Nicosia lays out terms for Turkey

Cyprus has identified five key issues it wants to be addressed in return for supporting Turkey’s EU accession talks, according to statements made by Cypriot Foreign Minister Giorgos Iacovou on Saturday. In the first public move by either Athens, Nicosia or Ankara to publicly reveal their hand ahead of December 17 negotiations, when EU leaders will decide if and when to start membership talks with Turkey, Iacovou said that the five problems that need to be resolved are: the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey; Ankara’s veto of Cypriot participation in various international organizations; the settlement of Turks in occupied northern Cyprus; the protection of property owned by Greek-Cypriots in the Turkish-occupied territories and the presence of Turkish troops on the island. «It seems ridiculous for Turkey to recognize a positive vote from Cyprus and, on December 18, not to recognize the Republic of Cyprus,» said Iacovou. He added that Cyprus was not willing to negotiate on the issue of its recognition by Ankara. Iacovou said that Turkey had vetoed Cypriot entry into international organizations 12 times. «The veto issue is something that needs to be regulated and done so now,» he said. Iacovou also called on the European Commission to stop the settlement of Turks in northern Cyprus and demand that they be repatriated. «How can you say you will protect Europe from Turkish migration when Turkey is already breaking the law in Cyprus and changing the population ratios?» he said. Iacovou said that Nicosia will be asking the Commission to force Turkish-Cypriots to stop selling property owned by Greek-Cypriots in the occupied territories to foreigners. Finally, Iacovou indicated that Cyprus will ask Ankara to provide a specific timetable for the withdrawal of its 35,000 troops from the island.