Socialist Jacques Poos–encouraged the country to push ahead with bringing its laws into line with those of the EU.
The report–passed on a 483-12 vote with 33 abstentions–said Cyprus can expect to be in the first wave of new entran’s to the EU and that EU accession does not depend on a resolution beforehand of the thorny sovereignty issue.
But while welcoming efforts by the Cypriot government to adopt the relevant legislation–the report hits out at the “refusal of the Turkish Cypriot leadership to participate in the negotiations.”
In another part of the report–the parliament recalls the United Nations condemnation of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974–and the declaration in 1983 of a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The report goes on: “All this–as well as the lack of progress on the Cyprus question–the Kurdish question–the violations of human rights or claims to the islands and the continental shelf of the Aegean–did not prevent the European Council (of EU leaders) meeting in Helsinki conferring on Turkey the status of applicant country.”
EU leaders decided at the Helsinki summit last December to make Turkey a formal candidate for EU membership although excluding it from entry negotiations for now.
Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash strongly criticized a report passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday on Cyprus’s bid to join the European Union.
Turkey’s Anatolian news agency quoted Denktash as saying UN-mediated talks on the divided island would stop if the parliamentary report was endorsed by EU governmen’s.
“If this resolution comes out from the European Council at the level of the governmen’s–then it will be dangerous and put an end to the (UN) mediated talks. Thus Cyprus will stay as divided,” it quoted Denktash as saying.
Inconclusive talks were recently held at the United Nations on ways to ease a logjam in negotiations to reunite the island.
Nihat Akyol–Turkish ambassador to the EU–also issued a statement voicing “deep concern” over the parliament’s report–saying: “The resolution voted on today in the European Parliament will not facilitate the search for a just and durable peace in Cyprus.”