Monday, May 9, 2016

Cyprus says European Commission report on visa waiver for Turkey has omissions

The European Commission report on the waivering of visas for Turkish nationals has omissions that must be rectified, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said in a written statement that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a letter that he insists on Turkey fulfilling all of its obligations vis-a-vis Cyprus, including applying a protocol with the European Union providing for the recognition of Cyprus by Ankara.

Informed sources said Anastasiades' letter was a clear warning that Cyprus may block the visa deal in case Turkey continues its policy of not recognizing Cyprus and refusing to cooperate with its authorities.

Christodoulides noted that Turkey had issued statements in relation to Cyprus claiming that the eastern Mediterranean island state has become an extinct state and that it will not apply its deal with EU for the readmission of refugees and migrants who arrive from Turkey in the case of Cyprus.

The spokesman stressed that all of Turkey's obligations including those emanating from a road map for its accession to the European Union must be implemented in full and in relation to all members states before a deal for scrapping visa requirements for Turkish nationals can be implemented.

  • "The Readmission Agreement must be applied in relation to Cyprus in full and in an effective way," the spokesman's statement said.

He also said that President Anastasiades has stressed to Juncker that all statements made by Turkey in relation to Cyprus must be withdrawn prior to the application of the visa deal.

  • Turkey said on Tuesday that that it will lift visa requirements for Cypriots who travel to Turkey as part of the visa deal, but added that this does not amount to recognition of Cyprus.

Turkey's refusal to recognize Cyprus has already cost it the freezing of its accession negotiations with the European Union since 2009.

Turkey refuses to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, a United Nations and European Union member state. Turkey controlled the northern part of the Cyprus island following a military intervention in 1974 in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at the time. This portion of Cyprus unilaterally declared independence in 1983, which Turkey recognizes.

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