NEWS

Erdogan ties Turks to Cypriot EU entry

The leader of the party that will form Turkey’s next government, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Saturday that Cyprus should join the EU only when Turkey did. This added a new dimension to the comments that he and other officials of his Justice and Development (AK) party have made in support of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem. «We support the formation of a partnership state between two equal, sovereign founding states. Then, Turkey and Cyprus should enter the EU at the same time. Otherwise, some serious problems could emerge,» Erdogan said during a visit to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. His chief foreign policy aide, Yasar Yakis, said the UN’s plan for Cyprus supposed the foundation of a new state. He argued that this meant Cyprus’s negotiations with the EU were void and should start again. «No negotiations so far were conducted on behalf of this (proposed new) Cyprus state so these (EU) negotiations should be conducted now,» Yakis told Reuters. «We believe completion of these negotiations should coincide to be simultaneous with Turkey’s accession negotiations so that they are completed at the same time and join at the same time.» Jean-Christophe Filori, a European Commission spokesman, rejected the possibility of linkage.